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Instructions for Writing a Lab Report

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 7 months ago

Lab Report Template





Should be interesting and informative. (This might be the question you are trying to answer)





 A statement of the purpose of finding evidence to answer the question. Most of the time it will be the scenario you were given in class. This must be in complete sentences.


Background Information


Background information and/or Preliminary Observations: Include in this section any knowledge or observations made prior to beginning the experiment. This should be relevant information to your topic and connected to the question you will be asking. Explain how you came up with the question from this background.




Question (Purpose)

Write the question that is relevant to the objective. This must be a testable question. It must be your original question or if one is given to you, you must come up with an original testable question at the end of the lab write-up.



Hypothesis (Prediction)


Hypothesis: State what you think is going to happen followed by an explanation of why you think this will happen. Some scientific terms should be included.




Design (Procedure)


Write the steps you do, in numbered complete sentence format, to solve your problem. The steps are generated from the question/hypothesis. One step should include making observations and recording data. The steps should be written with enough detail that it is easy for others to follow.  A good design allows the person to collect enough data to investigate the problem. The lab must be done multiple times in order to acquire quality data. The design is safe and ethical.






Include in this section all data that is outlined in your design. This should include tables, graphs, and/or pictures that are appropriate to answering the question which will aid in solving the problem. Any quantitative data should be organized in a table. You should have enough data collected to indicate good quality data. You will graph the mean/median of the data but present all of the data in your table.  All tables and graphs need to be labeled appropriately with full titles and units.



Analysis (Conclusion)

This is where you will interpret your results. This must be done in complete sentences and in paragraph form. This is the section where you report your results and try to tell why it turned out the way it did. This explanation needs to include relevant scientific concepts and vocabulary.   You should  summarize your design and results while discussing possible errors in your design, data collection, and/or limitations of the investigation.

Your analysis should fit this format:

  1. The first paragraph is the introduction (this could include a statement of the problem, a summary of the hypothesis and a paraphrasing of how the problem was solved).
  2. The middle paragraph(s) should include:
    • the answer to the question which includes the explanation
    • it should include the data you generated
    • it should include scientific topics that supports what you found out
  3. The last paragraph should summarize the solution to the objective and discuss the errors made while doing the lab and in data collection as well as the limitations.  Included with this, should be how you would do it differently next time. 

If the question was given to you, then your lab report should end with an original testable question that could be investigated as a result of doing the lab.



Any text (hard text & online) you use for information, must be listed as a resource in this section.  Use standard APA format.  Here is an excellent, easy to use resource for APA citation style.


You may embed imagesin your report.  Any images must be cleared for release by copyright.  You must also cite all of your images sources with a caption under the image, as shown below:


Photo: flickr.com/photos/betta-online/


The Creative Commons area of Flickr is a great place to find pictures that are acceptable for use AND to learn about how to KNOW whether or not you can use a specific picture.   Using a Creative Commons notice, creators specify the rights conveyed to users such as to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, provided attribution is given. Watch for this logo:


Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved


You can learn more about Creative Commons at http://creativecommons.org/.



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