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Instruction for lab report

Courses in science often include laboratory works (lab). The purpose of lab is to help the
students to make links between two domains: the domain of real objects and observable
things and the domain of ideas. Therefore, a successful lab is not just collecting data and
reproducing expected results, but is the comprehension of the concepts behind the data. A
good lab report does more than present data; it shows your understanding of the principles of
the experiment and your experimental skill. There is no optimized template for every lab
report, but a well structured helps to improve the presentation of the results. Below a general
structure for a lab report is suggested.
Title
The title needs to contain the name of the experiment, names of the partners and the date.
Abstract
Abstract summarizes the essential aspects of the report: the purpose of the experiment and
method used, key findings, significant and major conclusions. It should be brief (100-200
words or less).
Introduction
Here you inform the object of the experiment and provide the readers with the background to
the experiment. The topic of the report should be stated clearly and concisely. In some case, a
short introduction on the method used in the experiment and why it is chosen is needed.
Remember that experiment is already finished and its description should be in the past tense,
whereas the report, the theory and permanent equipments still exist; therefore they get present
tense.
Experiment procedure
Here you describe the processes in chronological order, explain steps in the order they
actually happened, not as they were supposed to happen. (If you have described it right,
others should be able to duplicate your experiment.)
Results and analysis
All the collected data should be presented. This part is usually dominated by presenting data,
tables, figures and analysis. In the case of large raw data, they can be place in an Appendix.
Figures should be clear (different data on a plot should be distinguishable and labels should
be clear) and a good figure caption to provide additional information for the readers to
understand the presented data. In most of the cases, a sample calculation is sufficient in the
report.
Discussion
This is the important part of the report, showing that you understand the experiment beyond
the simple level of completing it. Thus, analysis, explanation and interpretation are important.
Issues to be discussed:
- If the result is clear? What have you found?
- Explain the results in terms of theories
- The significant of the results
- Possible errors and ambiguities. Analyze the experimental errors; what sources of
errors and logical explanation for the problems in data.
- Analyze the strengths and limitations of the experimental design. Questions may be
raised on the design and the procedure of the experiment and may be suggestions for
improving the experiment.
Conclusion
The conclusion can be short, stating the results obtained in the experiment.
References
Here literatures that you cited values, results or methods, etc. are listed.