Whether you’re writing internal assessments for the international baccalaureate or for other lab report requirements for middle/high school programmes, this is for you guys ! The sooner you master the technique of perfecting lab reports, the rest of your science days will be a breeze.
Note: These are only recommendations, if your teacher has a report-specific requirements - make sure you follow them to get the best grades !
Aim: State what the lab is about and what scientific concept you’re trying to learn. Provide background information on the subject and mention the scientific objective and purpose behind the investigation.
Research Question: The more focused and detailed this question is, the better. It should involve one or more variables, will the possibility of the question leading to one or more specific, testable hypothesises.
Hypothesis: Should be related to the research question, and it should be a clear statement (not a question). Make sure it is written in future tense and can be tested by one analysis.
Independent Variable: This is the factor you change throughout the experiment.
Dependent Variable: This is the factor you measure throughout the experiment.
Control Variables: These are the factors you keep constant throughout the experiment.
Uncontrolled Variables These are factors you cannot control throughout the experiment, and you only need to acknowledge them and state how they may potentially affect your investigation.
Apparatus : This is the fancy word for the list of equipment you’ll be using. Similar to the research question, this needs to be extremely detailed, as if you were to give this list to a lab technician for them to gather the equipment for you.
Diagram : This is not necessary but may be considered extra credit. It’s used to show the setup of the experiment for personal use or help to give to others.
Method : Similar to the apparatus, this needs to be simple enough to be interpreted by anyone - ask a parent or a friend to identify areas which are unclear. Make sure to include what data processes you’ll generate after raw data collection (e.g. types of graphs, which calculations …) and how you’ll answer your hypothesis at the end (using an evaluation and conclusion).
Results : This is where you’ll display the information generated in raw data tables, graphically or through calculations. Make sure to highlight and summarize the general trends and findings, and title all figures/tables/calculations made. Don’t forget to make sure all axis’ on your graphs are titled, all relevant graphs and units are used and number all figures/tables so you’ll be able to refer back to them in an appropriate fashion in your evaluation and conclusion.
Evaluation : This is where you comment on the methods used in your investigation and mention the weaknesses/errors and subssequent solutions (5-10) if you were to complete the investigation again. Similarly, propose new questions and investigations similar interests which could be carried out.
Conclusion : This is where you comment and interpret on the results obtained, and whether or not you agree with your hypothesis. If possible, try and compare your results with literal results.
Presentation of your report : Make sure the layout of your report is clear and easy to read, and written in a scientific format. If you have font-specific requirements, make sure you follow them too. Don’t forget to process the report to check for grammar and spelling mistakes !