Writing Formal Lab Reports by L2w96Gt


									                     Writing Formal Lab Reports
All lab reports must be typed or word processed and must be stapled. When writing, stay
away from pronouns (I, me, etc… it is ok to use “we” when referring to you and your
partners. Do not spell out numbers (ex: thirty-five). Be as specific as you can, if you are
using an organism as a test subject, make sure to give their scientific name (properly
formatted) and make sure you report your numbers in metric units (giving both English
and metric is ok). Use Times New Roman font, 12 point and make it double spaced.

Use the follow as a guide to what should be included in each of the sections of the lab
report. Make your paper look like the section below, use the formatting as a guide on
how you should format your paper. Page 1 of your document should be your title page,
page 2 should just be your abstract. Page 3 actually starts your paper with a restatement
of your title followed by the given sections.

                      Title Page (centered on page 1 of document)
The title should indicate clearly and concisely the subject and scope of the report. Title
should be your question or problem statement (The effect of I.V. on D.V. in
subjects/area). You should include your name(s), date and class period.

<page break>

Abstract (bold, left aligned on pg. 2 of document)

       Definition: something that summarizes or concentrates the essentials of a larger

thing or several things. Abstracts should be less than 100 words. By reading the

abstract, the reader will have a general idea what has happened in the experiment. Focus

should be on the purpose of experiment, results and conclusions.

<page break>
                Title (centered on top of pg. 3)- restate title from title page

Introduction (align on left margin in bold print, do the same for all other titles)

       The introduction should give background information about the experiment. Start

with stating the purpose of the investigation (why you are doing this project, what you

hope to learn, how you may apply this information). Then give background information

should explain concepts in the lab, make sure your background provides support for your

hypothesis. Hypotheses are educated guesses, so you should give support for the

hypothesis (support explaining why). Give information so that you lead the reader to the

hypothesis, which is stated below.


       The hypothesis should be a single statement telling the exact thing you are trying

to support with your experiment. This should be a testable statement, so if..then..

statements work well. Do not write this in first person! No pronouns!


       This section includes one or more paragraphs explaining step-by-step procedures

used to test you hypothesis. Upon explaining your procedures, you will easily include

your materials you used (make sure to include specific amounts of items used and

concentration of chemicals, temperatures, times, etc…). The description should be so

thorough that someone else could use this section to conduct the same experiment and get

the same results. Do not include understood procedure like “gather your materials,” or

“first do background research…”

          All data should be collected and organized in a logical order. Report your results

in writing as well as display them in charts, graphs, other diagrams and tables. Explain in

writing what your graphs and tables are showing. Do not assume that the reader will look

at them, or understand what they are intended to show. All graphs should be properly

labeled with a title, the independent variable on the horizontal axis and the dependent

variable on the vertical axis; axis’ should have accurate labels and organized as follows:

Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc…Tables should have titles as well and be organized as table 1, table 2,

etc… Do not make any conclusion or interpret your results in this section, just report

what the data and results are. You should also give calculations in this section, for

example averages or percent differences this is part of analyzing your data.

Discussion and Conclusion

       In this section you should interpret your data and relate it to you hypothesis. You

should restate your hypothesis and tell whether it is supported or disproved and why.

Explain the significance of you results; make general statements as to how we can apply

your results. What do you hope will be accomplished as a result of this experiment? If

additional research and experimentation is needed, explain that in this section.

       Discuss anything that stood out while collecting your data (i.e measurements that

were much larger or smaller than the average) and discuss reasons why you may have

observed that. Also, support your data measurements by reporting your observations that

you made.
           At least one paragraph in this section should be devoted to error analysis. Include

any important factors that happened while you were carrying out your experiment that

you think may have affected your results. Explain how they may have affected your


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                      Bibliography (centered on the final page at the top)

You need actual citations in this section, there is a link on my webpage to help build a

citation (http://citationmachine.net/). You can ask me, or a librarian for help. Here is an


Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Seasonal influenza (flu). (2010, November 10).
       Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

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