How to write an A+ Lab The BEST site for lab write-ups includes graphing instructions
Tips From Dedicated, Helpful, and Kind Former Students
(Note: not all sections are assigned each time)
Overall Rule: AVOID all pronouns (see Pronouns to Avoid)
Title: Should be large
font, centered, and descriptive. Simply saying "pH lab" will get you a
deduction. Instead, tell what you did (like "The Effects of pH Variation on
Hydrangea"). It is often helpful to use your variables in your title (like "The
Effects of [independent variable] on [dependant variable]").
background information on the experiment. Give pertinent information on the
subject and the means of experimentation. State the hypothesis, though not
necessarily in "ifÖthen" form. Describe the procedure, and then summarize the
results include a statistic from your results. State a concluding statement
about your findings (the why).
inverse of the hypothesis, usually using the words "no effect"
The variables that directly control, like time, heat, or other factors used to
change the dependent variable.
Dependent Variable: The
variables that do not directly control anything. The subject of the experiment
(ex: the color of the hydrangea)
Everything that the experimental and control setup have in common. Examples:
instruments, temperature, pressure, light-levels, humidity, etc.
Control: The sample unaffected by changes in the independent variable. There can be positive controls and negative controls. In an experiment that tests the effects of sunlight on a plant, a negative control would be no sunlight while a positive control would be a standard amount of sunlight.
Results: There are generally three parts to the results section. (but not always)
The first is the data-table.
It must be computer-made, well labeled, include units, and have a descriptive
title (see "Title" above).
Secondly, you need some sort of
graphical representation of your data. This is often a graph. If so, it should
be computer derived as well. It must be computer-made, well labeled, include
units, and have a descriptive title (see "Title" above).
Finally, if assigned, you need
a paragraph describing your data. Even if you think it is all-evident from your
data-table, still restate it here. Remember, this isnít a conclusion. Merely
describe what you observed.
Conclusion: This section may just be the assigned questions at the end of the lab. In this case don't forget to include key words and concepts to answer the question, elaborate by providing supporting details and use an example to illustrate your answer.
If there are no assigned
questions then...Draw conclusions from your data. This often means you will
infer a relationship between your independent variable and your dependant
variable. Fully explain your conclusions; donít get stingy on the words! This
section is usually worth the most points, so doing a bad conclusion is like
shooting yourself in the foot.
include outside references for the background information (for the abstract).
Author (Last name, First initial). "Title of web page." Organization. Date accessed. Http://address.
1. Use third person. Use
passive voice. That means saying "one, he/she, they, the researchers, the
subjects" instead of saying "I, you, we, my friends".
2. Keep your writing
professional. This is a science paper. Mrs. Chamberlain doesnít want to hear
if you had fun, or if you learned a lot. She wants to hear (in writing) exactly
what you learned from the data you received.
3. Donít be lazy. It is very
easy to tell if you put insufficient effort into a lab. While doing the lab the
night before it is due wonít earn a deduction, Mrs. Chamberlain shouldnít be
able to tell. If your work looks rushed or skimpy, or it doesnít give the
required information, your grade will reflect that.
4. At the same time, donít fill
a page with extra words. Mrs. Chamberlain wants you to write on-topic. She has
a lot to grade, and she wants you to cut to the chase.
5. Nothing is personal! Grades
you receive donít reflect Mrs. Chamberlain's feelings toward you. When she
writes comments that appear harsh, she only wants to make you better
lab-writers. Donít get upset; just make sure to fix the problem in your next
6. Lab grades donít reflect
intelligence, or your worth as a person. Writing labs is a skill, one
that must be mastered. Once you get the procedure down, you will get good
grades. Remember, you CAN write an A+ lab if you follow these guidelines!