CHM 152LL Lab Report Information
Formatting, Suggestions, and Helpful Hints
For all formal lab reports, a pre-lab will be due at the beginning of the lab period. These pre-labs
will require you to include a statement of purpose for the lab and data tables that are needed for
that experiment. Data tables are different than Results tables. Data tables include all the data that
needs to be collected during an experiment. For example, volumes from burets in a titration or pH
readings as base is added to acid (or vice versa). If you have to use a calculator to determine a
value that is a RESULT!
If additional information is required for a pre-lab (i.e., a general outline of procedure – only for
Kinetics and Qualitative Analysis) this will be stated at the beginning of the lab handout.
Results tables will never be included in a pre-lab. Results table a constructed once you have
completed calculations. Hint: if you used your calculator, that data belongs in a Results table.
Other formatting for formal lab reports is at the discretion of your instructor.
o Formal lab reports will be completely typed.
o Semi-formal lab reports will be mostly typed with some questions that can be answered on
the lab handout. Double-check with your instructor if you have questions about what can
be typed or hand-written!
o For sections that are hand-written, they must be neat, legible, and coherent.
Procedures, discussions, and conclusions are written in third person, past tense. Third person
means that the chemicals or equipment are the subjects of the sentences. Past tense is used
because you are describing what already took place in lab.
o For example, instead of saying “I added 35.2 mL of water to a 150 mL beaker.”, you would
use water as the subject: “35.2 mL of water was added to a 150 mL beaker.”
The pages of a lab report are generally turned in the order in which they were completed. In other
words, the conclusion should always be placed at the end. General order of preference (with some
o title page
o pre-lab notebook pages (with instructor initials)
o additional data pages (if tables were rewritten)
Conclusions should state the conclusions of the experiment. The best way to start these is to look
at the purpose of the lab. If the purpose of a lab is to determine the concentration of an unknown
acid, then your conclusion should state what that concentration was calculated to be. If the
purpose of a lab was to compare strengths of acids, state which acid was stronger or weaker in
Conclusions also include discussions of sources of error. This includes not only listing sources of
error (adding too much or too little reagent) but also how those errors are likely to affect your
results. If you start with too much acid at the start of a titration, how will that affect the
concentration or volume you are trying to find?