Writing A Lab Report: Guidelines And Advices
Lab reports is a document that was created to note and store the data from all scientific experiments that have been conducted in order to prevent other scientists from the necessity to repeat a study of a scientific concept that has been already discovered. Such paper describes a particular laboratory experiment in details, makes a reflection and analysis of it, and is used both in practice by real scientific groups as well as by students in the course of their studying process.
Why do students receive such assignment? For university students, this paper is just another form of examination to show their knowledge, ability to conduct a research, ability to work individually or in a group, and gained skills. Such work usually contains the following:
- Data from an individual scientific research conducted by a student;
- An author’s hypothesis (one or more, depending on the topic) related to the studied subject;
- An overlook on the existing informational sources (mainly literature) that prove the possibility of the author’s hypothesis correctness;
- Application of the statistics and/or facts that prove a hypothesis;
- Details of an individually conducted experiment;
- Reflation and evaluation of the conducted study;
- Discussion of the outcome.
What Is Lab Report Purpose?
There are several reasons creating this paper. As was mentioned earlier, at various educational institutions it is mainly used to test students’ skills and knowledge but it is also widely used by scientists to archive the information about the work that has been done. There is also one more reason to be aware of. Often, in big companies, lab reports are widely used as a form of information transfer between the workers of laboratories and managers to give the second ones a quick overview of what work has been done. Also, such documents help the management of the company to understand a particular issue and make a decision easier, based on the results provided in the report.
Preparing such document it is important to follow the right structure. The formatting is also an important thing to keep in mind. Often, due to the lack of experience, students can forget about these two nuances or even simply neglect their importance, which can directly influence the assessments they will get for this work. Therefore, we recommend you finding a good template to write a high-quality document, following all the recorded standards and requirements. Where to find one? You can look for a good template on the Internet or use the report of another person as an example to see how it should look in the end.
However, if you lack time or do not want to look for a template, below you can also find an example of a good structure for such paper that should help you cope with the task easier, avoiding some most common mistakes that people make.
This page has to state the title of your lab report, located in the middle or at the top of the page, followed by your full name (also your partner’s name if needed), class, instructor’s name, your course, and the dates when the experiment was carried out.
This section gives a concise overview of the experiment, provides some statistical data or numbers, and helps the readers understand what you are going to talk about further.
In this part, you should provide a concise insight on what experiment you are planning to conduct, making a clear statement of its main questions, objects, and goals. Besides, you have to give your readers a base for the understanding of your experiment (it usually consists of some theory and predictions of the outcome) and highlight the importance of a particular study.
Materials and Methods
This part describes the author’s approach to the study and experiment, and describes the procedures that were made in order to reach the result: what materials will be used and where they were found, what methods the author applied in the course of investigation, etc.
Results and Discussion
This section is included in longer papers. Sometimes this section is divided into two separate parts but they can be included in one section if you have too many results and want to avoid unnecessary confusion. In general, this section presents the results you have obtained in your work, brings up the mistakes that have been made by the author, analyses each result, and discusses the implications of the obtained results.
Unlike the previous section, this part of your work does not make a simple overview of the results but gives and evaluation to them in the context of this particular experiment. This means that you will have to discuss the goals indicated in your introduction in order to define whether the experiment was successful or not, and, if not, explain the mistakes.
This is the last section where you should include the bibliographical data of the sources of literature that you used in the body of your work to support your ideas. Otherwise, you can face issues with plagiarism.
Preparing a lab report that would deserve the highest assessment is possible, although sometimes it takes too much of energy and time. Not always students have a chance to dedicate enough attention to this type of project and sometimes, especially if you are a freshman, do not even have a clue how to approach it right. This can be detrimental to your academic progress. Even if it seems like one poorly written paper can’t bring too much harm, you should understand that your final grade is determined by lots of such small projects and thus, even one failed lab report can change everything! That is why you have to approach lab report writing carefully and attentively.
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