In this article today we are going to discuss how to properly conceptualise and format a chemistry lab report. Probably the biggest part of senior chemistry is writing lab reports.
1. The first and the most important thing of a chemistry lab report is the headline. In the headline or the heading section of your report you must include:
- Your name
- The date the lab was finished
- The title of the lab
- The title of the class
2. After the headline, the next thing you are going to outline is the introduction. It seems pretty straightforward. It has to emphasise the purpose of your research and provide a brief introduction to the topic. it must contain:
- Explanation of the topic – no more than maybe one or two paragraphs where you explain the basis around what the lab is about.
- Chemical explanations – here you put all of the chemical reactions that are involved in the lab along with specific explanations for individual reactions. You have to prove that you understand what’s actually happening during the lab, not just that you follow a standard procedure for your research.
- Other stuff – here you specify the purpose of the lab, independent and dependent variables, a hypothesis, different control measures, etc.
3. The next thing you must include are the materials used in order to conduct the lab research. If you have a chemical, for example, you must include things such as:
- The name of the chemical
- The chemical formula
- The volume – how much you used
4. The fourth thing is the method. Unlike some of the other lab reports, in the chemistry report, the method will not be listed in the 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. format, but in a paragraph format. Make sure you break down the content in logical paragraphs. Supposing you are doing a titration, the first paragraph can be about the preparation of the solutions, then the next can be about the titration itself, and so on and so forth. Make sure the paragraphs are concise and coherent and emphasise what you did to carry out the lab.
5. The next section is the raw data. Here you must specify:
- The data you have just collected – the data you gathered and manipulated in order to obtain the final result.
- The data tables – here you put your data into tables with titles and a brief explanation of what the table is.
- Graphs – you may not necessarily have graphs but if you have, insert them into this section (or in the Data Processing section as we will see below). Remember, graphs are an important part of your lab report!
6. Data processing is the next step of your lab report. Here you include:
- All types of calculations you made to carry out the lab research. Include here: a brief explanation for each calculation, sample calculations, and a table with all of the calculated results.
- Graphs – large graphs along with different explanations and details.
- Percent error – here you compare the results you’ve got to perhaps a theoretical or literature value that you should have got based on other calculations that you did. Also, the percent error is very important for the next two sections of your lab report.
7. The conclusion is the last but one section where you are going to restate the hypothesis and then, based on the results you got in the Data Processing, you confirm or deny it. When you are explaining the results, you are going to use the data in the previous section to either confirm or infirm the hypothesis.
8. Evaluation is the last step. In the evaluation section, you are going to assess the size of the error, based on the results and the percent error. According to Writepro, in this section, you will suggest different sources of error but you don’t have to explain how the source of error would sway the results. That’s because if your results were too high or too low compared to the literature values, it won’t really help you too much here because it’s contradicting what your results actually were. So, what you want to suggest is how the source of error could have actually contributed to the results that you got.
In the Evaluation section you also:
- Explain the magnitude of the effect
- Suggest improvements directly based on the source of error
- Suggest other possible investigations that can be carried out – be creative!
We hope that through these guidelines, you nailed the correct procedure for a lot of chemistry lab reports and this is going to help you achieve the best grade possible.