This guide was created for students who are working on chemistry lab reports. If you are college student and have difficulties managing your lab report tasks, you are most welcome to review our recommendations. Basically, you will need Microsoft Word to produce a brilliant lab report. Also, check with your instructor for specific lab report requirements.
- Step 1. Formatting is everything. Your lab report must be presented using past tense. It must be written from third-person perspective. No "I's" or "We's" are allowed. Check with your professor regarding font and size requirements. In most cases, you will have to use Times New Roman 12 point. Arial may also be acceptable.
- Step 2. Begin with a title page. It will be formatted, depending on the referencing and formatting style that you use for your lab report. Generally, your title page will have to carry the title of your lab report (upper-centered), your name, institution, and the names of other students if you were part of a lab report team.
- Step 3. If your professor asks for additional information on the title page, then you will have to follow his or her requirements. For instance, you may need to include the date and name of students in your lab report team in the upper left corner of the cover page. You may need to specify the place where the experiment was completed and the title of your course. These are optional features, but you must always follow the requirements provided by your tutor.
- Step 4. Start on the next blank page. You are to write an introduction. Include the word "Introduction" in the upper center of the page. It is your heading. Then write a brief background paragraph of approximately 5-7 sentences where you define the context, purpose, and expected results of your lab experiment.
- Step 5. Then you will start working on the body of your lab report. You will have to divide it into several sections. Although the number and titles of these sections will vary depending on your professor's requirements, all lab reports will have to include a description of the experimental procedure, the data obtained during the experiment, and data analysis.
- Step 6. Label each section of the lab report clearly to avoid any misunderstanding on the reader's side. Your task is to describe the procedure thoroughly using plain language, step by step, without missing anything. Imagine that you want your readers to replicate your experiment in the future. How would you describe it to make the task easier?
- Step 7. Now it is time to pay attention to your data. Of course, your data analysis section must have a heading and, if necessary, several subheadings. This is one of the most important yet challenging parts of your lab report. You will include the data you have obtained during the experiment, the calculations and data analysis procedures that you took, the graphs and tables that you created to facilitate the procedure, and anything that surprised you when you were working with the data. Label graphs and tables appropriately. Include a legend to help the reader understand their meaning.
- Step 8. Now you will have to include a separate section for observations. You will describe everything that you observed in the process of conducting your experiment. Sometimes, your professor may ask you to compare initial and final observations. You may want to incorporate some data from the data analysis section to substantiate your observations.
- Step 9. You will have to use the same sequence of writing activities and incorporate the same sections for all other stages of your experiment.
- Step 10. Look for the questions that your professor might be asking. You will have to provide answers to them. Use the results of your experiment as a source of evidence when answering these questions.
- Step 11. Now you can write a conclusion. You will have to link the results of your experiment to the purpose and expectations stated in the introduction. Make a difference between significant and insignificant findings. Include implications for future research and practice. Now you can submit your lab report for grading!
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