The lab report will be written in a format that reflects the nature of the course. Since this
is an experimental course where you will be performing experiments, collecting data on
these experiments and finally analyzing your data; the lab reports should be written in a
manner that will convey what was done in the experiment and then relate the data to the
physical concepts that are being explored in the lab.
In this lab course we will use the model of the current acceptable format used in the
physics literary journals. In particular we will model the format specified by the Journal
of Chemical Physics.
The format for the J. Chem. Phys. is:
Title (Centered Top of Page)
Be creative do NOT use the same name provided by the lab manual
Abstract (Centered below title, do not need to write the word abstract)
A brief couple of sentences that describes what you did, why you did it and what you got.
Should be no more than a short paragraph.
Should explain why you are performing the experiment, what you are trying to find and
the theory involved in the experiment. If you list formulas in this section you should
define all the constants being used in the formulas and also label the formulas as follows
and refer to them such as Formula 1 if referring to them later in the text.
y = mx + b
This section will be a description of what was physically done in the lab. It should be in
your own words and in paragraph form. If you measure a quantity remember to always
list the units along with the physical number.
Results and Discussion
This is the most important section of the lab report. Here you will present and explain
your data. If you were asked to measure for instance the gravitational constant ‘g’, you
should specify the result you got, compare your result to the theoretically accepted value
and find the percent difference between the two values. Furthermore, you should then
evaluate whether or not your value has an acceptable percent difference and account for
the divergence from the accepted value.
This should be the section where you say whether or not the experiment was successful
and what it showed.
In general the lab reports will also include the data that you collected. I will never ask for
the spreadsheet with the raw data to be included in the reports. I will however ask for this
data to be presented in a form that is easy to interpret the results from, like a graph. Any
data provided should always include units and labels; graphs should have a title, and x
and y label with units and whenever necessary a treadline fit with the formula displayed
on the graph. Graphs should also be labeled as for instance Fig.1 at the bottom of the
page and referred to in the text as Fig. 1, NOT as one of my graphs.
The lab reports should ALWAYS be typed and double spaced.