Any lab report is associated with certain experiments, tests, and a lot of formulas. Since such an assignment is extremely important for gaining experience, students will often conduct experiments and record the results. But how to write a college lab report? First of all, you should know all the basics and the overall structure. Then you will understand where you should start.
Many newbies are recklessly overlooking this aspect. This is a fundamentally wrong strategy. How to write a scientific lab report like a pro? Create a title that will define the essence of your experiment. However, you should ask your professor about the key requirements if you are unsure of what you are doing.
Here is the first part that matches any college lab report format. Your task is to answer six key questions. Your paper won't make any sense without it.
- What are the goals of your experiment?
- What issues or aspects were key for you?
- What methods have you decided to use?
- What are your results?
- What is the meaning/context of your research?
- How comprehensive are your findings, and can you answer the key question?
Many beginners ask questions like, "How to write a pre-lab report for chemistry?" First of all, you must answer all the questions posed in order. Second, try to be brief and only describe the aspects that matter to you. Third, imagine writing detailed instructions, and someone else might want to repeat all of your steps. Finally, a clear and simple process description is a must.
How about writing a perfect lab report? You should start with the introduction. Describe your goals, motivation, theoretical basis, theorems, or basic principles that will guide you. Also, your introduction should include the main goal and key question, which will be the starting point for experimentation and search for the right answers.
Before learning the basic steps to write a lab report, you should define your method. What procedure and sequence of actions are you willing to take to achieve the desired result? Do you have a theoretical basis or devices for your experiment to take place? Remember to always include the materials you used and the basic steps. Then you can describe your actions and all the difficulties or successful attempts thanks to which you achieved a certain result.
Results and Analysis
You will be surprised, but most students are interested in a question like, "How to write a good lab conclusion?" At the same time, beginners do not pay due attention to the description of the data obtained. The point is that your experiment will lead to certain results. Therefore, you need to provide formulas, graphs, figures, or tables to explain how you achieved a particular data. If you make a mistake or encounter unexpected results, you also need to indicate this in your report.
Now it's time for another crucial section. So, your task is to comment on the results, interpret the data, and explain how you could get an unexpected final or a certain reaction from the materials. Most likely, you were able to identify a certain trend or pattern and want to explain why your experiment got out of control or led to unexpected results. That is why you should describe your experience and suggest any changes to achieve more accurate data. But how to write a lab report for chemistry college like a pro? Take a look at the example to see how you should write your discussion.
It was expected that epithelial cells would degrade twice as fast due to direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation. However, the timings were broken due to improper experimental conditions. As a result, the chosen time of day and the window block created a magnifying glass effect, increasing temperature and destroying the epithelium much faster. This aspect could negatively affect the purity of the experiment since other similar tests were more successful (Jones et al., 2017). The results also had large deviations due to temperature and human error issues that violated key conditions.
As you can see, this part of the paper describes in some detail the key reasons for a failed experiment and explains how you can avoid similar negative patterns in the future.
Now let's focus on how to write a lab conclusion. You don't need to describe the previous steps in detail. Instead, try to summarize the work you've done briefly. Formulate your goals, results, limits, and final result with personal interpretations. You should also describe how the results brought you closer to solving the problem and finding the right solution.
How to write a good conclusion for a lab report? You should probably formulate new conclusions or present original ideas that will become a springboard for new experiments. Don't be afraid to describe bad experiences or failed tests. Your goal is to document everything that happened during your experiments.
Most likely, you will have to rely on any books, scientific articles, or third-party experiments. This is why your paragraphs will have in-text citations. Be sure to list all the sources you used while preparing for the experiment.
In this part, you can include any images or tables too large for the body section. That is why this part of the text will act as a repository. In this case, you can always refer to a specific table while describing your experiment.
Smart Tips For Beginners
Plan Your Experiment
Students usually do not have much time to cope with such a task. This is why you shouldn't delay the experimenting process. This advice is especially relevant if the equipment and materials you need are only available at a college or university. Try to run your experiment as quickly as possible, but do not forget that all conditions must be met. Your main task is not to rush: follow all the experiment rules to get a positive result.
Analyze Results Carefully for Better Interpretation
A hasty analysis is the main problem for any student. For example, let's say you are observing the process of decomposition of plant cells. If you rush or speed up the process in any way, your results will be inaccurate. Instead, try to study the methodology for analyzing and interpreting the data thoroughly. This will make it easier for you to get started.
Take a Look at Paper Samples
Most likely, your experiment is not unique. What's more, many colleges have been offering students the same experiments for decades. That is why you can check the paper samples to analyze and implement the results (or steps to writing a lab report). This advice is especially relevant for beginners who want to understand the practical part and not waste time.
Don't Forget to Polish Your Paper
This advice applies not only to research results but also to the overall quality of your paper. Perfect grammar and spelling matter. Be sure to read every paragraph and correct any possible mistakes. You may even have to rewrite some of the sentences to make your report look better. Please reserve at least one hour to read your paper and correct any inaccuracies in advance. Then you can expect high grades. If you stick to deadlines, nothing will stop you from reading your paper several times and polishing every part.