If you are studying or pursuing a higher degree in any field of science, it is common to prepare a lab report. If you will be writing for the first time, it is obvious to look for how to write a lab report. However, before you know this, it is essential to know the purpose of this scientific paper.
A lab report is written for conveying your findings and elucidate the research behind them to the reader. Nevertheless, it is also crucial to show that you have gained overall knowledge of the topic assigned or chosen.
For most first-time writers, organizing thoughts and clearly describing the data while writing a lab report can take much time to accentuate your expertise. For managing this time and writing clearly, here are some guidelines for you to check out:
Although submitting to a professor most of the time, a scientific paper like a lab report should be considered as a scientific journal to be submitted for publishing. This is the ultimate goal when you will become a scientific expert. Thus, you should write the report as a professional as much as possible.
The biggest key to being professional is to take an individual effort. You should not copy from anybody or any offline or online source.
Opting for working with others is likely to be caught and may lead to hefty penalties on each assignment. Further, when it comes to how to write a lab report, always precisely cite the sources to keep plagiarism at bay.
In simple words, the first sentence of each paragraph should be such that it reflects that paragraph’s area of focus. Further, ensure that there is a logical flow between any two paragraphs.
Remember, the professors, journal team, or the instructors to whom you will submit the report will view the report with a vigilant eye. So, anything unrelated, sudden jump, or illogical is just not affordable.
Use Active Voice as Much as Possible
Although you are allowed to use both voices in a laboratory report, it is better to use active voice wherever possible. This is because it typically reflects a more concise statement. If you use passive voice, it seems to give a longer explanation of the same notion, at times.
Let’s consider a statement in a passive voice, which is, “It was observed that the chemical reaction was responsible for a steadier structure of the new mixture in this experiment.” Now, the same sentence is active voice will be, “We observed a steadier structure of the new mixture in this experiment.”
You can compare the two to know the self-explanatory difference. This also provides one more guideline of being concise. You should write to the point, as less is more in terms of the total number of words. Too long sentences are both confusing and irritating to read.
It is okay to emphasize your thoughts and ideas. However, a passionate approach towards the same is not recommended. In other words, it is unwise to repeat the same thoughts, ideas, or words many times within a paragraph or a sentence. It suffices to mention them just once with preciseness.
Otherwise, it will give an impression of just filling the lab report.
Use Both Past and Present Tenses Judicially
This is something that very few students when it comes to how to write a lab report. You should write in the past tense while writing the methods and their results. This is because you should write these sections as if you have already performed them.
Similarly, use the present tense to write equipment or theory content. This is because they are still prevalent.
It has become obvious for most students to use a computer or an online free tool to check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. However, this is not 100% reliable, as it will not catch all such errors.
Although you may rely on Grammarly for the same, do consider proofreading manually before submission. You can even ask an editor in your college or university to check your work.
So, are these guidelines helpful? When it comes to how to write a lab report, just keep them in mind.