Write a Great Lab Report

Write a Great Lab Report

Writing lab reports is an important part of most science students’ education, but they can be overwhelming the first few times you write one. Luckily, we have rounded up 10 great tips to help you write more effective lab reports. So, if you are new to this type of writing, check out the ideas below.

Use the ABC
This abbreviation stands for: “Accurate and Audience-Adapted, Brief, and Clear”. This is everything you want your lab report to be. The biggest takeaway from this tip is that you do not want to ramble on in your report, you should be as concise as possible.

Prepare yourself for success
Taking organized and detailed notes while you are conducting the experiment will make it much easier to complete the lab report later. We know you can probably leave your lab early if you are finished, which is very tempting. But in the long run, you will save time on your work overall if you slow down and take the notes that you need to.

Plan ahead
You know you have a lab report due in a week, should you pretend it doesn’t exist for six days? No! Plan ahead to leave yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete the assignment and to seek help from your professor or TA if necessary. Being proactive will make sure you produce the best possible work.

Know when to use graphs and charts
Charts and graphs should be reserved for when they will have the greatest impact. If you can sum up what you are trying to say in a few words, you don’t need a chart. If the data is more complicated, you will want to include a graph or table. When you do, ensure you include the units of measure and that your numbers align correctly.
Read the directions!

This may seem obvious, but often students are either too eager or procrastinated for too long and do not take the time to read lab report directions carefully. The instructions provide many hints about how to be successful. From content to little things like formatting, having a clear understanding of the instructions can prevent you from losing easy points.

Use the correct verb tenses
In lab reports this can be tricky because you will likely need to switch between tenses. If you are talking about the experiment itself, which you completed in the past, you should use the past tense. However, if you are talking about a theory or equation that is still in use today, you should use the present tense.

After toiling away at your lab report taking the time to read it over is probably the last thing you want to do. However, this final step is really important for your final product. Reading what you have written out loud is a great way to ensure that you have said exactly what you wanted to without any grammatical errors.

Look at stellar examples
If you are still feeling unsure about what style and tone to use in your lab report, looking at well written examples can be very helpful. Here is a great example from Hamilton University.

Write about the real results
If your results did not come out the way you wanted them to, avoid the temptation to lie about it. Instead, include your real results, what you think may have gone wrong, and ideas for how you could improve if you did the experiment again. Taking this honest approach will still earn you a great grade!

Write in the third person
Even though you were the one conducting the experiment, when writing a lab report you want to stick to the third person and avoid using I, we, or my. It can be easy to slip into the first person, so after you have finished writing you can use the “control + f” feature to go back and look for these words in order to correct them.

We hope these tips help you write a lab report that earns you an A! Do you have other tricks for creating a great report? Share them with us on Twitter, @Conserisapp.

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