Lab Reports – Not So Difficult to Master
Have you ever slumped over a blank sheet of paper not knowing where to start your lab report? Has it given you trouble sleeping? If yes – it’s a shame, since lab reports are not something you should lose your peace of mind over. In this blog, we will address some major problems students experience in writing this particular type of assignment. Lab reports are tricky, yet they are doable.
First of all, let’s elaborate on what a laboratory report actually is. This kind of assignment accompanies any experiment you will perform in your Physics, Biology, Natural Sciences or Chemistry classes. While in the process of the experiment itself you make rough notes, after it is completed you are to submit a properly written paper compliant with all applicable requirements.
The report itself can be divided in two parts: in the first one you describe the procedure of your experiment, while the second is designed to analyze the results and communicate their significance.
Lab reports are always based on some theoretical findings that lead to the necessity of the experiment itself. As a rule, you provide background information in the introduction.
The main problem is…
Students often have difficulties with formatting of their reports. Do not forget that a report, just like any other paper, has to comply with certain rules. First of all, formal language requirements (tense, voice, etc.)Then, citation style. Finally, there are requirements concerning the font and margins.
To avoid any misunderstanding and poor grades, make sure you received all the instructions before writing.
As it often happens, students underestimate or overestimate smartness of their reader, i.e. they either pack up the report with excessive details or leave huge gaps. The experiment procedure has to be described in sufficient detail for another person to duplicate it (a person who actually understands what he is doing, that is).
Another common mistake is trying to match your actual results with the expected ones artificially. Don’t do it! What you got is also important and there is no need to fake the values. You will simply have to elaborate on the reasons and explain why the results were wrong from your own point of view. It will show your instructor that you understand the procedure, rather than do it mechanically.
Last but not least…
Lab reports are not something to worry about. To write one, you don’t need the writing talent or vast experience. All you actually need is to conduct the experiment, take proper notes in the process, then set it forth nicely and give your opinion of the results obtained. This is it. Nothing more is expected even if you are a university student.