What makes a good lab report: revealing scientific secrets
Did you know that scientific writing is of same importance as investigation itself? Although the most part of experiments take place in the lab where all equipment, supplements and samples are based, lots of time is usually spent on describing the results of your work, which has a concise, critical and objective format. This is also known as a laboratory report which is pretty similar to research papers. A well-structured paper provides the readers with full description of the experiment, methods applied and results received.
Structure and format
In fact, there are no clear instructions on how to write a laboratory report. However, a well-written paper may result in increasing your reputation, chance of promotion or getting a new job. It all depends on how much you impact your readers and draw attention to your experiment. Lab reports are also an essential part of college education and have direct connection to your grades. Now, when you see the benefits of good writing, let’s learn how to achieve it.
A lab report is a paper where you explain what you came up with in the end of your experiment: what results you got and what things you learned. When it comes to the main components of the writing, a basic lab report consists of a title, introduction, materials, methods, data, results, analysis discussion, conclusions, charts and graphs and, of course, references.
Take into account that not all reports have title pages, but if you do, you should include there:
- Your name and name of your instructor;
- Title of the experiment;
- Date of performance and submission.
Now let’s have a look at each component in details.
Lab report components
Introduction part is usually one paragraph explaining the main purpose and objectives of the experiment. Sometimes it may also have some background, a brief summary of how it was performed and statements of the findings. Then follow the list of conclusions and the results of the investigation. The list of materials has everything you needed to complete the work and the methods provide description of the steps you made during the process.
Try to be detailed so that anyone who reads this section could repeat the experiment. Create diagrams and tables where you can present data of the procedure and describe what it means. The results section is often combined with discussion, so here you can interpret the numbers and find out whether your hypothesis was right or not. You can discuss any mistakes or useful notices you made during the work so that it could be improved in the future. The last paragraph will be conclusion which sums up everything.Remember that even if your results do not support your hypothesis, they are still very important and valuable because you may move to another area for research.