Iona Prep Lab Reports



Teachers vary in their expectations concerning lab reports. Normally, a lab report should convey enough information that a scientifically literate person could, simply by using that report, repeat the experiment to test its conclusion.

In general, every lab report should be typed and should have all of the following parts:

(A) The DATE when the experiment was performed.

(B) The full TITLE of the experiment.

(C) A DIAGRAM of the apparatus. This usually turns out better if drawn in pencil and labeled in ink. You may draw the diagram by hand, or use a graphics program. Show how the pieces of apparatus are set up and connected to each other. This does not have to be a 'work of art' but it should be neat and clearly show how the apparatus is set up. This is a place where you can make your lab report stand out from others. Be sure to use a ruler for straight lines. Use a coin or a template for a circle. Neatness is very important. Sometimes a digital picture serves as a good diagram.

(D) The PROCEDURE. This section should summarize the steps you executed in performing the experiment. The procedure should have enough detail that a literate person could duplicate the experiment to check its findings simply by reading your procedure. Use the past tense. ("The apparatus was set up as indicated. The length of the rod was determined...etc.") Although it is not strictly forbidden, it is usually better if you avoid using the first person ("I measured the rod.") Click here to see how instructions can be converted into a procedure. CLICK HERE to view a model lab report diagram and procedure.

(E) OBSERVATIONS (or DATA) will vary from experiment to experiment. It is important for the data to be well organized. Generally, numerical data should be set out in tables. Units must be labeled. Take care with significant figures. A person should be able to verify that your data leads to your conclusion.

(F) GRAPHS (if required) should be drawn in pencil and ruled and labeled in ink. Again, computer programs can aid in preparation of graphs. Each graph should have a title. The axes must show the scale and the units.

(G) The CONCLUSION shows what results you achieved, or how the experiment achieved (or, perhaps, failed to achieve,) the purpose of the title.

Remember that neatness and completeness are much more important than length.

Page revised on 6/27/2010 by Br. Robert W. Harris

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