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How To Write an IB Lab Report

In order to be successful in the lab portion of this course, you will need to write a lab reports for several experiment/lab activity you do. In order to receive credit for a written report it will be necessary for it to be complete and in the appropriate format. Your title should be centred at the top of the 1st page and it should be appropriate.

Introduction
Here you write a short introduction to the lab in order to put the reader on track. If the lab is of historical interest you can mention that in your introduction.

Design
1. Purpose: A defined problem or research question or reason for doing the lab. Include with this or as a separate point under this section, should be some background information of the topic. (The research question is often given by the teacher) 2. Hypothesis: Is a proposed solution for the purpose and includes an explanation why you believe what you do. *Not all labs have a hypothesis but you should still list it but say there is none. 3. Variables: a. The controlled variables are the lab parts that are there to keep the experiment consistent from one set-up to another, thereby eliminating all variables expect the one being tested. Controlled variables could be a thermometer when measuring temperature, a scale when determining mass etc. b. The variable that is deliberately changed is called the independent variable. Not all labs involve us manipulating something like time or light or gender etc.you dont have to list this if there is no independent variables. c. The variable that is observed and that changes in response to the manipulated variable is called the dependent variable. 4. Materials: Since most of your lab materials are given to you, all you do is list them. A drawing of the lab set up is recommended. 5. Procedures: a. Theory: Explain the theory for your lab. If there is any formula you will use for calculations you present it here and explain how you will use it. If you will draw a graph that you will use, explain how that will be used. b. Practise: Give a short explanation of how you conducted the experiment.

Data Collection and Processing


1. Recording and presentation of data with the appropriate units. Present your raw data in tables with appropriate quantities, units and margin of errors when that is applicable. 2. Processing: Basically means calculations in Physics. Show at least one example of every different calculation you do. Clearly show the formula you use and dont forget to keep your values to right number of significant figures. Also, dont forget to write the unit of the calculated quantity. 3. Presentation of processed data: Data/results are presented appropriately and effectively, i.e. graph of data, statistic data tables etc. Important: At the end of this part the result should be clearly stated!

Conclusions and evaluations


1. Interpretation of results: drawing valid conclusions (i.e. support or reject your hypothesis) based on your data/result, with an explanation. Where appropriate, results are compared with given/known values (literature values). 2. Evaluate procedure: The procedure (i.e. materials and methods) including limitations, weaknesses or errors in manipulation are evaluated (discussion of the limitations of data analysis may be included.) 3. Modifying the Procedure: Suggest ways to improve the lab or suggest an area for further study. This should be based on the identification of weaknesses or limitations. This is not the time to slam the instructor on how useless the lab was in your eyes.

Evaluation Criteria for Labs

Check List for Lab Report


Dont turn your lab in until you have checked this list. If I find any missing areas you will get a 0.

Do you have an appropriate title?

Have you identified all the variables?

How have you controlled outside factors that might influence your results?

Does your data table have a title, quantities and units?

Did you show at least one example of every calculation you carried out?

Did you include a table with the result of all of your calculations?

Does your graph have a title, labelled axes, units and a legend (if necessary)?

Did you discuss and comment your result and if possible compare it to a literature value?

Did you give suggestions for improvement?