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Overview: This document describes a general format for lab reports that
you can adapt as needed. The goal of lab reports is to document your findings and communicate their significance.
A good lab report does more than present data; it demonstrates the writer's comprehension of the concepts behind the data. Merely recording the expected and observed results is not sufficient; you should also identify how and why differences occurred, explain how they affected your experiment, and show your understanding of the principles the experiment was designed to examine. Bear in mind that a format, however helpful, cannot replace clear thinking and organized writing. You still need to organize your ideas carefully and express them coherently. In order to assist you in writing your laboratory report the following should serve as a rubric for the construction of and grading of your report. This ensures general uniformity in the composition of the report and in the grading of the report. The Anatomy of a Scientific Laboratory Report Title Page The title page should be a one-sentence description of the content of the paper. It should be straightforward, informative and less than ten words. Immediately following the title the contributing members of the experimental team should be listed. The author of the report should be listed first and the name in bold. Example: Comparative Toxicity of Branched and Straight Chain Alkyl Functionality in Ionic Liquids Catherine McEntee, Jinhee Gwon, Xing Li, James F. Wishart, and Sharon I. LallRamnarine Point Value: 5 points
The Abstract The abstract summarizes four essential aspects of the report: the purpose of the experiment (sometimes expressed as the purpose of the report), key findings, significance and major conclusions. The abstract often also includes a brief reference to theory or
The information should clearly enable readers to decide whether they need to read your whole report. A narrative with data is presented. not as they were supposed to happen. tables. 10 points for an accurate and detailed description of methodology. Using clear paragraph structure. charts.). Include statistical analysis if the results lend themselves to it.methodology.e. or formulas the reader needs to know. explain all steps in the order they actually happened. Point Value: 10 points Materials and Methods The material and methods section explains the design of the experimentwith sufficient detail for another researcher to replicate the experiment. Results The Results section is where observed results are summarized. you still need to state all significant results explicitly in narrative form. etc. This should include whatever background theory. This section includes calculations. Point value: 5 points The Introduction The introduction has two functions: (a) describe the problem being examined (i. however. This section is usually written last. tables and figures. The abstract should be one paragraph of 100-200 words. . Point value: 20 points 10 points for figures (graphs. Point Value: 15 points 5 points for an accurate accounting of materials used. Experiments are presented separately. state the hypothesis) (b) to summarize what is currently known in the field. previous research. Be sure that the choice of presentation of data is appropriate for what you are concluding.
calculations. what question were you asking that led you to do the experiment the result of which you are now reporting. Analyze. because here. Explain. they mean this is what is not readily observable. graphs pictures or tables that have not been included in the report itself. Results from papers that are to be published may also be cited as ‘Personal Communication’. It is imperative that the reader understands the results you are reporting. An Acknowledgements section may be included to thank individuals who helped but are notcoauthors. It is prudent to introduce each result with the purpose behind doing that particular experiment In other words. and comparisons to results of authors mentioned in the Introduction are stated. Point Value: 5 points References A listing of documents used in support of the paper. you show that you understand the experiment beyond the simple level of completing it. By that. Discussion The discussion is the most important part of your report. Comparisons between experiments. Point Value: 5 points Appendices Appendices typically include such elements as raw data. Point Value: 5 points . Include your lab manual and any outside reading you have done. Each kind of item should be contained in a separate appendix. This part of the lab focuses on a question of understanding "What is the significance or meaning of the results?" Point Value: 30 points Conclusion The conclusion is a short summation of all observed and derived results. Some people like to think of this as the "subjective" part of the report. Interpret.10 points for the narrative.