How to Write an Introduction for a Lab Report
Laboratory reports explain the purpose, activities and results of a lab process or experiment. High school and college students may present lab reports to instructors, but companies use lab reports to make decisions about products and policies as well. The introduction to a lab report explains the purpose and significance of the activity as well as any necessary background.
The introduction to a lab report explains what concept the lab explored and the purpose and importance of the experiment. Include what similar studies have already determined and how your study differs. Note the results you expect to find.
Peas and Sunshine Example
A report on an experiment about the connection between sunshine and pea plant growth might have the objective of determining how much sunshine a pea plant needs to be deprived of to affect its growth significantly. Horticulturists can use this information to develop more efficient greenhouses, for instance, so that is one reason the experiment is important. Previous experiments may have examined the growth of carrots but not peas, so your experiment differs in that carrots grow below the ground, while peas grow above ground. Include a general statement of your process, such as writing that you used 20 plants over a period of two months. State your prediction for the experiment's outcome, such as plants with at least one hour of sunlight a day will all show similar growth and only those with less than one hour of sunshine daily will be radically affected.
The length of the introduction varies depending upon the amount of background you need to include and the complexity of the experiment, ranging from just four or five sentences to several paragraphs. Answer the required questions concisely but fully to create an appropriate length.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.