Why write a lab report? Good question, you will say. An average university student will probably answer ‘because my professor assigned it’. Still the goal of a research report is much more ambitious. Lab reports are written to analyze the results of a laboratory experiment or a scientific research a student performed. Typically, the purpose of a lab report is to present the results of an experiment, to test the hypothesis, and to explore theoretical explanations. In other words, when writing an academic lab report, you are stepping into the shoes of a distinguished scientist who is about to make a great invention!
However lofty the task might be, the reality may not be as rosy as expected. Yes, you obtained useful data, you chose the scientific methods, you even performed an ingenious experiment, and you are dying to create a sensational research report which will leave your professor speechless. However, in fact, by the end of the day you understand that you still haven’t written a single word.
Keep calm and write the research report
Don’t take it so hard – you are not the first and not the last student who finds this task tough. Even a top student at Harvard University will confirm that compiling lab reports is one of the most tedious written tasks a student encounters in their study. Take a look at our lab report writing guide to find out some tips and procedures you should follow:
- Follow the format. Each lab report follows a similar basic structure: Abstract, Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results, and Discussion. Keep in mind that reports may be different in format and length, so be sure to ask your professor about their requirements well in advance.
- The Abstract summarizes your research report. Here you explain the aim of your experiment, as well as significant findings and main conclusions.
- The Introduction focuses on the background of the experiment. You also include in this section the previous research together with theory related to your experiment.
- The Methods and Materials section outlines the scientific methods and the equipment you used to conduct an experiment. In other words, you describe the experiment itself using your lab notes, observations, and appropriate graphs.
- The Results is a paragraph where you present the final data together with the most useful results of the experiment.
- Finally, in the Discussion you draw conclusions and interpret the results of the experiment. This is the most exciting yet challenging part of your lab report where you send the message to the scientific world and discuss the practical significance of your experiment.
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