Labs are the basis for our understanding of the key concepts in physics. Here are the guidelines for success in writing a quality lab report.
1. All laboratory reports are to be recorded in your lab journal.
2. Your name and the names of all members of your lab team and the date the investigation was performed is to be written in the upper right hand corner of the first page of each report.
3. An appropriate and descriptive title for the report should be placed in the center of the first page of the report.
5. Each of the following sections of the laboratory report should be prefaced with the section names.
Purpose (5 points)
This is a statement of the problem to be investigated. It provides the overall direction for laboratory investigation and must be addressed in the conclusion.
Equipment (5 points)
- A list of all laboratory equipment used in the investigation.
- A detailed and labeled diagram to illustrate the configuration of the apparatus.
Procedure (20 points)
- Identify and name all experimental variables,
- Briefly describe how the independent variables are controlled.
Someone who was not present during the lab should be able to understand how the experiment was performed and be able to reproduce the results by reading your procedure.
Data (20 points)
- Data measured directly from the experiment.
- Derived values obtained by way of mathematical manipulations (for example: average
values, or unit conversions) or interpretations of any kind should be included in this
section of the report as well.
- A sample calculation must appear describing the method of obtaining all derived values.
- The units for physical measurements in a data table should be specified in column
Data Analysis (30 points)
- Include all graphs, analysis of graphs, post laboratory calculations and percent errors.
- All graphs should have a title, labeled coordinate axis and units.
- Unusual results or trends should be noted and explained if possible.
- State the meaning of the slope and discuss the significance of the y-intercept when
Conclusion (20 points)
- Discuss any questionable data or surprising results.
- Explain the possible source of uncertainties or questionable results.
- Suggest changes in experimental design which might test your explanations.