How to Write a Lab Report

Published by Boni on

How to Write a Lab Report

Writing a lab report may seem daunting, but it can be done. It requires following a specific set of guidelines because it differs from writing any other type of essay. The goal is to clearly and succinctly describe what an experiment was done, what the results were, and what it means in the context of the scientific discipline. Mostly you will be told to write lab reports in science courses like biology, physics, and chemistry.  Check out our biology essay writing service if you need assistance writing your lab report assignment. 

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Here we will look at the steps involved in writing a lab report.

What is a Lab Report?

A lab report is an account of a scientific experiment you have conducted. This report should include the following information:

  • Purpose – What was the purpose of conducting this study or series of experiments?
  • Objective – What were you trying to accomplish with this experiment?  What was your expected outcome/conclusion from this study?
  • Methods and instruments used – Name each instrument or technique used in experimenting.
  • Results/findings from the experiment/experiments – Describe each step in the experiment in detail.
  • Interpretation of the results – Explain what was learned from conducting this experiment.
  • Conclusion – Describe why you believe this particular experiment was valuable or if you have reached any conclusions regarding your subject of study.
  • References – List all the other sources that you used for conducting this experiment, including textbooks, internet sites, or people who have worked in your particular field of study.

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How to Structure a Lab Report

Adherence to the proper format when writing your scientific lab report is crucial because it clarifies how an experiment was carried out. It will explain what has been done and lay out your conclusions and recommendations for others. The following template includes the information typically needed for a lab report:

1. Title page for lab report

A title page is a formal way of introducing and displaying the name of the scientific lab report. It should contain the following elements.

  • Name of the student
  • Registration number of the student
  • Date 
  • Name of the supervisor

Your title should not be more than 10 words

For example: How Male Vasectomy Helps Prevent Prostate Cancer

2. Abstract

The abstract gives an abbreviated description of what was done in the lab report. The abstract is normally 100-200 words, and it gives the purpose of the experiment, key findings, significance, and key conclusions. For example:

The experiment observed the positive effects of conducting male vasectomy in preventing prostate cancer in males over 40. This study was conducted to reduce or prevent the onset of prostate cancer. Observation showed decreased levels of PSA in the blood within 2 to 6 months of the operation, and this was accompanied by a marked decrease in the amount of free radical damage in the prostate tissue.

3. Introduction

It will briefly describe what the experiment was about, what materials were used, and the results that were observed. It should be one to two paragraphs long. For example:

The purpose of this experiment was to test whether male vasectomy performed on elderly male subjects would decrease the risk for prostate cancer in future years. A study was conducted using 40 male subjects over the age of 40. These subjects had an average age of 50 years old. The results showed a decrease in the number of free radicals, which are associated with many types of cancer, and an increase in the PSA levels in their blood. This experiment indicated that vasectomy could positively reduce cancer risk in males over 40 years old and older.

4. Methods/ materials

This section should contain descriptive information about the instruments, apparatus, or techniques used in the experiments. The more specific you can be about what was done, the better it will be for your readers. Using this section to describe every detail of the experiment is unnecessary, so you can focus on the results and conclusions you have arrived at. If a picture or drawing is included in this section, give its dimensions and other information that provides more detail on how it was made.

5. Experimental procedure

This section is the heart of your lab report. It describes each step of the experiment in detail. If one piece of equipment was used, you should name it and describe how it was used. If many instruments were used, you should name each and describe what they did during this experiment. The description for each experiment step should be about two sentences long. 

6. Results

The results should be included in the final section of the lab report. This section should include descriptive information about what was done and the results obtained. This section is where you should explain what you found, why it fascinates you, and if it is significant. For example:

The experiment showed that vasectomy decreased the number of free radicals and raised the level of PSA in the subjects’ blood. The study adds to existing data regarding men’s cancer risk and understanding of prostate health over time.

7. Discussion

This section should explain your interpretation of the results of your experiments and how they were significant. This section is where you can also make suggestions for potential future experiments. For example, suppose you introduce a new procedure or technique in this section. In that case, you can include suggestions for other experiments that could cover the same idea but with objects that are either more valuable or easier to obtain.

8. Conclusion

If you have reached any conclusions that are different from your original hypothesis, you should discuss them. If you have found no differences in results after conducting the experiments, you don’t need to discuss this part of the lab reports.

9. References

List all the other sources and sources that were used while conducting your experiment. The lists include books, scientific journals, internet sites related to your research, people who have worked in your field of study, and so on.

10. Figures and Graphs

Lab reports include graphs, charts, and pictures. You should be descriptive and provide the exact dimensions of your pictures or drawings.

Here is an example of a diabetes essay you can use as a guide to write a top-scoring essay. 

Lab Report Writing Tips

You can utilize the following lab report tips to ensure that you cover all the needed areas.

1. Formulate strong hypotheses

People interested in science and researchers use a hypothesis to predict results. A hypothesis is an educated guess that describes how you think an experiment will turn out. For example, if you want to find out how effective vasectomies are in preventing cancer, your hypothesis should be something like this:

A male vasectomy will reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer for males over 40 years of age.

The hypothesis statement should be presented in the format ‘If you do “X”, then “Y” will happen.

Only one hypothesis can be tested at a time. In other words, you should test one idea that describes how an experiment or situation came to be.

2. Maintain a logical flow

The flow is the ‘how’ of your experiment. It describes how your materials get from one part of the experiment to another. The flow should describe exactly what goes on and what information is gathered in each step.

To maintain a logical flow, you should describe the process of the experiment logically. This will help make your lab report easy to read and understand.

3. Include a literature review

A literature review is a way to organize your sources of information and present them in a way that makes it easy for another researcher to find the information again. Your literature review should include the data you found, the experiments that support your hypothesis, and important results.

To write a good lab report with citations, you should use the works of many researchers in your field. You can also take ideas from other people’s publications if they are relevant to your experiment.

4. Hook your audience

At the beginning of the report, you should include a hook that captures your reader’s attention. You can engage your audience by describing an important finding and why it is important.

For example, in your report, you can mention that prostate cancer risk is higher for males over 40 years and why it is significant. The design of experiments must contain background information and a thesis statement to understand the experiments better.

A lab report is a detailed record of an experiment tested by a student. These experiments can be conducted simultaneously or as part of a series of related experiments. These experiments aim to test ideas and determine if the results are similar to predictions. A lab report includes the research question, hypothesis, materials and method used, results, discussion, and conclusion.

All the sections included in the lab report should be based on the results obtained from the experiments and results based on someone else’s work, references should be listed to avoid plagiarism. Make sure there’s no plagiarism in your lab report by using our effective plagairism checker.

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