How to Write a Lab Report - Follow Our Lead

  • Oct 03, 2018
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Some students are very good at practical assignments, but actually writing turns into a serious challenge for them. For example, you can do an excellent job conducting experiments in the lab but when it comes to actually describing them and making a lab report based on your findings you end up being dead stuck in your tracks. Well, you know what? This only means that you have not been adequately explained what a lab report is and how to perform it. So, why not figure this out together? We guarantee that by the time you are done reading this article, you will know all the ins and outs of putting together the lab report and become a real writing pro! All it takes is just a few minutes of your time, so without further ado, let's get on with it.

The first thing we are going to talk about is your motivation. One of the most significant problems students having to write lab reports face is the lack of proper motivation. Being good at hands-on experimentation, they simply do not understand why they need to waste their time writing a formal lab report. On the one hand, this type of reasoning may be entirely valid, but on the other, having your experimental work evaluated is essential for effective learning. It is vital for your professor to have the description of the experiment and its results in writing so that they could properly assess it. One more argument to help sway students' attitude toward this problem is that if you happen to discover something ground-breaking in the course of your experiments, it is essential that you alert your colleagues of it. They will simply have no way of knowing it unless you provide them with a properly written lab report. And lastly, writing a scientific lab report allows you to better understand the experiment and its results by committing them to written form.

And that pretty much answers the question of "what is the primary purpose of writing a lab report" and raises another one, which is how to write a scientific lab report. Writing lab reports and scientific papers is quite a technical skill, which can be easily picked up if you follow one rule: do not try to write it unless you are familiar with the main principles of academic writing. If you don't feel confident, just order your paper from professionals!

Exploring the Lab Report Format

Ensuring proper formatting and sticking to a very strict structure for your lab report are two crucially important skills. Nowadays, formatting requirements can be different and depend mainly on the citation style in which you are supposed to write. As far as lab report citation styles are concerned, APA and ACS are the most frequently used ones. A citation style determines how your paper will be formatted, how you will refer to your sources in the text, and how they will be listed in your list of references. The above-mentioned styles have a few things in common regarding requirements: you should use 12 Times New Roman font, making it double-spaced and setting one-inch margins on all sides. Please, keep in mind that sometimes citation formatting requirements can be somewhat different, so one should be extra careful in this respect.

When working on an APA style lab report, you should provide reference information in parenthesis, making sure to include the name of the author and the year of publication. In the reference list, you should state the author's name, followed by the year of publication (in parenthesis), the name of the publication, and other necessary details. However, things can be quite different when you are working on the ACS style lab report. ACS, which stands for American Chemical Society, is the main citation style used in the majority of lab reports on chemistry. ACS is much less restrictive when it comes to formatting your citations, offering you several acceptable ways of citing information. Let us try and remember the most frequently used one: if you mention the author within the cited information, you need to provide the year of publication at the end of the piece in parenthesis. Alternatively, you may include the name of the author and year of publication in parenthesis at the end of the cited piece. The reference list is supposed to be arranged in the following manner: authors should be listed alphabetically, while each entry should start with the author's last name, followed by their initials and the name of the publication without quotation marks. The period should be placed at the end of the publication name, while the publisher, city, and year of publication should be at the very beginning of the reference. For more details look up official APA and ACS regulations and our respective publications.

Analyzing the Structure of a Lab Report

What about the structure of a lab report? Is there a pattern one should follow? In all truth, it is just the good old classical academic paper formula: the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. You need to start with the body paragraphs, discussing in them all the essential information pertaining to your report.

Still, there are certain peculiarities to the layout of each of these classical components and a number of specific chapters, which are included in a lab report only.

Let's consider some essential parts, such as the introduction, conclusion, abstract, and title pages.

Designing the title page for a lab report

As mentioned above, you are very likely to write your essay in either ACS or APA citation styles, which require almost identical title pages. One third down the page you should include:

  • The title of the lab report.
  • Your name.
  • Institutional affiliation.

Please, keep in mind that, unlike in other citation styles, your title page will not have the running head.

How to title a lab report

Here is a helpful exercise which will aid you in becoming a more effective lab report title developer. Come up with a set of key phrases closely related to your lab report and then pick three of the phrases, making them into a meaningful sentence. The sentence should explain the essence of your report by stating what you were doing and explaining a few details, such as why you were doing it, how, or with what purpose in mind. By trying to keep your sentence reasonably short, you will be able to achieve a perfect lab report title. Now that you have a pretty good idea of how to make a title page for a lab report, let's move on to discussing the cover page.

Issues of Lab report abstract writing

Being an essential part of the paper, the lab report abstract allows the readers to understand what your report is going to be about. So, the answer to the question "what is the abstract in a lab report" would be: "It is a summary of the report". What it aims for is to inform the reader about the experiment, its principal objective, methods applied, and the results received. After reading the abstract of the lab report, the reader is supposed to understand whether or not they should bother to continue reading.

How to write an abstract for a lab report

It makes sense that you should come up with the abstract after you are done writing your report, making sure to mention in it the most important points, as well as the goals you were trying to achieve. Keep in mind that apart from the above information you can also mention the results you have accomplished.

Creating Your Lab Report Introduction

Writing the introduction to the lab report is not that hard once you have come up with your body paragraphs. In the introductory paragraph, you present the subject of your report, which is meant to explain the goal of your report, as well as briefly summarize your body paragraphs. Among the "must have" things, you need to state the purpose of your experiment and the conditions in which it was undertaken. Think hard and include all other relevant information that will allow your readers to better understand why your experiment was held and what you did in order to conduct it.

Where do you look for a lab report introduction example?

The best place is, of course, your university or college library where you will be able to find numerous lab reports developed by your colleagues over the previous years. They will most definitely contain introductions and provide the perfect examples for you because they were done by previously or currently enrolled students of your university and are, therefore, compliant with all its requirements standards.

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Other Important chapters

When writing your lab report, do not forget to also include the following components:

  • Materials section. Here you mention all the materials you used in the run of your experiment.
  • Methods. Explain what methods you applied in the course of your work.
  • Data. The numerical information that you have received in the course of the experiment.
  • Results. This section discusses the outcome of your experiment. You purely list the results here.
  • Discussion. This part of your lab report allows you to express your thoughts regarding the findings you have reached in the run of your experiment. It also allows you, as the author, to provide possible interpretation of your findings.

Developing a Lab Report Conclusion

After your body paragraphs comes another major part - your lab report conclusion. The question of how to conclude a lab report is not a very difficult one: all you need to do is once again state the purpose of your experiment by referring to each of your body paragraphs and shortly addressing your results. Finish your conclusion by explaining why your experiment is important, adding whether or not it is reasonable to hold further experiments like this in the future.

As we have just demonstrated, there is nothing overly complex about writing the lab report. However, we often get the same request from our readers which is: "Do my lab report for me!". And we perfectly appreciate why: things may be really simple for the professionals, but for those who have little to no experience in writing scientific reports, the task may seem to be quite formidable. Let us not forget that students have precious little time on their hands to handle something as time-consuming as this, either. It is with such individuals in mind that we have created our professional writing agency. So, if you want us to write a lab report for you, consider calling our support team and discussing with them what it takes to have your report completed by our professionals. We can assure you that you won't be disappointed by the result!

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