One of the major challenge facing science students is how to write a lab report. A lab report is a report about an experiment carried out in a laboratory. A lab report generally reports what the student did, the materials used, the procedure used, the results of the laboratory experiment, a discussion about the report, sources consulted to complete the lab report, and an appendix of laboratory results. A good lab report must expound on each of these parts in greater details.
Lab Report Writing Tense
A lab report is usually a reported work that is already done. Therefore, it should be written in past tense. The Student must then find the right words to project his or her views and imagery onto the readers of his or her work. The writer’s choice of words thus has significant importance because it would alter the way the reader visualizes or feels for the central object of the essay. Certain words, for instance, have certain connotations and may conjure up certain emotions. In addition, a lab report is a technical document and should, therefore, be written using the appropriate technical terms.
Lab Report Example
Below is a good example of a lab report that expounds on all the parts of a good lab report:
How to Write a Lab Report Objectives
The lab report objectives section lists the main objectives of a lab report. This usually acts as a guideline on what the lab report is supposed to achieve. Below is a lab report objectives examples.
There are three main objectives of this experiment:
- To conduct a quantitative determination using gas chromatography
- To estimate the maintenance time for hexane and ethanol
- To study the reaction between tR and atomic carbon in homologous series
How to Write a Lab Report Introduction
A lab report introduction usually gives a background of the issue explored in the lab report. The introduction is more of a theoretical orientation of the research subject and it gives more details about the topic of interest. A lab report introduction should be well referenced with credible sources and should comprehensively introduce the subject. Here is a good example of a lab report introduction.
Graph chromatography is a chromatography technique that is used in analytical chemistry mainly for separating and analyzing compounds (Pavia, Gary, Kritz, & Engel, 2006). It is used for analysis of compounds that can be vaporizing without decomposing. It is used for testing the purity of substances or separating different components that are mixed, where it can also determine the relative amounts of each compound in a mixture. In gas chromatography, the mobile phase has a carrier gas, which is an inert gas like helium or unreactive gas like hydrogen. Station phase uses liquid or polymer adsorbed on the surface as shown below:
There are different locations of gas chromatography. These include warm conductive detectors (TCD), electron –capture detectors (ECD), Thermionic detectors (TID), and fire ionization detectors (FID). In this experience, FID was used as the main locator.
Lab Report Procedure
A lab report procedure is an important section that details the procedure that was followed in carrying out the experiment. This section should give detailed step by step guide on how the experiment was carried out in past tense. A good lab report procedure is shown below:
There were five main steps that were followed in this test as explained below:
First, sample was drawn by putting the needle into the liquid sample and polluting the plunger. The accurate amount of sample was drawn. About 2/il of sample was drawn using a 10/il syringe. The plunger was slowly and carefully put back ensuring that not sample was left on the needle.
Second, the syringe was held in two hands as shown in the figure below.
Third, the syringe was brought to the same level with the injection port. Holding the needle straight, it was let to touch the center of the septum.
Fourth, without injecting, the need was pushed through the septum.
Lastly, the plunger was pushed slowly to inject the sample and the syringe was pulled out of the septum and the injection port.
Lab Report Results
The lab report results section gives details of the results that were obtained from the experiment. The results should be given in graphs, charts, or in tabulated forms. Here is an example of lab report results sections.
The following results were obtained:
Figure 1: ETHANOL peak. Time: 15 min. Level: 1058 uV
This graph shows that ethanol peak at 15 minutes and 1058uV
Lab Report Discussion
This section discusses the results in light of the lab report aims and objectives and the background information given in the introduction. The following is a good example of a lab report discussion section.
This experiment was mainly estimating the maintenance time for hexane, ethanol, and a mixture of both. First, ethanol was infused, then hexane, and lastly a mixture of both. Gas chromatography has a non-polar stationary stage. Ethanol is polar, which means when infused, there was polarity between the two. This is what made ethanol to peak faster at 15 minutes compared to the hexane. Comparatively hexane is non-polar and it invests more energy in leaving the column compared to ethanol, peaking at 27 minutes. Because the column in gas chromatography non-polar, ethanol peaks first and then hexane last, remaining in the column for a longer time. The result is a longer peak for ethanol and shorter for hexane.
Lab Report References
This section should list the sources consulted in complete the lab report. The section can vary, including Lab Report APA references, Lab Report MLA References, Lab Report Harvard References. Here is a good example:
Pavia, D.L., Gary, M. L., Kritz, G.S., & Engel, R.G. (2006). Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques (4th Ed.). Thomson Brooks/Cole.
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