Lab Reports

Lab reports are often assigned to students to describe the events that happened in the lab whether it is a science or psychology lab. The report should be give specific details of the experiment and what happened. A lab report presents data and demonstrates the writer’s comprehension of the concepts learned about the data collected.

Lab reports are an important part of any laboratory course and as a rule a major part of student's grade. A lab report describes how student did an experiment, what he learnt and what results meant. Sometimes instructors give an outline to the students which should be used in writing.

Here are some common guidelines that student should follow writing his lab report:

-Title page is not always requited, but if it is needed, it should include the title of experiment, student's name and his lab partners, the name of instructor and the date of report submission. -The title of the lab report is important element as it tells what the student did. It should consist of no more than 10 words and describe the key point of investigation or experiment. The best way is to begin the title not with the article ("a" or "the"), but with a keyword.

- Introduction is often presented by one paragraph that explains the purpose or the objectives of the paper. The hypothesis should be stated in one sentence. Sometimes it can include some background information about how the investigation was performed, its findings and conclusions. The purpose of the experiment should be also stated in introduction.

- Materials that were used in experiment should be also listed in report.

- Methods, or the steps that the student completed during his experiment should be also described in the paper. Here the student needs to be very detailed, giving all directions for the reader. A Figure can be also presented in order to diagram student's experimental setup.

- Numerical data that was obtained from the experiment is usually presented as a table. The data encompasses what the student recorded when he conducted the experiment. Students should present the facts, without any explanation.

- Results of experiment should be described in words, telling what the data means. Sometimes the Result part is combined with Discussion.

- Discussion or Analysis part contains any calculation the student made based on obtained data. In this part he interprets the numbers and determines whether the hypothesis was accepted. Student can also discuss his possible mistakes during the experiment.

- Conclusion usually consists of one paragraph that summarizes what happened in investigation, whether the hypothesis was rejected or accepted and what it means.

- Figures and Graphs should be also included in lab report.

- References are also needed if student's research is made on someone else's work or if there are used facts that need documentation.

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