Lab Reports

DH Lab Reports

The purpose of a laboratory report is to offer a precise record of an experiment–its objectives, procedures, and results–so a reader can replicate the experiment herself.

Each DH lab report should include the following details as needed:

  • Introduction: identifies the experiment to be undertaken. Explains its objectives and significance, and provides the background necessary to understand it. When appropriate, the background should indicate predictions based on theoretical models. Most often this section will foreground the central questions driving the experiment/inquiry. 
  • Procedures (or Methods): the procedures section should provide readers with enough information that they could replicate your experiment if they so desired. Select the level of detail appropriately.
  • Results and Discussion: conveys results relevant to the goals of the experiment. Analyzes the results and discuss their implications. Acknowledges possible sources of error. Considers presenting information visually with graphs and tables; provide figure captions.
  • Conclusions: evaluates the results in light of the objectives stated in the introduction, placing results into the context of the experiment as a whole. Importantly, this is where you will state the next steps and articulate new questions the experiment gives rise to.
  • Links / Additional Resources: provides your reader with helpful links and guidance for going forward.

 

*the above is a modified version of Duke University’s Thompson Writing Program’s Writing Studio “Laboratory Reports” guide.