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Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Lab Report

Lab reports are individual assignments, and therefore, you should take a serious approach when you have to submit them for classes.

How to Write a Lab Report

Whether you have a partner to prepare the report with, the most important thing you should keep in mind is that this work should be written on your own. Please check out the following tips on how to prepare a successful lab report.

What you should do:

  • When writing a lab report, please consider that it should be understandable. Thus, use only complete sentences and avoid note-taking style of writing and contractions. Besides, pay special attention to proper writing: grammar, punctuation, sentence structures. When you use the passive voice, it will make the report look more objective and impersonal.
  • Avoid wordiness and using meaningless phrases (if you just aim to make the report look longer). Everything you write should be concise and meaningful.
  • Number and provide titles to all tables, graphs, diagrams, etc. that you need to use. Besides, always enumerate complex equations. If you have numerous graphs, please make sure to place each of them on a separate piece of paper.
  • When you have lots of data to present, please demonstrate all the correlations in tables. In such a way, it will be the most clear and understandable information for providing numerical data.

What you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t write long and complex equations within the body of the report. Each equation should be written from a new line.
  • Before writing a report, keep in mind that you need to choose only the most important information from your notes. Therefore, don’t mindlessly copy all the findings you have jotted down. Focus on the most important results.
  • Don’t falsify any data or results. Never include unverified information either.
  • Don’t include information from the outside sources if you haven’t cited it properly.
  • Don’t justify the errors by blaming human factor or some minor mistakes in calculations. You are responsible for selecting the best calculating techniques that minimize the occurrence of errors.

Things to Consider:

  1. Come up with the most accurate title for your report: it should be concise but at the same time should clearly convey the main idea of what you were doing. It will depend on the titles whether readers will be interested in your research.
  2. If you want to check whether you have provided a quality lab report, ask yourself one simple question: “Could someone replicate my experiment by using only information from the report provided?”
  3. You should adhere to the generally accepted format of lab reports. Your report should be easy to navigate and its readers should be able to find the needed information without reading the whole of it.
  4. Make sure you have an intriguing abstract that briefly narrates what the idea of the report is and whether it meets the readers’ interests.
  5. Write your lab report in a scientific style: avoid personal pronouns, figurative language, appeal to emotions but rather use scientific terms relevant to your field of research.