How To Create A Formal Lab Report

The lab report is a scientific and technical document that contains systematized data on the research work done by the student and the results presented in the form of conclusions. Responsibility for the accuracy of the data contained in the report and for the compliance with the requirements of this document lies with the student who performed the work.

The main requirement for the implementation of laboratory and practical research is a complete exhaustive description of all the work done, allowing evaluating the results obtained, the degree of implementation and training of students.

At the introductory classes, learners are required to undergo instruction on occupational safety and make a note in the registration log. Before each experiment, read the guidelines for laboratory research very attentively.

Laboratory Work Rules

  1. On laboratory and practical classes, students must be attentive and disciplined, strictly follow the instructions of the teacher and methodological literature.
  2. Do not start work without the permission of your professor.
  3. Before performing the work, examine its content and progress.
  4. Place appliances, materials, equipment in your workplace in such a way as to prevent them from falling or tipping over.
  5. When conducting experiments, avoid the ultimate loads of measuring devices.
  6. Monitor the serviceability of all mounts in the devices and accessories. Do not touch or lean on rotating parts of machines.
  7. When assembling experimental installations, use wires with solid insulation without visible damage.
  8. When assembling an electrical circuit avoid crossing the wires.
  9. Connect current source and electrical circuit last. The assembled chain should be switched on only after verification and permission of the teacher. The presence of voltage in the circuit can only be checked with instruments and voltage indicators.
  10. Use tools with insulated handles.
  11. Upon completion of work, disconnect the power source, and then disassemble the electrical circuit.
  12. Do not to leave the workplace without the permission of the teacher.
  13. Having detected a malfunction in live electrical devices, immediately disconnect the source power supply and inform your professor about this situation.

Structure Of The Laboratory Report

The results of your work in the laboratory should be noted in the report. There are several mandatory structural parts of a lab report.

  • Lab report title page;
  • the goal of the work;
  • brief theoretical information;
  • a description of the experimental setup and methods;
  • experimental results;
  • analysis of work results;
  • conclusions.

Additional elements:

  • applications;
  • the list of references.

Objective

The purpose of the work should reflect the theme of the research, as well as the specific tasks assigned to the student for the period of the experiment. In terms of volume, the objective, depending on the complexity and multitasking of the work, is from a few lines to half a page.

Brief Theoretical Information

This section provides a brief theoretical description of the phenomenon or process studied in the course of work and the necessary calculation formulae. The material of the section should not copy the content of the methodological manual or textbook on this topic, but it is limited to the presentation of the basic concepts and laws, calculation formulae, tables required for further processing of the experimental results obtained. The literature review should not exceed 1/3 of the entire report.

Experimental Techniques

This section provides a scheme of the experimental setup with a description of its details, the methodology of the experiment, the process of obtaining data, and the method of their processing. If standard software packages are used for processing experimental results, then it is necessary to substantiate the possibility and expediency of their use, as well as details of data processing with their help. For laboratory and practical work related to computer modeling of physical phenomena and processes, it is necessary to describe the mathematical model and computer programs that simulate these phenomena in this section.

Experimental Results

In this part, the results obtained in the course of the work are given directly (values, graphs, tables, and diagrams). It is imperative to evaluate the measurement errors.

Performance Analysis

This report section should contain a detailed analysis of the results obtained and the interpretation of these results based on scientific laws. It is necessary to compare the obtained results with known literary data and to discuss their compliance with existing theoretical models. If there is a discrepancy between the obtained results and theoretical calculations or literature data, it is necessary to discuss the possible causes of these discrepancies. 

Conclusions

The conclusions summarize the results of the work (the values of quantities obtained experimentally or theoretically, their dependence on the experimental conditions or the chosen calculation model) and indicate their compliance or non-compliance with scientific laws and theoretical models and possible causes of non-compliance.

Text Formatting

The main part of the report should be divided into sections, subsections, and paragraphs. Paragraphs, if necessary, can be divided into subparagraphs. 

Sections and subsections should have headings. Paragraphs and subparagraphs, as a rule, do not have headings. Titles should reflect the content of sections and subsections clearly and briefly. Headings should be typed with a paragraph indent and a capital letter without a period and underlining at the end. If the heading consists of two sentences, they must be separated by a period.

Illustrations should have the name, and if necessary, explanatory data. The word "Figure" and the name are placed after the explanatory data. Tables are used for better visibility and ease of comparison of indicators. The name of the table should reflect its content, be accurate and concise. The name of the table should be placed above the table leftwards in one line with its number. When transferring a part of the table, the name is placed only above the first part of the table without the lower horizontal line, bounding the table.

The table should be placed in the report immediately after the text in which it is mentioned for the first time or on the next sheet. All tables should be referenced in the report. When referencing, write the word “Table” with its number. A table with a large number of rows is allowed to transfer to another page. A table with a large number of columns can be divided into parts and put one part under another within one sheet. The headings of the columns and rows of the table should be written with a capital letter in the singular, and the subheadings of the graph should be written with a lowercase letter if they constitute a single sentence with a heading, or with a capital letter if they have independent meaning. 

In formulae, the symbols established by the relevant international standards should be used. Explanations of symbols and numerical factors included in the formula (if they are not explained earlier in the text) should be given directly below the formula. Explanations of each symbol should be given from the new line in the sequence in which the symbols are given in the formula. Formulae should be numbered in ordinal numbering within the entire report. Simple formulae that do not have numbering can be written directly in the text, with explanations without being highlighted in a separate line.

References to additional sources of information are allowed in the report, provided that they fully and unambiguously identify the relevant requirements and do not cause difficulties in using the document. Reference should be made to the whole document or its sections. In order to understand the principles of text construction, read the lab report templates, which can be downloaded from the Internet. It is not allowed to use:

  • colloquial speech and professionalisms;
  • different scientific and technical terms close in meaning (synonyms) for the same concept;
  • foreign words and terms;
  • the abbreviations of words.