Plan Your Assignment

MM/DD/YYYY (e.g. 12/31/2020)
 
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1: Understand assignment. Attend lab and complete experiment.
  • Before lab:
    • Read over lab assignment in advance. 
    • Define your objectives, prediction or hypothesis.
    • Summarize your expected outcomes.
    • If needed, do brief literature search to understand context around experiment. 
  • During lab: Take detailed notes on procedures and results and note any differences in procedures or expected outcomes. Record enough detail to allow someone else to repeat experiment based on your notes.
  • As you write your report be aware of the style of scientific writing in your discipline and grammar.

Note: This is most useful for lab reports which are based on IMRAD (introduction, methods, results and discussion). Each discipline, course, and instructor may require a different format and style for the lab report. Be sure to tailor these general steps to your specific assignment and talk to your instructor if you have questions.

Percent time spent on this step: 
20%
2: Describe materials and methods.
  • Briefly explain overall procedures. List materials and equipment used.
  • Explain in detail the steps in the experiment including sub-headings, if needed. Be specific so another student could replicate the experiment.
  • Do not include results.
  • Include lab notes, if required.
Percent time spent on this step: 
15%
3: Analyze and describe results.
  • Analyze data collected or observed.
  • Report major results with no interpretation.
  • Create data tables, graphs, or charts to clearly display results include labels, units and descriptions.
  • Use subheadings.
  • Do not make up or modify data if results are different than you expected.* 
  • Explain possible causes of unexpected results.

*Note: Fabricating or falsifying data is considered Scholastic Dishonesty in the Student Conduct Code.

Percent time spent on this step: 
15%
4: Conduct library research. Develop introduction.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
5%
5: Interpret and synthesize results in the discussion and conclusion.
  • Refer to your hypothesis, outcomes or predictions as you discuss conclusions. 
  • Support each conclusion with evidence from your experiment. Describe your rationale for your conclusions and any patterns or relationship your results demonstrate.
  • Compare results to the expected results and to those found in the literature (include citations).
  • Discuss the limitations of your experiment: what can't you conclude? What other interpretations may be correct? What were the limits of the methods you used?
  • Discuss how your results fit into a broader context such as practical applications or other situations, species, systems, etc. 
Percent time spent on this step: 
15%
6: Write abstract. Develop a title. Revise and rewrite.
Percent time spent on this step: 
20%
7: Put lab report in final form.

 

Percent time spent on this step: 
10%