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Writing Lab Reports
Writing lab reports follows a straightforward and structured procedure. It is important to recognize that each part of a lab report is important, so take the time to complete each carefully. A lab report is broken down into eight sections: title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.
- Ex: "Determining the Free Chlorine Content of Pool Water"
- Abstracts are a summary of the experiment as a whole and should familiarize the reader with the purpose of the research.
- Abstracts will always be written last, even though they are the first paragraph of a lab report.
- Not all lab reports will require an abstract. However, they are often included in upper-level lab reports and should be studied carefully.
- Why was the research done or experiment conducted?
- What problem is being addressed?
- What results were found?
- What are the meaning of the results?
- How is the problem better understood now than before, if at all?
- The introduction of a lab report discusses the problem being studied and other theory that is relevant to understanding the findings.
- The hypothesis of the experiment and the motivation for the research are stated in this section.
- Write the introduction in your own words. Try not to copy from a lab manual or other guidelines. Instead, show comprehension of the experiment by briefly explaining the problem.
Methods and Materials
- Ex: pipette, graduated cylinder, 1.13mg of Na, 0.67mg Ag
- List the steps taken as they actually happened during the experiment, not as they were supposed to happen.
- If written correctly, another researcher should be able to duplicate the experiment and get the same or very similar results.
- The results show the data that was collected or found during the experiment.
- Explain in words the data that was collected.
- Tables should be labeled numerically, as "Table 1", "Table 2", etc. Other figures should be labeled numerically as "Figure 1", "Figure 2", etc.
- Calculations to understand the data can also be presented in the results.
- The discussion section is one of the most important parts of the lab report. It analyzes the results of the experiment and is a discussion of the data.
- If any results are unexpected, explain why they are unexpected and how they did or did not effect the data obtained.
- Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the design of the experiment and compare your results to other similar experiments.
- If there are any experimental errors, analyze them.
- Explain your results and discuss them using relevant terms and theories.
- What do the results indicate?
- What is the significance of the results?
- Are there any gaps in knowledge?
- Are there any new questions that have been raised?
- The conclusion is a summation of the experiment. It should clearly and concisely state what was learned and its importance.
- If there is future work that needs to be done, it can be explained in the conclusion.
- If using any outside sources to support a claim or explain background information, those sources must be cited in the references section of the lab report.
- In the event that no outside sources are used, the references section may be left out.
Other Useful Sources
- The Lab Report
- Sample Laboratory Report #2
- Some Tips on Writing Lab Reports
- Writing a Science Lab Report
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How To Write A Lab Report | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
Published on May 20, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment. The main purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method by performing and evaluating a hands-on lab experiment. This type of assignment is usually shorter than a research paper .
Lab reports are commonly used in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This article focuses on how to structure and write a lab report.
Table of contents
Structuring a lab report, introduction, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about lab reports.
The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but they usually contain the purpose, methods, and findings of a lab experiment .
Each section of a lab report has its own purpose.
- Title: expresses the topic of your study
- Abstract : summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
- Introduction: establishes the context needed to understand the topic
- Method: describes the materials and procedures used in the experiment
- Results: reports all descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
- Discussion: interprets and evaluates results and identifies limitations
- Conclusion: sums up the main findings of your experiment
- References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA )
- Appendices : contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures
Although most lab reports contain these sections, some sections can be omitted or combined with others. For example, some lab reports contain a brief section on research aims instead of an introduction, and a separate conclusion is not always required.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to check your lab report requirements with your instructor.
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Your title provides the first impression of your lab report – effective titles communicate the topic and/or the findings of your study in specific terms.
Create a title that directly conveys the main focus or purpose of your study. It doesn’t need to be creative or thought-provoking, but it should be informative.
- The effects of varying nitrogen levels on tomato plant height.
- Testing the universality of the McGurk effect.
- Comparing the viscosity of common liquids found in kitchens.
An abstract condenses a lab report into a brief overview of about 150–300 words. It should provide readers with a compact version of the research aims, the methods and materials used, the main results, and the final conclusion.
Think of it as a way of giving readers a preview of your full lab report. Write the abstract last, in the past tense, after you’ve drafted all the other sections of your report, so you’ll be able to succinctly summarize each section.
To write a lab report abstract, use these guiding questions:
- What is the wider context of your study?
- What research question were you trying to answer?
- How did you perform the experiment?
- What did your results show?
- How did you interpret your results?
- What is the importance of your findings?
Nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for high quality plants. Tomatoes, one of the most consumed fruits worldwide, rely on nitrogen for healthy leaves and stems to grow fruit. This experiment tested whether nitrogen levels affected tomato plant height in a controlled setting. It was expected that higher levels of nitrogen fertilizer would yield taller tomato plants.
Levels of nitrogen fertilizer were varied between three groups of tomato plants. The control group did not receive any nitrogen fertilizer, while one experimental group received low levels of nitrogen fertilizer, and a second experimental group received high levels of nitrogen fertilizer. All plants were grown from seeds, and heights were measured 50 days into the experiment.
The effects of nitrogen levels on plant height were tested between groups using an ANOVA. The plants with the highest level of nitrogen fertilizer were the tallest, while the plants with low levels of nitrogen exceeded the control group plants in height. In line with expectations and previous findings, the effects of nitrogen levels on plant height were statistically significant. This study strengthens the importance of nitrogen for tomato plants.
Your lab report introduction should set the scene for your experiment. One way to write your introduction is with a funnel (an inverted triangle) structure:
- Start with the broad, general research topic
- Narrow your topic down your specific study focus
- End with a clear research question
Begin by providing background information on your research topic and explaining why it’s important in a broad real-world or theoretical context. Describe relevant previous research on your topic and note how your study may confirm it or expand it, or fill a gap in the research field.
This lab experiment builds on previous research from Haque, Paul, and Sarker (2011), who demonstrated that tomato plant yield increased at higher levels of nitrogen. However, the present research focuses on plant height as a growth indicator and uses a lab-controlled setting instead.
Next, go into detail on the theoretical basis for your study and describe any directly relevant laws or equations that you’ll be using. State your main research aims and expectations by outlining your hypotheses .
Based on the importance of nitrogen for tomato plants, the primary hypothesis was that the plants with the high levels of nitrogen would grow the tallest. The secondary hypothesis was that plants with low levels of nitrogen would grow taller than plants with no nitrogen.
Your introduction doesn’t need to be long, but you may need to organize it into a few paragraphs or with subheadings such as “Research Context” or “Research Aims.”
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A lab report Method section details the steps you took to gather and analyze data. Give enough detail so that others can follow or evaluate your procedures. Write this section in the past tense. If you need to include any long lists of procedural steps or materials, place them in the Appendices section but refer to them in the text here.
You should describe your experimental design, your subjects, materials, and specific procedures used for data collection and analysis.
Briefly note whether your experiment is a within-subjects or between-subjects design, and describe how your sample units were assigned to conditions if relevant.
A between-subjects design with three groups of tomato plants was used. The control group did not receive any nitrogen fertilizer. The first experimental group received a low level of nitrogen fertilizer, while the second experimental group received a high level of nitrogen fertilizer.
Describe human subjects in terms of demographic characteristics, and animal or plant subjects in terms of genetic background. Note the total number of subjects as well as the number of subjects per condition or per group. You should also state how you recruited subjects for your study.
List the equipment or materials you used to gather data and state the model names for any specialized equipment.
List of materials
35 Tomato seeds
15 plant pots (15 cm tall)
Light lamps (50,000 lux)
Describe your experimental settings and conditions in detail. You can provide labelled diagrams or images of the exact set-up necessary for experimental equipment. State how extraneous variables were controlled through restriction or by fixing them at a certain level (e.g., keeping the lab at room temperature).
Light levels were fixed throughout the experiment, and the plants were exposed to 12 hours of light a day. Temperature was restricted to between 23 and 25℃. The pH and carbon levels of the soil were also held constant throughout the experiment as these variables could influence plant height. The plants were grown in rooms free of insects or other pests, and they were spaced out adequately.
Your experimental procedure should describe the exact steps you took to gather data in chronological order. You’ll need to provide enough information so that someone else can replicate your procedure, but you should also be concise. Place detailed information in the appendices where appropriate.
In a lab experiment, you’ll often closely follow a lab manual to gather data. Some instructors will allow you to simply reference the manual and state whether you changed any steps based on practical considerations. Other instructors may want you to rewrite the lab manual procedures as complete sentences in coherent paragraphs, while noting any changes to the steps that you applied in practice.
If you’re performing extensive data analysis, be sure to state your planned analysis methods as well. This includes the types of tests you’ll perform and any programs or software you’ll use for calculations (if relevant).
First, tomato seeds were sown in wooden flats containing soil about 2 cm below the surface. Each seed was kept 3-5 cm apart. The flats were covered to keep the soil moist until germination. The seedlings were removed and transplanted to pots 8 days later, with a maximum of 2 plants to a pot. Each pot was watered once a day to keep the soil moist.
The nitrogen fertilizer treatment was applied to the plant pots 12 days after transplantation. The control group received no treatment, while the first experimental group received a low concentration, and the second experimental group received a high concentration. There were 5 pots in each group, and each plant pot was labelled to indicate the group the plants belonged to.
50 days after the start of the experiment, plant height was measured for all plants. A measuring tape was used to record the length of the plant from ground level to the top of the tallest leaf.
In your results section, you should report the results of any statistical analysis procedures that you undertook. You should clearly state how the results of statistical tests support or refute your initial hypotheses.
The main results to report include:
- any descriptive statistics
- statistical test results
- the significance of the test results
- estimates of standard error or confidence intervals
The mean heights of the plants in the control group, low nitrogen group, and high nitrogen groups were 20.3, 25.1, and 29.6 cm respectively. A one-way ANOVA was applied to calculate the effect of nitrogen fertilizer level on plant height. The results demonstrated statistically significant ( p = .03) height differences between groups.
Next, post-hoc tests were performed to assess the primary and secondary hypotheses. In support of the primary hypothesis, the high nitrogen group plants were significantly taller than the low nitrogen group and the control group plants. Similarly, the results supported the secondary hypothesis: the low nitrogen plants were taller than the control group plants.
These results can be reported in the text or in tables and figures. Use text for highlighting a few key results, but present large sets of numbers in tables, or show relationships between variables with graphs.
You should also include sample calculations in the Results section for complex experiments. For each sample calculation, provide a brief description of what it does and use clear symbols. Present your raw data in the Appendices section and refer to it to highlight any outliers or trends.
The Discussion section will help demonstrate your understanding of the experimental process and your critical thinking skills.
In this section, you can:
- Interpret your results
- Compare your findings with your expectations
- Identify any sources of experimental error
- Explain any unexpected results
- Suggest possible improvements for further studies
Interpreting your results involves clarifying how your results help you answer your main research question. Report whether your results support your hypotheses.
- Did you measure what you sought out to measure?
- Were your analysis procedures appropriate for this type of data?
Compare your findings with other research and explain any key differences in findings.
- Are your results in line with those from previous studies or your classmates’ results? Why or why not?
An effective Discussion section will also highlight the strengths and limitations of a study.
- Did you have high internal validity or reliability?
- How did you establish these aspects of your study?
When describing limitations, use specific examples. For example, if random error contributed substantially to the measurements in your study, state the particular sources of error (e.g., imprecise apparatus) and explain ways to improve them.
The results support the hypothesis that nitrogen levels affect plant height, with increasing levels producing taller plants. These statistically significant results are taken together with previous research to support the importance of nitrogen as a nutrient for tomato plant growth.
However, unlike previous studies, this study focused on plant height as an indicator of plant growth in the present experiment. Importantly, plant height may not always reflect plant health or fruit yield, so measuring other indicators would have strengthened the study findings.
Another limitation of the study is the plant height measurement technique, as the measuring tape was not suitable for plants with extreme curvature. Future studies may focus on measuring plant height in different ways.
The main strengths of this study were the controls for extraneous variables, such as pH and carbon levels of the soil. All other factors that could affect plant height were tightly controlled to isolate the effects of nitrogen levels, resulting in high internal validity for this study.
Your conclusion should be the final section of your lab report. Here, you’ll summarize the findings of your experiment, with a brief overview of the strengths and limitations, and implications of your study for further research.
Some lab reports may omit a Conclusion section because it overlaps with the Discussion section, but you should check with your instructor before doing so.
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A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment . Lab reports are commonly assigned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method with a hands-on lab experiment. Course instructors will often provide you with an experimental design and procedure. Your task is to write up how you actually performed the experiment and evaluate the outcome.
In contrast, a research paper requires you to independently develop an original argument. It involves more in-depth research and interpretation of sources and data.
A lab report is usually shorter than a research paper.
The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but it usually contains the following:
- Abstract: summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
- References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA)
- Appendices: contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
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How to Write a Lab Report: Definition, Outline & Template Examples
Table of contents
A lab report is a document that provides a detailed description of a scientific experiment or study. The purpose of a lab report is to communicate the results of experimentation in a clear and objective manner. It typically includes sections such as introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.
In this blog post, you can find lots of helpful information on writing a lab report and its basics, including such questions:
- What are lab reports?
- Howto create an outline and structure reports?
- How to write a lab report?
- How to format your report?
- Some extra tips and best practices to take into account.
Several exemplary laboratory report samples are also offered in this article. You are welcome to use them as an inspiration or reference material. Need expert help? Contact our academic service in case you are looking for someone who can “ write my lab report .”
What Is a Lab Report?
Let’s start with the lab report definition and then dive deeper into details. A lab report is a document in which you present results of a laboratory experiment. Your audience may include your tutor or professor, your colleagues, a commission monitoring your progress, and so on. It’s usually shorter than a research paper and shows your ability to conduct and analyze scientific experiments.
The purpose of a laboratory report is to fully share the results and the supporting data with whoever needs to see them. Thus, your laboratory report should be consistent, concise, and properly formatted. Both college and scientific lab reports must follow certain strict rules, particularly:
- Use valid research data and relevant sources
- Include enough information to support assumptions
- Use formal wording appropriate for scientific discussions.
Let’s talk about these rules in more detail.
Lab Report Main Features
Wondering how to write a lab report ? First of all, such documents must be descriptive and formal. An average scientific lab report is expected to:
- Display your own research results
- Contain assumptions, proving or disproving some hypotheses
- Present the evidence (lab data, statistics, and calculations) in a comprehensive manner
- Be logical and concise.
Additionally, your school or institution may have its own very specific requirements, so make sure to check them before creating a report.
How Long Should a Lab Report Be?
First of all, lab reports need to be informative, so there is no need for making your writing too wordy. That being said, your paper’s volume will be defined by the specifics of your research. If its results are complicated and require much explaining, your paper isn’t going to be brief. Recommended lab report length varies between 5 and 10 pages, which should include all appendices such as tables or diagrams. You should also confirm such requirements with your tutor prior to planning your report.
Lab Report Structure
Plan ahead before writing your lab report. It is useful to keep its structure in mind from the very beginning.
Here is our detailed list of what to include in a lab report:
- Title Page The first page must only include the experiment’s title along with its date, your name, your school’s name, and your professor’s name. All further descriptions and explanations should appear on the next pages.
- Title Give a meaningful heading to your lab paper, so that it would help readers understand the basic purpose of your experiment and its background. However, don’t make it longer than 10 words.
- Abstract This part is a formal summary of your lab experiment report. Provide all essential details here: what was the purpose of your research, why it was important, and what has been found and proven as a result of your controlled experiment . Keep it short, from 100 to 200 words.
- Introduction Here you should provide more details about the purpose and the meaning of your research, as well as the problem definition. Related theories or previous findings can also be mentioned here. Particularly, you can refer to your previous lab reports on the same subject.
- Methods An approach to solving selected problems is a critical part of a science lab report. You need to explain what methods you use and why they are optimal in this specific situation.
- Procedure Provide a detailed explanation of all steps, measurements, and calculations you’ve performed while researching. Don’t forget about the chronology of these actions because this can be of crucial importance.
- Results After you’ve described all the steps of your research process, present its results in an orderly fashion. It should be clear from your laboratory report how exactly they were obtained and what their meaning is.
- Discussion In most cases any data derived from experiments can be interpreted differently and thus varying conclusions can be drawn. A scientific lab report must address such nuances and explain all assumptions its author has made.
- Conclusion The lab report is expected either to confirm or to refute some hypotheses. Conclude your paper with clearly showing what has been proven or disproven based on your research results.
- References As a scholarly work, your report must use valid sources for analysis and discussion of the results. You should provide proper references for these sources each time you are using certain data taken from them.
- Graphs, Tables and Figures It is important to illustrate your findings when writing lab reports. The data you’ve obtained may be obvious for you, but not for your readers. Organize it into tables, flow chart , or schemas and put these illustrative materials at the end of your lab report paper as appendices.
You should shape the structure of a lab report before writing its complete text by preparing a brief write-up, i.e. an outline. Below we’ll explain how it is done.
Lab Report Outline & Template
Preparing lab report outlines is useful for extra proofreading: you can review such a sketch and quickly find some gaps or inconsistencies before you’ve written the complete text. A good laboratory report outline must reflect the entire structure of your paper. After designing such a draft, you can use it as a lab report template for your next papers. It is highly advisable not to ignore this approach since it can boost your general academic performance in multiple other areas. Here is an example of a science lab report template:
How to Write a Lab Report Step-By-Step?
Now, let’s discuss how to write a scientific lab report. You already know what elements it contains, so get ready for detailed laboratory report guidelines. We’ve collected helpful information for each step of this guide and broke it down into comprehensive sections. So, scroll down and learn how to write a good lab report without experiencing extra pains and making unnecessary mistakes.
1. Create a Strong Title
Before you write your lab report, think about a good title. It should help understand the direction and the intent of your research at the start, while not being too wordy. Make sure it is comprehensible for your tutor or peers, there is no need to explain certain specific terms because others are expected to know them. Here are several examples that could give you some ideas on how to name your own lab write up:
• Effects of temperature decrease on Drosophila Melanogaster lifespan • IV 2022 marketing data sample analysis using the Bayesian method • Lab #5: measurement of fluctuation in 5 GHz radio signal strength • Specific behavioral traits of arctic subspecies of mammals.
Also, check our downloadable samples for more great title suggestions or use our Title Generator to create one.
2. Introduce Your Experiment
A good scientific lab report should contain some explanations of what is the meaning of your experiment and why you conduct it in the first place. Provide some context and show why it is relevant. While your professor would be well aware of it, others who might read your laboratory report, may not know its purpose. Mention similar experiments if necessary. As usual, keep it short but informative. One paragraph (100 – 150 words) would suffice. Don’t provide too many details because this might distract your readers. Here is an example of how a science lab report should be introduced:
Lower temperatures decrease the drosophila flies’ activity but also increase their lifespan. It is important to understand what temperature range is optimal, allowing them to feed and multiply and at the same time, increasing their lifespan to maximum. For this purpose, a strain of Drosophila Melanogaster has been observed for 3 months in an isolated lab under varying temperatures.
3. State the Hypothesis
When learning how to make a lab report, pay a special attention to the hypothesis part. This statement will be the cornerstone of your lab writing, as the entire paper will be built around it. Make it interesting, relevant, and unusual, don’t use well-researched topic or state obvious facts - exploring something really new is what makes your work worth time and effort. Here is an example of statement for your lab report sample:
The temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for Drosophila Melanogaster longevity and ability to multiply while being at a lower border of their normal zone of comfort.
4. Present the Methods and Materials
One of the key parts of a lab report is the section where you describe your assets and starting conditions. This allows any reviewers to understand the quality of your work and thus contributes to the credibility of your scientific lab write up. The following elements must be mentioned:
- Research subjects E.g. raw data samples you analyze or people you interview.
- Conditions Your experiment must be limited to certain space, time period or domain; and the factors influencing your independent and dependent variables need to be mentioned as well.
- Methods You are expected to follow specific rules (e.g. from your lab manual) when analyzing your subjects and calculating your analysis results.
- Materials Mention all tools and instruments employed to collect data and name each item model.
More lab report writing tips available below, so let’s keep on!
5. Explain Procedures
The core part of a lab report is describing the course of the experiment. This is where you explain how exactly the experiment has been conducted. Give all necessary information about each step you’ve taken, arranging all the steps in proper chronological order so that readers could clearly understand the meaning behind each action. The following procedure elements may be present in an experimental report:
- Processing raw data
- Observing processes
- Taking measurements
- Making calculations
- Observing trends
- Comparing calculation results to other researchers’ results or to some reference values, etc.
After you have finished describing your actions, it is time to summarize them, answer all remaining questions, and present your findings. Check out other tips on how to write lab reports in a few sections below and you’ll learn more about that. Need professional help? Buy lab reports at our writing service to get efficient solutions in a timely manner.
6. Share Your Results
After all the lab steps have been properly described, it is time to present the outcomes in your results section . Writing a good lab report means that it will be quite transparent for your reviewers how you’ve come to your results. So, make sure there is a clear connection between this part and the previous one. Don’t leave any gaps in your explanations, e.g. mention limitations if there are any. Tell if the captured statistical analysis data falls in line with the experiment's initial purpose. Describe sample calculations using clear symbols. Where necessary, include graphs and images. Your raw data may be extensive, so present it in the Appendix and provide a reference to it. Here’s an example of how to share the results when you create a lab report:
Average lifespan and average birth rate was measured for each group subjected to a different temperature range. Additionally, statistical methods have been applied to confirm the correctness of the results and to minimize potential errors. Lifespan and birth rate values corresponding to each temperature range can be found in the table below. Optimal combination of lifespan and birth rate corresponds to the range between 75 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, as demonstrated by the figure (see Appendix A).
7. Discuss and Interpret Your Outcomes
When you write an experiment report, your main purpose is to confirm whether your thesis (hypothesis) is true. That’s why you should give a clear explanation on how useful your results were for the problem investigation. Next, make sure to explain any dubious or controversial parts, if there are any. Science lab reports often contain contradictions to popular theories or unexpected findings. This may be caused by missing important factors, uncovering facts which have previously been overlooked, or just by fluctuations in experimental data. In any case, you need to study and address them in your lab report for the sake of clarity. If you need some data interpretation in a science lab report example, here’s an excerpt from a discussion section :
According to the research results, the optimal temperature for Drosophila Melanogaster appears to be at the low border of the comfortable range which is considered normal for this species. It contradicts existing theories about Drosophila Melanogaster. However, this discrepancy may be caused by the longevity factor not taken into account by previous researchers. Additional experiments with larger sample size and extended timeline are needed in order to further investigate the temperature effect on the longevity of Drosophila Melanogaster.
8. Wrap Up Your Lab Report
Final step of your laboratory report is to make a proper conclusion. Here you just summarize your results and state that your hypothesis has been confirmed (or disproven). Keep it short and don’t repeat any descriptions from the previous section. However, you may add some notes about the significance of your work. After finishing to write your lab report, don’t forget to read it again and check whether all its parts are logically connected with each other. Here is an example of a lab report last section:
As confirmed by the experiment conducted in an isolated laboratory on a limited population of Drosophila Melanogaster, the optimal temperature for both its longevity and activity is 75 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain contradictions with the existing theories can be explained by the longevity factor being overlooked during previous research. Hopefully, this experiment will pave the way for further exploration of the temperature effect on the lifespan of Drosophila Melanogaster.
9. Write Your Abstract
Another stage of lab report writing is composing its abstract. This part should be placed at the beginning of your paper in order to get your audience familiar with its contents. Make it brief, up to 200 words long, but make sure you’ve included the following information:
- Problem statement description
- Overview of materials, methods, and procedures
Abstracts of laboratory reports are delivered on separate pages. So, you can compose one after writing the entire text. This is another good chance to review your work while you are briefly describing its key parts. Check our detailed guide to get more information on how to write an abstract . Check below for more tips and hints on how to write a science lab report.
Lab Report Format
Learning how to format a lab report is crucial for its success. As all other scholarly papers, such reports must follow strict rules of presenting information. Make sure to find out which laboratory report format is required for your assignment. If there are no specific requirements, you may choose from the usual lab format styles, namely:
Depending on the scientific domain of your experiment, you might want to choose one or another lab write up format from that list. Particularly, the APA style paper is typically required in Humanities , while MLA style can be used for papers in Technologies or Applied Science . In any case, pay close attention to citation and reference rules, as each of these styles has strict requirements for that. A real lab report format example can be found below – note that it follows the APA guidelines.
Lab Report Examples
Need some good examples of lab reports in addition to all these guidelines? We’ve got some for you! Each sample lab report that can be found below is available for free and can be downloaded if needed. Feel free to use them as an inspiration for your own work or borrow some ideas, styles, or sources from them. Pick a laboratory reports sample from this list below: Lab report example 1
Example of lab report 2
Scientific lab report example 3
Please avoid copying anything from them into your paper as that would be considered plagiarism . Make sure you submit 100% original text for your assignments.
Tips on Writing a Lab Report
We hope this detailed information on how do you write a lab report will be useful. In addition, to make our guide even more convenient, here are some quick lab report writing tips:
- Think things through before starting your research. Do you have enough data for it and can you organize appropriate conditions and equipment for conducting experiments?
- Don’t skip writing the sketch version first. Outlines help to form lab reports layout and avoid logical gaps.
- Take notes while conducting your experiment – unfortunately, it’s very easy to forget important details when you describe it later.
- Double check yourself when making calculations. The more complicated they are, the more error-prone your entire report is.
- Pick your sources carefully. You should only use valid and peer-reviewed scientific materials to retrieve empirical and theoretical information from.
- Properly refer to each and every source you’ve used. Your lab writeup format is very important for your grades.
- Pay attention to discussing weak points of your report. Try refuting your own results and hypothesis and see how you can counter that using actual data.
- Maintain a formal tone and keep it straightforward. Don’t be too wordy and avoid providing irrelevant details.
- Review your completed report several times, paying attention to layouts of different sections. If possible, ask some peer students or colleagues to do it for you – they might notice some missing details or weak assumptions.
Don’t forget to check our laboratory report example for more useful ideas.
Lab Report Checklist
Let’s summarize all the above information on how to do a lab report. We’ve prepared a short checklist for you. So, here’s what you should do in order to compose a great science lab report:
- checkbox I completed all calculations on the experimental data and properly analyze my results.
- checkbox I sketched my lab report layout by preparing its outline.
- checkbox My thesis statement is strong.
- checkbox I provided enough context in my intro.
- checkbox I described methods, materials, and procedures in detail.
- checkbox I conducted proper analysis, including all my calculations and assumptions in it.
- checkbox I created illustrative materials if needed: tables, charts, figures etc.
- checkbox All outcomes are discussed without omitting any of their weaknesses.
- checkbox I wrote a brief but informative conclusion and show how the initial hypothesis has been confirmed or rejected.
- checkbox I reviewed my laboratory report once again and wrote an abstract.
- checkbox The title page and appendices are added.
Bottom Line on Lab Report Writing
In this article, we have prepared all necessary information on how to write a lab report. This should help you with your own research or studies, especially when it comes to complicated tasks, such as composing lab reports outline. Several lab reports examples are also available here. They are provided by real researchers and may help you a lot with ideas for your own work. Feel free to check them online or download them. Just remember that you should only submit 100% original content for your assignments.
Connect with our academic writing service and say ‘ write my college paper .’ With our help, you will receive papers of great quality and will never miss your deadline.
FAQ About Lab Reports
1. what is the difference between a lab report and a research paper.
A lab report should showcase your ability to conduct experiments and properly describe your actions and findings. It is focused on specific data and methods used to analyze it. A research paper is expected to reflect your investigation of a problem, including asking correct questions and finding relevant information about it.
2. Should I continue to write a lab report if an experiment failed?
It depends on your assignment. If your primary goal is to display your ability to document your steps and results, then you may report on a failed experiment too. Particularly, analyze the integrity of your data or conditions that were set and make an assumption about factors which led to the failure.
4. Should lab reports be written in the third person?
Yes, laboratory experiment reports usually present information in third person. The reason is that you are expected to focus on the data, methods, and findings, rather than on yourself or your audience. Check the samples available here and see what writing style is followed there.
3. What tense should a lab report be written in?
You should mostly use past tense in your paper, since your science experiment has already been conducted. But you can also speak in present tense when describing the context of problems which still exist. Check any template available here to get more clarity on this issue.
5. Where do I put calculations in a lab report?
Remember to follow our layout guidelines and put your calculations in the analysis section. This is where you process the results collected during your experiments. You can also make brief write ups about your calculations in the abstract paragraph or discussion section, but make sure they precede the description of outcomes.
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Lab reports are an essential part of all laboratory courses and usually a significant part of your grade. If your instructor gives you an outline for how to write a lab report, use that. Some instructors require a lab report to be included in a lab notebook , while others will request a separate report. Here's a format for a lab report you can use if you aren't sure what to write or need an explanation of what to include in the different parts of the report.
A lab report is how you explain what you did in your experiment, what you learned, and what the results meant.
Lab Report Essentials
Not all lab reports have title pages, but if your instructor wants one, it would be a single page that states:
- The title of the experiment.
- Your name and the names of any lab partners.
- Your instructor's name.
- The date the lab was performed or the date the report was submitted.
The title says what you did. It should be brief (aim for ten words or less) and describe the main point of the experiment or investigation. An example of a title would be: "Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Borax Crystal Growth Rate". If you can, begin your title using a keyword rather than an article like "The" or "A".
Introduction or Purpose
Usually, the introduction is one paragraph that explains the objectives or purpose of the lab. In one sentence, state the hypothesis. Sometimes an introduction may contain background information, briefly summarize how the experiment was performed, state the findings of the experiment, and list the conclusions of the investigation. Even if you don't write a whole introduction, you need to state the purpose of the experiment, or why you did it. This would be where you state your hypothesis .
List everything needed to complete your experiment.
Describe the steps you completed during your investigation. This is your procedure. Be sufficiently detailed that anyone could read this section and duplicate your experiment. Write it as if you were giving direction for someone else to do the lab. It may be helpful to provide a figure to diagram your experimental setup.
Numerical data obtained from your procedure usually presented as a table. Data encompasses what you recorded when you conducted the experiment. It's just the facts, not any interpretation of what they mean.
Describe in words what the data means. Sometimes the Results section is combined with the Discussion.
Discussion or Analysis
The Data section contains numbers; the Analysis section contains any calculations you made based on those numbers. This is where you interpret the data and determine whether or not a hypothesis was accepted. This is also where you would discuss any mistakes you might have made while conducting the investigation. You may wish to describe ways the study might have been improved.
Most of the time the conclusion is a single paragraph that sums up what happened in the experiment, whether your hypothesis was accepted or rejected, and what this means.
Figures and Graphs
Graphs and figures must both be labeled with a descriptive title. Label the axes on a graph, being sure to include units of measurement. The independent variable is on the X-axis, the dependent variable (the one you are measuring) is on the Y-axis. Be sure to refer to figures and graphs in the text of your report: the first figure is Figure 1, the second figure is Figure 2, etc.
If your research was based on someone else's work or if you cited facts that require documentation, then you should list these references.
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