Lab Report Writing: How to Do It Right

One of the integral parts of effective scientific research is reporting the results to other people. An effective lab report also loses its value if no one knows about its results. It is prepared to provide a full description of the research process and an explanation of the procedure and reasons for the research. Moreover, it includes information about how the findings match the expected results of the experiment. Thus, this is a brief and accurate report that contains information regarding the conducted research.

Main Aspects to Take into Consideration

  1. It is important to present the lab report title as a precise reflection of the report content, making it brief and clear. The title is the first aspect of any paper that comes into the readers’ view. It is aimed at helping readers see the relevance of the report to their interest in science.
  2. There is a simple but efficient way to evaluate the quality of the prepared report. You can ask yourself a question, “Can my readers use the information from my report and do the same experiment without taking any other extra sources?”
  3. The guidelines on how to write a lab report state that the format of the report should be standard. It will enable the readers to do a quick search in the text for the information they need, without wasting time on looking through the whole paper.
  4. The abstract is the most important part of the report as it gives the readers a general idea of the paper. They do not read the report paragraph by paragraph. If the abstract sounds interesting to them, they will most probably look at the conclusions first to satisfy their scientific interest. If the conclusions are either unexpected or well written, the readers will go to the body paragraphs.  
  5. All lab reports are prepared in the scientific style of writing. So, personal pronouns should be avoided. There is no need for any emotional words or words that demonstrate the attitude. All terms are supposed to be exact.
  6. The sentences should be short and clear. Excessive length of the sentences and too many words are confusing for the readers. So, try to break all long sentences into structural units to form several shorter sentences.

Typical Mistakes

  • Lack of time to write a report effectively. If you start writing the paper one day before submission, you will not be able to do a proper analysis and interpretation of the obtained results.
  • Not following the lab report format.
  • Wrong rounding off in calculations. You should round off the final results, but not the preliminary ones. Wrong rounding off results in the incorrect final result.
  • Inability to differentiate between the interpretation and analysis. Interpretation can be defined as explanation of the data, speculation on what the data mean. It is done in the section of discussion. Analysis is reported in the section of results to figure out which trends are represented in the data obtained in the course of the experiment. 
  • If you know how to make a lab report, you will never confuse the singular form ‘datum’ with the plural form ‘data’. You can say ‘data are reliable’, but ‘datum is obtained’.
  • It is a common mistake to confuse between the abbreviation ‘i.e.’, which means ‘that is in Latin, and ‘e.g.’, which means ‘for example’. Explanation of the material is done with the help of ‘i.e.’, while illustration of the facts is done with the help of ‘e.g.’

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