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What is a Lab Report?

Students often ask us how to write a lab report. Unlike an essay or review, such an assignment has strict requirements and demonstrates strong skills and understanding of a particular topic. You don`t need to make up a story or to tell about your own experience: you will need to operate complex terms and data.

Lab reports are high school and college assignments that describe, analyze and evaluate a particular laboratory experiment, aimed to explore a certain scientific matter.

Usually, lab reports are assigned to:

  • Check a lab report sample;
  • Conduct deep research of a scientific topic and write lab notes;
  • Develop a hypothesis on a certain event or issue;
  • Review literature on the topic to support your hypotheses;
  • Apply obtained knowledge;
  • Get a deeper knowledge of theoretical data;
  • Objectively evaluate the given research.

Below we will tell you how a strong laboratory work looks like and what elements it should consist of.

Lab Report Format

The lab report format is rather similar to the format of any other written assignment and should consist of three main sections: introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. As well as an explanatory essay (or any other essay type) your laboratory work should consist of at least five paragraphs.

The more data you need to process, the larger your report will be. Don’t forget to create a separate paragraph for every argument or piece of data.

1) The Title of a Report

Even though the title page is not a compulsory part of a report, many tutors still require it. If you also need to have a title page, don’t forget to include the following information:

  • Title of your work;
  • Name of participants if you had a partner;
  • Instructor’s name;
  • Submission date or date, when an experiment was conducted.

Every work, whether it is an essay or a lab assignment, should start with a title. It shouldn’t be long – 10 words are more than enough. The goal of the title is to render the main point of your experiment.

We recommend starting your title with a keyword. In such a way your message becomes clearer. Don’t forget about the required formatting style, because it greatly influences the appearance of your title page. Ask your tutor about the font, its size, and other important details.

2) Abstract

Abstract acts as a brief but detailed summary of your laboratory work. That is why it is much simpler to write abstract only when the rest of the report is already written. A great idea will be to highlight a few main sentences from every section and thus shape your abstract. If you use this advice, don’t forget about transition words and phrases!

When working on the summary you should mention the following aspects:

  • Thesis statement;
  • Hypothesis;
  • Main details on methods and methodology;
  • Number of participants and their main characteristics;
  • Equipment that you used to hold the experiment;
  • Main results and information whether they confirmed the hypothesis or not;
  • Identifying findings’ explanation;
  • Consequences of the research and advice for the future.

The length of your abstract may vary from 120 to 250 words depending on the size of your laboratory work and requirements of the tutor. Usually abstract is one paragraph long but sometimes it can be longer if there is lots of information to include.

3) Introduction

Lab reports should always have an introduction that is situated after the title page. Usually, the introductory section is not more than one paragraph long and describes the goal of your experiment.

Start the introduction by defining the chosen hypothesis in a single sentence. Then you should describe lab nature, steps that you have taken and results that you have achieved. If you are asked to stick to an incomplete introduction, you should only include the goal of the experiment.

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4) Methods and Materials

This section is crucial for any laboratory work. In the Materials, the section provides a list of all the tools, theories and concepts you have used throughout the experiment. Then, in the Methods section, describe each step you have taken to conduct the experiment.

Imagine that your classmates (or anyone else) want to recreate the laboratory work by reading your description. That is why you should be clear and precise when describing used methods.

Design

The design of lab reports is its outline and contains a broader range of elements: from planning, purpose, main expectations and so on. With its help, it will be much easier for you to create a well-structured and organized paper. You can look at any lab report sample.

Participants

Here you need to provide enough information about participants of the experiment. This will allow other students or researches to conduct the same experiment using people, who have similar characteristics.

You will need to indicate the number of participants, gender, their occupation (students, teachers, etc.) and how you recruited them. You should also mention if they were volunteering or were assigned by the tutor to meet the conditions and requirements of the experiment.

Materials

Although you have already mentioned materials in the Materials and Methods section, here you need to give a more detailed description of the equipment you have used throughout the experiment. This section may include a certain technology type. In such a case you will need to indicate a number of the model and name of the brand.

If you had a survey on paper, designed for the experiment, it is necessary to give maximum details in a written form to allow future researches to understand the mechanisms of your experiment. Attach the survey’s copy in the Appendix section at the end of your report and provide only the main characteristics in the Materials section.

In case you refer to someone else’s paper survey and it is well-known, you can simply indicate its name.

Procedure

The lab report procedure section contains clear instructions that the participants were given. If exact guidelines and words are important for proper conduction of the experiment, use them accurately. Strictly follow given instructions to avoid any misconceptions. You may also be asked to write about the activities or tasks that you have completed.

5) Results

There is no need to explain how important this section is. It is usually situated right after the Method section because it allows you to summarize findings and to clarify them before you proceed with explaining all the findings you have had.

Results give readers the necessary data about everything you have achieved and found during the experiment. That is why you should remain brief, clear and stick to the point. One of the most important tips is to indicate only findings, and not to interpret what they mean for the study.

It is a place for numbers and clear data.

6) Discussion or Analysis

The analysis section is a vital part of any laboratory work, so it is definitely worth your time and attention. You should start with a few sentences or a whole paragraph (depending on the size of your work and tutor’s requirements), where you summarize obtained results and explain whether they supported or disconfirmed your hypothesis.

Then you can discuss similarities of your findings with modern or previous studies. Now you can move to the most difficult part of this section: explaining the obtained results.

A big part of your discussion section should include explanation, interpretation, and justification of the findings. Make sure that the information you provide is relevant for the class and for your tutor. If you doubt, ask your teacher what results he expects to get and then just put those results into words. But don’t forget to center everything on your hypothesis and experiment.

7) References

This section should contain all the sources that you have used during the experiment. They include books, articles, textbooks, and other researches. To be on a safe side, we recommend asking your tutor about the required formatting style, because they greatly differ.

Don’t forget to provide in-text references to make the Reference page logical and connected to the text.

8) Figures and Graphs

If you want to get a high grade, you should consider graphs and figures that support your findings and illustrate your ideas. Graphs should be professional and neat. It is important to provide measurement units and to name all the figures and graphs correctly.

This will help your readers to find the necessary information in the text. The more details you provide the more professional your laboratory report will look like!

What is a Lab Report example?

One of the most popular and effective tools that students use, when working on their laboratory reports is learning from lab report examples. With their help, it is possible to get familiar with the report’s structure, to understand the topic better and to see what the tutor expects from you.

Lab report example is a great source of information about the format and content of the assignment, which surely helps with writing an outstanding paper. Below you will find a few laboratory report examples for the best performance!

Bottom Line

The majority of students are afraid of writing lab works. They think that it is almost impossible to process a difficult scientific concept and to come up with the best solution to the question.

However, with proper devotion, you will definitely succeed! Follow the tips above, make lab notes, get familiar with examples in advance and you will surely achieve great results.

If you have any questions left, don’t waste your time and ask us right away!

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