How to Write an Essay Regarding a Science Experiment
If the exploratory and discovery nature of science captivates you, there may be no better way to share your enthusiasm than to write an essay about a science experiment and share it with others. Save the official lab report for your colleagues; now is the time to engage laymen by telling a story about your science experiment in human, vivid and colorful terms.
Assess your audience to help you make smart decisions about how to word your essay. For example, if your essay is geared toward college students, you should explain scientific words and procedures, but without being overly simplistic or condescending. By contrast, you should not have to explain scientific terminology to a reading audience of college instructors. In fact, it might be appropriate to use some scientific jargon to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Establish your purpose for writing the essay and then adopt a tone to complement it. For example, if your purpose is to show that science experiments are unpredictable and exciting, an upbeat, positive tone will help convey your enthusiasm. Consider the difference in energy between the statements “Science students should expect the unexpected” and “We not only learned to expect the unexpected, but we also made the words our team mantra. Proud, determined and with singed hair, we may even have T-shirts made: Team Unpredictable.” Do your best to maintain your tone throughout the essay and not just at the beginning when you may feel a burst of creativity.
Begin your essay with an interesting anecdote. It could be centered on a dramatic event, such as the moment your experiment threatened to blow up (perhaps literally) or run off the rails. Alternatively, the anecdote might focus on a critical turning point, such as the moment you corrected a faulty methodology and steered the experiment to success. Since the anecdote serves as the introduction, ensure that it is gripping and encourages the reader to continue reading. It should be suspenseful.
Conclude your anecdote — the last sentence of your introduction — with a thesis statement. Direct or implicit, the statement should reveal your purpose in writing the essay.
Provide an overview of the experiment: the idea or principle you chose to test, your hypothesis, your methodology and your findings. Be discriminatory in the details you share, providing the reader with what he needs to know to understand your experiment without numbing his mind with arcane details. Discuss the implications of the experiment, both in terms of what you learned and topics for further exploration.
Make your reader feel as though he is right there in the lab with you, conducting the experiment. You can accomplish this with descriptive details, examples and illustrations and a general commitment to show, not just tell, your reader about the experiment.
End your essay on a memorable note; don’t just stop writing. And don’t restate what you just said as this risks making the reader feel insulted — as if he wasn’t paying attention in the first place. Conclusions can be difficult, so think like a reader and ponder the type of conclusion that best suits your essay. Consider how you would wrap up a verbal story about your experiment; your closing written words should be equally thoughtful and imaginative.
- Refer to your lab notes as you write your essay and double-check your facts. As good as your memory might be for details, your credibility is on the line, so take every step to preserve it.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Expository Essays
- The New St. Martin’s Handbook; Andrea Lunsford and Robert Connors; 1999.
- The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers; Maxine Hairston and John Ruszkiewicz; 1991.
- Step by Step Writing; Randy Devillez; 1992.
- The Prentice Hall Guide to Basic Writing; Emil Roy and Sandra Roy; 1989.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
- The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Writing Concisely
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images