Indite a Lab Report
Lab reports are quite an essential part of any science related courses at both undergraduate as well as the graduate level. At these levels, laboratory oriented subjects require that the findings of experiments are communicated properly through lab report. Generally, this helps the student to learn how to communicate finding of a laboratory experiment to the wider scientific community. Hence, the basic focus of a lab report is to adequately communicate the results of a scientific experiment. Like writing a book review, in lab report you are expected to concentrate on a very specific topic. And similar to planning a report and a business report, lab report also has a very specific format to follow. Particularly due to this reason, the rest of the document will be focussed on how to structure a lab report.
Structure of a Lab Report:
At the outset, the basic purposes of a lab report is to what you did in the experiment, what you learned, and finally, what the result mean or how you can interpret the result. The following structure of writing a lab report is basically developed in such a way that these above mentioned questions get aptly addressed.
Title of a lab report should be concise and should communicate the subject matter of the report successfully. For a report, it is necessary that the title must communicate about the experiment conducted for the report, rather than being an attractive one.
Like many other academic writing formats, lab report should also consist an abstract. The Abstract should be a very concise summary of the entire report, ranging within three to six sentences. In those sentences, it should contain the following points:
- A brief about the problem investigated
- The design used
- The method and apparatus used
- The principle result obtained
- The main conclusion drawn
The introduction should elucidate the rationale behind your choosing the concerned experiment. Along with it, introduction should also indicate the central question that the report is going to answer or otherwise what are your hypotheses. This portion should also contain some indication towards the methods and apparatus the experiment is going to use.
Materials & Method:
This section can considered as the central pillar of a lab report, around which all otherwise sections are built. Method section should clearly state all the necessary information that can enable the reader to conduct the experiment on her own. This section should provide a clear idea about the design of your experiment, in terms of whether you have taken a strict quantitative approach or rather used a mixed method approach. Then the apparatus and material subsection should contain the specification of the apparatus used in the experiment. The apparatus should also be extended to particularly software used in the experiment. Along with describing the apparatus, this subsection should also list if any other materials are used. Finally, the procedure subsection should describe how exactly the experiment was carried away with the mentioned design, apparatus, and materials.
You should clearly describe the data you have collected and the result of the subsequent statistical analysis. However, you should be careful that the sole purpose of this section is just to describe the results and not to draw conclusions from them. As graphical descriptions are easy to comprehend, so it is recommended that you substantially use figures in this section. All the figures should be aptly titled as well as numbered. Generally, those numbers are embedded in the main body of the text to refer those figures.
This section is generally dedicated to interpreting the results you obtained from the experiment. It is imperative that the discussion section should clearly connect the result section with the issues raised about the purpose of the experiment in the introduction. This section should also highlight whether the hypotheses are accepted or got rejected, though the process of hypothesis testing. You should highlight any inconsistency that you have noticed in the results or if any obtained result does not adhere to some established theories. You should also mention any perceived limitation of your methods or any mistakes that might have occurred while conducting the experiment.
This section is generally a single paragraph, section summarizing the entire report, starting from what happened in the experiment, whether the hypotheses were accepted or rejected, and what that implies.
This is not a mandatory section of a lab report. However, if your work is based on some other research work, then you should give the complete bibliographic information in this section. If in case you have used some references in your method section, then that should also be included in this section.
We hope that this document will definitely help you in writing a comprehensive lab report. One point should be remembered while drafting a lab report is that you should strictly adhere to the above described format. In case of lab report your creativity should not be valued that much and thus it is more productive to stick to the format.