Writing a Lab Report

Table of contents

Defining the Lab Report

Remember those science fair projects that you did in elementary and high school? Well, on a simple level, they were preparing you for the lab reports that you must now complete. So, if you can remember back to those times, you know this much: you had to decide on a question for your project, develop a hypothesis, test that hypothesis with a method of experimentation, collect the data, and then report that data and come to conclusions. 

In principle, a lab report is not so different. The questions may be more sophisticated, and the experimentation more complex, but the concept is the same. You will have a research question, develop a hypothesis, and then test that hypothesis through some valid experimentation procedures.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing

- Wernher von Braun

Sample Lab Report on Genetics

By: Writer144311


Writer144311 has a background in marketing, technology, and business intelligence. S/he enjoys writing about data science, BI, new marketing trends and branding strategies. On TrustMyPaper s/he shares her practical experience through academic writing.

Request this writer

Format for the Typical Lab Report

Your lab report will be far more complex and detailed than the reports you may have crafted for those science fair projects. You will need to have several components, as follows:

  • A title page: Must include the name of the experiment, any lab partners who were involved, date.

  • An abstract: The lab report abstract will summarize the most important components of your report – purpose, findings, and conclusions. You might include a brief summary of your methodology. The point is to allow readers to decide if your experimentation is relevant to theirs. The abstract should be about one paragraph of approximately 200 words. If you are unsure about how to write an abstract for a lab report, then you have a simple solution – find a lab report abstract example in your specific field of research and use it as a model for your own.

  • An introduction: The lab report introduction states the purpose of your experiment, your hypothesis, and provides a summary of the research you completed prior to beginning your activity.

You should also speak to the purpose and significance of your project – to verify the experimentation of others, to counter prior research, to supplement and add to prior research, etc. Again, if you struggle with how to write a lab report introduction, rad a few that others have written and use them as a guide.

  • Your methods: Here you will describe in detail what your experimentation entailed. What subjects, if any, were involved, what equipment or materials were used, etc.

  • Your procedure: here, you will provide a step-by-step process for your experimentation. Generally, you will use a paragraph structure to explain each step in chronological order. The point is to be clear enough that some other researchers can duplicate exactly what you did

  • Your results: This section includes all of the data you gathered from the experimentation. Usually, this is represented in two ways – both as graphical and verbal presentations.

  • Your analysis/discussion: Now you take that data and discuss what it all means, how it is significant and how it contributes to the specific field of study.

  • Your conclusions: Did your experimentation support your hypothesis or not? What were the limitations or constraints of your project? What is the significance of what you did? What recommendations do you have for future researchers?

  • References: This is self-explanatory. Here, using the format your instructor requires, you will cite all of the references you used as you conducted your initial research.

In sum, your lab report involves a research question, a hypothesis, a procedure for testing that hypothesis, the gathering of data, and reaching conclusions based upon that data. As you work to craft the piece, it will be important to look at a lab report example. Seeing a sample lab report will give you a much better idea of how to construct your own.

Choosing a Topic for Your Project

In many instances, your instructor will provide at least a range of topics for your project. Within that range, you should choose something that really interests you. Depending on the course for which the research has been assigned, you might take a look at a wide range of topics that are available. Once you have narrowed your topic selections, be sure that you run them by your instructor for approval.

An Example of a Solid Lab Report

You should not have any difficulty finding a formal lab report sample. Your institution should have plenty to look at. If you are not able to find one in your specific area of research, then get online and find some.

Look at several in your specific field, review them carefully, and you should have a much better idea of how to craft yours.

Following the Process – A Helpful Infographic

All lab reports will follow the same general template. As you craft yours, keep in mind the elements and the sequence you must include and follow. Here is a simple infographic that can keep you on track:

How to write a lab report infographics

You should now have a pretty good idea of what you are in for as you create a lab report. But you can’t create a decent report unless you have done all of the legwork first – choose a good project, do the research, develop a solid question and hypothesis, set up your experimentation, collect that data, and analyze your results. How to write a lab report? Follow this guide, and you’ll be just fine

How ready is your essay? Choose the stage you are at right now
What’s next and what’s missing?

How ready is your essay?