Laboratory Reports


The following information is intended to be general in nature. Different assignments from different teachers will have different requiremsnts. Check with your teacher for specifc instructions.

Writing a lab report is and is not like writing an English essay. Coherence, organization and flow are all important. However, science writing should not evoke an individual style or flamboyance. Emphasis and credence come from the data referred to and the theory supported, not verbose flowery languauge.

The following sections are usually included in a lab report. Again, not all teachers on all labs require all sections. Check with your instructor for specific instructions.

TITLE or PURPOSE - A descriptive sentence that states exactly what was investigated in your experiment.

INTRODUCTION or BACKGROUND INFORMATION - Contains background book research. Includes the theory or idea being investigated. Also may contain general observations or material on the subject as well as a hypothesis. Introduces the experiment.

PROCEDURE or MATERIALS & METHODS - May or may not be required to be in list form. A chronological recording of the exact physical steps performed during the experiment. The goal of this section is for someone who reads it to be able to replicate your experiment exactly.

RESULTS or DATA - Graphs, tables, figures, pictures, etc., showing all measurements taken. All diagrams should have headings. There may also be a few sentences accompanying the figures reporting the data but including no interpretation or reasoning.

DISCUSSION (includes CONCLUSION) - Usually considered the most weighty section in terms of the grade. Analysis of the results. Frequent reference and support of any analysis from the data. Implication and extensions of any ideas. Sources of error and their effects discussed, not simply mentioned.

Lab experimentation and subsequent reporting of the findings are a central part of all science courses at PHHS. Independent thinking, writing, analysis, and problem solving are all skills needed in college or in the workplace. These skills are all utilized and assessed in a lab report.

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