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Video:How to Write a Lab Report

with Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

The formula for how to write a lab report can be tricky if you're not used to writing in that way. See this video lesson on how to write a lab report that will be thorough and just what your teacher or professor is looking to receive.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Write a Lab Report

A lab report is how you explain what you did in experiment, what you learned, and what the results meant. Here is a standard format.

Title Page of a Lab Report

Not all lab reports have title pages, but if your instructor wants one, it would be a single page that states:
  • The title of the experiment
  • Your name and the names of any lab partners
  • Your instructor's name
  • The date the lab was performed or the date the report was submitted

Title for a Lab Report

The title says what you did. It should be brief and describe the main point of the experiment or investigation. An example of a title would be: "Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Borax Crystal Growth Rate".

Introduction/Purpose for a Lab Report

Usually the Introduction is one paragraph that explains the objectives or purpose of the Experiment.

Materials Section of a Lab Report

List everything needed to complete your experiment.

Methods for a Lab Report

Describe the steps you completed during your investigation. This is your procedure. Be sufficiently detailed that anyone could read this section and duplicate your experiment.

Data for a Lab Report

Numerical data obtained from your procedure usually is presented as a table.

Results for a Lab Report

Describe in words what the data means.

Discussion or Analysis for a Lab Report

The Data section contains numbers. The Analysis section contains any calculations you made based on those numbers. This is where you interpret the data and determine whether or not a hypothesis was accepted.

Conclusions for a Lab Report

Most of the time the conclusion is a single paragraph that sums up what happened in the experiment, whether your hypothesis was accepted or rejected, and what this means.

Figures & Graphs for a Lab Report

Graphs and figures must both be labeled with a descriptive title. Label the axes on a graph, being sure to include units of measurement. The independent variable is on the X-axis. The dependent variable (the one you are measuring) is on the Y-axis.

References for a Lab Report

If your research was based on someone else's work or if you cited facts that require documentation, then you should list these references.

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