How to Write a Laboratory Report

Since scientific research of any type loses value if its results are not communicated to others, a lab report is written to thoroughly describe the research process, explain why and how it was done, what the findings were, and whether the findings matched the expected results.

Stated succinctly, in a lab report, you provide accurate and factual information about research.

Steps for Writing a Lab Report

  1. Determine the structure of your lab report. Lab reports consist of five sections: an abstract, an introduction, an experimental section, results, and a discussion.
  2. Write the introduction first. Its main goal is to introduce the experiment to the reader and explain its objectives and its significance. Formulate the hypothesis and the prediction of the experiment in a concise, clear manner and define terminology. You can also provide readers with the background needed for them to understand the experiment.
  3. Write the results. Provide readers with data that was obtained during experiments and analyze it.
  4. Proceed to the discussion section. Here you must interpret the results, state whether your findings were consistent with the hypothesis, discuss their significance, and acknowledge possible sources of errors. You can also introduce possible alternative explanations for your findings and point out any flaws in the study.
  5. Write the experimental section. In it, you must list methods and materials that were used during the experiment. It doesn’t necessarily need to be detailed; however, it must contain enough information to allow another person to replicate the experiment. Significant observations made during laboratory work should also be included in this section.
  6. Write the abstract. Though it is the first part of a lab report, it is more convenient to write the abstract when you have all the important information systematized. The abstract is not detailed. It is a concise summary of the entire work, which serves to briefly introduce the results of the experiment and intrigue the reader.
  7. List the citations you used. Usually, MLA or APA bibliography formats are used. Make a title page.


Topic Selection

Laboratory reports are written for experiments and conducted by students. Therefore, the topic of a lab report depends on the discipline and on the nature of the experiment that has been conducted. For example, lab reports can be written for such experiments as: