Defining a Lab Report
A lab report is a write-up that details the methods, observations, and data analysis used in investigating an issue. The purpose of the write-up is to convince the reader that you understand the scientific concept being addressed. As such, the paper should concisely show the steps you took to arrive at your conclusion. Additionally, the method should be repeatable so that you can refer to the technique whenever you need to reference your findings.
The format and presentation of a lab report are dependent on the discipline and instructor. However, most sections are standard in various schools and departments. For instance, you need to record your experiment’s start and stop points, your name and the class to which you belong, the location where the experiment was conducted, and the participants. You can also include the materials and power-point slides for your experiment.
Lab Report Contents
The standard components of a lab report fall under the heading description. This section should capture the information that identifies your experiment, which actions you took to complete it, and your findings. Some of the sections that you must include are:
- The objectives
- The method
Ensure your title has a concise and accurate summary of each section. Additionally, fill in any additional information that you think will enhance the contents of the lab report.
Steps to Take When Writing a Lab Report
Just as with any other academic paper, writing a lab report follows a straightforward and standard process. These are the standard steps to follow:
Have a clear plan for what you will do and whom you will talk to. Some students feel that they must do the investigation without seeking approval from a teacher. However, having a plan ensures that you have the relevant information beforehand, and you can follow through on each stage of the process.
Begin with a title that can be included in the article’s main body or as a standalone paragraph. Include the primary objectives of the investigation in a succinct manner and include the steps you took to conclude. Do not forget to include the essential techniques, materials, and power-point slides.
Create a diagram that breaks down the experiment into the relevant steps. The flowchart should specify the variables and their respective order. Note any participant’s role in the experiment and whether they observed any changes. The flowchart should also describe any equipment used and note any color-coded labels used.
Results and Discussion
The findings must be clear and concise. What are the outcomes? Are there any unexpected results? What was the methodology used to arrive at your results? Remember to capture any scientific concepts that you addressed in the report.
What should we learn from your study? Feel free to include your perspective by jumping into an argument that can be used to support your findings. It would also be best if you left the reader with a lasting impression by commenting on the unexpected aspects of your work. As such, discuss your findings and tie them to your research’s main argument.
In summary, the sections covered in a lab report depend on your department or discipline. Thus, seek more information from your instructors or school before you begin writing the paper.
In summary, the steps outlined above are standard for most lab reports. However, individual departments may have additional instructions that you need to adhere to. In any case, these tips will give you a heads up on the essential parts to include in your write-up.