The purpose of this assignment is to learn how to effectively communicate the results of a scientific experiment. You should write your lab report as if the reader has not completed this experiment himself or herself. Scientists report the results of their experiments in a very similar format so you should treat this lab report as a professional document. This means you should write in paragraphs and complete sentences (do not bullet point your information). Also, you should always proof read for grammar, spelling, and clarity (we cannot grade what we cannot understand!).
Your lab report should include the following sections with the following information:
Title – choose a brief, concise, yet descriptive title
Introduction – This should be a paragraph that introduces the reader to the topic of your experiment. Do not assume that the reader is an expert in the topic. Therefore, you need to provide a short background on the topic, why it is important to study, and then introduce what your study is about. This section should include:
· Relevant background information to introduce the reader to the topic
· Information on why the study is important.
· Statement of the problem
· What question(s) are you trying to answer?
· A clear statement of your hypothesis or hypotheses
· Remember that your hypothesis is a possible solution to the question you want to investigate with your experiment. It must be testable and often does not contain a description of results (you do that in the prediction).
· A clear statement of your prediction/expected results
· A prediction is what you expect the results of your experiment to be IF your hypothesis is correct.
· You can write the hypothesis and prediction in an IF, THEN statement that reads as follows: IF my hypothesis is true THEN I expect to observe…
· For example: IF my car will not start because the battery is dead, THEN when I charge the battery my car will start.
Materials & Methods- in this section you are telling the reader what you did and what your experimental design was.
· Write a paragraph (complete sentences) that explains what you did in the lab and what equipment was used to accomplish them.
· Add details (step-by-step) of your procedure in such a way that anyone else could repeat the experiment.
· Be sure to include the following elements of your experimental design:
· Include what your independent and dependent variables are for ALL the experiments you run.
· Identify the controls in your experiment.
· Discuss replication and sample size of your experiment.
Results (Data) – In this section you present your results without interpretation.
· Provide tables and graphs that convey your results.
· All tables, graphs and charts should be labeled appropriately with the correct units included when necessary.
· Provide a short (few sentences) summary of the results. You do not need to write what the result was for every data point. You do not interpret your data in this section.
· A summary of results can include averages, highest, lowest, etc to help the reader understand your results.
· Do not just copy your data here, you should summarize and reference KEY information.
Discussion/Conclusion – In this section you interpret your results and provide some broader discussion about the experiment as a whole.
· In one or two paragraphs that summarize what you found and what it means (this is where you interpret your results).
· State whether your hypotheses are accepted or rejected.
· EXPLAIN WHY you accepted or rejected your hypothesis using data from the lab.
· Discuss odd data or possible errors that could have occurred in the collection of the data (experimental errors).
· Discuss how those errors could be eliminated in future experiments, or what future experiments should test.