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How to Write a Lab Report

Lab Report

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A lab report and a lab write up are papers aimed to inform your readers about the most important parts of your experiment, leaving aside overwhelming and unnecessary details. However, this task requires you to provide many sorts of materials, such as raw data, hypothesis, and list of used sources. It also must meet requirements of a necessary format

Pre-Experiment Stage

Even before you start writing your lab write up, you need to figure out what the title of your work should look like. Keep in mind that it must be concise yet descriptive so that your readers will understand the basic idea of your experiment. Sometimes you may need to write a separate title page. In this case, write a title itself, specify names of students who participate in this experiment, your instructor’s name, and the date of the experiment.

Once you’ve written the title, determine the problem. What is the main purpose of your experiment? It may be aimed to solve some problem or to learn more about it. What information you’re going to obtain during the experiment?

  • Introduce your experiment, acquaint your readers with the historical and theoretical background of the problem, and provide necessary definitions. Briefly describe used methods so that your readers will understand the specifics of the problem.
  • State the purpose of your experiment in one sentence. It can be a statement or a question as well. Sometimes you may get the purpose from your instructor so you don’t need to write your own definition.

You also need to determine a hypothesis. It may be a theoretical solution that you need to support or refute. It also may be a certain prediction of the results of your test. Basically, your hypothesis represents your expectations that are not confirmed yet. Just as your other statements, the hypothesis must be supported by certain knowledge or experiments.

  • State your hypothesis in one sentence.
  • Make sure it’s logical and understandable. Use such phrases as “this is true because…”, and “if this is true, than… because of…”

Now prepare a list of materials, referring to a particular page of every source that you used. Be concise. The point is that you need to provide readers with the necessary knowledge so that they can repeat your experiment and make sure your claims are true. It’s especially important to help writing essay your readers replicate your experiment, so you also need to explain all procedures in a form of a simple step-by-step guide.

  • Describe all variables. Some variables are called controlled variables — they don’t change during the experiment. There are also dependent and independent variables. Independent variables change due to your own manipulations with them. Dependent variables change as you change the independent ones.
  • Sometimes you may write this section as a list or a set of instructions. However, sometimes you may be asked to write it in a paragraph form. Ask your instructor to clearly understand what to do.
  • Make sure this section provides your readers with all necessary information that your readers may need in case they decide to replicate your experiment. Pay your attention to every important detail.
  • You can combine the list of materials and the description of the procedure in one paragraph, just make sure your instructor allows you to use such a structure.

Post-Experiment Stage

Now it’s time to perform the experiment itself. You must follow all steps of the procedure described in the previous section of your paper. It’s important to complete this section of your write up before you perform the experiment so that you will have a clear understanding of what materials to use and what you are expecting from this experiment.

Record your results and jot down raw data. You don’t need to provide a detailed analysis of data here, just record your observations and categorize your data so your readers can easily understand it. We suggest including various graphs, diagrams, tables, and any notes that you consider useful for your audience. You must record all your measurements in a form of a table.

In general, your data will fall into two categories: qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data is recorded in a form of concrete measurements: inches, pounds, seconds, etc. In turn, qualitative data can’t be expressed as a numerical value. It represents results of the experiment that you perceive with your five senses.

After this, discuss your results. Interpret them and analyze their meaning in the context of your hypothesis. If you’ve got some unexpected results, speculate as to why you’ve got them. The result of this discussion must be your decision regarding the hypothesis: you may either prove or refute it based on the results of the experiment.