Scientific Writing and Lab Reports
What is a scientific/lab report?
Lab reports or scientific reports are the primary vehicle through which scientific research methods are disseminated and communicated across science and engineering disciplines. Lab reports are structured and fomulaic in order 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 and it is 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 sub-headings, and 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.
Please explore the tabs below:
|IMRaD structure for lab report||
Other sections that may feature in your lab report:
Title, Appendix and Acknowledgements
|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.
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 / writing community and support each other. You can view our upcoming sessions and book a place here.
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:
|Academic Skills Certificate||
Recognition for your skills development
The 301 Academic Skills Certificate provides an opportunity for you 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.