Donna was doing masters on Chemistry and eventually she was asked to complete a lab report. In the beginning, she was both nervous and scared, thinking whether she will be able to finish it on time or not.
Her fear went true when she got stuck in the middle of the paper. Her mind went total blank and she ended up losing more time. She had a line of ideas but was confused regarding the order they must be presented. This is because she did not create a proper layout and did not consider giving time to go through the guideline. If you don’t want to end up like Donna, make sure you do not make the same mistake. Remember to make a proper plan and layout before you set off to the lab report writing.
Each lab report comes with a different set of requirements which make the student even more confused. Your professor usually helps you know how to write a lab report by giving you a proper guideline. But in case, you have a hard time following the guidelines, you should read this blog. The purpose of writing this blog is to help you understand how to format a lab report and give you few tips along the way that will help you write a prolific lab report.
Importance of writing a lab report
Most of the science students need to write a lab report. Lab reports are basically a formal record of a experiment that you conduct. You need to describe and analyse the experiment in detail. This is probably the best way to showcase your knowledge of the subject. Students who are doing courses like Chemistry, Natural Science, Biology or Physics are often asked to write lab reports. Since it carries most of your grades, it is essential that you submit a flawless report to impress your professor/teacher.
Lab reports are an essential part of the scientific study. Lab reports will develop your skills, sharpen your knowledge, and even scientific communication. This is a practical approach which will develop your analytical skill of expressing your thoughts behind the experiment.
The purpose of writing the report is to give you a scope or an opportunity to make your own observation. You get a chance to discover something and explain the results to the readers.
Writing a lab report might be beneficial to develop your skills, but it still is not a piece of cake. You need to follow the correct lab report format.
What is the right format of the lab report?
Your lab report should have the following format:
Briefly present the title. Avoid being too wordy with the title. Explain the major points of your experiment. Try to have less than 10 words in this section. Write a brief and accurate title. Don’t forget to include your name and date on the page.
An abstract should be as per the kind of lab report you are writing. The length of the report varies with the kind of lab report you are writing. If you have any query like ‘how to write an abstract of lab report’ you can search for a good sample. This will be a brief summary of the report. Here you will have to write the objectives, procedures and findings of the experiment.
The introduction is where you capture the reader’s attention. It is common for students to struggle in this part and wonder “how to write an impressive introduction of a lab report”. An introduction is somewhat an outline of the whole lab report. So the best would be if you write the introduction at the end. It will help you summarise the whole report.
The introduction of the lab report should be written in a concise form. Provide background information on the experiment. You can also explain the main objectives of the lab experiment. Talk about why you chose the particular experiment.
4. Equipment and methods
Here you need to list down all the materials and methods you used for the experiment. Your list will have the equipment’s name and also the equipment’s number.
The procedure will include every step that you’ve performed while experimenting. Make sure there is clarity when you are writing the steps, so that others find easier to follow it while imitating your experiment.
Here you have to present the core data of the experiment. The result will include your interpretation of what the data actually means. Data can be presented in the form of graphs, tables or figures. In certain disciplines, the section also required to write an analysis of the raw data.
In the conclusions, you write down about your interpretations of the experiment. Write about the methods you have used to obtain a particular result.
Some lab reports require referencing. Do reference as per the guidance of your professor/ teacher. If you have any query like ‘how to format a lab report’ you can ask the online tutors. They will explain you every step of the procedure.
We have provided you with a lab report sample so that you can visualise the structure of it.
Question: Describe the measuring inhibitors of Purines, Allopurinol, Oxypurinol and Xanthine within the aqueous solution with the help of HPLC.
If you wish to read the full sample of the lab report example, click on the link below:
Lab reports can be complicated as well as overwhelming at times. It would help if you stick to the general rules and present the report persuasively.
We have made your task easier by collecting a few tips from experts on how to make an accurate lab report.
Here are a few tips that will help you:
1.Make notes of everything
Maintain a notebook from the beginning where you record every steps and observation of your experiment. It will be simpler in this way to stay organised, and you will not have any problem to review the paper in the end. Write your notes as you are experimenting. If you decide to note down everything in the end, you might end up forgetting something.
2. Always be concise
Information, detail, result and/or your interpretation need to be crisp and should have a limited number of words. The writing style of a lab report should be straightforward, direct, and there should not be any unnecessary words. Avoid repeating details, sentences or ideas while writing your lab report. It should be concise and impactful.
3. Avoid copywriting from lab manual
The purpose of the lab manual is to guide you throughout the process. But don’t try to lift words from the lab manual directly. Use your own choice of words while explaining the experiment.
4. Take inspiration
Don’t go writing your lab report straightaway. At first, try reading a few samples or formal lab report examples of the experts who had previously written lab reports. You can take a few ideas from them, and use them in your own way. Notice their choice of words and the structure of the lab report they follow.
5. Use third person
Always write in third person whenever you are writing your lab report. Avoid using words like ‘I’, ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘my’.
6. Use the correct tense
Tense is a major area where student often struggles at while writing their lab report. When you are talking about the experiment, make sure you use past tense. This is because the experiment about which you are talking about had already been conducted. However, while writing about the concept, report or the equipment, use the present tense since they still exist.
7. Mention the real result
If by any chance, you come up with the wrong lab report, don’t lie about the result. Be honest and explain what went wrong and share ideas about how it can be improved.
While making your lab report ensure you have a general checklist so that you don’t miss out anything.
General checklist for lab report writing
- The lab report should have an appropriate size, style, typefaces or alignments.
- Use separate headings while writing different sections of the lab report.
- The lab report must have enough white space.
- The title of the lab report must consist of the main ideas of the lab report.
- The abstract should successfully answer the question that was asked.
- Introduction should have the following elements:
- A short description of the question that is supposed to be answered.
- Summarisation of the experimental method
- Theory section must have the following elements:
- All the steps need to be presented.
- Assumptions or observations should be explained.
- Each equation needs to be presented with a separate equation number on separate lines.
- Methods section should have the following elements:
- Each of the equipment should be properly listed.
- The measurements should be described.
- The methods should be explained properly.
- Conclusion should have the following elements:
- Description of the basic data.
- Description of the result and their implications.
- Review of the main question
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