Lab Report Guidelines: Outline and Writing Tips
Lab students in the sciences are often presented with lab report writing. Report writing is an essential part of every science-based course, and professors usually grade their students based on their lab reports.
Most of the time, instructors give their students an outline for a lab report. If your professor does that, use their recommended outline for your lab report writing. However, if there’s no outline given, here is a guide on how to draft yours and writing tips for lab reports.
What are lab reports?
Lab reports are a piece of writing that conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusion of a conducted scientific experiment. You evaluate a lab experiment in your lab report, which is usually shorter than a research paper. The lab report demonstrates your level of understanding of the scientific method used.
Lab reports are used in disciplines like science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. You’ll require an outline and your writing style to write a good lab report that will improve your grades. This article looks into drafting a lab report outline and writing tips for a lab report.
Lab report components: what does a lab report look like?
There are several sections included in a lab report. It varies between scientific fields and the course requirements. It contains the purpose, methods, and findings of a conducted lab experiment.
In a typical lab report, you’ll find:
- Title: conveys the topic of scientific study.
- Abstract: summarizes the entirety of the study, which involves the research aims, methods, results, and conclusions.
- Results: the part where all descriptive and inferential statistical analyses are reported.
- Discussion: interpretation and the evaluation of results while also identifying study limitations.
- Conclusion: the sum up of the main findings of the research conducted.
- References: list containing all the relevant sources referenced during research. It is cited using the APA style format.
- Appendix: section containing materials, procedures, tables, and figures related to the study.
The report must appear in this partner when writing your lab report. The topic is centered around the experiment conducted in the lab.
How to write a lab report
A lab report follows almost a similar procedure to every other academic writing. Your lab report must start with the lab report title, followed by the abstract. When it gets to the abstract, start with one or two summaries that provide an answer to the aim and reason for the study.
In the introductory part, explain where your hypothesis comes from. Your introduction should take a funnel structure—start it broad and gradually become specific.
The method section includes all three subsections—participant, material, and procedure. Ensure you provide adequate and detailed information here in case another researcher needs to reproduce the research using your report.
The result is the fifth stage of your lab report. In the result section, present descriptive statistics followed by inferential statistics. Name all the statistical tests used, report appropriate statistics, and report the research magnitude and direction of the results.
In the discussion stage, you outline your findings while relating your results to the hypothesis. Also, compare your results to background materials from the introductory section.
At the reference stage, outline all the relevant studies that have aided your research. While doing the reference, remember that it must appear in the APA style format. A sample of an APA reference format is; “Author. Year. Article Title. The Journal Title, The Volume number(issue number), page numbers.”
If you are having issues using the correct referencing style, just go on Google scholar, search for the article, and do the citation from Google Scholar. All you need to do is copy it back into your report.
Standard lab report format for high school and college students
Every lab report must follow the designed format for lab reports. There’s no exception. So, here’s what the format of a lab report looks like:
- Title Page
- Method Section
- Tables & Figures
Lab report guidelines for a great lab report
Lab reports are another form of academic writing. When done correctly, they determine your grades. Here are a few guidelines to follow when writing a lab report guideline:
- Always follow the recommended format
- Write in a formal tone
- Make sure to detail your method accurately
- Be descriptive in your report
- Use the past tense when writing
- Use the APA referencing style
- Always proofread your report after writing
A lab report is usually technical because it involves touching across several areas. But, once you understand the topic of study and the format of writing a lab report, it lessens the workload.