How to Write a Formal Science Lab Report

If you study engineering, medicine, biology, or any other science, writing lab reports will be common. Unfortunately, many undergraduate students do not know how to write a proper lab report. Even some graduate students do not know how to write such an important document.



First of all, you must understand why you should write a lab report. A lab report has two main objectives:

  • Document your experiments and findings at the lab;
  • Communicate the importance of your findings.

Now that you know what a lab report must contain, you can learn how to write one. Lab reports can have different lengths, depending on your professor’s requirements. The format can vary also. But do not worry. Lab reports share the same general structure. Read this article and you will write formal lab reports with ease. You will not need to ask anybody for help.

Some students that lack the skills to write proper lab reports opt to use lab report writing writing services online. Using such services is easy, WriteMyPaperHub, for example. You just have to ask experts to write your lab report from scratch. However, these services are not free. Hence, if you want to save some money, you better write your lab reports yourself. Read on to learn how to do it.

General Structure of a Lab Report


A formal lab report consists of 10 parts. These parts are described below separately.

Title Page


On this page, you include the title of the experiment. Your title must be concise, with a maximum of nine words. Do not oversimplify it though. The title should offer general information about the experiment done. For example, do not write “Lab #3” as a title. Instead, try “Lab #3: Measurement of a Monopole’s Radiation Pattern.”

Also, you must include the names of all the participants in the experiment. The date of the realization of the experiment must be included. Some professors may ask to include the submission date. That depends on each professor.

Abstract


The abstract summarizes the entire report. First, you have to state very concisely what the goal of the experiment was. Second, you summarize your findings. Third, discuss very briefly the significance of the said findings. And finally, summarize the most important conclusions.

The main goal of the abstract is to inform the reader about the content of the report. This way, he or she can decide whether to read the entire report or not. Usually, an abstract contains from 100 to 200 words. It should be a single paragraph. If space allows, you can include a brief theoretical background. A short description of the experimental methodology can be included also.
Introduction

The introduction describes in more detail the goal of the experiment. It also elaborates on the theoretical background. You can justify the importance of the experiment, why it had to be done. If you wish, add also a description of the equipment that you used in the experiment.

Methods and Materials


Here you list all the equipment and materials that were used to perform the experiment. Also, you should mention the experimental methodology and/or techniques that were used. In some cases, you can simply refer the reader to a lab manual in which the experimental setup is described.

Experimental Procedure


Here, you describe all the steps of the experiment. You must describe them in the exact order that you performed them. If you deviated from the procedure recommended in the lab manual, indicate what deviations occurred. The goal is to provide all the necessary information that allows someone else to duplicate your experiment.

Results


Here, you should include all the results of the experiment as:


  • Calculations. Include sample calculations only. Simplify the calculations; there is no need to include all the steps;
  • Tables. Describe the content of the tables with one or two sentences;
  • Graphics and figures. Make sure they are clear and legible. Add clear and informative captions to each graphic or figure.
  • You have to describe your results in written form. Putting tables and graphics without a detailed description is not the correct way.

Discussion


This part is crucial. By providing an in-depth discussion, you demonstrate that you understood the experiment and your findings. Completing the experiment does not necessarily mean that you learned something from it. In this section, you can demonstrate how much you learned. First, explain your results. Then, analyze and interpret them. You can make a comparison of your results with theoretical predictions. Did they agree? If not, what could be the cause of the disagreement? Did the objectives of the experiment were achieved?

Conclusions


For a lab report, this section should be short. State what you know after experimenting. Give a valid justification to this statement. If you wish, you can highlight the significance of your findings. If necessary, you can suggest how research on the topic can be continued.
References

This is a list of all the written materials that you consulted to do the experiment and to write the report. The lab manual should always be included. There are standard formats to list academic references. Your professor will indicate what format he prefers.

Appendices


This includes additional information that can be useful to understand the experiment better. This can be additional graphics or raw data, for example.

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