Report Writing

Topics: Technical communication, Grammatical tense, Documents Pages: 7 (1958 words) Published: April 21, 2013
A typical lab report should include the following sections: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Title Page Table of Contents List of Figures Abstract Introduction Apparatus Procedure Safety Results Recommendations and Conclusion Appendix References Follow the detailed instructions in the CHE writing guide. Make sure to include page numbers.


Title Page

Follow the sample on page 15 of this document. Although counted in the pagination, this page is not numbered. (A sample title page is provided in section 3.7.)

2. The Table of Contents:
The table of contents should lead the reader to the major sections of your report. Be careful to insure that the page numbers of the sections are properly represented in the table of contents.


The List of Figures

The figures in your report should be listed in this section. The figure numbers and captions of the figures must correspond exactly to the figure numbers and captions in your report. If you use abbreviations in your List of Figures, then these same abbreviations should be used in the legend of your figure. Be sure to check the page numbers of your figures.

4. The Abstract
The most important section of your technical report or paper is the abstract. In fact, the first significant impression of your report is formed in the reader's mind by the abstract. A well-prepared abstract enables a reader to identify the basic content of a document quickly and accurately, to determine its relevance to his interests, and thus, to decide whether or not he needs to read the document in its entirety.


Normally, a lab report is too brief to require an abstract; however, for ChE 353M you are required to write an abstract in order to help you gain experience in both thinking and writing concisely. As a student, you should learn to think, speak, and write in abstracts. For example, when the TA asks you a question, respond with an abstract-style answer, that is, give a complete but concise answer. A useful abstract is a complete, accurate, and concise summary of the report. It is an actual condensation of the subject matter of the report itself; consequently, the reader of the abstract should be able to obtain a comprehensive grasp of the facts presented and knowledge of their relative importance and relationship. The abstract should include a quantitative summary of what you did, the results you obtained, and the conclusions based on these results. The range of numerical values should be given for important parameters, variables, and results. The abstract is not a textual table of contents. Although the abstract is the first section to be read, it is the last part of the paper to be written. The construction of the abstract is the last step of an arduous job. Despite its importance, students are apt to throw the abstract together as fast as possible. For many students, it is a relief to finish the report; hence, they spend very little time on the abstract. The time spent in learning the "rules" that govern the construction of a good abstract will pay high dividends in the end. Guidelines for Writing the Abstract: 1) Write the abstract last, after you have written the entire lab report.

2) Center the word ABSTRACT at the top of the page and underline it. 3) Content/Organization. Make sure you cover these five main points in your abstract: a) state the principal objectives and the scope of the experiment b) briefly describe the methodology employed c) summarize the results and accuracy of results quantitatively d) state the conclusions e) state the recommendations. 4) 5) Do not exceed 250 words. Do not cite references to the literature, that is, references to sections, figures, tables, bibliographic information, etc. in the abstract. Do not put figures or tables in the abstract. Equations should not be numbered. Do not include historical information. The abstract may contain standard abbreviations and numerals. The abstract is self-contained;...

References: All references in your report should be numbered and listed in this section. This section is called the Reference section, as opposed to the Bibliography Section. A bibliography differs from a reference section in that it is not confined to publications cited in the text, and may include annotation. An example of the format is included in the CHE writing guide.
Just a word to the wise from G.W.
The generation of the first long report is an arduous and time consuming task. It may take more than 15 hours to produce the first long report. Success demands that you start work on this report well in advance of the due date. You have a scheduled 5 hour laboratory period one week prior to the due date. I encourage you to regularly dedicate at this time period to report writing. If you put off the writing task until the last night, you will be under so much pressure that you will become desperate. As stated in the Integrity Section, “Desperation clouds judgment and leads to poor decision making. What you may see a short cut could actually be scholastic dishonesty.” Start the writing task early. You simply can not do it properly in one evening. Please do not make the mistake of coming to campus with your report on a Diskette or a CD and planning to print it the morning it is due. If you take this chance, there is a high probability that the printer or the network will malfunction and you will have no product to hand in at the time it is due. Late reports are not accepted so please print a copy of the report before the due date. Every year someone gets into trouble by trying to print at the last minute. Please do not let that someone be you!
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