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Guidelines for writing Laboratory Report


We will focus on some essential techniques needed to write a good laboratory report

Sections of a Laboratory Report

Cover page Abstract Introduction (including the objective(s) of experiment) Materials & Methods Results & Discussion Conclusion or Implication Answers to questions provided in the laboratory manual References Appendices

Start with motivation or justification (if space allows) State the objective, aim, or purpose Summarize essential materials & method Summarize important results End with important conclusions & impact

Write abstract last Make the abstract stand alone
No references Limit use of abbreviations
Standard ones do not need definition Dont use, if only 1 or 2 times

Be clear, specific, and concise (200-250 words) Used in abstracting journals (therefore, must be informative)

Indicative or Informative?
Indicative : Indicates objectives of the research and suggest results in general terms
Makes the reader want to read your paper because it might be interesting

Informative: states objectives and support your conclusion with data

Makes the reader want to read your paper because it is interesting

Motivation and Justification


Objectives and Approach


use past tense because the research activity has already been completed Examples
The aim of the this investigation The purpose of this research The purpose of this study The present study was to determine.. to study. to provide. an attempt to provide

Materials and Method

To give some kind of overall description of the experiment, providing the big picture (without repeating the experimental details)

Materials and Methods

Include enough information, but not more than necessary, so that
Research can be repeated Others can evaluate validity of your research

Give a clear, complete description for biological materials, analytical and statistical procedures
Organize methods logically and accurately

Results and Discussion section

What did you observe? For each experiment/procedure Briefly describe experiment (without details of method section, a sentence or two) Report (describe) main result(s) - Supported by the selected data (do not repeat table data) - Representative data (most common) - Best case data best example of ideal or exception

Requirements, advise Order multiple results logically From most to least important From simple to complex Organ by organ, chemical class by chemical class, etc

Briefly describe experiment

The concentrations of reducing sugars in the par-fried potato strips were measured to verify that the concentrations were within the range commonly found in practice. Table 1 shows that . The serving size and oil volume were measured to obtain insight into the actual product/oil ratio used by the restaurants. The weight of three servings (data not shown) was added to obtain portion size. Table 4 shows that.

Example 1 - Best case data

Table 1: Chemical composition of sweet potato roots (% on dry weight basis)

Text :
Unedited The chemical composition of sweet potato roots was shown in Table 1. Low protein, fat and fibre levels were found in the root. However, high carbohydrates content make up 90 % of the dry weight of sweet potato roots. Edited Table 1 shows that the carbohydrate content in sweet potato was the highest (90.3%), followed by moisture content (65.3%).

Ash Crude Protein Crude Fibre Crude Fat Carbohydrate Moisture Content

2.11 0.0318 4.51 0.249 2.29 0.0862 0.814 0.0729 90.3 0.313 65.3 0.971

Example 2 - Best case data

Table 1: Mean (standard deviation) acrylamide concentration (gkg-1) in deep fried sweet potato chips

How to describe the results?

Table 3 shows that there was a significant difference in acrylamide concentration between palm olein and soya bean oil (p<0.05), whereas the difference in acrylamide concentration between coconut oil and canola oil was not significant (p=0.07). The mean acrylamide concentration was the highest for soya bean oil (2019 gkg-1), and the lowest for palm olein (1447 gkg-1). The mean acrylamide concentration for coconut oil was determined at (1724 gkg-1) and for canola oil at (1729 gkg-1).

Palm olein

Coconut oil

Canola oil Soya bean oil

1447(73)a 1724(62)b 1729(31)b 2019(60)c


Values within the same column with different letters are significantly different (P < 0.05)

Some tips! Few determinations give the results in text. Avoid extra words: It is shown in Table 1 that X induced Y Table 1 shows that X induced Y

Past tense use past tense for unpublished result (what the author found) In the present study, the the setting of frying time ranged from 150 to 165 seconds and it corresponded with the actual frying time (150-165 seconds). Present tense to refer the reader to your table/figure (an explanatory aids, not the research itself) Figure 1 shows that the mean of loge transformed acrylamide concentration of French fries differed (past tense to refer to results) among the three FSE types.

How to write the Discussion

Content This section explains the implication of your results It positions your results into the context of the fields by relating your results to other work, both theoretical and experimental Requirements, advise Step back and take a broad look at your findings and your study as a whole

First, a review of the most important finding (whether or not they support the hypothesis, and they agree with the findings of other researchers) Find the reference values from previous research (books, articles, journal) and compare them with the experimental value (i.e., relating your results to other work; experimental) Examples : Table 1 shows that the carbohydrate content in sweet potato was the highest (90.3%), followed by moisture content (65.3%). The results are in agreement with other studies who reported carbohydrate content in sweet potato ...

Next, provide justification (or speculation) (why changes in WTC lead to changes in WTO)
Give evidence to defend (or to explain) your experimental value (i.e., relating your results to other work; theoretical) Support you explanation of results with literature (find the relevant literature to explain your results)

Past tense when the explanation for the specific findings is restricted to your study Another reason might be that food handlers were not yet familiar with frying instructions, although they practiced frying in the training session to create familiarity. Present tense it refers to general conditions

It is possible that short frying time limits the formation of acrylamide, because frying ends before

Present tense when comparing your findings to those of other researchers. Our findings on the frying practices are consistent with other studies that surveyed the actual frying conditions. The median reported in this study is consistent with Mills and co-authors (2009) who found the median
Modal auxiliaries to emphasize the speculative nature of the statement.

It is possible that Another reason might be that

Finally, Limitation of the study that restrict the extent to which the findings can be generalized Tense? - As step 3 Example - We only measured the (initial) frying temperatures, but not the temperature drop over the frying time (Past tense) - Home preparation may produce different results (modal auxiliaries)