"LAB REPORT GUIDELINES for Science Classes"
LAB REPORT GUIDELINES for Science Classes When you prepare and complete lab reports, please refer to the following guidelines. Marks will be assigned for correct format as described in these guidelines. Maximize your mark by following all instructions CAREFULLY. lab reports should be started on a fresh piece of paper, not as a continuation of the day's notes write on one side of the page only write in INK only, there should be no pencil on your report NO WHITEOUT reports may be hand written or word processed (with exception for observations, see below) avoid use of personal references…"The volume was measured", not "I measured the volume" Your report will include the following sections: PURPOSE This may also be called "problem" or "question". This clearly states the purpose of the activity in a complete sentence or two. For example, "To find the mass of an unknown solid" is a sentence fragment, NOT a complete sentence. BACKGROUND INFORMATION (not always included) This summarizes the theory/concepts behind the lab and the use of equipment in the activity. This section may also include any pre-lab calculations required. MATERIALS Include a list of all chemicals and equipment. You may make a reference to a source instead for example "see p 203 Nelson Science 9". Notice the title of the book is underlined as is standard for any type of report to indicate that it is a book title. PROCEDURE As with "MATERIALS" a reference here would save you from writing out the entire procedure. NOTE: It is still expected that you have carefully read over the procedure so you are familiar with the activity. If you are designing the procedure yourself, you will need to write it out in full sentence form. Number each step. Make the procedure complete, yet concise. It is a recipe for others to follow so it must be clear and easy to follow. OBSERVATIONS You will record your observations once and once only. There will be no "rough copy" to be transcribed later. You must get in the habit of recording the observations AS THEY HAPPEN during the activity. Write AS NEATLY AS POSSIBLE in your previously prepared table (that means you set up the table BEFORE you start the activity). Since pencil is not allowed, this means you will be writing in pen. Even if you are word processing your report, that means you will still have hand-written observations. Many students chose to print out their observation table on a separate page in case any other part of the report must be modified or re-written. Since the observations may NOT be re-written, the separate page of observations facilitates this possibility. Observation tables must be neatly drawn with ruled lines and fully enclosed. When you prepare the table(s) before the lab, you will need to read the procedure carefully in order to set up appropriate headings, columns, and spaces to collect your data. examples of observation table: trial # Tinitial (oC) Tfinal (oC) 1 2 3 trial # Tinitial (oC) Tfinal (oC) 1 2 3 Which one do your tables look like? Some observations may not lend themselves to be put into table format. If this is the case, number them to correspond with the procedure step they are from and write them out in complete sentence form. ANALYSIS This section of the report might include calculations (in ink!), graphs, or some other type of manipulation of the data from the activity. each type of calculation must be shown in full include units with all numbers graphs must follow correct science graphing format DISCUSSION This may also be called "Questions" or "Conclusions". These questions must be answered in complete sentence form. SOURCES of ERROR This section may or may not be included. It may also appear in the "Discussion" section. use complete sentence format discuss errors inherent in the procedure, NOT mistakes made by you heat escaping from lab equipment may be a source of error, spilling some of the solution on the desk is definitely NOT a source of error When preparing your report, remember its purpose. The report is designed to clearly communicate the entire experience of the experiment to someone else (someone who has not observed the actual experiment). The report must therefore be organized, neat, and complete.