How to Write a Conclusion or Discussion Section for a Lab Report
A laboratory report can be used for several purposes. A company may create its product strategy based on the report findings. Scientists can use the report as a basis for their research. A lab report can also be used for criminal investigation by the police personnel. In all these cases, it is imperative that a lab report be factual and provide adequate summarization of findings, backed by concrete evidence.
Discussion and Conclusion
Crucial aspects of a lab report are the discussion and conclusion. In the shorter version of a lab report, the discussion section is typically separated from the results section and serves as a conclusion as well. In the longer version of a report, where there are multiple findings, the discussion is typically included within the results section itself, and a separate conclusion section is provided to summarize the findings. In both cases, discussion and conclusion sections help to synthesize the findings by tying them to the objectives and discussing the implications.
Writing a Discussion Section
A key objective of the discussion section is to synthesize the results by providing a logical explanation. In most of the cases, the discussion section revolves around existing theories and hypotheses referenced in the literature review section of the lab report. It can also formulate a new theory around the results. A key purpose of the discussion section is to move from specifics to general information. The discussion should indicate whether \the results met the objectives and include the reasons for it.
Writing a Conclusion Section
A conclusion section provides a synopsis of work in which the results findings are mapped to the objectives. The conclusion section can also include lessons learned and future research areas that could shed further light on the current experiment. Typically, a detailed analysis of findings is provided in the conclusion section, including the reasons for not achieving the predicted outcome if the results did not meet the expectations.
Putting It All Together
A lab report should not include any conflicting information that might cause confusion and trigger questions about the credibility of the report. The discussion should cover all of the objectives specified in the report in depth. Avoid repeating information, unless the information is expanded to provide additional insight. The report should link back to the existing hypothesis as documented in the literature review section of the report. Each conclusion should be supported with appropriate evidence. The report should include interpretation of the results, including any new findings from the research. If the research uncovers some open issues that have to be further analyzed, the report should suggest further work to explore them. However, take care not to overspeculate.
Venkatesh has more than 25 years of experience in different industries including telecommunications, healthcare, banking and financial management, government, transportation and logistics, education, and consumer goods. He has worked for many fortune 500 companies, including Unilever, AT&T, McKesson, and UPS. Venkatesh holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Nova Southeastern University.