How to Write Up a Science Experiment Report
When student scientists engage in scientific experiments, they convey their results through the composition of a experiment report. This report consists of a number of standard elements. The purpose of a experiment report is to inform other scientists of the experimentation you undertook and explain how you conducted your experiment so that they can either replicate your trial or build upon your results by modifying your procedure and testing for another variable. It is vital that experiment reports follow a prescribed form and contain all of the elements necessary so that outsiders can understand the experiment that you created and conducted.
Explain the purpose. The first section of a experiment report is the purpose section. In this section, the report writer needs to briefly explain why they undertook the experiment. The explanation in the purpose section should be succinct. Include only the most important information.
Compose a hypothesis. Before scientists undertake an experiment, they create a hypothesis, or educated guess, as to what will happen given the factors involved. List the hypothesis that you created below the purpose section. Be sure to list your original hypothesis, regardless of whether it was proved or disproved by the results of your experiment.
Describe the procedure in detail. In the procedure section, you must explain what you did during your science experiment. Include extensive detail, thereby allowing others to replicate your experiment in the future. Your procedure should be explained explicitly enough, in a step-by-step fashion, so that others can perform the exact same experiment that you performed, allowing them to test the validity of your results.
Record experiment data. Below your procedure, list all of the data that you record during the completion of the experiment.
Analyze the data. Include charts, graphs and any other pictorial representation of the numerical data that you collected. The inclusion of this analysis helps both you and outsiders who later read the report. By creating charts and diagrams, you can effectively develop an understanding of the meaning of your data. Also, these analysis tools make it easier for others to interpret the raw data you provided.
Compose a conclusion. Develop a conclusion as a result of the data that you collected. Explain in paragraph form whether you feel that your original hypothesis was proven or disproved by the data you collected during your experiment. Near the end of your conclusion, explain ways in which you would modify the experiment if you were to perform it again, or what you plan to do to extend the experiment in the future.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.