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How to Write a Lab Report
  1. Purpose: State the goal - what you want to achieve.

  2. Hypothesis: Make an educated guess about the outcome of the experiment.

  3. Materials: A list of the items you used.

  4. Diagram: A drawing or photograph of the lab apparatus. Label each piece of equipment in the diagram, using a ruler to draw straight lines.

  5. Procedure: What you did - a list of numbered steps that you followed.

  6. Data: All the measurements and observations you made, displayed in neat tables.
    1. qualitative data - any observations (color changes, release of heat, etc.)
    2. quantitative data - any measurements you made. Be sure to include the units (g, mL, etc). Record data to the correct number of significant figures.
Significant Figures
(Decimal Place to which Data is Recorded)
100-mL graduated cylinder
0.05 mL
10-mL graduated cylinder
0.05 mL
Triple beam balance
0.05 g
Electronic balance
ALL digits
0.05 mL
  1. Data Analysis: Equations, calculations, graphs - work you did with the data
Show the word equations for any formula you use, and then show a sample calculation of the problem.
    1. Title ("y versus x")
    2. Label both the x- and the y-axis with the variable and its units.
    3. Draw the line of best fit. (DO NOT CONNECT THE DOTS)
    4. Write the equation of the line of best fit on the graph.
  1. Conclusion:
    1. State the result or outcome of the experiment
    2. State the % error, if there is one.
   c.   Address the hypothesis - was it valid or invalid?
   d.   Explain possible sources of error.
   e.   Suggest improvements to the experiment.
IX.   Discussion: List five things you learned from the experiment.

E Saylor

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