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SBI 3U1 - How to Write a Laboratory Report

Your formal lab report should take the format described below.
Title Page
Running Head: Photosynthesis
1

The Effect of Temperature on the Rate of Photosynthesis


John Smith
College Avenue Secondary School
SBI 4U1
Mrs Bohdanowicz
Lab Partner: Jane Doe
23/02/14

Margins: Use a one-inch margin on all pages


Running Head: Is placed at the top of every page of your paper at the left margin. It should be
no more than to characters and be a short-form of the title.
Pages are numbered at top right.
Title: The title is centered several spaces below the running head. The title page must contain
your title, your name, your schools name, course code, teachers name, lab partner and due
date. These should be double-spaced.
Background Information
Give one to three paragraphs of well-organized information about the topic that you are going to
investigate. Show that you have looked into what you will be investigating in-depth, by writing
about the general, basic information about the topic. Never, ever copy directly from the text you
are using - PARAPHRASE!!!! Direct quotations are not used in lab reports. Make sure to properly
cite all of your background information within the paragraph, and include a reference page at the
end of your lab report. All citations should be completed in proper APA format.
Example of proper citation within paragraph:
This trend of poverty begetting poverty is one which lies at the heart of youth homelessness,
homeless children being found far more likely than other children to experience hunger, suffer
chronic health problems, repeat a grade in school and drop out of high school (Crary, 2009).
(Your references will be listed in alphabetical order, and double-spaced throughout. They appear

at the end of your lab report. Lab Reports are always written in APA format. All of your citations
should be in APA format and your references should also be in APA format. There is a book called
On Your Own in the library that will help you with this!).
Problem Statement
This is the question you have asked BEFORE beginning the lab; it is an informal question about
the problem you are trying to learn more about.
Hypothesis
State what you think will happen during the investigation, but DO NOT say "I think....", simply
state what you think will happen. If (independent variable)then (dependent variable)
because. statements should be used.
If the amount of baking soda is increased, then the height of the film canister lid will increase
because the baking soda will react with the vinegar producing more carbon dioxide.
You MUST state the scientific reasoning for your prediction in order to make a proper hypothesis
without reasoning it is merely a prediction.
Materials
List all of the equipment and supplies you will use to complete your investigation. This list
should be specific and include the size of equipment used. Example: 10 mL graduated cylinder
Procedures
Write a paragraph to summarize the experimental procedure. This is not a recipe and should
not be written in a step-by-step fashion. You are explaining what you did. More detail IS BETTER!
Make sure to define here the independent (manipulated) and dependent (responding) variables.
Also, explain the controls for the experiment.
Include a diagram of your experimental setup to help clarify things. Tell what you WILL DO, edit
to reflect what you DID DO, but NEVER edit to include what you think you SHOULD have done.
You also need to include a completed fishbone diagram organizer with your experimental
procedure (when asked to). Make sure it is complete and includes the Instrument, Unit and
Technique for each variable.
Results
This will usually be a long section, and VERY neat and organized. Here is where numerical data,
observations, charts, graphs, pictures, tables, et cetera will go. ONLY those things go in this
section. Do not explain what you think they mean in this section.
Include both qualitative and quantitative data.
Tables show numerical data arranged in columns and rows. Figures include graphs, maps,
photographs, drawings, and charts. Whenever such material is used, there are several things to
keep in mind:
Be sure that all tables and figures are relevant and useful
Label all tables and figures clearly. Use Arabic numerals and number consecutively
throughout the report.
Be sure that the title of the table or figure contributes to your readers understanding.
The source of the table or figure should be indicated directly following the table, if the data
is taken from another source.
When making graphs if both values are quantitative use a line graph, if one is quantitative
and the other is qualitative use a bar graph.

Example Table:
Table 1. The effect of the amount of catalase on the total amount of oxygen produced.

Amount of Gas Produced (mL)


Concentratio
n of Catalase

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Average

1 filter paper
disk

12.0

5.0

12.0

9.67

3 filter paper
disks

34.5

25.5

23.0

27.67

5 filter paper
disks

63.0

63.0

48.5

58.17

Qualitative
Observation
s
Fast flow of
bubbles
during the first
3 seconds of
reaction
Fast flow of
bubbles
during first 10
seconds of
reaction
Fast flow of
bubbles
during first 15
seconds of
reaction

Conclusion(s)
This is the MOST important and difficult part of your lab report. It is where you "figure out" for the
reader what all of the previous information amounts to and means. What did you learn/prove
because of your results? Explain what you found out, and explain HOW any errors may have
affected your experiment. To accomplish this, answer the SEVEN CONCLUSION QUESTIONS in a
paragraph format:
1. What was investigated?
2. Was the hypothesis supported or not by the data/observations?
3. What were the major findings? Make specific reference to the data. When referring to the
table or figure in the report, name the table by its number. As shown in Table 1,
4. How did your findings compare with other researchers?
5. What possible explanations can you offer for your findings? Use your background research
to help you explain your results!!!!
6. What recommendations do you have for further study AND for improving the experiment?
(Identify any sources of error, the effect they would have had on your experimental
results, and how you could improve in future).
7. What are the real-world uses of this information? (How can the information be applied?
Why is it relevant?)
Other Tips and Tricks:
All lab reports must be typed, and double-spaced.
NEVER use personal pronouns in science lab writing! (I, me, my, our, you, we, us, et cetera)

Initiate and Plan

Success
Criteria

Level Four

Level Three

Level Two

Backgroun
d
Information

Includes all information relevant to the


lab, in an outstanding amount of
depth.

Includes most information relevant


to the lab, with an appropriate level
of depth.

Includes some information relevant


to understanding the lab, with some
level of depth.

I
r

Purpose

The main purpose and importance of


the lab is stated effectively.

The purpose of the lab is stated.

The purpose of the lab is stated but


may be too narrow or too broad.

Hypothesis

The hypothesis is written in Ifthen


format, and research-based rationale is
given to support the prediction.

The hypothesis is written in if


then format, and rationale is given
to support the prediction.

The hypothesis is written in if


then format.

A
l

Materials

Selects and lists all appropriate


equipment required for this lab.

Selects appropriate equipment and


lists most of the equipment required
for this lab.

List some of the equipment required


for this lab.

D
i
i

Procedure

Procedures summary clearly describes


the experimental procedure. The
independent, dependent and control
variables are correct and outlined.
Neatly labeled diagrams enhance the
procedure. Fishbone is completed with
a high degree of detail.
Always follows safety precautions.
Uses equipment properly and with
respect. Cleans all equipment and
surfaces appropriately.

Procedures summary is mostly


correct. It is clear what the
independent, dependent and
control variables are. Unlabeled
diagrams. Fishbone is completed
with considerable detail.

Procedure summary is incorrect or


difficult to follow. Confusing
diagrams or no diagram. It is not
clear whether only one independent
variable has been changed.
Fishbone is completed with some
detail.
Sometimes follows safety
precautions. Misuses equipment or
requires assistance in using
equipment. Cleans up most but not
all equipment.

P
a
e
i
e
s
c
D
U
m
c

Observations and measurements are


correct and present in an easy-to-read
table. Appropriate and meaningful
titles. Includes both quantitative and
qualitative observations. Includes a
representative number of trials to
collect raw data. Averages are based
on most consistent trials.
Graph is in correct format with an
appropriate title, appropriate scale and
correctly labeled axes. Only the most
representative data is used to create
the graph.
The conclusion:
Summarizes the experiment
Addresses accuracy of initial
hypothesis and research
States trends in the data, using
specific examples from the
data to support the conclusion
Explains the experimental data
Explains implications of the
experimental findings in realworld
States potential sources of
error, and explains their effect
on the outcome of the
experiment

Observations and measurements


are correct and present in a table.
Includes a representative number of
trials to collect raw data.

Observations and measurements


are mostly correct. They are
presented in a manner that is
difficult to understand.

O
g

Graph is in correct format and with


a title, scale and labeled axes.

Graph is mostly correct. However,


it is presented in a manner that is
difficult to understand.

G
(
e

One component is missing:


Summarizes the
experiment
Addresses accuracy of
initial hypothesis and
research
States trends in the
data, using specific
examples from the data
to support the
conclusion
Explains the
experimental data
Explains implications of
the experimental

Two components are missing:


Summarizes the
experiment
Addresses accuracy of
initial hypothesis and
research
States trends in the
data, using specific
examples from the data
to support the
conclusion
Explains the
experimental data
Explains implications of
the experimental

C
b
p

Format

Report is neatly and professionally


presented. All required elements are
present and extremely well done. APA
format is used throughout.

Report is neatly presented. All


required elements are present and
complete. APA format is used with
minor errors.

Report is somewhat organized.


Missing one or more required
components. APA format has been
attempted but many errors present.

R
M
m
u

Terminolog
y

All relevant terminology is explained


and used effectively.

All relevant scientific terminology is


used effectively.

Most scientific terminology is used


effectively.

L
e

Perform and Record

Lab Skills &


Behaviour

Observatio
n Table

Graph

Communicate

Analyze and Interpret

Conclusion

Teacher Comments:

Generally follows safety


precautions. Uses all equipment
properly without asking and cleans
up.

Next Steps: