How to Write a Lab Report

How to Write a Lab Report

When learning how to write a lab report essay, there are many formatting issues that you need to keep in mind.  If you are writing lab reports for a chemistry course, for example, you will need to follow the guidelines as established by the teacher or professor.  Although the requirements for lab report writing may differ somewhat from class to class, most will contain all of the following elements:

  • Cover page
  • Title
  • Purpose
  • Equipment and Materials
  • Procedure
  • Results and Discussions
  • Conclusions
  • References

The cover page of your lab report should contain only a few, basic pieces of information.  Typically, you should include only the title of your report, your name, and the date that you are submitting the document.  When developing the title, you should keep it brief, yet descriptive.  The title should appear on the top of your report.

You must also state your "purpose" when you write a lab report.  This portion of the lab report is written in order to describe why you are doing the experiment, what you hope to gain from the experiment, and what skills you will be able to develop by completing the experiment.

Following the purpose of the experiment, your lab report should also contain a listing of the equipment and the materials you are using in the experiment.  This information should be placed in list format and should be easy to scan over quickly.

Next, your lab report should include a brief description of the procedure you are using in your experiment.  This portion should provide enough detail to help the reader clearly see how the steps led to your conclusion, yet should not be filled with irrelevant details.

The next portion of your lab report is the results and discussion section.  Here, you will outline your experiment results, which will include all of your quantitative and qualitative observations.  The quantitative information is generally best presented with the help of tables and graphs, though it should still be accompanied by a written explanation of the information presented.  This portion of the lab report should also include an interpretation of the results and of your observations, though you should keep the purpose of the experiment in mind while writing this portion because it should serve to help answer the questions you have posed throughout the document.

In the conclusion portion of your lab report, you will explain why your results are significant.  In addition, you will write a brief summary of your thoughts regarding the experiment and your results.

Finally, you must cite all of the reference materials you used in the development of your lab report.  Any materials you used to help you with the experiment or to help you draw your conclusions should be listed in this section.

The goal of writing lab reports is not to entertain.  Rather, the writing should be straightforward and to-the-point in regard to the information presented.  The text of a lab report should simply explain the scientific process that was used, as well as the results, but should not include your opinions on the experiment.

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