Lab Report Format - Cary Academy

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Lab Report Format - Cary Academy

Procedure Sheets

• Include sheets provided or a detailed procedure that you have written yourself if

none was provided.

Data and Observations

• Use this heading to organize this part of the report. (The remaining sections may

follow each other in order on the same continuing page.)

• Present quantitative data in well-organized tables. All measurements should

incorporate proper use of significant figures and unit labels.

• Qualitative observations can be written in paragraph style under the tables.

• Accompanying graphs can be included here when appropriate.

Calculations and Questions

• Use this heading.

Label calculations (What are you calculating? What are these numbers?).

• Include units with measurements and the identity of the substance if applicable.

• Show all work, beginning with an original equation if one was used.

• Pay attention to significant figures and rules of rounding.

• Answer in complete sentences when the question involves discussion. The reader should

know what the question was about by reading your answer.

Results and Discussion

This section can usually be one paragraph. In the first sentence, restate the results of the

experiment. Secondly, state the accepted value if there is one. Third, indicate the quality of

your results by re-stating your percent error, percent yield, etc. Finally, analyze your data

and results by conducting an error analysis. Was your percent error high or low? What are

the suspected sources of error? How did the error affect the original measurements (data)

and how will that compromise your calculated results? Be insightful. The logical thinking and

analysis required here are important skills in most jobs. Discuss sources of error that are

legitimate and relevant to the experiment. Unsubstantiated human error, equipment error,

etc. is not acceptable. In other words, you cannot attribute your error to "we must have

massed something wrong". If you know you massed something wrong or your data suggests

that you did, explain and support your conclusion. You must cite specific and concrete

sources of error. A helpful hint to writing a good error analysis: take careful notes

of all errors or suspected errors as you carry out the experiment. Don’t rely on your

memory for discussion of error when you are writing your lab report later! Document as you

go! Finally, make a solid connection between what you did, the results you got and any error.

Other suggestions:

• Always read the lab, paying careful attention to the procedure, before the lab begins.

• Results, per se, will not be graded for accuracy, but you must be able to explain reasons

for your error. Calculations must be correct.

• Quantitative labs must have quantitative conclusions (see above).

• Cleaning up the lab is everyone’s responsibility! Points will be deducted for failure to do

your part!

• When in doubt, ASK! I’m here to help!

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