The Title Of The Formal Report Goes Here
Author’s Name Here
The Abstract goes here. It should only be a few sentences long. It should contain a quick description of what you were trying to find and the method you used, then a short summary of the main results and conclusions of your work. You should include key numerical values (and their associated errors with the correct number of significant figures) in the abstract. It should be about 100-150 words long.
The Introduction sets the scene for your work. Here you explain the motivation for the work, and set it in context. You should begin by explaining the importance of the work. Why do the measurements you have made matter. Next you should provide a short review of other attempts to make similar measurements and highlight any shortcomings in this previous work. If you need to refer to other peoples work you should reference the original sources like this .
This is the section where you lay out the theoretical background to the measurements you will be reporting. You should also include a brief summary of the key points of any relevant theories that you might be testing. Any novel theoretical methods should be described in detail and any mathematical methods used in the interpretation of the data clearly explained. If you include equations then you should number them so that you can refer to them later. Use an equation editor to write your equations. If you don’t know how to do this ask a demonstrator. (1)
3 Experimental Method
In the Experimental method section you should describe the equipment you used. If it is commercially available equipment then provide the name and manufacturer. If it is home made then a full description is needed sufficient for the reader to build their own. You then describe the sequence of measurements you made with comments about particularly difficult or unusual techniques used. You can think about this as a cookery recipe - the ingredients and the instructions must be sufficient to enable the reader to make the dish. It is important that your experimental method section is a description of what you did, written in full sentences in good English, not as a series of bullet points or instructions.
You will often need to include diagrams illustrating the equipment used. These must be clear and all the important components labelled. The text of the report should include a full description of the equipment which refers back to the diagram (figure 1) so that the reader can see how it is all assembled. Speed controlled motor and torque sensor Model flipper
Figure 1: A diagram of the “constant flow apparatus” used to measure the drag caused by flipper bands.
The Results section is where you actually report the measurements you made and the derived quantities - the data should usually be presented as graphs or tables. It is not normally necessary to tabulate all your readings, but simply present a few typical data and the results derived from them. For example if you measured the same quantity 10 times to get an idea of the accuracy of the measurement you should only quote the mean value and its error. It is very important to remember that the section should be in prose style referring to tables and graphs as necessary. It is not acceptable simply to say “the results are shown in figures 1 to 4” and not describe them. Often you will need to use graphs to present results. The axes must be clearly labelled and the units noted. Error bars indicating the reliability of the results should be included. Unless there is a good theoretical reason, you should not draw in lines joining up the measured data points. You must include a caption to inform the reader what the figure shows. Figure 2 shows an example of (a) a bad graph, and (b) a better graph. The same data is shown in both graphs but Figure 2(b) would receive much better marks. There are several problems with Figure 2(a): the data points...
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