A lab report is a written document that describes and analyses a laboratory experiment that explores a scientific concept. The primary function of a lab report is to organize and communicate the research you did in the lab. A great lab report clearly explains the steps you took in your experiment and can be used to repeat the whole process and produce the same results. It also helps in formulating a hypothesis about a particular event or behavior.

The general format of a lab report includes the following sections: title, abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion.

Title page

The title page needs to include the name of the experiment, the names of lab partners, and the date of the investigation.

Title

The title page should be brief and describe the subject or problem of the experiment or investigation. You should not present it as written as a question. It must also include the variables that you will experiment with.

Abstract

The abstract of a lab report provides a clear, concise, and comprehensive overview of a research report. The abstract summarizes the following elements of the story:

  • Purpose of the experiment
  • Key findings
  • Significance
  • Main conclusions

When writing a lab report abstract, include a remark to the theory or the methodology. The information in the abstract should be clear, concise, and informative.

The introduction

The introductory paragraph explains the purpose or objectives of the experiment in a clear and concise language. Your introduction should provide a rationale for your research. Include crucial background information and give a brief overview of the experiment that was carried out.  A good introduction states the outcomes of the study, a synthesis of previous studies, and the relationship of the results to the theoretical framework. Make sure you also describe the specialized equipment used and a justification for the experiment. Your sentences should have a logical transition of information to ensure a good flow of the report.

Materials

In this section, list all the materials and measures necessary to complete your experiment.

Methods or experimental procedure

Provide a clear and precise description of the procedure you followed when carrying out your experiment. Elaborate to the readers using sufficient details precisely the steps you observed in your experiment so that anyone can duplicate or perform your experiment. Use a concise language to present your descriptions and avoid irrelevant information. When writing a lab report, use the past tense since the experiment has already been done. Avoid explaining or discussing the procedure you followed, instead report what you did.

Results

The results of the experiment are usually presented through calculations, tables, and figures, but it’s necessary to use the verbal form to state the results. To draw the attention and focus of the reader towards your tables and figures, use a sentence to highlight the main points. The results should be presented clearly and concisely and should not be interpreted since interpretation will appear in the discussion section.

Discussion

The discussion section the most crucial part since you analyze, interpret the results, and determine whether the hypothesis was met. The following strategies will help you provide a focused and practical discussion of your experiment:

  • Provide a comparison of expected results with those obtained
  • Explain your findings in terms of theoretical issues
  • Relate the outcomes to your experimental objectives
  • Compare your results to similar experiments
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your experimental design

Conclusions

A conclusion provides a summary of the procedures and outcomes of your experiment. A conclusion restates your experimental objectives and reveals whether you were able to successfully answer your preliminary question. Provide a summary of the procedure used and include a short explanation of the reasons you chose that procedure to obtain your data. Include the importance of your experiment and actions to be taken in the future to extend or improve your research.

References

This section is where you provide a list of all the sources cited in the report an alphabetical order. The references need to be formatted using the APA style.

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