Lab Report Guidelines
You can hand write (neatly) your report, use Microsoft Word to type the report, or use PowerPoint and have each section represented on a different slide. This is a fun way to add some creativity to your lab report.
Remember, if you don't have a picture or video of you doing the lab, you will lose 10%.
Speaking of the video...the video of you just doing the procedure is not a lab report. That would be a procedure report. You still have to address all other components of the rubric. You can do these in the video, or you can add an additional report (that wouldn't need to include the procedure), but you have to do something to address the other sections. Please let me know if you have questions about this - remember the procedure is only a small part of a lab.
I'll be sending out a few exemplars via email soon - so be on the lookout for that! No names will be included.
- If the purpose is on the lab handout/instructions, use it! Reword slightly to make sure you understand the purpose, but you don't need to come up with a brand new purpose!
- Make a hypothesis! This step is frequently forgotten. After reading the instructions and understanding the purpose, this should be the next thing you do!
- Again, feel free to copy from the lab handout! Definitely don't shorten what's provided - if you do that, there's a good chance you're leaving out key details.
- If you make changes based on available equipment, make those changes in your procedure!
- Don't write this as a paragraph - make it a bullet or numbered list.
- Include any and all data collected during the lab
- Usually, data is best presented in table/chart format
- Include clear headers for all rows and columns, and don't forget units - units can be listed in the row or column header, or in each cell
- If you had to add, subtract, multiply, divide, ANYTHING, with your data - you performed a calculation.
- For any calculation you do, you need a sample calculation.
- You only have to show one sample per calculation. If you calculated the average of four trials, you only need one sample calculation for average. You don't need to show each different average you calculated.
- For each sample calculation, show three steps: the equation, which numbers you plugged in, and the final answer (HINT: These are the same three steps you should be using for any calculation to earn full credit on assignments/quizzes/tests).
- Unless the lab instructions indicate you can skip this step, you probably need a graph. If you are unsure, send me an email. Don't assume you don't need a graph.
- Line graphs are typically used to represent data changing over time (distance changing over time, speed changing over time, temperature changing over time, etc.)
- Bar graphs can be used to compare different trials or averages.
- Again, if you are confused about which type of graph to use to represent the data for a lab, reach out to me!
- Make sure you label all graphs - axes need titles and units, and the overall graph needs a title that tells me what I'm about to look at (i.e. NOT "Graph 1" - that's not descriptive).
- This section should be a small paragraph (3-5 sentences at least).
- Include any possible sources of error.
- Discuss accuracy and precision where applicable. See the lab rubric for more.
- This is another section that should be written in paragraph form.
- Think of the conclusion as a summary of the lab.
- Compare your results to the hypothesis you made before the lab started.
- Consider other explanations for your data - how else could the data be interpreted?
- The questions are a separate section of the lab report, even if they are called "Conclusion Questions".
- In your lab report, you should either write the questions out, or answer all questions using complete sentences.