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lab report writing

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lab report writing

Lab report writing is mainly aimed at explaining the goal, procedural steps, requirements and the final conclusions derived from the experiments undertaken in the lab. It should tell the reader: the theory you are testing, how you are testing it, the results you obtained and a discussion of their significance.

The report should be well expressive to the reader and understanding the information of the topic should be an easy job for the people reviewing the report. The report should also have a discussion of the writer's views and lastly a reference page should cite the sources of information included.

The following are some basics, guideline, and tips of lab report writing.

1. Cover page

Cover page should contains experiment title, your name, and date of lab.

2. Introduction

In one or two paragraphs, you should brieflly describe what was done in the lab and give basic scientific theory or background information about the experiment. Explains how a theory being put to use or tested in the lab. This section is very important as it is here that you are best able to demonstrate that you understand the scientific background of the lab.

3. Objectives

In this section, you should state what the scientific goals were List them briefly. You should also ask yourself " Why did we do this activity? What was I supposed to learn or practice?" Sometimes the objective can be stated in one sentence. Other times it may be necessary to add some extra information to narrow the scope of the activity.

4. Procedure

In this procedure section, you should summarizes what was done during the lab with first person, past tense, and active voice. The level of detail should not be excessive but should be sufficient for the reader to repeat your experiments exactly. Tell what you actually did and Include your observations from the lab so that someone repeating your procedure will know if they are on the right track.

5. Data

In the data section, you should briefly present the data that was collected. Raw data sheets written during the lab are never presented as part of the formal lab write-up. Construct a neat and well thought-out table to most effectively show your results. Tables should be numbered and titled below the table.

6. Sample Calculations

The sample calculation should include the equation with variables first, then with numbers and units substituted for the variables and then the final result. Equations should be numbered and referenced in your analysis section. You should note that you may have used the equation many times, but you only have to show it once.

7. Analysis

Analysis is the most important section of a lab report. You use this section to answer the objective questions. Report numerical results with plus-or-minus amounts and percent error. Discuss physical reasons for the size of your error: come up with a scenario and work out its consequences. If your data were highly variable, that is, imprecise, then discuss physical reasons for this. Try to account for the size and direction of any inaccuracy if you have a standard for comparison. Explain the relationship between your results and the answers to the questions posed in the lab handout. The Analysis will frequently have several parts as you answer some questions that were provided with the lab handout. All answers must be in paragraph form as in an essay.

Scientific explanations usually consist of a claim, hypothesis, evidence for the claim collected during the lab activity, and the reasoning the connects the two.

Frequently you will have to create a graph for your data. Graphs should be numbered and titled as figures (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc). You must discuss the meaning or significance of the graph, what behavior it shows, etc. Always include required graphs and discuss what they show. Refer to them by number.

8. Conclusions

In this section, you should discuss how the purpose of the activity relates to the analysis of your data. In other words, what did you learn. Stick to the facts, do not comment on whether or not you enjoyed the activity. Be specific in your statements. If the results of the activity were not satisfactory, suggest how the activity could be improved to give better data. Did the activity raise questions that cannot be answered with the data you collected? This is the place to mention them. Remember, conclusions are connections that are not obvious on the surface.

The final tips

1. Be sure you have filled in the information in the header. Give your name, your partner's name, and the date.

2. Proofread to make sure that you have used correct grammar and punctuation.

If you need more info about other types of writing, please go to our Writing tips section

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