PostLab: writing your
SECTION ONE :
the lab procedure
the notes you took while performing your experiment(s) and any other appropriate
sources, describe in paragraph form the experimental procedures you followed.
Be sure to include enough detail about the materials and methods you used
so that someone else could repeat your experiment as you performed it.
HELP for Methods
SECTION TWO : Results
Making sense of your
data for yourself and others
1: If you haven't already done so, put your lab data in visual
form by creating appropriate tables, graphs, and other figures. Representing
your data in a visual format will allow you to identify trends and relationships
among variables more easily. MORE
HELP for Step 1 of Results
2: Once you have generated visual representations of your data,
decide the order in which your tables, graphs, or other figures should
be presented in the Results section. MORE
HELP for Step 2 of Results
3: Review all the data from your experiment. In a sentence or
two summarize the overall results of this lab. This is the opening sentence(s)
of the Results section. MORE
HELP for Step 3 of Results
4: In separate paragraphs summarize the finding in each of your
visuals--tables, graphs, or other figures. First state the overall relationship
or interaction among variables that each visual represents. Then include
any specific details from the visual that are important for understanding
the results. Refer to your tables, graphs, or other figures as figure
or table 1, 2, 3, etc. MORE
HELP for Step 4 of Results
5: Complete the Results by placing all the elements you've written
in the proper order: (1) the sentence summarizing the overall data for
the lab; (2) the paragraphs of word descriptions for each visual arranged
in the order the visuals are presented. Remember that the Results only
reports and describes what you observed and collected during your lab.
The Results does not explain, discuss, or draw conclusions. MORE
HELP for Step 5 of Results
HELP for all Steps of Results
SECTION THREE : Introduction
Establishing a context
for the lab
1: (Use your response to PreLab question 1 for this step.) Briefly
describe the research problem you were given to solve or which you identified
based on your individual research. Define the problem by giving the knowns
and the unknowns. Then state the research question that you used to guide
the research to solve your problem. This will be the first paragraph or
so of your Introduction.
2: (Use your response to PreLab questions 2 and 3 for this step.)
In the next paragraph or two, state the scientific concept that this problem
relates to. Then describe what you know about the scientific concept that
is relevant to understanding and solving the problem. Note any citations
you use here for References section.
3: (Use your response to PreLab questions 3-5 for this step.)
In a paragraph or two, present the hypothesis that emerged out of the
research question. Then explain the reasoning you used, based on what
you have said about the scientific concept, to arrive at the hypothesis.
Finally, in a sentence or two, briefly describe the experimental procedures
you used to test your hypothesis.
HELP for Introduction
SECTION FOUR : Discussion
results of the lab
1: Write a sentence or two stating whether or not the results
from the lab procedures fully support your hypothesis, do not support
the hypothesis, or support the hypothesis but with certain exceptions.
2: In a paragraph, identify specific data from your lab that
led you to either support or reject your hypothesis. Refer to the visual
representations of your data as evidence to back up your judgment about
3: In a paragraph or two, use your understanding of the scientific
concept of this lab to explain why the results did or did not support
your hypothesis. If the hypothesis from the Introduction was not fully
supported, show how your understanding of the scientific concept has changed.
Note any citations you use here for including in the Reference section
of your report.
4: In a paragraph or two, restate the research question and present
the answer your experiment has suggested for that question. Show how the
experiment has helped you to solve for the unknowns.Then restate the problem
that your research was designed to solve and discuss the solution to the
problem suggested by the answer to the research question.
5: Discuss other items as appropriate, such as (1) any problems
that occurred or sources
of uncertainty in your lab procedure that may account for any unexpected
results; (2) how your solution to the problem compared with the solutions
of other students in the lab and an explanation for any differences; (3)
suggestions for improving the lab.
HELP for Discussion
SECTION FIVE : Conclusion
Focusing on what
you learned by doing the lab
1: Write a paragraph summarizing what you have learned about the scientific
concept of the lab from doing the lab. Back up your statement with details
from your lab experience.
2: If there is anything else you have learned about from doing the lab,
such as how to solve this particular problem, how to design an experiment,
the kinds of the lab procedures or kinds of analyses you used, describe
it in a paragraph or 2.
HELP for Conclusion
SECTION SIX : Abstract
Summarizing the lab
each major section of the lab report--Introduction, Methods, Results,
Discussion, and Conclusion--in 1 sentence each (two if a section is complex).
Then string the summaries together in a block paragraph in the order the
sections come in the final report.
HELP for Abstract
SECTION SEVEN : Title
Capturing the essence
of the report
a title that captures what is important about the lab, including the scientific
concept the lab is about and variables involved, the procedure, or anything
else that is important to understanding what this report is about.
HELP for Title
SECTION EIGHT : References
it is appropriate for your lab report, put a References section at the
end. List all the sources you referred to in writing the report, such
as the lab manual, a textbook, a course packet, or scientific articles.
Be sure to use the proper form of documentation for the scientific field
you are working in (ask your lab instructor if you are not sure). See
Citations and References
HELP for References