Formal Lab Report Guide
: Write the introduction in paragraph form; include the purpose, backgroundinformation and hypothesis. Do not segregate these subtopics into separate sections. Use thefollowing guidelines when writing the introduction.
: A brief statement of the problem or theory that is being investigated. For example, “This experiment was performed to measure the effect of light intensity on therate of photosynthesis.”
: A compilation of information gathered from multiple sourceswhich provides the reader with general knowledge about the problem and justifies thehypothesis. Sources used should be referenced.
: A testable prediction regarding the outcome of the investigation. Thehypothesis should be written in the form, “If (independent variable), then (dependentvariable). It should also include controls. For example, “If crickets are placed in a choicechamber containing a piece of filter paper saturated with .1M acetic acid and a second piece saturated with distilled water, then, after 10 minutes, more crickets will be found inthe distilled water section than the acetic acid section. The hypothesis must be supported by the background information that is supplied.
Methods and Materials:
The methods and materials section is written in paragraph form, notusing a bulleted list. Do not separate methods and materials, rather, include the materials usedwithin the description of the procedure. Be sure to include all materials and amounts required tocomplete the lab.
: Describe the methods (procedure) concisely – this means saying as much as possible using the fewest words, but still keeping full sentences. Use the passive voicewith no personal pronouns. The procedure needs to contain the required amount of information necessary so that the lab could be repeated. For example, “10 mL of hydrochloric acid was added to a 50 mL beaker.” NOT “We added acid to the beaker”.Do not include steps that should be understood (connecting a probe to the computer).Explain why certain procedures were used as controls.
: Include all materials (equipment) used during the lab. Identify themanufacturer and model name of all equipment employed in the investigation.For example, “The force was measured using a Vernier Dual Force Sensor set at the + 50setting.” NOT “A force sensor was used.”