A cornerstone of scientific experimentation is that an experiment can be repeated by other investigators and the same results achieved.  In order to make this possible, a written record of the experiment must be kept including the analysis of the data, observations, inferences and/or conclusions reached.  Anyone reading your lab report should be able to reconstruct your experiment precisely in its entirety.


            The outline for your report should follow the report outline given below.  When you are asked to write a report of an experiment in which the results and your interpretations are of primary importance, the procedure is usually outlined for you.


I.            Purpose

Briefly state the reason for performing this experiment.  In a concise phrase describe that goal which you hope to achieve by carrying out this experiment.  Example:  Verify the law of conservation of energy.


II.            Hypothesis

            Describe the theory which will be tested during this experiment and predict what will happen.  From a sentence to a paragraph in length.


II.            Procedure

            Carefully explain, in a step-by step fashion, what is done in this experiment.  This may be a narrative or a list of specific steps, but must instruct others to duplicate your procedure precisely.  May include an equipment list.


IV.       Data


            Document the results of your experiment.  Include tables, graphs, drawings or any analysis performed directly on the data.  If the experiment lasted more than one day, be sure to date each day’s recordings.


            A.            Analysis


                        Analysis may be distinguished from directly measured data in a separate table.


V.            Conclusion


            Briefly state what is learned from the logical interpretation of the data.  This conclusion should answer the question posed in the statement of Purpose.


            These major categories (I – V) are required in all lab reports.