Whether you are new to writing lab reports or just need a refresher, bear in mind the many different types of lab reports. Depending on the school, the class, and the instructor, your lab reports may vary in style, formatting and content. Regardless, there are a few basic elements that remain the same from one report to the next. Keep the following elements when composing a lab report to ensure you produce a quality report despite any special instructions.
Choose a title for your lab report. Your title should be clear and concise. It should give the reader just enough information to understand what your experiment is about.
Write an abstract for your lab report. Generally, an abstract summarizes the content of each section included in your report in one or two sentences. There are usually length restrictions placed on the abstract section of a lab report. Rarely should an abstract be longer than 200 words.
Create an introduction to your lab report. An introduction states the concept, what is already known about the lab, the objectives of the lab and the hypothesis. One or two paragraphs is usually sufficient to explain each of these ideas to your reader.
Describe the methods used to conduct the experiment. The methods section should be as concise as possible. Detail the measurements, materials and procedures so the experiment and its results can be replicated by the reader.
Report the results of your experiment. The results section immediately describes the findings of your research as clearly and concisely as possible. This section usually contains visual information such as tables or graphs, to help explain the data. This section does not discuss or explain the conclusion of the results.
Discuss whether the results support or do not support the initial hypothesis of the experiment. The discussion section uses specific data as evidence. It also discusses other factors that may have played a part in the results as well as how the lab might be improved in the future.
Develop your conclusion in a way that convincingly states what you have learned from the experiment.
Include a "References" section and cite all references used in the lab such as textbooks and lab manuals. Use the citation style required by your instructor.