Importance of Writing Laboratory Reports

For fostering scientific learning, hands-on learning is critical. And this can best be achieved through lab experiments. The lab experiments promote the development of scientific thinking in students. A laboratory is an exciting place where students investigate, analyse, and reflect.  They test and apply theories and make abstract concepts concrete.

Students spend considerable time doing a wide range of practical or laboratory work. Laboratory classes provide students with first-hand experience with course concepts and with the opportunity to explore methods used by scientists in their discipline. Here the learning is very ‘hands-on’, and classes are designed to allow students to practice and develop a wide range of discipline-based techniques and personal skills.

Depending on the topic, the potential goals for laboratory classes are as follows:
  1. Deepen understanding of concepts
  2. Apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge
  3. Developing a range of experimental techniques and approaches
  4. Develop experimental and data analysis skills
  5. Learn to use scientific apparatus
  6. Develop reporting skills (written and oral)
  7. Practice collaborative problem solving, team working, observing and following protocols
  8. Test important laws and rules

In many courses, lectures and experiments are integrated with the view that theory can be explained in the lecture and then applied and tested in the practical class.

Experiments, observations, and conclusions are crucial in science education. That is why all students should learn how to write a lab report like a pro.
Experiments and observation help students verify conclusions reached by others. College students should see things and validate scientific knowledge. They can support their laboratory observation with what is written in books.
But to share your observations and findings with others, you should know how to complete a lab report the right way. This type of academic writing is based on facts and scientific observation, with little or no focus on narrations. A scientific method should be followed in composing an excellent report.

How To Write a Good College Lab Report

Whether you are studying chemistry, biology, microbiology or physics, writing high-quality lab reports is a crucial part of your academic studies. Aspiring scientists and students need an excellent laboratory report when they’re inventing something, prove facts, or elaborate on findings. That is why every science student should learn how to write a formal lab report that meets adequate academic criteria.

This is not just another piece of academic writing you want to hand in hoping for good grades. It’s a chance to demonstrate an understanding of a particular topic by drawing conclusions. Here is how to write an excellent lab report:

1. Devote time to pre-lab report writing

It’s crucial to explain why you’re writing this report. What’s the goal of your academic assignment, and what are you trying to prove? Moreover, you should elaborate on all procedures followed in running your experiment and the techniques used to prove your conclusion.

2. Use a Flowchart

This is a roadmap that keeps readers focused while reading your assignment. They can always refer back to the flowchart if they’re confused while reading.

3. Accurate Data Taking

Taking notes is the most crucial part of learning how to write a college lab report. Take notes of everything going on in the lab. Use all your senses to record everything. Make sure that you write detailed descriptions of all machines used, materials, their concentration, and temperatures.

4. Explain in Details

Now that you’re out of the lab, it’s time for college lab report writing. This means going back to your data and writing everything neatly. Some professors expect tables and graphs because they provide useful information. Mention all calculations and formulas used. This helps readers follow your report and see how you reached your results. Students should also mention units.

5. Write the Conclusion

The conclusion is a crucial part of the lab report format. It’s a summary of what you did, research findings, and results obtained. A conclusion reminds readers of the details of your experiment. Even if something didn’t go as expected, mention it and explain how you plan on improving it in the future.

How To Write The Main Sections For Lab Report?

A formal lab report has several important parts. To complete your assignment in excellent quality, pay attention to each section and work on it correctly.

1. Title Page

Some lab reports don’t require a title page. But if your professor asks for one, mention the title of your experiment, names of students, the instructor’s name, and the date of submission.

2. Abstract

This is a summary of the purpose of your lab report. It should explain the key findings and major conclusions. Mention the methodology or theory in which the experiment is based. By reading the abstract, interested readers will have an idea of what they will read.

It should be brief, and still contain all relevant information, including the numerical values of results. It should also include a summarised description of all procedures.

3. Lab Report Introduction

The introduction of any academic assignment is the writer’s chance to grab the attention of readers. Your lab report introduction is a summary of the major steps in the experiment while mentioning some background information. Mention your hypothesis or what you believe before running an experiment to prove it. Your introduction should tell readers what is the problem or issue and explain how your experiment can expand knowledge to solve this issue.

4. Method

Your method section is an integral part of a formal lab report. Methods should always be written in the past tense and not in a narrative way. Lab report writing is based on facts and should follow a scientific approach. Mention the methodology or theories and variables that will affect results. Methods adapted from other sources should be referenced.

5. Materials For Laboratory Report

Here students list everything used in the experiment. This gives readers the chance to duplicate the experiment if they wish to. Use complete sentences and don’t list materials like a recipe.

6. Procedure Section

Here, don’t confuse readers by writing too many words. Keep it simple and list actions in the order they happened. Use the active voice and bullet points or lists so readers can repeat the experiment later on if they wish. While writing your experiment procedure, you should avoid being too brief; otherwise, you might give up clarity.

7. Discussion Section

Explaining relationships is vital in writing a lab report. How does your experiment relate to other work in the same field? This is what you need to include in your lab report discussion to provide useful information to readers. You have probably received some questions in your lab manual. In the discussion section, integrate these answers into a logical discussion rather than answering them one by one.

8. References

This is a list of all scientific papers that you’ve used to run your experiment. References should be written on a separate page at the end of your assignment. Readers can refer to these references if they need to read more. This is also a good way to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

How To Format A College Lab Report Correctly

When you are writing a lab report, follow the right formatting style. Professors expect you to submit your task before the due date, so there will be a chance to revise and edit.
Lab reports are either written in APA or MLA styles. Both are widely accepted, but they differ in the way to list the cited sources. MLA follows the author-page format while APA follows the author-page format for in-text citations. 
Use 1-inch margins and use a Times New Roman 12 point font to compose your lab report. Page numbers should be on the upper right-hand corner, starting from the first page. Refer to your lab manual and set of instructions before writing your assignment and make sure that you’re following the right lab reports outline.

Source Credit:

To provide information to undergraduate students to practice experiments in electronics laboratories, PHI Learning offers:

Electronics Lab Manual (Volume I) – Fifth Edition by Navas
Electronics Lab Manual (Volume II) – Sixth Edition by Navas

These manuals are evolved from the experience of the author who taught all lab courses in his three decades of teaching in various universities in India.

To know about the experiments covered in the manuals, write to us at 

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