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Lab Report Format

1005 words - 5 pages

Laboratory Reports
See for Example: [1] "Experiments in Physical Chemistry", D. P. Shoemaker, C. W. Garland, J.
I. Steinfeld, McGraw Hill, 1974.
1) Laboratory reports are your report of results from your experiment. Plagiarism is not allowed
in any form. These forms include:
a) Copying data from others.
b) Copying text from old reports or reports of other students in your class.
c) Paraphrasing text without a reference.
d) Copying text from a book etc. without a reference and quotation marks.
You should present your own results as best you can. If you have a problem with technical
writing this is the time to work it out. The reports will be graded with each student's level of
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In a company setting the abstract is
critical as this is the only part anyone will read. It is very important to learn how to say the
main point in a few sentences. Abstracts do not contain references, i.e. they must be selfcontained.
c) Introduction: Background information, develop the context of the experiment,
introduce all necessary equations and any derivations necessary to understand the report.
Usually, the introduction will contain the bulk of the references to prior work which is
important to the report. Don't go overboard on this section. Keep it simple and to a
minimum of what is needed to understand the report. Reference what will take a lot of
space or give an appendix for length things which are somewhat off track.
d) Experimental: What did you do? You need to describe all materials and their
source, all equipment and either a sketch of the setup or the make and model etc. so
someone can duplicate what you did. This is typically a short section.
e) Results/Calculations: Tables of data and discussion in as concise a format as
possible. Calculations should use equations which were introduced in the Introduction
section. A brief explanation of the approach can be included but discussion of the results
should be reserved for the next sections. (Include data sheets from write-ups where
f) Discussion of Error: Discuss the problems with the experiment, the possible
sources of error, propagation of error if appropriate. This can be qualitative or quantitative
depending on the measurement. This is a critical part of the report and should justify the
weight you give to your results in the following section. Lengthy derivations of error

belong in an appendix. This section is really just to give the appropriate weight to the
results so they can be reasonably discussed.
g) Discussion: Give meaning to your results in the context of what was introduced in

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