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Creating Lab Report
Writing a Great Lab Report
A high school lab report is not a difficult thing. The teacher has a template, students complete an experiment, and fill in the fields, using a pre-determined question, describing the experiment itself, and writing a short summary of results.
Students who pursue advanced and collegiate level science coursework, however, will find that the traditional simple lab report is no longer relevant. Now, the student is responsible for creating a research question/hypothesis and designing a research project on his own. Yes, there will be a format to follow, but the assistance ends there.
In general a lab report will involve the following:
- An introductory prose section that poses a research question and a hypothesis.
- A literature review that summarizes previous research on the same question.
- A third section will introduce the research design, the process of experimentation in detail, and the results of the experimentation
- The final section analyzes the results, and evaluates both its support of previous research and/or the differences in results which will inform future research on the same question.
Suppose, for example, you are in an environmental science course that is looking at natural means to clean bodies of water. You have a specific interest in the use of a certain form of algae to filter water that has been polluted by industrial waste. Your research question will then relate to the efficacy of this algae filter with a hypothesis that it will, in fact, remove the pollutants and restore oxygen to the water source. Prior research will be reviewed and summarized. Your design will probably include experimental and control groups, and you will then set about the experimentation, measuring the results as they are obtained.
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