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Lab Report

Details

  1. Class: Unspecified
  2. This template is published for use.
  1. Step 1: Understand your assignment. Attend lab and complete assignment.
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%

    Instructions:

    • Before lab: 
      • Read over lab assignment in advance. 
      • Define your objectives, prediction or hypothesis.
      • Summarize your expected outcomes.
      • If needed, do brief literature search to understand context around experiment. 
    • During lab: Take detailed notes on procedures and results and note any differences in procedures or expected outcomes. Record enough detail to allow someone else to repeat experiment based on your notes.
    • As you write your report be aware of the style of scientific writing in your discipline and grammar.
      • Write in complete sentences. Try to stay away from using "I". Use past tense. Know when to use an active and passive voice (from University of Minnesota).
    Note: This is most useful for lab reports which are based on IMRAD (introduction, methods, results and discussion). Each discipline, course, and instructor may require a different format and style for the lab report. Be sure to tailor these general steps to your specific assignment and talk to your instructor if you have questions.
  2. Step 2: Describe your methods and materials.
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%

    Instructions:

    • Briefly explain overall procedures. List materials and equipment used.
    • Explain in detail the steps in the experiment including sub-headings, if needed. Be specific so another student could replicate the experiment.
    • Do not include results.
    • Include lab notes, if required.
  3. Step 3: Analyze and describe your results.
    Percent time spent on this step: 15%

    Instructions:

    • Analyze data collected or observed.
    • Report major results with no interpretation.
    • Create data tables, graphs, or charts to clearly display results include labels, units and descriptions.
    • Use subheadings.
    • Do not make up or modify data if results are different than you expected.* 
    • Explain possible causes of unexpected results.
    *Note: Fabricating or falsifying data is considered Scholastic Dishonesty in the Academic Policies and Procedures.
  4. Step 4: Conduct library research. Develop your introduction.
    Percent time spent on this step: 15%

    Instructions:

  5. Step 5: Interpret and synthesize your results in the discussion and conclusion.
    Percent time spent on this step: 20%

    Instructions:

    • Refer to your hypothesis, outcomes or predictions as you discuss conclusions. 
    • Support each conclusion with evidence from your experiment. Describe your rationale for your conclusions and any patterns or relationship your results demonstrate.
    • Compare results to the expected results and to those found in the literature (include citations).
    • Discuss the limitations of your experiment: what can't you conclude? What other interpretations may be correct? What were the limits of the methods you used?
    • Discuss how your results fit into a broader context such as practical applications or other situations, species, systems, etc. 
  6. Step 6: Write your abstract. Develop a title. Revise and rewrite.
    Percent time spent on this step: 20%

    Instructions:

    • The abstract is generally 100-200 words and summarizes the whole lab report in a concise and descriptive manner.
    • Your title should be descriptive and engaging.
    • Editing and proofreading your work from the the Writing Center.
  7. Step 7: Put lab in final form.
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%

    Instructions:

    • Double check the formatting requirements including title page, page numbering, etc.
    • Read report for spelling and grammar errors.
    • Create list of sources using correct citation style. Ask your instructor if you are unsure which style manual to use.
    • Get writing support at the Writing Center..
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