Writing your first lab report can be a pretty daunting task but with the following guidelines listed below and a user contributed database of senior lab reports (at the bottom of the post), you should be able to breeze right through it!
Lab Report Structure:
Your lab report should typically consist of 8 main sections. Though they may vary from the requirements of your reports.
1. Cover Page
The part mainly consists of the course number, title of your experiment, your name and date. Though if you’re feeling up to it, you can add the name of your tutor as well. You can download a sample cover here:
Attached files: Sample NTU Cover Page – Zueet.com
The abstract gives a brief overview of your lab report and should be concise. Your abstract should be able to tell your reader
1. What you did – A statement of the purpose of the experiment, a brief description of the experiment and scientific principles that were investigated (objectives).
2. What your results were – Significant results derived from the experiment.
3. What your conclusions are based on the results
It is highly advisable that you write this section last.
3. Data Sheets and Graphs
This part is relatively self explanatory. Remember to include all your data tables and graphs and ensure that your units are correctly labeled on your tables and graphs. For lab reports in university, you’re usually no longer required to plot the graphs manually. You can, most of the time use Excel to plot your graphs but remember to label you axis.
It’s highly likely that your tutors will set parts in which you’ll be required to make calculations. You are required to include a brief description of the calculation, the equation, numbers from your data and the result. For calculations repeated many times, you are only required to show one sample calculation. Answers should have the proper number of significant figures and units.
5. Discussion of Results & Sources of Error
This is hands down themost important part of your lab report. You should begins this section by providing a summary of the purpose of the experiment with an emphasis on the measurements made before slowly transitioning to the discussion.
Your discussion should highlight the relationship between your measurements and your final results, the observable trends (based on the graph(s) as well), the inter-variable relationships and how your data agrees/disagrees with the theory.
Remember that it is okay (and highly likely) if your results do not agree with the theory. There are many causes for this and you’re very unlikely to be penalized. However, this means that in your next section of your abstract – the sources of error – just has to stronger.
In your discussion of sources of error, you should discuss all those things that affect your measurement that are out of your control. (e.g. friction in pulleys that are assumed frictionless in the formula). Your analysis should describe the qualitative effect of each source of error (e.g. friction slowed motion, causing a smaller value of acceleration to be measured) and, where possible, provide an estimate of the magnitude of the errors they could induce. Describe only the prominent sources of error in the experiment. For example, the precision of the triple balance beam, a fraction of a gram, compared to the 250.0 g lab cart is not significant.
While the “Results and Discussion” section has discussed the results individually, the “Conclusion” section discusses the results in the context of the entire experiment. Usually, the objectives mentioned in the “Introduction” are examined to determined whether the experiment succeeded. If the objectives were not met, you should analyze why the results were not as predicted.
Sample Lab Reports:
The sample NTU lab reports attached below were contributed by a user. These lab reports have been passed down from senior to junior and some even date as far back as the 90s though many of the lab experiments have remained the same.
Attached files: NTU Sample Lab Reports – Zueet.com
Please note that these files are for your REFERENCE only. I will NOT be held responsible if your application gets rejected for PLAGIARISM (or anything else for that matter).
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