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Formal Lab Report Format

By kathtic Jan 23, 2012 613 Words
Formal Lab Report Format
A properly written formal lab report in CHEM 123L consists of the following sections: Cover Page  Give your experiment a good, descriptive title  Include the date, your name, ID#, TA’s name and partner’s name and section # Introduction and / or Purpose  Introduce the background material your reader will need to understand the experiment and all parts of your report.  Summarize the underlying theory of the experiment and any equations you will use.  Identify the purpose of the experiment; what you are trying to accomplish or prove? Experimental Procedure  If the procedure in the lab manual was followed exactly, it is sufficient to state the following: "The experimental procedure used for this experiment was outlined in the CHEM 123L lab manual, Experiment #1. All steps were followed without deviation.") You must include your lab manual in your reference section if you use this technique.  If the procedure in the lab manual was not followed exactly, you must explain what was done differently.  Marks are not assigned for the procedure, but will be deducted if you do not include it in your report. Experimental Observations  Present all experimental observations; what did you see / hear / feel happening as the experiment was proceeding?  Enter original observations such as weights, volumes, temperatures etc. with units.  Tabulate experimental data (ie, present your data in a table) whenever possible, this helps the reader quickly compare your data. Include appropriate table titles, labels and units.  In some lab reports the observations may be incorporated into the results section. Results & Calculations  Show one sample calculation to illustrate how each type of calculation was performed. Use appropriate units and significant figures.  Tabulate calculated results, whenever possible. Tables must have appropriate titles, labels and proper units.  Refer to Appendix B: Data Analysis, for information on plotting experimental data. Discussion  Generally describe what was done and what was accomplished in the lab. What concepts or ideas did the experiment prove, show, reinforce, etc  Compare experimental results with values found in the literature (if any). If your values do not agree with literature values, discuss why this may be.

 Briefly discuss possible sources of observed errors. If your results are erroneous, explain what was done wrong in the experiment that may account for the observed results. (Note that this is not a discussion of every possible error that may or may not have occurred!) Questions  Answer all questions given in the lab manual in a separate section within your report, unless you are instructed otherwise. Conclusions  Restate purpose and/or objectives of the experiment and give conclusions as to whether or not they were achieved.  State all experimental findings regarding unknowns  Comments regarding the effectiveness or reliability of experimental methods can be made here as well References  List any books or articles that were used in writing the lab report (including those used to answer questions) in alphabetical order by author(s) or editor(s) name. Include full reference information for each source.  Always cite references within the body of your lab report. The preferred citation style for Chem 123L is to use the authors name and date of publication in parentheses, for example: Chem 123L students are typically bright and inquisitive. (Kramer, 1999)  Once again, marks are generally not assigned for the references, but will be deducted if you do not include them in your report. Clarity and Understanding  A mark will be assigned for overall clarity and understanding of the experiment. Have you presented your findings in a way that proves you understand what you did and why?  Marks will be awarded for neatness and organization. Don’t make it difficult for your TA to mark your report!

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