How to Report on an Experiment

A laboratory report should communicate, as clearly and concisely as possible, the rationale for the experiment, what was done, what the results were and what the results mean. On the basis of a report on an experiment a reader should, basically, be able to repeat it and get similar results. The report should be as short and simple as possible to accomplish these ends; it takes practice to learn how to write a technical report which does this well.

Any report must have certain content to accomplish the above purpose and to facilitate the administration of the course. While the specific format outlined below is not essential for this, it is one way to accomplish it and students should find following it to be useful and instructive. However, as long as the objectives above are accomplished, this scheme may be reasonably modified for certain labs if desired. For instance, if an experiment has several parts which use different apparatus or if the same apparatus is used to do several different experiments, the material in some sections may need to be repeated for the various different situations and this should be organized in the most suitable way.

© Frank L. H. Wolfs, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA

Last updated on Monday, January 22, 2001 9:14