How To Write a Lab Report

Writing a lab report can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.

Follow these steps to get yourself on the path to success:

Step 1: Introduction

The introduction of your lab report is the most important part! This is where you should explain what type of experiment you did and why, what substances were used in the experiment, and what methods were used to perform your experiment. This section also includes an abstract that should summarize your entire report.

Example Introduction:

The objective of this lab was to determine if varying pH levels would affect how long it takes for hydrogen gas bubbles to form in distilled water with vinegar (a common household acid). To do this, I heated up 10 mL of water at 100°C for five minutes, then added vinegar to the boiling water. I recorded whether hydrogen gas bubbles formed immediately or after one minute five minutes, and 10 minutes.

Step 2: Materials & Methods

This section includes the materials you used for your lab (substances, apparatus), how they were arranged (methods), and what results you should expect if everything is done correctly (prediction).

Example Materials & Methods:

  • Distilled Water (10 mL)
  • Vinegar (5 drops)
  • Stovetop heating apparatus (stirring rod)
  • Stopwatch
  • pH Test Strips
  • Paper towels
  • Beaker

This experiment was performed on a stovetop heating apparatus with a stirring rod at 100°C for five minutes. Vinegar (5 drops) was added to the boiling water and 5 mL of distilled water was poured into a beaker before the experiment began. The pH Test Strips were used to determine whether or not hydrogen gas bubbles formed in the boiling mixture after one minute, five minutes, and ten minutes.

Step 3: Results & Calculations

This part includes your raw data, measurements, and calculations that show what happened during your experiment.

Example Results:

  • Temperature reading after 5 min: 100°C
  • Temperature reading after 10 min: 85°C
  • Hydrogen gas formed after 1 min
  • Hydrogen gas formed after 5 min
  • Hydrogen gas formed after 10 min
  • Negative control: No hydrogen gas bubbles

Step 4: Discussion & Conclusion

The discussion and conclusion are where you apply what you learned to the real world. This section will include things like how accurate your measurements were, whether or not there were any unusual results during your experiment, and how this links back to other scientific knowledge.

Example Discussion & Conclusion:

In my experiment, I found that hydrogen gas did not form in distilled water with vinegar for five minutes. However, at ten minutes, hydrogen gas did start forming in the mixture. This suggests that more time is needed for a chemical reaction to occur and produce hydrogen gas than just five minutes. This experiment also proved that vinegar (an acid) is a reactant in the process of producing hydrogen gas.

Step 5: Reference Page

A reference page should be included at the end of your lab report and it will include all sources used in this report. Also, use this opportunity to list any equipment you used that you do not own or were unable to acquire for this lab – if they are important pieces of equipment, consider purchasing them!

Example References:

  • Baker, David. “Chemistry of Vinegar.” Chemistry of Vinegar. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Step 6: Title Page

Your title page should include the following basic information about your lab report (and any other necessary info like pages, headings, etc.)

Sample Title Page:

Lab Report

Author’s Last Name Author’s First Initial

Sample Title of Lab Experiment

Lab experiments give students hands-on experience with scientific inquiry. This study will investigate whether or not vinegar can be used to produce hydrogen gas from distilled water.

Good luck with your experiments!

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