A lab report is a document, in which the conditions for conducting experiments and carrying out measurements are specified in the consistent chronological order. It allows the researcher to create an adequate and reliable report, to protect his or her priority regarding the discovery made by him or her.
A lab report is formed on the basis of a lab journal. It is a notebook with numbered pages, stitched with pages of the thick thread, the ends of which are fastened on the last page with sealing wax with an imprint of the official seal of the institution. Data should be entered with a pen not a pencil. If in the process of logging the experiment’s results typos or factual errors were found, they must be corrected with a pen of a different color (for example, red). The date and last name of the person who makes corrections should be written there. Of course, these requirements are somewhat excessive for the performance of laboratory work by pupils, students, or simply amateurs, but even in such cases accuracy and once again accuracy are desirable.
Your laboratory journal is the most important tool when working in the laboratory as it provides a complete account of all your work. Everything you do, measure, or observe in the laboratory should be recorded in your journal regardless of whether it is going to be used or not in the future. You cannot erase anything in the journal; you should cross out the wrong result and make an explanatory note. The organization of data in tables facilitates their analysis and appropriate calculations (reserve a place in advance for calculations, data analysis, and interpretation of results).
Keeping a laboratory journal in its proper form may require a lot of effort, but it must be remembered that a lab journal is also a legal document that evaluates your work in the laboratory.
- All pages in the journal and report should be numbered.
- Records should be clear and separate from each other. Use as a laboratory journal such a notebook, which is convenient to put near the equipment.
- The first few pages of the journal should be left for the table of contents; you need to make headers during the course of work here.
- Each work should be entitled. It allows you to find the results of any experiment quickly.
- All notes must have titles.
- The date of completion must be put on each page.
- You cannot tear out the pages from the journal. It is enough to cross out the page diagonally with a singleline to exclude it from consideration. It is useful to give a short note of the reasons for deletion.
Lab Report Format
Each working day in the lab journal must be structured separately. If the journal is common to the whole laboratory, the names of its participants are indicated for each experiment. It is also necessary to indicate the purpose, the materials used, the conditions (temperature, pressure, rotational speed, etc.), the duration, the description of the parameters that are difficult to formalize. Such activities need to be done both so that any other researcher can reproduce this experience and for the experimenters themselves. They can analyze the course of the experiment, outline ways to improve the accuracy of measurements, think through the following actions, take into account all factors when formatting lab reports and articles.
To help you understand how to keep a lab journal and create a report (it may be a regular notebook), you should explore this lab report template. Make all your notes at once in this notebook, and not on sheets or drafts, which will be rewritten. Note, when rewriting, you may miss some details of the experiment, which then may be essential.
The report on the laboratory work is made on the basis of lab journal and should consist of the following sections:
- Date of completion and the name of the laboratory work.
- Brief theoretical introduction.
a) the names and characteristics of the instruments used in the work;
b) measuring instruments.
- Experimental Results.
The results of the work must be recorded; as a rule, in the form of tables containing the initial data and the results of calculations, each table should have a name. The experimental data are sequentially entered into the corresponding columns of the table; in the upper part of the column, the name and unit of measurement of the given value are indicated. Each number in the table should contain no more and no less significant figures than the accuracy of the experimental data allows. All calculation formulae are presented in both symbolic form and with substituted numbers, and the results of the determination are calculated. If the work uses several variants of expressing the initial value, the result of the analysis (for example, mass) should be calculated for each of them.
The report differs from the journal in that it is a summary of the experiment and presents only the most important data that significantly affect the course of the study. Lab report title page should contain basic information about the authors of the experiment and its name.
The conclusions are formulated on the basis of the purpose of the work and contain the result of the analysis. In this part, you need to be as concise as possible and provide only basic data. Use the tables; they will help you create the most informative and illustrative report. Make sure your experiment has proven your goals, and it has scientific value.