Lab Report Format Writing Guide For Students

Lab reports allow integrating theoretical and methodological knowledge and practical skills of college students in a single process of educational-research nature. The increase in their role is associated with rapid development of experiment field in its modern form, as a result of which, practically all university students should be prepared for research work. The very meaning of a word “laboratory” points out to concepts that were formed in ancient times, associated with the use of mental and labor physical efforts to resolve the emerging scientific and life problems.

What is a lab report?

A lab report is one of the types of independent practical work conducted by students in order to deepen and consolidate theoretical knowledge and develop skills of independent experimentation. It involves running an experiment and subsequently writing a report about it. Lab works are widely used in teaching of natural and technical disciplines.

Purpose of writing a report for students

The benefit of laboratory reports is that students themselves see how theory can go hand in hand with practice. This can interest them and support desire to learn, which is very important in the learning process.

The purpose of completing it:

  • Learning a certain phenomenon, program, methodology in practice;
  • Familiarization with the methods of measurement and rules of information processing;
  • Identification of deviations;
  • Identification of reasons for such deviations;
  • Writing conclusions that contain recommendations for making appropriate decisions, analyzing the results.

The reports’ purpose is to write down one’s conclusions in connection with the conduct of certain experiments. Laboratory works are rightly considered to be one among the most important components of the whole educational process, without which, learning a given subject will be inadequate and insufficient. Therefore, performing a lab report is an integral part of the process of obtaining any scientific knowledge.

Laboratory works can be of a research character, and they can also be aimed at developing an analytical mind and observation skills. And it’s also important to not just see and draw conclusions for oneself but also to describe these findings on paper in your own words. This is a very effective way of translating the theory into practice. Laboratory works develop the ability to think and analyze as well as draw conclusions.

lab report writing

Lab report structure

A lab report should contain the following:

  • Title page;
  • Purpose of work;
  • Description of experimental setup and experimental procedure;
  • Experimental results;
  • Analysis of results obtained;
  • Conclusions.

How to write a lab report

A lap report revolves around the following principle: conducting an experiment to obtain actual data, analyzing data gathered, conclusions on the work is done. We want to give you recommendations on how to write a lab report on your own.

  • Select the bibliography that you will need to produce a lab report.
  • Demonstrate your theoretical knowledge on this topic, after which, show how it can be applied in practice.
  • Adhere to an established order of work by coming up with an outline.
  • Follow recommendations of your professor.
  • All practical actions and results that you get need to be described and listed.
  • In a report, there should be introduction (the formulation of task), main part (theoretical information, experiments, calculations), conclusion, and materials used.

Lab report format

Introduction. In general, there are different types of lab reports, which are written for various situations. When it comes to college studies, instructors should fill you in on data your reports should include. It is worth noting that most schools have strict requirements for this type of academic work.

Types of lab reports

Laboratory works can be divided into the following types:

  • Formal Lab Report

College students are provided with a problem or a purpose for their work. In addition, a professor may also give them a general procedure for the experiment. In this case, students will need to perform a given procedure on their own while also doing all the calculations required.

Having conducting a given experiment, which would involve collecting data, a student should write a formal report that would have a set of sections. These are as follows: an abstract (optional), intro, materials used, results obtained, and discussion. In some cases, some profound background research is needed to support your findings.

  • Structured

Similarly, students are provided with a problem or a purpose for their work along with a procedure for experiment. Based on directions provided in the results section, students will need to perform a given procedure. Students could also get some assistance with steps to be undertaken, which should help them when doing data analysis and drawing up conclusions.

Once an experiment in completed, a student needs to come up with the task, which would have the following sections: an abstract, introduction, materials used, results obtained, and discussion.

  • Guided

Students are provided with a problem or a purpose for their work along with a clear procedure for experiment. This kind of laboratory paper should contain all the sections of classic report – intro, discussion, limitations, results, etc.

Lab report template

Title: Write a descriptive title.

Example: “Bacteria kinds existing in Lake Baikal”

Introduction: Come up with a simple yet informative thesis statement, which you are going to answer along with mentioning topic relevance, object and subject of study, and desired results.

Hypothesis: Write down your proposed solution to a given problem. You need to make sure that your solution can be tested. In order to depict what ideas will support hypothesis of a paper, you can employ an if-then statement. Next, your task is to identify the independent variable along with the dependent variable.

Here is an example: Lakes that are situated close to populous cities have fewer organisms as opposed to lakes discovered in certain areas. In this case, the basis for correlation would be location of the lake, whereas responding variable would be the amount of bacteria.

Materials. Make sure to list all the items that you have made use of during the lab. Alternatively, you can include materials as part of procedure.

Example: Lake water, Petri dishes, microscopes, field guide, etc.

Procedure. Write down a few sentences as a short summary, which would explain what you did in the lab. There is an option to add some details in connection with your experiment so that others can replicate your experiment.

Here is an example: We have sampled water from each of two lakes and studied it using a microscope. We made use of field guide to identify organism types found, and estimations of numbers were recorded.

Data. In this section, there should be data table or your observations, which you can present in a separate sheet(s) if needed. As for tables and graphs, they should be labeled appropriately (X and Y axis).

Conclusion. In this final section, you need to approve or disapprove hypothesis you created initially. Most importantly, you need to give solid arguments based on data obtained for hypothesis’s approval or rejection. Gather a summary of the collected data: facts and numbers will add to research validity. This will aid the reader to process your findings. Make sure to list KEY information only. It is also a good idea to describe how the discovered findings can be applied to real-life situations.

Additionally, you can list certain issues that occurred in the process of data collection and offer ways how the experiment could be done without them.

how to type lab report

Styles can be used for report writing:

It is worth bearing in mind that your professor can have different expectations in regards to the formatting and style of lab works. For example, according to common guidelines, an abstract should be presented at the beginning of the report, but you might be instructed to place it at the end. Moreover, some professors are not OK with you using personal pronouns such as “I” or “We”.

Summarizing, it can be said that a lab-related paper is a practical task, whose purpose is to make a student apply theoretical knowledge and turn it into practice by means of conducting an experiment and then – to analyze the results obtained. Writing a lab report is quite an arduous task, but if you are willing to make some effort, you will definitely excel. If you need writing help from reliable service, just click for Typemyessays!