How to write an A+ Lab The BEST site for lab write-ups includes graphing instructions

 

Tips From Dedicated, Helpful, and Kind Former Students

(Note: not all sections are assigned each time)

Overall Rule: AVOID all pronouns (see Pronouns to Avoid)

Title:  Should be large font, centered, and descriptive.  Simply saying "pH lab" will get you a deduction.  Instead, tell what you did (like "The Effects of pH Variation on Hydrangea").  It is often helpful to use your variables in your title (like "The Effects of [independent variable] on [dependant variable]").  Title Help 

 

Abstract:  Give background information on the experiment.  Give pertinent information on the subject and the means of experimentation.  State the hypothesis, though not necessarily in "ifÖthen" form. 
Describe the procedure, and then summarize the results include a statistic from your results. State a concluding statement about your findings (the why).
How to write an Abstract (Best Practice) Additional helpful Resources How to write an abstract (1)  and sample abstracts and lab reports ) Don't forget to cite any references to background information. Use a superscript number referring to your source after the period of the sentence.

 

Hypothesis:  Use "ifÖthenÖbecause..." form.

Null-Hypothesis:  The inverse of the hypothesis, usually using the words "no effect"

Independent Variable:  The variables that directly control, like time, heat, or other factors used to change the dependent variable.

Dependent Variable:  The variables that do not directly control anything.  The subject of the experiment (ex: the color of the hydrangea)

Standardized Variables:  Everything that the experimental and control setup have in common.  Examples: instruments, temperature, pressure, light-levels, humidity, etc.

Control:  The sample unaffected by changes in the independent variable.  There can be positive controls and negative controls.  In an experiment that tests the effects of sunlight on a plant, a negative control would be no sunlight while a positive control would be a standard amount of sunlight.

 

Results:  There are generally three parts to the results section.  (but not always)  

The first is the data-table.  It must be computer-made, well labeled, include units, and have a descriptive title and numbered example Figure 1: Sowbug Environmental Preferences (see "Title" above). How a data table looks  in Word

Secondly, you need some sort of graphical representation of your data.  This is often a graph. If so, it should be computer derived as well.  It must be computer-made, well labeled, include units, and have a descriptive title (see "Title" above). The type of graph will be announced. If a X-Y scatter graph is required, include a trend line and the equation (move equation off the actual graph to the side)  .  Sometimes a picture is better, in which case making it on a computer, while great, isnít mandatory. Excel Tutorial

Finally, if assigned, you need a paragraph describing your data.  Even if you think it is all-evident from your data-table, still restate it here.  Remember, this isnít a conclusion.  Merely describe what you observed.

 

Conclusion:  This section may just be the assigned questions at the end of the lab. In this case don't forget to include key words and concepts to answer the question, elaborate by providing supporting details and use an example to illustrate your answer.

If there are no assigned questions then...Draw conclusions from your data.  This often means you will infer a relationship between your independent variable and your dependant variable.  Fully explain your conclusions; donít get stingy on the words!  This section is usually worth the most points, so doing a bad conclusion is like shooting yourself in the foot.

   

References:  Should include outside references for the background information (for the abstract).  (Bibme.org automatically makes your citation for you just remember to change from MLA to APA by using the little drop down menu after creating your reference www.bibme.org )

Here are two examples:

Journal: Friedrichsen, P. M., & Pallant, A. (2007). French Fries, Dialysis Tubing & Computer Teaching Difffusin & Osmosis Through Inquiry & Modeling. The American Biology Teacher, February(Osmosis & Diffusion), 22-27.

Website: How to write an A. (n.d.). Groch Biology Web Pages. Retrieved July 28, 2011, from http://www.grochbiology.org/howtowritelabreport.htm

 

REMEMBER:

 

1. Use third person.  Use passive voice.  That means saying "one, he/she, they, the researchers, the subjects" instead of saying "I, you, we, my friends".

 

2. Keep your writing professional.  This is a science paper.  Mrs. Groch doesnít want to hear if you had fun, or if you learned a lot.  She wants to hear (in writing) exactly what you learned from the data you received.

 

3. Donít be lazy.  It is very easy to tell if you put insufficient effort into a lab.  While doing the lab the night before it is due wonít earn a deduction, Mrs. Groch shouldnít be able to tell.  If your work looks rushed or skimpy, or it doesnít give the required information, your grade will reflect that.

 

4. At the same time, donít fill a page with extra words.  Mrs. Groch wants you to write on-topic.  She has a lot to grade, and she wants you to cut to the chase.

 

5. Nothing is personal!  Grades you receive donít reflect Mrs. Grochís feelings toward you.  When she writes comments that appear harsh, she only wants to make you better lab-writers.  Donít get upset; just make sure to fix the problem in your next lab.

 

6. Lab grades donít reflect intelligence, or your worth as a person.  Writing labs is a skill, one that must be mastered.  Once you get the procedure down, you will get good grades.  Remember, you CAN write an A+ lab if you follow these guidelines!