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How to Write a Good Lab Conclusion in Science

Last Updated: March 21, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Bess Ruff, MA . Bess Ruff is a Geography PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MA in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She has conducted survey work for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate fellow for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,762,744 times.

A lab report describes an entire experiment from start to finish, outlining the procedures, reporting results, and analyzing data. The report is used to demonstrate what has been learned, and it will provide a way for other people to see your process for the experiment and understand how you arrived at your conclusions. The conclusion is an integral part of the report; this is the section that reiterates the experiment’s main findings and gives the reader an overview of the lab trial. Writing a solid conclusion to your lab report will demonstrate that you’ve effectively learned the objectives of your assignment.

Outlining Your Conclusion

Step 1 Go over your assignment.

  • Restate : Restate the lab experiment by describing the assignment.
  • Explain : Explain the purpose of the lab experiment. What were you trying to figure out or discover? Talk briefly about the procedure you followed to complete the lab.
  • Results : Explain your results. Confirm whether or not your hypothesis was supported by the results.
  • Uncertainties : Account for uncertainties and errors. Explain, for example, if there were other circumstances beyond your control that might have impacted the experiment’s results.
  • New : Discuss new questions or discoveries that emerged from the experiment.

Step 4 Plan other sections to add.

  • Your assignment may also have specific questions that need to be answered. Make sure you answer these fully and coherently in your conclusion.

Discussing the Experiment and Hypothesis

Step 1 Introduce the experiment in your conclusion.

  • If you tried the experiment more than once, describe the reasons for doing so. Discuss changes that you made in your procedures.
  • Brainstorm ways to explain your results in more depth. Go back through your lab notes, paying particular attention to the results you observed. [5] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source

Step 3 Describe what you discovered briefly.

  • Start this section with wording such as, “The results showed that…”
  • You don’t need to give the raw data here. Just summarize the main points, calculate averages, or give a range of data to give an overall picture to the reader.
  • Make sure to explain whether or not any statistical analyses were significant, and to what degree, such as 1%, 5%, or 10%.

Step 4 Comment on whether or not your hypothesis is supported.

  • Use simple language such as, “The results supported the hypothesis,” or “The results did not support the hypothesis.”

Step 5 Link your results to your hypothesis.

Demonstrating What You Have Learned

Step 1 Describe what you learned in the lab.

  • If it’s not clear in your conclusion what you learned from the lab, start off by writing, “In this lab, I learned…” This will give the reader a heads up that you will be describing exactly what you learned.
  • Add details about what you learned and how you learned it. Adding dimension to your learning outcomes will convince your reader that you did, in fact, learn from the lab. Give specifics about how you learned that molecules will act in a particular environment, for example.
  • Describe how what you learned in the lab could be applied to a future experiment.

Step 2 Answer specific questions given in the assignment.

  • On a new line, write the question in italics. On the next line, write the answer to the question in regular text.

Step 3 Explain whether you achieved the experiment’s objectives.

  • If your experiment did not achieve the objectives, explain or speculate why not.

Wrapping Up Your Conclusion

Step 1 Describe possible errors that may have occurred.

  • If your experiment raised questions that your collected data can’t answer, discuss this here.

Step 3 Propose future experiments.

  • Describe what is new or innovative about your research.
  • This can often set you apart from your classmates, many of whom will just write up the barest of discussion and conclusion.

Step 6 Add a final statement.

Finalizing Your Lab Report

Step 1 Write in the third person.

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • If you include figures or tables in your conclusion, be sure to include a brief caption or label so that the reader knows what the figures refer to. Also, discuss the figures briefly in the text of your report. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Once again, avoid using personal pronouns (I, myself, we, our group) in a lab report. The first-person point-of-view is often seen as subjective, whereas science is based on objectivity. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Ensure the language used is straightforward with specific details. Try not to drift off topic. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write a conclusion in a lab report

  • Take care with writing your lab report when working in a team setting. While the lab experiment may be a collaborative effort, your lab report is your own work. If you copy sections from someone else’s report, this will be considered plagiarism. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ https://phoenixcollege.libguides.com/LabReportWriting/introduction
  • ↑ https://www.hcs-k12.org/userfiles/354/Classes/18203/conclusionwriting.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/discipline/english/literacy/Pages/puttingittogether.aspx
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
  • ↑ https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/lab-report/
  • ↑ http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/hypothes.php
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/conclusion
  • ↑ https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/introduction/researchproblem
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/scientific-reports/
  • ↑ https://phoenixcollege.libguides.com/LabReportWriting/labreportstyle
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Bess Ruff, MA

To write a good lab conclusion in science, start with restating the lab experiment by describing the assignment. Next, explain what you were trying to discover or figure out by doing the experiment. Then, list your results and explain how they confirmed or did not confirm your hypothesis. Additionally, include any uncertainties, such as circumstances beyond your control that may have impacted the results. Finally, discuss any new questions or discoveries that emerged from the experiment. For more advice, including how to wrap up your lab report with a final statement, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Lab Report – with Example/Template

April 11, 2024

how to write a lab report template

Perhaps you’re in the midst of your challenging AP chemistry class in high school, or perhaps college you’re enrolled in biology , chemistry , or physics at university. At some point, you will likely be asked to write a lab report. Sometimes, your teacher or professor will give you specific instructions for how to format and write your lab report, and if so, use that. In case you’re left to your own devices, here are some guidelines you might find useful. Continue reading for the main elements of a lab report, followed by a detailed description of the more writing-heavy parts (with a lab report example/lab report template). Lastly, we’ve included an outline that can help get you started.

What is a lab report?

A lab report is an overview of your experiment. Essentially, it explains what you did in the experiment and how it went. Most lab reports end up being 5-10 pages long (graphs or other images included), though the length depends on the experiment. Here are some brief explanations of the essential parts of a lab report:

Title : The title says, in the most straightforward way possible, what you did in the experiment. Often, the title looks something like, “Effects of ____ on _____.” Sometimes, a lab report also requires a title page, which includes your name (and the names of any lab partners), your instructor’s name, and the date of the experiment.

Abstract : This is a short description of key findings of the experiment so that a potential reader could get an idea of the experiment before even beginning.

Introduction : This is comprised of one or several paragraphs summarizing the purpose of the lab. The introduction usually includes the hypothesis, as well as some background information.

Lab Report Example (Continued)

Materials : Perhaps the simplest part of your lab report, this is where you list everything needed for the completion of your experiment.

Methods : This is where you describe your experimental procedure. The section provides necessary information for someone who would want to replicate your study. In paragraph form, write out your methods in chronological order, though avoid excessive detail.

Data : Here, you should document what happened in the experiment, step-by-step. This section often includes graphs and tables with data, as well as descriptions of patterns and trends. You do not need to interpret all of the data in this section, but you can describe trends or patterns, and state which findings are interesting and/or significant.

Discussion of results : This is the overview of your findings from the experiment, with an explanation of how they pertain to your hypothesis, as well as any anomalies or errors.

Conclusion : Your conclusion will sum up the results of your experiment, as well as their significance. Sometimes, conclusions also suggest future studies.

Sources : Often in APA style , you should list all texts that helped you with your experiment. Make sure to include course readings, outside sources, and other experiments that you may have used to design your own.

How to write the abstract

The abstract is the experiment stated “in a nutshell”: the procedure, results, and a few key words. The purpose of the academic abstract is to help a potential reader get an idea of the experiment so they can decide whether to read the full paper. So, make sure your abstract is as clear and direct as possible, and under 200 words (though word count varies).

When writing an abstract for a scientific lab report, we recommend covering the following points:

  • Background : Why was this experiment conducted?
  • Objectives : What problem is being addressed by this experiment?
  • Methods : How was the study designed and conducted?
  • Results : What results were found and what do they mean?
  • Conclusion : Were the results expected? Is this problem better understood now than before? If so, how?

How to write the introduction

The introduction is another summary, of sorts, so it could be easy to confuse the introduction with the abstract. While the abstract tends to be around 200 words summarizing the entire study, the introduction can be longer if necessary, covering background information on the study, what you aim to accomplish, and your hypothesis. Unlike the abstract (or the conclusion), the introduction does not need to state the results of the experiment.

Here is a possible order with which you can organize your lab report introduction:

  • Intro of the intro : Plainly state what your study is doing.
  • Background : Provide a brief overview of the topic being studied. This could include key terms and definitions. This should not be an extensive literature review, but rather, a window into the most relevant topics a reader would need to understand in order to understand your research.
  • Importance : Now, what are the gaps in existing research? Given the background you just provided, what questions do you still have that led you to conduct this experiment? Are you clarifying conflicting results? Are you undertaking a new area of research altogether?
  • Prediction: The plants placed by the window will grow faster than plants placed in the dark corner.
  • Hypothesis: Basil plants placed in direct sunlight for 2 hours per day grow at a higher rate than basil plants placed in direct sunlight for 30 minutes per day.
  • How you test your hypothesis : This is an opportunity to briefly state how you go about your experiment, but this is not the time to get into specific details about your methods (save this for your results section). Keep this part down to one sentence, and voila! You have your introduction.

How to write a discussion section

Here, we’re skipping ahead to the next writing-heavy section, which will directly follow the numeric data of your experiment. The discussion includes any calculations and interpretations based on this data. In other words, it says, “Now that we have the data, why should we care?”  This section asks, how does this data sit in relation to the hypothesis? Does it prove your hypothesis or disprove it? The discussion is also a good place to mention any mistakes that were made during the experiment, and ways you would improve the experiment if you were to repeat it. Like the other written sections, it should be as concise as possible.

Here is a list of points to cover in your lab report discussion:

  • Weaker statement: These findings prove that basil plants grow more quickly in the sunlight.
  • Stronger statement: These findings support the hypothesis that basil plants placed in direct sunlight grow at a higher rate than basil plants given less direct sunlight.
  • Factors influencing results : This is also an opportunity to mention any anomalies, errors, or inconsistencies in your data. Perhaps when you tested the first round of basil plants, the days were sunnier than the others. Perhaps one of the basil pots broke mid-experiment so it needed to be replanted, which affected your results. If you were to repeat the study, how would you change it so that the results were more consistent?
  • Implications : How do your results contribute to existing research? Here, refer back to the gaps in research that you mentioned in your introduction. Do these results fill these gaps as you hoped?
  • Questions for future research : Based on this, how might your results contribute to future research? What are the next steps, or the next experiments on this topic? Make sure this does not become too broad—keep it to the scope of this project.

How to write a lab report conclusion

This is your opportunity to briefly remind the reader of your findings and finish strong. Your conclusion should be especially concise (avoid going into detail on findings or introducing new information).

Here are elements to include as you write your conclusion, in about 1-2 sentences each:

  • Restate your goals : What was the main question of your experiment? Refer back to your introduction—similar language is okay.
  • Restate your methods : In a sentence or so, how did you go about your experiment?
  • Key findings : Briefly summarize your main results, but avoid going into detail.
  • Limitations : What about your experiment was less-than-ideal, and how could you improve upon the experiment in future studies?
  • Significance and future research : Why is your research important? What are the logical next-steps for studying this topic?

Template for beginning your lab report

Here is a compiled outline from the bullet points in these sections above, with some examples based on the (overly-simplistic) basil growth experiment. Hopefully this will be useful as you begin your lab report.

1) Title (ex: Effects of Sunlight on Basil Plant Growth )

2) Abstract (approx. 200 words)

  • Background ( This experiment looks at… )
  • Objectives ( It aims to contribute to research on…)
  • Methods ( It does so through a process of…. )
  • Results (Findings supported the hypothesis that… )
  • Conclusion (These results contribute to a wider understanding about…)

3) Introduction (approx. 1-2 paragraphs)

  • Intro ( This experiment looks at… )
  • Background ( Past studies on basil plant growth and sunlight have found…)
  • Importance ( This experiment will contribute to these past studies by…)
  • Hypothesis ( Basil plants placed in direct sunlight for 2 hours per day grow at a higher rate than basil plants placed in direct sunlight for 30 minutes per day.)
  • How you will test your hypothesis ( This hypothesis will be tested by a process of…)

4) Materials (list form) (ex: pots, soil, seeds, tables/stands, water, light source )

5) Methods (approx. 1-2 paragraphs) (ex: 10 basil plants were measured throughout a span of…)

6) Data (brief description and figures) (ex: These charts demonstrate a pattern that the basil plants placed in direct sunlight…)

7) Discussion (approx. 2-3 paragraphs)

  • Support or reject hypothesis ( These findings support the hypothesis that basil plants placed in direct sunlight grow at a higher rate than basil plants given less direct sunlight.)
  • Factors that influenced your results ( Outside factors that could have altered the results include…)
  • Implications ( These results contribute to current research on basil plant growth and sunlight because…)
  • Questions for further research ( Next steps for this research could include…)
  • Restate your goals ( In summary, the goal of this experiment was to measure…)
  • Restate your methods ( This hypothesis was tested by…)
  • Key findings ( The findings supported the hypothesis because…)
  • Limitations ( Although, certain elements were overlooked, including…)
  • Significance and future research ( This experiment presents possibilities of future research contributions, such as…)
  • Sources (approx. 1 page, usually in APA style)

Final thoughts – Lab Report Example

Hopefully, these descriptions have helped as you write your next lab report. Remember that different instructors may have different preferences for structure and format, so make sure to double-check when you receive your assignment. All in all, make sure to keep your scientific lab report concise, focused, honest, and organized. Good luck!

For more reading on coursework success, check out the following articles:

  • How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay (With Example)
  • How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay (With Example)
  • 49 Most Interesting Biology Research Topics
  • 50 Best Environmental Science Research Topics
  • High School Success

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Sarah Mininsohn

With a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sarah is a writer, educator, and artist. She served as a graduate instructor at the University of Illinois, a tutor at St Peter’s School in Philadelphia, and an academic writing tutor and thesis mentor at Wesleyan’s Writing Workshop.

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how to write a conclusion in a lab report

Conclusions

This page will support you in satisfying Writing Learning Outcome:  

CONCLUSION - Provide an effective conclusion that summarizes the laboratory's purpose, processes, and key findings, and makes appropriate recommendations. 

Learning Objectives

You should be able to

Identify technical audience expectations for engineering lab report conclusions.

Describe what makes a conclusion meaningful, especially to a technical audience.

Relate the idea of audience expectations to prior writing instruction.

Write meaningful conclusions for an engineering lab report.

Summarize the important contents of the laboratory report clearly, succinctly, and with sufficient specificity.

Support conclusions with the evidence presented earlier in the lab report.

What is a Meaningful Conclusion in an Engineering Lab Report?

A conclusion is meaningful if it includes a summary of the work (i.e., objective and process) as well as the key findings (i.e., the results of the work and their implications) of the lab work.

The technical audience expects the following features to make the conclusion meaningful.

Restate the objective briefly.

Restate the lab process briefly.

Restate the important results of the lab work briefly, including any significant errors.

Restate the important findings briefly to meet the objective.

Provide brief recommendations for future actions or laboratories.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Seen in Poorly Written Engineering Lab Reports?

No conclusion is included in the report.

The conclusion is missing an important part (i.e., lab o bjective and key results) of the lab.

New data or new discussion is included that was not written in the report body.

Concluding statements do not address the stated objectives of the report.

The conclusion includes opinions only rather than the facts supported by other sections of the report.

Statements are overly general without containing any meaningful takeaways.

Statements are overly specific with the detailed descriptions which are supposed to be in the body.

Sample Conclusions

how to write a conclusion in a lab report

Why Does the Technical Audience Value Meaningful Conclusions From Engineering Lab Reports?

The technical audience reads the lab report conclusions carefully to take away the writer’s most important information. If the conclusion is well written, they may not need to read any other part of the report or know that they want to read the rest of the report to understand important details.

How Can we Use Engineering Judgment When Drawing Lab Report Conclusions?

In the context of engineering lab reports, engineering judgment can be defined as an application of evidence (i.e., lab data) and engineering principles (i.e., theory) to make decisions. The technical audience can trust the conclusions only when they are based on accurate data. The writer should use appropriate engineering principles when investigating and discussing lab data.

Common Mistakes

The conclusion is missing an important part (i.e., key results) of the lab.

Kim, J., Kim, D., (2019) “How engineering students draw conclusions from lab reports and design project reports in junior-level engineering courses,” The Proceedings of 2019 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Tampa, FL, June 2019. https://peer.asee.org/how-engineering-students-draw-conclusions-from-lab-reports-and-design-project-reports-injunior-level-engineering-courses.pdf

“Argument Papers”, Purdue University, Purdue Online Writing Lab, Argument Papers, https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/conclusions.html

“Student Writing Guide”, University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering, http://www.me.umn.edu/education/undergraduate/writing/MESWG-Lab.1.5.pdf

FTLOScience

Complete Guide to Writing a Lab Report (With Example)

Students tend to approach writing lab reports with confusion and dread. Whether in high school science classes or undergraduate laboratories, experiments are always fun and games until the times comes to submit a lab report. What if we didn’t need to spend hours agonizing over this piece of scientific writing? Our lives would be so much easier if we were told what information to include, what to do with all their data and how to use references. Well, here’s a guide to all the core components in a well-written lab report, complete with an example.

Things to Include in a Laboratory Report

The laboratory report is simply a way to show that you understand the link between theory and practice while communicating through clear and concise writing. As with all forms of writing, it’s not the report’s length that matters, but the quality of the information conveyed within. This article outlines the important bits that go into writing a lab report (title, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusion, reference). At the end is an example report of reducing sugar analysis with Benedict’s reagent.

The report’s title should be short but descriptive, indicating the qualitative or quantitative nature of the practical along with the primary goal or area of focus.

Following this should be the abstract, 2-3 sentences summarizing the practical. The abstract shows the reader the main results of the practical and helps them decide quickly whether the rest of the report is relevant to their use. Remember that the whole report should be written in a passive voice .

Introduction

The introduction provides context to the experiment in a couple of paragraphs and relevant diagrams. While a short preamble outlining the history of the techniques or materials used in the practical is appropriate, the bulk of the introduction should outline the experiment’s goals, creating a logical flow to the next section.

Some reports require you to write down the materials used, which can be combined with this section. The example below does not include a list of materials used. If unclear, it is best to check with your teacher or demonstrator before writing your lab report from scratch.

Step-by-step methods are usually provided in high school and undergraduate laboratory practicals, so it’s just a matter of paraphrasing them. This is usually the section that teachers and demonstrators care the least about. Any unexpected changes to the experimental setup or techniques can also be documented here.

The results section should include the raw data that has been collected in the experiment as well as calculations that are performed. It is usually appropriate to include diagrams; depending on the experiment, these can range from scatter plots to chromatograms.

The discussion is the most critical part of the lab report as it is a chance for you to show that you have a deep understanding of the practical and the theory behind it. Teachers and lecturers tend to give this section the most weightage when marking the report. It would help if you used the discussion section to address several points:

  • Explain the results gathered. Is there a particular trend? Do the results support the theory behind the experiment?
  • Highlight any unexpected results or outlying data points. What are possible sources of error?
  • Address the weaknesses of the experiment. Refer to the materials and methods used to identify improvements that would yield better results (more accurate equipment, better experimental technique, etc.)  

Finally, a short paragraph to conclude the laboratory report. It should summarize the findings and provide an objective review of the experiment.

If any external sources were used in writing the lab report, they should go here. Referencing is critical in scientific writing; it’s like giving a shout out (known as a citation) to the original provider of the information. It is good practice to have at least one source referenced, either from researching the context behind the experiment, best practices for the method used or similar industry standards.

Google Scholar is a good resource for quickly gathering references of a specific style . Searching for the article in the search bar and clicking on the ‘cite’ button opens a pop-up that allows you to copy and paste from several common referencing styles.

referencing styles from google scholar

Example: Writing a Lab Report

Title : Semi-Quantitative Analysis of Food Products using Benedict’s Reagent

Abstract : Food products (milk, chicken, bread, orange juice) were solubilized and tested for reducing sugars using Benedict’s reagent. Milk contained the highest level of reducing sugars at ~2%, while chicken contained almost no reducing sugars.

Introduction : Sugar detection has been of interest for over 100 years, with the first test for glucose using copper sulfate developed by German chemist Karl Trommer in 1841. It was used to test the urine of diabetics, where sugar was present in high amounts. However, it wasn’t until 1907 when the method was perfected by Stanley Benedict, using sodium citrate and sodium carbonate to stabilize the copper sulfate in solution. Benedict’s reagent is a bright blue because of the copper sulfate, turning green and then red as the concentration of reducing sugars increases.

Benedict’s reagent was used in this experiment to compare the amount of reducing sugars between four food items: milk, chicken solution, bread and orange juice. Following this, standardized glucose solutions (0.0%, 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, 2.0%) were tested with Benedict’s reagent to determine the color produced at those sugar levels, allowing us to perform a semi-quantitative analysis of the food items.

Method : Benedict’s reagent was prepared by mixing 1.73 g of copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate, 17.30 g of sodium citrate pentahydrate and 10.00 g of sodium carbonate anhydrous. The mixture was dissolved with stirring and made up to 100 ml using distilled water before filtration using filter paper and a funnel to remove any impurities.

4 ml of milk, chicken solution and orange juice (commercially available) were measured in test tubes, along with 4 ml of bread solution. The bread solution was prepared using 4 g of dried bread ground with mortar and pestle before diluting with distilled water up to 4 ml. Then, 4 ml of Benedict’s reagent was added to each test tube and placed in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, then each test tube was observed.

Next, glucose solutions were prepared by dissolving 0.5 g, 1.0 g, 1.5 g and 2.0 g of glucose in 100 ml of distilled water to produce 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5% and 2.0% solutions, respectively. 4 ml of each solution was added to 4 ml of Benedict’s reagent in a test tube and placed in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, then each test tube was observed.

Results : Food Solutions (4 ml) with Benedict’s Reagent (4 ml)

Glucose Solutions (4 ml) with Benedict’s Reagent (4 ml)

Semi-Quantitative Analysis from Data

Discussion : From the analysis of food solutions along with the glucose solutions of known concentrations, the semi-quantitative analysis of sugar levels in different food products was performed. Milk had the highest sugar content of 2%, with orange juice at 1.5%, bread at 0.5% and chicken with 0% sugar. These values were approximated; the standard solutions were not the exact color of the food solutions, but the closest color match was chosen.

One point of contention was using the orange juice solution, which conferred color to the starting solution, rendering it green before the reaction started. This could have led to the final color (and hence, sugar quantity) being inaccurate. Also, since comparing colors using eyesight alone is inaccurate, the experiment could be improved with a colorimeter that can accurately determine the exact wavelength of light absorbed by the solution.

Another downside of Benedict’s reagent is its inability to react with non-reducing sugars. Reducing sugars encompass all sugar types that can be oxidized from aldehydes or ketones into carboxylic acids. This means that all monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, etc.) are reducing sugars, while only select polysaccharides are. Disaccharides like sucrose and trehalose cannot be oxidized, hence are non-reducing and will not react with Benedict’s reagent. Furthermore, Benedict’s reagent cannot distinguish between different types of reducing sugars.

Conclusion : Using Benedict’s reagent, different food products were analyzed semi-quantitatively for their levels of reducing sugars. Milk contained around 2% sugar, while the chicken solution had no sugar. Overall, the experiment was a success, although the accuracy of the results could have been improved with the use of quantitative equipment and methods.

Reference :

  • Raza, S. I., Raza, S. A., Kazmi, M., Khan, S., & Hussain, I. (2021). 100 Years of Glucose Monitoring in Diabetes Management.  Journal of Diabetes Mellitus ,  11 (5), 221-233.
  • Benedict, Stanley R (1909). A Reagent for the Detection of Reducing Sugars.  Journal of Biological Chemistry ,  5 , 485-487.

Using this guide and example, writing a lab report should be a hassle-free, perhaps even enjoyable process!

About the Author

sean author

Sean is a consultant for clients in the pharmaceutical industry and is an associate lecturer at La Trobe University, where unfortunate undergrads are subject to his ramblings on chemistry and pharmacology.

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Lab Report Format: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

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Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

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In psychology, a lab report outlines a study’s objectives, methods, results, discussion, and conclusions, ensuring clarity and adherence to APA (or relevant) formatting guidelines.

A typical lab report would include the following sections: title, abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion.

The title page, abstract, references, and appendices are started on separate pages (subsections from the main body of the report are not). Use double-line spacing of text, font size 12, and include page numbers.

The report should have a thread of arguments linking the prediction in the introduction to the content of the discussion.

This must indicate what the study is about. It must include the variables under investigation. It should not be written as a question.

Title pages should be formatted in APA style .

The abstract provides a concise and comprehensive summary of a research report. Your style should be brief but not use note form. Look at examples in journal articles . It should aim to explain very briefly (about 150 words) the following:

  • Start with a one/two sentence summary, providing the aim and rationale for the study.
  • Describe participants and setting: who, when, where, how many, and what groups?
  • Describe the method: what design, what experimental treatment, what questionnaires, surveys, or tests were used.
  • Describe the major findings, including a mention of the statistics used and the significance levels, or simply one sentence summing up the outcome.
  • The final sentence(s) outline the study’s “contribution to knowledge” within the literature. What does it all mean? Mention the implications of your findings if appropriate.

The abstract comes at the beginning of your report but is written at the end (as it summarises information from all the other sections of the report).

Introduction

The purpose of the introduction is to explain where your hypothesis comes from (i.e., it should provide a rationale for your research study).

Ideally, the introduction should have a funnel structure: Start broad and then become more specific. The aims should not appear out of thin air; the preceding review of psychological literature should lead logically into the aims and hypotheses.

The funnel structure of the introducion to a lab report

  • Start with general theory, briefly introducing the topic. Define the important key terms.
  • Explain the theoretical framework.
  • Summarise and synthesize previous studies – What was the purpose? Who were the participants? What did they do? What did they find? What do these results mean? How do the results relate to the theoretical framework?
  • Rationale: How does the current study address a gap in the literature? Perhaps it overcomes a limitation of previous research.
  • Aims and hypothesis. Write a paragraph explaining what you plan to investigate and make a clear and concise prediction regarding the results you expect to find.

There should be a logical progression of ideas that aids the flow of the report. This means the studies outlined should lead logically to your aims and hypotheses.

Do be concise and selective, and avoid the temptation to include anything in case it is relevant (i.e., don’t write a shopping list of studies).

USE THE FOLLOWING SUBHEADINGS:

Participants

  • How many participants were recruited?
  • Say how you obtained your sample (e.g., opportunity sample).
  • Give relevant demographic details (e.g., gender, ethnicity, age range, mean age, and standard deviation).
  • State the experimental design .
  • What were the independent and dependent variables ? Make sure the independent variable is labeled and name the different conditions/levels.
  • For example, if gender is the independent variable label, then male and female are the levels/conditions/groups.
  • How were the IV and DV operationalized?
  • Identify any controls used, e.g., counterbalancing and control of extraneous variables.
  • List all the materials and measures (e.g., what was the title of the questionnaire? Was it adapted from a study?).
  • You do not need to include wholesale replication of materials – instead, include a ‘sensible’ (illustrate) level of detail. For example, give examples of questionnaire items.
  • Include the reliability (e.g., alpha values) for the measure(s).
  • Describe the precise procedure you followed when conducting your research, i.e., exactly what you did.
  • Describe in sufficient detail to allow for replication of findings.
  • Be concise in your description and omit extraneous/trivial details, e.g., you don’t need to include details regarding instructions, debrief, record sheets, etc.
  • Assume the reader has no knowledge of what you did and ensure that he/she can replicate (i.e., copy) your study exactly by what you write in this section.
  • Write in the past tense.
  • Don’t justify or explain in the Method (e.g., why you chose a particular sampling method); just report what you did.
  • Only give enough detail for someone to replicate the experiment – be concise in your writing.
  • The results section of a paper usually presents descriptive statistics followed by inferential statistics.
  • Report the means, standard deviations, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each IV level. If you have four to 20 numbers to present, a well-presented table is best, APA style.
  • Name the statistical test being used.
  • Report appropriate statistics (e.g., t-scores, p values ).
  • Report the magnitude (e.g., are the results significant or not?) as well as the direction of the results (e.g., which group performed better?).
  • It is optional to report the effect size (this does not appear on the SPSS output).
  • Avoid interpreting the results (save this for the discussion).
  • Make sure the results are presented clearly and concisely. A table can be used to display descriptive statistics if this makes the data easier to understand.
  • DO NOT include any raw data.
  • Follow APA style.

Use APA Style

  • Numbers reported to 2 d.p. (incl. 0 before the decimal if 1.00, e.g., “0.51”). The exceptions to this rule: Numbers which can never exceed 1.0 (e.g., p -values, r-values): report to 3 d.p. and do not include 0 before the decimal place, e.g., “.001”.
  • Percentages and degrees of freedom: report as whole numbers.
  • Statistical symbols that are not Greek letters should be italicized (e.g., M , SD , t , X 2 , F , p , d ).
  • Include spaces on either side of the equals sign.
  • When reporting 95%, CIs (confidence intervals), upper and lower limits are given inside square brackets, e.g., “95% CI [73.37, 102.23]”
  • Outline your findings in plain English (avoid statistical jargon) and relate your results to your hypothesis, e.g., is it supported or rejected?
  • Compare your results to background materials from the introduction section. Are your results similar or different? Discuss why/why not.
  • How confident can we be in the results? Acknowledge limitations, but only if they can explain the result obtained. If the study has found a reliable effect, be very careful suggesting limitations as you are doubting your results. Unless you can think of any c onfounding variable that can explain the results instead of the IV, it would be advisable to leave the section out.
  • Suggest constructive ways to improve your study if appropriate.
  • What are the implications of your findings? Say what your findings mean for how people behave in the real world.
  • Suggest an idea for further research triggered by your study, something in the same area but not simply an improved version of yours. Perhaps you could base this on a limitation of your study.
  • Concluding paragraph – Finish with a statement of your findings and the key points of the discussion (e.g., interpretation and implications) in no more than 3 or 4 sentences.

Reference Page

The reference section lists all the sources cited in the essay (alphabetically). It is not a bibliography (a list of the books you used).

In simple terms, every time you refer to a psychologist’s name (and date), you need to reference the original source of information.

If you have been using textbooks this is easy as the references are usually at the back of the book and you can just copy them down. If you have been using websites then you may have a problem as they might not provide a reference section for you to copy.

References need to be set out APA style :

Author, A. A. (year). Title of work . Location: Publisher.

Journal Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number (issue number), page numbers

A simple way to write your reference section is to use Google scholar . Just type the name and date of the psychologist in the search box and click on the “cite” link.

google scholar search results

Next, copy and paste the APA reference into the reference section of your essay.

apa reference

Once again, remember that references need to be in alphabetical order according to surname.

Psychology Lab Report Example

Quantitative paper template.

Quantitative professional paper template: Adapted from “Fake News, Fast and Slow: Deliberation Reduces Belief in False (but Not True) News Headlines,” by B. Bago, D. G. Rand, and G. Pennycook, 2020,  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General ,  149 (8), pp. 1608–1613 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000729 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

Qualitative paper template

Qualitative professional paper template: Adapted from “‘My Smartphone Is an Extension of Myself’: A Holistic Qualitative Exploration of the Impact of Using a Smartphone,” by L. J. Harkin and D. Kuss, 2020,  Psychology of Popular Media ,  10 (1), pp. 28–38 ( https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000278 ). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

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How to Write a Psychology Essay

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Writing Lab Reports

Writing lab reports follows a straightforward and structured procedure. It is important to recognize that each part of a lab report is important, so take the time to complete each carefully. A lab report is broken down into eight sections: title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. 

  • Ex: "Determining the Free Chlorine Content of Pool Water"
  • Abstracts are a summary of the experiment as a whole and should familiarize the reader with the purpose of the research. 
  • Abstracts will always be written last, even though they are the first paragraph of a lab report. 
  • Not all lab reports will require an abstract. However, they are often included in upper-level lab reports and should be studied carefully. 
  • Why was the research done or experiment conducted?
  • What problem is being addressed?
  • What results were found?
  • What are the meaning of the results?
  • How is the problem better understood now than before, if at all?

Introduction

  • The introduction of a lab report discusses the problem being studied and other theory that is relevant to understanding the findings. 
  • The hypothesis of the experiment and the motivation for the research are stated in this section. 
  • Write the introduction in your own words. Try not to copy from a lab manual or other guidelines. Instead, show comprehension of the experiment by briefly explaining the problem.

Methods and Materials

  • Ex: pipette, graduated cylinder, 1.13mg of Na, 0.67mg Ag
  • List the steps taken as they actually happened during the experiment, not as they were supposed to happen. 
  • If written correctly, another researcher should be able to duplicate the experiment and get the same or very similar results. 
  • The results show the data that was collected or found during the experiment. 
  • Explain in words the data that was collected.
  • Tables should be labeled numerically, as "Table 1", "Table 2", etc. Other figures should be labeled numerically as "Figure 1", "Figure 2", etc. 
  • Calculations to understand the data can also be presented in the results. 
  • The discussion section is one of the most important parts of the lab report. It analyzes the results of the experiment and is a discussion of the data. 
  • If any results are unexpected, explain why they are unexpected and how they did or did not effect the data obtained. 
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the design of the experiment and compare your results to other similar experiments.
  • If there are any experimental errors, analyze them.
  • Explain your results and discuss them using relevant terms and theories.
  • What do the results indicate?
  • What is the significance of the results?
  • Are there any gaps in knowledge?
  • Are there any new questions that have been raised?
  • The conclusion is a summation of the experiment. It should clearly and concisely state what was learned and its importance.
  • If there is future work that needs to be done, it can be explained in the conclusion.
  • If using any outside sources to support a claim or explain background information, those sources must be cited in the references section of the lab report. 
  • In the event that no outside sources are used, the references section may be left out. 

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How to Write a Lab Report

Lab Reports Describe Your Experiment

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Lab reports are an essential part of all laboratory courses and usually a significant part of your grade. If your instructor gives you an outline for how to write a lab report, use that. Some instructors require a lab report to be included in a lab notebook , while others will request a separate report. Here's a format for a lab report you can use if you aren't sure what to write or need an explanation of what to include in the different parts of the report.

A lab report is how you explain what you did in ​your experiment, what you learned, and what the results meant.

Lab Report Essentials

Not all lab reports have title pages, but if your instructor wants one, it would be a single page that states:​

  • The title of the experiment.
  • Your name and the names of any lab partners.
  • Your instructor's name.
  • The date the lab was performed or the date the report was submitted.

The title says what you did. It should be brief (aim for ten words or less) and describe the main point of the experiment or investigation. An example of a title would be: "Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Borax Crystal Growth Rate". If you can, begin your title using a keyword rather than an article like "The" or "A".

Introduction or Purpose

Usually, the introduction is one paragraph that explains the objectives or purpose of the lab. In one sentence, state the hypothesis. Sometimes an introduction may contain background information, briefly summarize how the experiment was performed, state the findings of the experiment, and list the conclusions of the investigation. Even if you don't write a whole introduction, you need to state the purpose of the experiment, or why you did it. This would be where you state your hypothesis .

List everything needed to complete your experiment.

Describe the steps you completed during your investigation. This is your procedure. Be sufficiently detailed that anyone could read this section and duplicate your experiment. Write it as if you were giving direction for someone else to do the lab. It may be helpful to provide a figure to diagram your experimental setup.

Numerical data obtained from your procedure usually presented as a table. Data encompasses what you recorded when you conducted the experiment. It's just the facts, not any interpretation of what they mean.

Describe in words what the data means. Sometimes the Results section is combined with the Discussion.

Discussion or Analysis

The Data section contains numbers; the Analysis section contains any calculations you made based on those numbers. This is where you interpret the data and determine whether or not a hypothesis was accepted. This is also where you would discuss any mistakes you might have made while conducting the investigation. You may wish to describe ways the study might have been improved.

Conclusions

Most of the time the conclusion is a single paragraph that sums up what happened in the experiment, whether your hypothesis was accepted or rejected, and what this means.

Figures and Graphs

Graphs and figures must both be labeled with a descriptive title. Label the axes on a graph, being sure to include units of measurement. The independent variable is on the X-axis, the dependent variable (the one you are measuring) is on the Y-axis. Be sure to refer to figures and graphs in the text of your report: the first figure is Figure 1, the second figure is Figure 2, etc.

If your research was based on someone else's work or if you cited facts that require documentation, then you should list these references.

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Discussion or Conclusion

Test yourself (discussion).

Once you've discussed the most important findings of your study in the Results section, you will use the Discussion section to interpret those findings and talk about why they are important (some instructors call this the Conclusion section). You might want to talk about how your results agree, or disagree, with the results from similar studies. Here you can also mention areas ways you could have improved your study or further research to be done on the topic. Do not just restate your results - talk about why they are significant and important. Here's a paragraph taken from the Discussion from the bone fracture paper. Notice how the authors relate their results to what is already known about the topic. The numbers in brackets refer to references listed at the end of their paper (not shown here).

The data indicate that avoiding a low level of physical activity substantially reduces the risk of all fractures, particularly hip fractures—the most devastating of osteoporotic fractures—in men. Even changes in physical activity during the follow-up affected hip fracture risk. As expected, those who maintained a high physical activity level had the lowest risk of hip fracture, but there was also a tendency towards a lower risk of fracture for those who increased their level of activity compared with those who reduced their level of activity, or compared with those who reported constant low activity. This observation has previously been made in women [8,16]. There are several possible mechanisms, related to muscle performance and balance as well as to bone architecture and strength, whereby physical activity can reduce the risk of fractures [28,29].

Which of the following is a good example of a sentence you would find in the Discussion section of a lab report?

a. Ten dogs with no previous training were selected for the study. b. Unlike in previous studies on dog training, most of the dogs in this study retained the ability to perform tricks for up to six weeks after the initial training sessions. c. Seven of the ten dogs learned how to "sit" after three training sessions. d. It was hypothesized that the dogs would be able to retain all of the training commands for six weeks after the initial training sessions.

B The Discussion should interpret the findings from the study and relate them to other similar studies. It is not the place to talk about the results, the methods use, or the original hypothesis.

Click on the question, to see the answer.

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How to write a lab report conclusion.

How to Write a Lab Report Conclusion

Like other reports, without a conclusion, a lab report is incomplete. Conclusions are an integral part of lab reports and are fundamental to the demonstration of report objectives and reiteration of findings.

Although conclusions are often short, confined to a paragraph, they are nonetheless some of the most difficult aspects of a lab report.

This article will, therefore, explain how to write a good conclusion for a lab report. But before that, it will remind you of the basics and format of lab reports for a comprehensive exposition.

Basic Lab Report

All reports describe the process of an experiment or a study from the beginning to the end. There are several categories of reports and a lab report is one of them.

A lab report follows the same routine as a typical report. Except that in a lab report, you are mostly dealing with scientific and laboratory experiments. In other words, a lab report describes the process of a scientific and laboratory experiment from the beginning to the end.

A lab report is required to test what students — whether chemistry students or biology students — had learned in the course of an experiment.

Ideally, a lab report begins with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. Conclusion is often the part where the results of experiments are reiterated and readers are provided with a short but general overview of the whole process.

Science Lab Report Format

Unlike other reports, a lab report is fundamentally a science experiment report. A scientific report documents the process, procedures, and findings of scientific research.

An example of a scientific report is an academic essay a teacher asked you to submit about technology or the one you wrote about cancer.

Whether your lab report is biological or chemical, there is a format to all scientific reports. A typical scientific laboratory report will contain:

  • Purpose: A brief description of what the research is all about, including the methods used and the resources available to the student.
  • Hypothesis: Guess statements on expected results of the scientific experiment.
  • Procedure: A step-by-step guide and instructions followed by the student in the course of the experiment.
  • Lab Safety: Safety precautions adhered to by the student throughout the experiment.
  • Data: Recorded experimental data generated on the experiment by the student.
  • Observations: The sudden burst of insight and perspectives about the experiment.
  • Results: The findings of the student from the experiment through collected data and observations.
  • Conclusion: Summary of the experiment, most especially as the findings relate to the report’s purpose and hypothesis.

Lab Report Conclusion

As a university or college science student, writing a lab report might not be new to you but it is a challenging process. This is because the whole lab report structure consumes. From the objective of the experiment to lab report conclusions, each structure wrestles for time.

Learning how to write a discussion and conclusion for a lab report is not the same as learning how to write a lab report itself. While it could be said that knowing the latter should help with the former, it is not always so. There are several examples of great lab reports with shabby conclusions.

Conclusions can prove tricky and this is the reason why you need to learn how to write them. To conclude lab reports, you would need to be familiar with the lab report conclusion outline (also called the lab report conclusion template). You can consider the following 5 outlines:

The first step to take before you conclude your reports is to assess the whole report from the beginning to where it stopped. This means you would need to visit and revisit the whole experiment to be sure that no structure of your report is left out.

The purpose of this is for you to go through the process of the report again. Experiments are usually consuming and at some points, you might get lost or stuck in a part and thereby lose that sense of touch with other parts. But if you can assess the whole experiment again, it would be easy to jot down the process in the report for a succinct conclusion.

After you might have assessed the whole report, you would need to pay more attention to the introduction of your report under this step. You should be looking at the proposed purpose of your report here and see if it tallies with what you intend to conclude with.

The introductory part of your report must align with the conclusive part. The introduction part should not be saying something different from the conclusion unless your report risks a crime of inconsistency. Consistency is essential to every great scientific and laboratory report.

Now that you have assessed the general report and the introductory, the next stage is to apply the RERUN Method to conclude your report. The RERUN is a useful acronym for integrating the essential parts of your experiment in your conclusion. Just as the rest of the report, conclusions also contain key ingredients.

RERUN stands for Restate, Explain, Results, Uncertainties , and New . To brilliantly conclude your report, you would need to follow the acronym and apply what each letter stands for.

When you want to conclude, you should Restate the lab experiment and Explain what the whole project is set out to achieve. Then proceed to explain the Results through the generated data and confirmation of the hypothesis. After that, make provisions for the Uncertainty and discuss New matters or solutions arising from the experiment.

  • Add Sections If necessary, you should add other sections of your experiment. Depending on the purpose of your project, you might need to add your data procedures or part of your observations to it. While the RERUN Method is a great way to conclude, it is not absolute. For instance, you may ask yourself “What is the importance of calculations in a lab report or my lab report?” and try to include the section where necessary.
  • Conclusive Assessment Once you are done with the conclusion, you should assess that part again. You should look out for errors, consistency, and how the whole part of your report reads with and without that portion of the added conclusion. How long should a lab report conclusion be? It should be as concise and precise as possible.

Examples of Lab Report Conclusion

Provided are examples of a good scientific report conclusion and a bad one. The good one follows the outlines of concluding a report while the bad one negates the outlines. Through the examples, you can glean how best to conclude your report.

Good Example

A good report conclusion will contain all 5 outlines (mentioned above) that can be deployed for summing up your reports. Here is an example:

“In conclusion, team management is a process and only indicates the many strategies that go into it, helped by effective decision-making sequential and procedural. Since most decisions begin from problems, it is pertinent that the processes of decision-making reflect the identification of problems, definition of them, decision, action, and feedback. Through the sequences, it would be noted that decision-making can be programmed or non-programmed, depending on the flexibility and occurrence; and can be operational, tactical, or strategic, depending on the duration of the problem needed to be solved. Besides, there are styles of decision-making, informed by actions. These actions, however, should always be checked and balanced through effective feedback.”

Before the report conclusion was written, a general assessment of the whole report was made to jot down the process and relearned the experience. The first report hinges on team management and decision-making, both themes were justified.

Also, through an introductory assessment, the topic sentence and purpose of the report were clear. The conclusion was well-organized and the report was not bereft of the conclusion outlines not excluding the RERUN Method.

Bad Example

This is one of the examples of a bad report conclusion.

“The infant stage is considered fundamental. It is the stage where all other stages are premised. It is thus plausible that development theories be looked at from this stage. The stage shows how Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories work, which in turn provide perspectives to understanding breastfeeding and mental health in infants.”

From the conclusion, it can be gleaned that the report does not follow the outlines as well as the RERUN Method. The thesis statement was unclear and the conclusion itself seems hurriedly done.

Need Help With Writing a Lab Report Conclusion?

Learning how to write a conclusion for a biology lab report or a chemistry lab report or just any other lab report can be challenging. You could bypass the challenges, anyway, by hiring cheap and trusted homework help or an expert. You would need to be certain they could be trusted with your deadline and are quality enough to earn you top grades in class. Otherwise, you should learn the nitty-gritty of lab reports yourself.

It shouldn’t be difficult to learn how to end a conclusion in a lab report, considering that this article has taken you through the process of lab report itself and then the outlines of lab report conclusions. Also provided are lab report conclusion examples — both good and bad — that you can model yours after.

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Write a few short sentences briefly summarizing what you did, how you did it, what you found and whether anything went wrong in your experiment.

Describe relevant theories that relate to your experiment here, and the steps to carry out your procedure.

Consider the following questions:

  • What are the relevant theories/principles that you used?
  • What equations did you use? Show how you modeled your experiment.
  • What materials, equipment and/or tools were necessary in making your measurements?
  • Where was this experiment conducted?
  • How did you make your measurements? How many times did you make them?
  • How did you record your measurements?
  • How did you determine and minimize the uncertainties in your measurements? Why did you choose to measure a specific quantity in a certain way?

It can be useful to predict the value (and uncertainty) that you expect to measure before conducting the measurement. You should report on this initial prediction in order to help you better understand the data from your experiment.

  • Predict your measured values and uncertainties. How precise do you expect your measurements to be?
  • What assumptions did you have to make to predict your results?
  • Have these predictions influenced how you should approach your procedure? Make relevant adjustments to the procedure based on your predictions.

Data and Analysis

Present your data. Include relevant tables/graphs. Describe in detail how you analysed the data, including how you propagated uncertainties. If the data do not agree with your model prediction (or the prediction from your proposal), examine whether you can improve your model.

  • How did you obtain the “final” measurement/value from your collected data?
  • How did you propagate uncertainties? Why did you do it that way?
  • What is the relative uncertainty on your value(s)?

Discussion and Conclusion

Summarize your findings, and address whether or not your model described the data. Discuss possible reasons why your measured value is not consisted with your model expectation (is it the model? is it the data?).

  • Were there any systematic errors that you didn’t consider?
  • Did you learn anything that you didn’t previously know? (eg. about the subject of your experiment, about the scientific method in general)
  • If you could redo this experiment, what would you change (if anything)?

Guide for reviewing a lab report

Summarize your overall evaluation of the report in 2-3 sentences. Focus on the experiment’s method and its result. For example, “The authors dropped balls from different heights to determine the value of g”. You don’t need to go into the specific details, just give a high level summary of the report. If the report is unclear, specify this.

  • Is the the procedure well thought-out, clearly and concisely described?
  • Do you have sufficient information that you could repeat this experiment?
  • Does the report clearly describe how different quantities were measured and how the uncertainties were determined?
  • Does the report motivate why the specific procedure was chosen? (e.g. to minimize uncertainties).
  • Does the experiment clearly state how uncertainties were propagated and how the data were analyzed?
  • Do you believe their result to be scientifically valid?

Overall Rating of the Experiment

Give the report an overall score, based on the criteria described above. Use one of the following to rate the proposal and include a sentence to justify your choice.

  • Satisfactory

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Laboratory Reports

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Discussion or Conclusion

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Once you've discussed the most important findings of your study in the Results section, you will use the Discussion section to interpret those findings and talk about why they are important (some instructors call this the "Conclusion" section). You might want to talk about how your results agree, or disagree, with the results from similar studies. Here you can also mention areas ways you could have improved your study or further research to be done on the topic. Do not just restate your results - talk about why they are significant and important.

how to write a conclusion in a lab report

Learn how to write a Discussion section, including how to report support for hypotheses, provide research context, discuss the strengths and limitations of the study with regard to internal and external validity, address the importance of the study, and provide directions for future research.

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© 2021 American Psychological Association.

how to write a conclusion in a lab report

Analyzing Data and Drawing Conclusions

Learn how to conduct the final phase of the research process, including how to analyze, interpret, and present data; discuss findings; and draw conclusions. This is the eighth lesson in the Introduction to Research series.

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Scientific writing and lab reports

Information on how to structure and format a lab report, also known as a scientific report.

Chemical and Biological Engineering postgraduate in lab wearing goggles

What is a lab report?

Lab reports, or scientific reports, are the primary vehicle used to disseminate and communicate scientific research methods across science and engineering disciplines.

They are structured and formulaic, to make it as easy as possible for a reader to understand the background, aims, methodology and findings of a particular experiment or technique.

Lab reports usually follow very closely prescribed formats. It's essential that you  pay very careful attention to the specific guidelines issued with your experimental brief.

Typically, a lab report is broken down into discrete sections, separated by subheadings. These will include the following:

  • an abstract, outlining in brief what was done and what was found
  • a point-by-point description of the experimental method followed (a bit like following a recipe)
  • a clear presentation of all of the results observed, some of which may be placed in an appendix to the main report
  • a discussion of those results
  • a brief conclusion and references

Lab reports are written in a neutral and objective tone and are kept as short, concise and to the point as possible.

They are not the place to experiment with elaborate language, which might impact on the clarity of their information.

301 Recommends:

Our Scientific Writing and Lab Report workshop provides a practical guide to communicating your findings with a focus on the scientific lab report as a model. You will learn why it is important to record experiments in this way and gain a detailed understanding of how to structure your reports based on the IMRaD format (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion). This interactive session is packed with top tips and best practice to enhance your report writing skills.

Introduction

Establish the reason or context for doing the experiment. It might help to think of your introduction as a funnel.

Start broad and focus down to the specifics of your research including the aims/objectives and hypothesis for testing.

Provides a descriptive protocol of your experiment so it could be replicated by another researcher.

Your methods section should be written avoiding the first person and using the passive voice where possible (ie a sample was taken...). Reproducibility of methods is the foundation for evidence-based science.

Present your data using tables or graphical representations as appropriate.

Interpret the results and explain their significance.

Reverse the funnel: put the specific results from your experiment back into a wider context, ie

  • what do they mean?
  • what applications do they have?
  • what recommendations can you make?
  • what are the limitations?
  • what gaps remain for further research?

Restate your main findings and key points from the discussion.

Strengthen your arguments with support from existing literature.

Summary of the entire report: Interesting, easy to read, concise. This will usually be the last part of the report that you write.

Title, appendix and acknowledgements

Guidance for Writing Lab Reports by Faculty of Engineering (pdf. 1677 kb)

Lab Reports Writing Template (pdf. 662 kb)

Proofreading Your Work

Writing numbers and presenting data

Consider the best way to present your data clearly. If this is best done using a table or chart, then consider what format makes things clearest.

Make sure all important aspects of the data are included in your chart or table, including units where relevant. Don't include charts just for the sake of it – data display should help the reader understand the data.

Report the results of any statistical tests using the appropriate conventions for your subject.

Data display

Displaying Data in Tables

Displaying Data in Graphs

Hypothesis tests

Writing Numbers in Standard Form

Library resources

Library workshops.

The  Come Together, Write Now  sessions are now open to all students. These virtual sessions for academic reading and writing will help you focus on your work, providing the time and space to come together as a reading and writing community and support each other.

You can  view our upcoming sessions and book a place here .

Online guidance

Reading other publications can help you to become familiar with the structure, tone and language of scientific writing.

Take a look at the Library resources on scientific literature:

Evaluating the Scientific Literature

Finding Scientific Journal Papers

Types of Scientific Paper

Always read the guidance notes

Methods • Use past tense • Write in the third person • Include detailed materials • State the study design • Cite/reference the lab protocol

Results • Organise your data in a logical order • Include tables and graphs • Label clearly and include units • Include figure legends and titles • State statistical tests and p-values • Refer to all tables and figures in the text

Leave it until the last minute

Methods • Copy the lab protocol • Forget to include statistics and calculation methods • Write a set of instructions (cookbook!) • Interpret your results

Results • Include raw data • Present same data in a graph and table • Overcomplicate the results section • Interpret your results • Copy other people’s data or exclude unexpected results

Academic Skills Certificate

The 301 Academic Skills Certificate  gives you an opportunity to gain recognition for developing your skills and reflecting on this experience.

Through this reflection, you will be able to identify changes and improvements to your academic skills that will lead to long-term benefits to your studies.

The 301 Academic Skills Certificate acknowledges your commitment to enhancing your academic and employability skills and personal development.

Related information

The conventions of academic writing

Dissertation planning

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Laboratory Reports

Note: All students are expected to read and understand the following guidelines.

The lab report presents pertinent data, procedure(s) used, conclusions drawn, and a discussion explaining and defending these conclusions. It must be written with care. Its intended audience is anyone who might have an interest in the outcome of the particular experiment. A report, as with scientific writing in general, is brief, but complete with no superfluous information or words. The report should be as compact as possible, well written (grammatically, at least), and must use the language of the discipline.

(i) Title: The title should describe the chemical reaction(s) or study that you performed. It should be specific, but without unnecessary verbiage.

(ii) Abstract: In two or three sentences, describe what was done in the experiment. Briefly state the problem involved and type of reaction or techniques used, summarize the principal findings, and note the major conclusions.

(iii) Chemical Equation: Present the chemistry occurring during the experiment. You must use ChemDraw (available on all Doane Hall computers), or another chemical drawing program.

(iv) Narrative Experimental: The experimental procedure written in paragraph form (do not write as commands). This part of the report is complete and detailed so that an experienced chemist could repeat your experiments exactly. However, you can be too detailed. Therefore, you need not explain the procedure for conducting standard techniques–extraction, distillation, etc.–but merely state that the technique was employed.

Be sure to identify materials and give the chemical names of all compounds used. Although raw data is included in this section, do not bother to include trivial things such as the mass of glassware, the separate pieces of equipment in a standard apparatus, or simple calculations. Include observations only if relevant to the experiment.

(v) Results and Discussion: This is one section, not two separate sections. Summarize the pertinent data you have collected. Use tables and graphs as necessary for clarity (eg. large amounts of data). Tables and other figures should be numbered and appropriately titled. The purpose of the discussion is to interpret, compare, and contrast the results. Interpret the data and draw conclusions. Conclusions should be based on the evidence presented. This is the place to discuss % yields, purity (spectra and melting pt. information), and sources of error. Also, general theory may be included here if it is relevant to the results being discussed. But, be brief! This section must be written with great care.

Answer such questions as: Is the product pure? How do you know? Spectra should be fully analyzed. Is the yield high or low? If it is low, why? “Experimental error” is not an acceptable reason! Observations may be noted if pertinent.

General Information

The general form of the lab report is journal style. All data, conclusions, observations, etc. must be presented in paragraph form. Data must be coupled with procedures or conclusions, not listed separately. All writing must be past tense, passive voice. For example:

(correct) Three fractions were collected.

(incorrect) I collected three fractions; or, Collect three fractions.

Lab reports are graded both on the quality of results you obtain and the manner in which you communicate these to others. A good resource for the latter is the ACS Style Guide. A portion of this is available on the Web. Your instructor may provide more specific requirements or expectations.

Honor Code Considerations

You are expected to keep your own lab notebook and write your own lab report. If you work with a partner, that person must be acknowledged in your notebook and on the cover page of your report. Even though you may be using data collected by a partner, all conclusions must be your own. You should not work on reports together. Texts and tables of constants (i.e., CRC) must be referenced.

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  1. 5 Ways to Write a Good Lab Conclusion in Science

    1. Introduce the experiment in your conclusion. Start out the conclusion by providing a brief overview of the experiment. Describe the experiment in 1-2 sentences and discuss the objective of the experiment. Also, make sure to include your manipulated (independent), controlled and responding (dependent) variables. [3] 2.

  2. How To Write A Lab Report

    Introduction. Your lab report introduction should set the scene for your experiment. One way to write your introduction is with a funnel (an inverted triangle) structure: Start with the broad, general research topic. Narrow your topic down your specific study focus. End with a clear research question.

  3. How to Write a Lab Report

    How to write a lab report conclusion. This is your opportunity to briefly remind the reader of your findings and finish strong. Your conclusion should be especially concise (avoid going into detail on findings or introducing new information). Here are elements to include as you write your conclusion, in about 1-2 sentences each:

  4. A Student's Guide

    The technical audience reads the lab report conclusions carefully to take away the writer's most important information. If the conclusion is well written, they may not need to read any other part of the report or know that they want to read the rest of the report to understand important details. ... Purdue University, Purdue Online Writing ...

  5. Complete Guide to Writing a Lab Report (With Example)

    As with all forms of writing, it's not the report's length that matters, but the quality of the information conveyed within. This article outlines the important bits that go into writing a lab report (title, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, conclusion, reference). At the end is an example report of reducing sugar ...

  6. How to Write a Lab Report: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

    Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number (issue number), page numbers. A simple way to write your reference section is to use Google scholar. Just type the name and date of the psychologist in the search box and click on the "cite" link. Next, copy and paste the APA reference into the ...

  7. How to Write a Conclusion for a Lab Report

    Follow the rules of formal writing . Specifically answer the research question the experiment is based on. Provide proper references and citations . Avoid repetitions. Stating something more than once only adds to the length of the conclusion paragraph. Follow the guidelines outlined by the instructor or the college.

  8. Science: Lab report

    A science lab report is a structured way of communicating the outcomes of your practical work. The structure of a typical lab report includes the following sections: Introduction - Why you conducted the practical work, and indicate your aim, hypothesis or research question. Method - How you conducted the practical work and how any data processed.

  9. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

    Table of contents. Step 1: Restate the problem. Step 2: Sum up the paper. Step 3: Discuss the implications. Research paper conclusion examples. Frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions.

  10. Library Research Guides: STEM: How To Write A Lab Report

    Writing lab reports follows a straightforward and structured procedure. It is important to recognize that each part of a lab report is important, so take the time to complete each carefully. A lab report is broken down into eight sections: title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. Title.

  11. How to Write a Lab Report

    Title Page. Not all lab reports have title pages, but if your instructor wants one, it would be a single page that states: . The title of the experiment. Your name and the names of any lab partners. Your instructor's name. The date the lab was performed or the date the report was submitted.

  12. LibGuides: Lab Report Writing: Discussion/Conclusion

    Discussion or Conclusion. Once you've discussed the most important findings of your study in the Results section, you will use the Discussion section to interpret those findings and talk about why they are important (some instructors call this the Conclusion section). You might want to talk about how your results agree, or disagree, with the ...

  13. How to Write a Lab Report Conclusion

    Steps to Writing Your Conclusion. Start by reviewing your introduction and following that structure when wrapping up your report. Next, restate the purpose and goals of the study undertaken. Then, indicate the methods and procedures you used to conduct an experiment to test your research question. For example, briefly describe your procedures ...

  14. PDF Writing a conclusion for a lab report

    WRITING A CONCLUSION FOR A LAB REPORT. As the last major section of a report, the conclusion provides the reader with a summary of the methods and scope of the experiment. At this point, all results have been discussed, and no new information is included. Instead, the conclusion conveys what was important about the results by connecting the ...

  15. Writing a Lab Report: Conclusion

    In this video I will show you how to write a claim, provide evidence, construct reasoning, and evaluate your conclusions.

  16. How to Write Conclusion for a Lab Report: Useful Tips

    This article will, therefore, explain how to write a good conclusion for a lab report. But before that, it will remind you of the basics and format of lab reports for a comprehensive exposition. Basic Lab Report. All reports describe the process of an experiment or a study from the beginning to the end. There are several categories of reports ...

  17. 27.5: Guide for writing a lab report

    Summary. Summarize your overall evaluation of the report in 2-3 sentences. Focus on the experiment's method and its result. For example, "The authors dropped balls from different heights to determine the value of g". You don't need to go into the specific details, just give a high level summary of the report.

  18. LibGuides: Laboratory Reports: Discussion or Conclusion

    Discussion or Conclusion. Once you've discussed the most important findings of your study in the Results section, you will use the Discussion section to interpret those findings and talk about why they are important (some instructors call this the "Conclusion" section). You might want to talk about how your results agree, or disagree, with the ...

  19. How to Write a Lab Report

    For any lab report, use a professional font and size. For example, 12-point Times New Roman. Double-space the report. Include a page number, usually either in the top or bottom right corner of each page. Clearly separate specific sections of the report with headings and subheadings.

  20. How to Write a Lab Report Conclusion

    Finally, in your conclusion, examine the data based on your goals and predictions for the experiment. State whether the results of your experiment allowed you to answer the questions that you set out in the introduction. If you were successful, state so. If not, provide a possible explanation for why your experiment was unable to answer these ...

  21. Scientific writing and lab reports

    301 Recommends: Our Scientific Writing and Lab Report workshop provides a practical guide to communicating your findings with a focus on the scientific lab report as a model. You will learn why it is important to record experiments in this way and gain a detailed understanding of how to structure your reports based on the IMRaD format (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion).

  22. Laboratory Reports

    The lab report presents pertinent data, procedure (s) used, conclusions drawn, and a discussion explaining and defending these conclusions. It must be written with care. Its intended audience is anyone who might have an interest in the outcome of the particular experiment. A report, as with scientific writing in general, is brief, but complete ...

  23. How to Write a Lab Report—Basic Parts and Steps

    Hannah Skaggs. Hannah, a writer and editor since 2017, specializes in clear and concise academic and business writing. She has mentored countless scholars and companies in writing authoritative and engaging content. Learn all you need to know to write a standout lab report. We've got you covered on everything from comprehending the components ...

  24. How to Write a Good Conclusion For a Lab Report

    The purpose of your research must be stated in the two sentences of your conclusion. A good conclusion of a lab report must provide this bit of information in an accessible way by reminding the readers of your goals that have been set. Now, the next part of the conclusion must talk about what methods have been used and what has been achieved as ...

  25. A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Lab Report

    Draw Conclusions: Conclude your lab report by summarizing the main findings and conclusions of the experiment. Reiterate the significance of your results and their implications for future research or practical applications. Avoid introducing new information or data in the conclusion. Revise and Edit: Once you've completed the initial draft of ...

  26. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out ...