Writing of Lab Reports
hy should I bother writing lab reports in the correct way?” The Foundation Programme is designed to prepare you for undergraduate studies at UTAR which will require the writing of lab reports all years generally. At the end of your third year, you may have an opportunity to work on scientific projects which will culminate in an official scientific report. Depending on the quality of your report, the golden chance remains of publishing your report in a scientific journal. Such recognition may open doors of opportunity (e.g., strengthen application for scholarships and further studies etc.). Science professors are evaluated in most parts of the world by the papers they write.
• Use proper A4 foolscap for all handwritten assignments. • Write neatly and legibly in blue or black ink. Your tutor reserves the absolute right to reject your assignment and ask you to re-do the assignment should he/she consider it to be below the expected quality. • Submit your assignment on time. Late submissions may entail mark deduction or not be graded at all.
Format of a lab report
Your lab report should be preceded by a cover page which contains the following: • Name
• Partner’s name
• Unit code
• Unit description
• Year and semester of study
• Title of lab report
• Lecturer’s name
Your lab report should contain the following sections:
• Apparatus, materials and methods
(if your assignment is submitted online, this step may be omitted) • Observations and/or results with
The following guidelines on report writing are those required by the actual internationally-recognized scientific community. The text in quotation marks in the following section is taken from Warren D. Dolphin of Iowa State University. Credit has been given to the author by citing the source. This is good practice as opposed to plagiarism, in which copied material is claimed as the possession of the copyist.
1 Apparatus, materials and methods
“As the name implies, the materials and methods used in the experiments should be reported in this section. The difficulty in writing this section is to provide enough detail for the reader to understand the experiment without overwhelming him or her. When procedures from a lab book or another report are followed exactly, simply cite the work, noting that details can be found in that particular source. However, it is still necessary to describe special pieces of equipment and the general theory of the assays used. This can usually be done in a short paragraph, possibly along with a drawing of the experimental apparatus. Generally, this section attempts to answer the following questions: 1. What materials were used?
2. How were they used?
3. Where and when was the work done? (This question is most important in field studies.)”
2 Observations and/or results with discussion
“The results section should summarize the data from the experiments without discussing their implications. The data should be organized into tables, figures, graphs, photographs, and so on. But data included in a table should not be duplicated in a figure or graph.
All figures and tables should have descriptive titles and should include a legend explaining any symbols, abbreviations, or special methods used. Figures and tables should be numbered separately and should be referred to in the text by number, for example: • Figure 1 shows that the activity decreased after five minutes. • The activity decreased after five minutes (fig. 1).
Figures and tables should be self-explanatory; that is, the reader should be able to understand them without referring to the text....
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