How to Write a Lab Report for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in College and High School

What is a lab report?

A lab report is a clear and detailed experiment report used to analyze the procedures used in the study.

It contains crucial elements like material lists, hypothesis, and data, all written in a specific format that other people can also perform it later.

Most lab reports contain compelling content and require detailed attention: you should carry out adequate research on your area of study.

As you will see with the laboratory report format, research is an essential part of the entire study since it determines the results.

Therefore, you should not begin any investigation before you are sure of what exactly you are looking for, ask your instructor/supervisor for advice.

Do you know how to write a formal lab report? Why is it important to write it in the first place?

A beneficial lab report should not simply the data and the result findings; it should also show the writer’s comprehension and the concepts behind the results.

You should also explain how and why the differences in your lab report took place and how they affected the study.

All types of research must adhere to some ethical guidelines.

Ethical Research Considerations

  1. Do not subject your participants to either physical or psychological discomfort
  2. Privacy invasion- if your research requires you to enter a shopping mall or a private property, seek permission first.
  3. Deception of the type of study-unless you are merely observing a specific public behavior, you should inform your participants about the reasons why you want to conduct the lab test. They should volunteer themselves. Do not force them.
  4. Research with children- before you test children in any school; make sure you have written consent from either their guardians or teachers.
  5. Lab tests for animals- animals’ experimentation is rarely attempted. However, if your lab tests revolve around them, you must be familiar with animal handling techniques.
  6. In all cases, ensure that their immediate needs like food, proper housing, and water are met. Handle them with caution especially when they have young ions or when they are breeding.

When carrying out a lab test, never:

  1. Offend, harm or insult the participants
  2. Contravene to the data protection act
  3. Make up your data
  4. Copy materials or data tests from other copyright holders without accreditation

Lab Report Format/Template

You could be wondering, how do you write a lab report? Or, what are the different parts of a lab report?

Abstract: This section should be written after the entire report has been written. Do you know how to write and abstract for a lab report?

Main Sections:

  1. Write the Title

The title should be informative, straightforward, and contain less than ten words. It should include the name of the experiment or lab, the specific lab partners, the supervisor/instructor name, and the date.

  1. The Introduction

Do you know how to write a lab report introduction? Normally, this section states the primary objectives of the study.

It also informs the reader of the experiment background just like in reflective essay examples about lifecause and effect essay outline, and research paper example

Keep your introduction brief, clear, and concise. It should answer these questions: why did you do this lab test? What did you learn from the experiment?

An excellent introduction should also contain the background theory, the problem of the study and the formulas used that the reader should know.

Usually, your instructor does not want a repeat of the already done tests hence you should be unique.

Moreover, if the introduction is substantial, add subheadings. For instance, you can add a theoretical principles subheading

Verb Tense

Most students/researchers face difficulties in selecting or writing the correct verb tense.

These two points will help you to navigate your introduction.

Is a lab report written in the past tense?

Use paste tense in writing you lab report because the experiment has been done. For instance,

  • “The objective of the study was to…..”

The theory, permanent equipment, and the report still exist. Use present tense to present them:

  • The purpose of this lab report is to….”
  • The scanning microscope produces….” 
  1. Craft a Hypothesis for your Experiment

As you write my paper now, remember that a hypothesis is the predicted outcome of your lab test. It is also a theoretical solution to your research problem.

It is the researcher’s educated guess of what you think will be the results of your lab experiment. It should be based on the past results in similar tests.

Your lab report hypothesis might be correct or incorrect, and so your experiment results will confirm if it’s supported or not.

  • State your hypothesis as a sentence (don’t put a question)
  • Use “then that, if that, or because of this” phrases in your hypothesis. For instance, “if this” is done in this way, “then this” will be expected outcome “because of this.”
  1. List all the Resources Used in the Experiment

After stating your hypothesis, create a clear and concise list of the materials you used in the lab experiment.

Do not exclude any material. This will help the people who wish to repeat the test to confirm your results/claims.

Some instructors/supervisors may allow you to use specific textbooks as referrals. Make sure you sue them and list them in tour material list.

This is how you should put it: “see page 200 in the chemistry book titled…”

The quotations may vary between supervisors; you should always confirm the required format.

List your materials in a complete sentence. Depending on the type of lab test or your supervisor instructions, the elements may be listed in a particular order.

  1. Describe your Procedures Fully

Mention all the steps you followed in the experiment and put them in the same order you followed.

Include all the specific measurements you took. Therefore, you should present a step-by-step process for your work.

  1. Make the process as clear and direct as possible for anyone who intends to replicate your process. While doing so, outline the precaution you took while experimenting.
  2. Mention the experiment variables and explain each of them whether they are controlled or independent. Controlled variables do not change through the entire process while the independent ones change after several factors.
  3. The procedure may either be written in paragraph or point form. This entirely depends on how your instructor wants it written.

Clarity is the crucial point in this step. Provide every detail of your work but avoid discussing the irrelevant information.

Just as would do in how to write a persuasive essay, term paper outline, and process analysis essay examples, it should be understandable to a person who has never done those tests before.

  1. Perform Your Lab Experiment

Using your selected materials and the required procedure, carry out your analysis. Follow all the guidelines and observe the ethical rules.

If you miss any important step when setting up your experiment, you are likely to get wrong results.

Use short paragraphs to explain all your steps and if possible, or bullets in the simple steps. Try to be accurate while doing the test to avoid making errors.

The significant errors may interfere with the results of your tests and the interpretation of your lab report.

  1. Record Your Lab Results

Include the raw data you used in the experiment. Your observations should be precise and written logically.

Remember that someone else will use your results for study and other purposes; hence, it should be entirely easy to understand.

  • Include graphs, tables and all the useful notes that you used during your scientific experiment. The data tables should have the same information in the notes hence you should be as accurate as possible.
  • Normally, graphs may be sometimes “boring” for the readers. Catch the attention of your readers by introducing the chart with one or two brief sentences. Make it attractive such that the readers will be interested in going through the entire table. For other pieces of writing such as literary analysis essay examplerhetorical analysis essay topics, and expository essay graphic organizer a further description is essential 
  • Title your graphs and tables
  • Arrange your tables and graphs vertically- and not horizontally.
  • In cases where calculations are involved, do not include all of them in your results page. That would cause monotony. A single calculation is enough guideline of how you did the others. Leave the remaining n your You can also keep raw data in your appendix

If you are using graphs, use the O and X variable instead of the dots. Both axes should be labeled with relevant variables.

There are two major types of data collected in formal lab experiments: qualitative and quantitative data.

Qualitative does not have the numerical values as it merely shows the observable traits.

It shows the data which anyone can easily observe with their five senses. On the other hand, quantitative data responds to all measurable values.

The primary examples of qualitative data are weight in grams, measurements in centimeters, or speed in kilometers. It also includes volume, temperature, density, and mass.

  1. Discuss Your Results

Now that you have recorded your observation well try also to discuss the same.

Some readers may not understand the data you have documented in charts or tables hence you should explain to them.

Interpret your results and describe how the information is significant to your lab experiment.

Confirm your hypothesis

As earlier mentioned, your theory does not have to be correct. The experiment may confirm it either correct or incorrect.

Use the data gathered from the study to back up to reject or accept the hypothesis

  • Do you find any many conclusions you can get from your data? If yes, do not hesitate to do so besides explaining other possible findings arising from the study results.
  • An excellent example of the rejection of the hypothesis is” our hypothesis was not true. The bread did not cook for a short time at a higher temperature. It was still raw at the set time of removing it from the oven.”

Include Errors and Analyze Them

Mistakes are common during a scientific experiment. Be sure to include them in your report.

Remember to discuss the possible reasons, which triggered the errors. “Was this error avoidable?”,” could it have been caused by the equipment used?”

Lastly, remember to mention alternative methods or strategies you could have used differently to improve the quality of your work.

Be specific: do not merely state that there was a “human error.” Go to details to show the type of error. For instance,” the instruments used in the experiment did not make precise measurements.” Alternatively, “the sample used was contaminated.” Some human errors like incorrect measurements and spilling liquids do not count.

Explain your lab results theoretically

Most undergraduate labs are designed to illustrate the fundamental physical laws like Muller-Lyer Illusion or Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law.

You will have mentioned them in your introduction session so you will simply explain them in detail.

Relate your Results to the Objectives

Your lab experiments must have had goals. For instance,” To find out the effectiveness of…..” Go back to your objectives after getting the results and find if you got what you wanted.

Compare the Results to Similar Ones

If several people had been assigned to the same lab experiment task, compare your results to that of the others. Do not alter your answer even if it differs to theirs.

Analyze the Limitations, or Strengths of the Experiment Design

This is useful only when you are testing a circuit or doing related tests.

  1. Lab Report Conclusion

What should be in the conclusion of a lab report? Generally, the conclusion should sum up all the details of the lab tests. It should be brief and easy to understand.

Since most lab reports are regulative, end your report by establishing the main point of your experiment.

While introducing your test, remember to mention the essential steps, your discoveries, and linking the hypothesis with your results.

When following the general route, talk about how the specific consequences of your lab report.

If you want to follow the practical route, end your report by speculating the institutional, commercial, and medical implications of the findings.

Lastly, tell your readers how the report will help them and ensure that sure you report interesting, and worth the readers time.

  1. References

Include the outside reading materials and the lab manuals that you used in your lab experiment.

As you will learn in college essay writing tips and do my essay for me service, it is important to cite references of all graphs or notes you used from other materials to avoid plagiarism in your scientific experiment report.

  1. Appendices

Typically, all the calculations, raw data, graphs, and tables elements that were not included in the report should be in the appendix.

Each item should be placed at a different appendix. Be sure to refer the appendices to the report, as it will make it more presentable and understandable.

Lab experiments are common and important as well. Most of them provide useful information and creates awareness on sensitive issues.

Follow this guideline, and you will present an amazing report. You can also check our write my essay generator and affordable essay writing service.

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