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Lab Report: Even The Best Experiment Won’t Go Without It!

03 May 2017

The lab report is a piece of academic writing that represents the performance of a laboratory experiment and provides the gathered data in proper format. This type of paper is one of the most important and frequently given assignments in all engineering courses. These papers make a considerable part of the grade. Also, you should practice to write them if you want to make an academic career.

The Structure Of The Assignment

Title

The typical title of this assignment is no more than ten words, preferably scientific terms recognized by other researchers. It is designed to reflect the matter and not to catch attention.

Abstract

It is a piece of 100 to 200 worlds aimed to help the prospective audience to decide whether the entire paper can be useful and is worth reading. It covers the research purpose, data presented and the main points of the author’s conclusion.

Introduction

In this paragraph, you have to define your subject, outline the objectives and purpose and provide the investigation relevant background. For example, in the standard projectile motion lab report, the projectile definition and the accelerated particle movement equation should be provided.

Materials and methods

Provide the description of the techniques, procedures, equipment and materials used, but avoid giving too many details. For example, for the gel electrophoresis lab report, you need to list all the reagents, the tubes, filter paper and other supplies, and electrical equipment. If you follow some procedures already reported in another academic source, you may include a citation of the original work and a comment where to find more particular instructions. General theory of the investigation should be included to explain the use of the certain components. In short, you have to explain How, When, Where, and What you have utilized to complete your work.

Results

Provide the gathered data in graphs, tables, figures, etc. Give a unique descriptive name and number to each separate part of the section. The number will be used in the text of the paper to refer to a certain table or graph. The data should not be repeated in the Results section, you just indicate it once. The tables and figures should be designed to be understood without re-reading the report text. For instance, the spectroscopy lab report results may be put in the tables according to spectrum and achromatic compounds.

Discussion

Explain, how the data gathered by you contribute to the knowledge and theory. You may include the ideas about the improvement of the procedures or research design. Comment on how the data correlates with your hypotheses. Which future experiments do you recommend to carry out? Sometimes, this section contains only the description of possible causes of the mistakes you have made. Like, when you write a free fall lab report it doesn’t contribute much to kinetics; or when you observe the photosynthesis in spinach covered with a sheet of paper, you can’t expect the results to be outstanding.

Literature cited

Provide the alphabetized list of the books and articles that have been cited in the report. The format depends on the place you are going to submit it to. Chemistry lab report format may differ from Psychology or Physiology format. It is recommended to check the ACS Style Guide or look for concrete instruction at the journal website to enhance your work. In some cases, your report can be a part of a complex experiment or provide essential data for the further investigations, and the correct formatting and organization of information will help other students to write the corresponding research article review.

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