How to write a science lab report
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How to write a science Lab Report - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How to write a science Lab Report. There are 14 mandatory sections in a lab report. They are listed below in order: Title Title Page (title, name, partner’s name, date, course) Introduction or Background information Hypothesis/Prediction Independent Variable Dependent Variable

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  • There are 14 mandatory sections in a lab report. They are listed below in order:

  • Title

  • Title Page (title, name, partner’s name, date, course)

  • Introduction or Background information

  • Hypothesis/Prediction

  • Independent Variable

  • Dependent Variable

  • Control Variable

  • Materials

  • Procedure

  • Observations

  • Analysis/Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • Appendix

  • References


  • This section includes the following :

  • The theory behind the experimentis introduced so that the reader can understand the purpose of the experiment.

    ** your introduction should be in the present tense when stating theory and background information**

Introduction con t
Introduction Con’t

b) The Purpose statement

  • The purpose statement should be written in the past tense in the following matter:

    The purpose of this experiment was to investigate.....

  • The purpose should be clear and very specific, almost summarizing the procedure.

    Eg. The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the effectiveness of three paper towel brands, Bounty, Royal, and No Name, on the removal of 3 mL of milk spilled on a wooden surface.

Hypothesis prediction

  • This is a tentative explanation of what you predict will happen in the experiment. This aspect of your lab should include the prediction which is based on a hypothesis (or a theory). I.e., make a prediction and justify it.

    Eg., It was hypothesized that if the cost and thickness are related to the effectiveness of the paper towel on absorbing 5-ml milk spillage, then Bounty would be the best to absorb the milk spill since it is composed of quilted paper that adds to the thickness of the paper towel. In addition, the price of a roll of bounty containing 1000+ sheets is substantially more (by about$1.00) once compared to the other paper towel brands investigated in this experiment.

    Independent variable: Name of the paper towel

    Dependent variable: Effectiveness of absorption


  • Point form or table format

  • Amounts


  • Should be written in numbered steps and in past tense

  • Steps that are common sense should be omitted ( for example: “Goggles were used”; “The materials were gathered”.

  • Safely precautions and proper disposal of chemicals should be included in your procedure.

  • Eg.

  • 1. 10-cm long sheet of each paper towel brand name were used.

  • 2. 3-ml samples of 2% milk were placed on a wooden surface.

Results observations

  • Qualitative observation may be written in sentence form.

    Eg. The piece of Bounty paper towel remained intact even after multiple trails.

    Note: Only list properties relevant to the experiment. For example, even though the paper towel was white, this has no effect on the outcome.

Discussion analysis

  • The Discussion section of the lab report is the most important part. This part of the lab focuses on the understanding and analysis of the results (“What is the significance or meaning of the results?”.

  • Include in this section discussion of results and answers to Post-Lab Questions in a paragraph format.

Discussion con t


  • How significant are the results;

  • What conclusion can you draw from your results;

  • Do your results support your hypotheses;

  • How can you explain your results in terms of theory behind the experiment;

  • What questions might we raise?

  • Eg., Bounty was the best towel to absorb the milk because there are two layers on the paper towel that are combined with a thin layer of adhesive. This combination forms many air pockets that allow rapid absorption of liquids.....”

Analyze experimental errors
Analyze experimental errors

  • If an experiment was within the tolerances, you can still account for the differences from the ideal. If the flaws result from the experimental design explain how the design might be improved.

Strengths of lab design and weakness of lab design
Strengths of Lab Design and Weakness of Lab Design

  • Was the procedure effective?

  • Are there any suggestions for improvments?

    Eg., As an improvement, the microfiber could be tested since one would also assess the environmental implications of using such product along with paper towels....Different substances could also be used to test the effectiveness of the paper towels.

    ....A source of error was a flat surface was used, hence the area of spillage was no constant.


  • See handout


  • Diagrams are inserted in this section. These are labeled as Figure 1;2 ...etc in sequence as it appears in your lab write-up. Draw the experimental set-up using a simple line diagram. Draw in pencil and use a ruler where appropriate or use a computer drawing program.

  • Place labels of the right side of the diagram and use straight lines to connect them to the appropriate object in the diagram.

  • Provide a title for the diagram at the bottom.(e.g. Figure1: Diagram of the experimental set-up used to test conductivity of ionic and molecular substances.)

  • All calculations are written showing full calculation. Label as APPENDIX A: ______; APPENDIX B;______


  • APA format