Lab Report Structure
When an experiment is executed in a lab, scientists, or students of any level (secondary or university) must present a lab report in a specific format that collects the most important data about the experience. These pieces of writing make the experiment’s data available to other scientists who want to research in the same field. In this way, new researchers can use the science lab report as a basis for new studies or they can repeat the experiment to confirm the results.
Lab Report Structure
A laboratory report should follow the model, structure, and format of the scientific method. Its basic parts are introduction, goals and hypothesis, theoretical framework, instruments, and other materials used, methodology, presentation, and analysis of results, conclusions, bibliography, and contributions.
For example, this could go like this:
- Metropolitan Autonomous University
- UEA and group: Organic Chemistry Lab I and UEA group
- Practice: practice number and name
- Teacher: name of the subject teacher
- Date: Internship delivery date
- Team: team number and list of its members
The introduction is the theoretical basis on which the paper is based and should briefly present the subject matter. It should include a brief review of the scientific literature related to the topic. Focus is on providing information that guides the reader on the topic and highlights the importance of the work you did. For the above, use the concise and concrete language of the subject that you will address in your report. You must cite each reference you use in the text.
The objective of the study presents the main goal that the study seeks. The objectives must reflect the hypothesis that is being supported or discarded with the outcomes that will be obtained during practice.
For example, if the practice deals with “Dehydration of cyclohexanol“, the hypothesis could be: “The treatment of cyclohexanol with sulfuric acid allows the obtaining of cyclohexene through an elimination reaction” and the objective: “Obtain cyclohexene by dehydration of cyclohexanol using sulfuric acid as a catalyst”.
This significant field of the structure should briefly and clearly describe the arrangement and how it was used. In particular, the author should explain how this particular apparatus enables the principles or questions being examined to be tested or verified.
This is the place where experimentally measured quantities are also entered and defined. This is where the reader’s attention should be directed to a diagram showing the experimental design, equipment, and its arrangement. This diagram, as well as subsequent graphics, are called figures and are numbered sequentially as they are mentioned in the text.
In this part, you should provide enough info so that another researcher in the same field can reproduce your experimental setup. Tell what you really did and how; not what was supposed to have happened or what the books tell. If he deviated from the specified procedure, describe the changes he made and state how these changes affected his finding.
Methods and Materials
In this part, you should describe how the study will be carried out and present the general strategy of your science project.
The methods should be clear enough so that someone else can follow them and repeat the work. This section must state all the reagents, equipment, and materials used to carry out the practice. The procedures developed must be described in detail by drawing up block diagrams.
The results show objectively what happened in the study. It is a graphic, descriptive, and clear presentation of the outcomes. You must present and explain what you found, that is, the results you obtained.
When describing the observations, you must indicate the date and conditions in which the procedures were performed. If there were unusual circumstances or conditions, describe them. The collected info is organized in Tables and/or Graphs, and all calculations and numerical operations performed must be reported.
Tables present numerical records in rows and columns, while Figures are generally graphical presentations of the data. Well-done Tables and Figures should be visually presented, organized, and self-explanatory; it is better to use two tables (or figures) than one in which the data is piled up. They must be consistent on their own, that is, they can be understood without resorting to additional text.
It is very important to accompany each Table or Figure with the corresponding title so that just by reading it you can know what it is about. Where necessary, drawings should be included with titles and parts, clearly named.
Here we point out how the quantities derived from the raw inputs were calculated. Note, however, that some calculation examples should be reserved for the appendices. The author must clearly and concisely explain the steps involved in handling the info. Do not rely on the ones that should have been obtained, get your actual finding. Although outcomes are commonly presented in quantitative form, you should always introduce each block of information in plain and simple language.
This is the point where you discuss with the reader the observations made during the experiment, as well as the outcomes obtained. If tables or graphs were used, there must be an explicit reference for each of them. For example, “The info in Table 1 prove that …”, or “The results shown in Fig. 3 indicate that …”.
It is about comparing the results obtained by the working group, with those of other working groups and with those reported in the scientific literature on the same topic.
Before concluding the article, let’s just take you briefly through a few humorous interpretations of some frequently used phrases in reports of scientists on research, taken from the methodological literature:
|What’s in the report||What the reporter actually means|
|It has long been known that…||I did not stock up on accurate quotes|
|Although it was not possible to find the correct answers to the questions||The experiment failed, but I think that in the end I can I squeeze an article out of it|
|The W-PO system was chosen as the most suitable…||I could borrow it ready from a friend next door laboratory|
|Three patterns were selected for detailed study…||The results obtained on other forms did not give any basis for conclusions and were ignored|
|Accidentally destroyed during collection …||Dropped to the floor|
|They behaved with extreme caution during the experiment…||They did not drop on the floor|
|Typical results are shown …||The best results are shown, i.e., results that agree with the dogma|
|The harmony with the predicted curve is:||The harmony with the predicted curve is:|
|a) Excellent||a) Not bad|
|b) Good||b) Weak|
|c) Satisfactory||c) Suspicious|
|d) Not bad||e) Imaginary|
|Corresponds to the order of magnitude …||Does not enter any framework|
|It has great theoretical and practical value …||Interesting to me|
|It is claimed … it is considered …||I consider|
|It is generally accepted that …||Two other great guys think the same|
|The results obtained by Jones should be considered the most reliable …||I was his mentor|
|Brilliant science writing…||Key findings of a member of our group|
|Suspicious information||Someone else did this|
The conclusion is an analysis of the records obtained and must confirm or discard the hypothesis in a concrete way. The conclusion should summarize what the report contains and what you learned during practice. If the discussion conclusion confirms the hypothesis, the supporting evidence must be clearly established. If the conclusion rules out the hypothesis, it is necessary to provide possible explanations for the differences. These differences can include human error, standard deviations, equipment failure, etc.
The conclusion references must express your own critical judgment that was reached after the investigation. It should give the impression that the report served the purpose of arriving at something correct with respect to the hypothesis and objectives stated in the introduction.
The questions of the questionnaire included in the protocol of each practice must be answered using a procedure that implies simple words.
This section should list all sources cited in the report. This can be done in alphabetical order or in the order they appear on the report. To write the report, it is advisable to consult at least three bibliographic sources as your references.
The Summary of Your Report
Using the lingo in a more appropriate way, you should reach the summary of your paper. The summary is the thumbnail report. It consists of a short paragraph, descriptive sentences of the body of the report. A good summary allows the readers to immediately recognize the most relevant concepts included in the report.
The abstract should not state the objectives, references, or literature review. Instead, you should state the nature of the experiment, summarize the purpose and outcomes and how they were obtained, and summarize the conclusions.
Infos and calculations should not be mentioned in the abstract. The abstract must be self-contained, it cannot refer to tables, figures, or later parts of the text. Write the summary as the final of writing the report but resist the temptation to repeat entire chunks of the body of the report.
Lab Report Structure
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