Lab Report Guidelines
In order for others to learn about and evaluate cutting edge research, it must be
One of the most common methods for communicating scientific research is the
You will be writing your one lab report this semester in a style that is similar to
the full papers published in the
Journal of Organic Chemistry
In addition, you will be practicing
writing each of the sections of the lab report on your results sheets.
While some of the specifics
differ from this course, there is very good information in planning a research paper in
G. How to Write A Research Paper: Whitesides Group, Adv. Mater., 2004, 16, 1374
general information can be found in The ACS style guide : a manual for authors and editors
(available on reserves) .
Your lab reports should have five sections beginning with a table of
contents graphic and then include an abstract, introduction, results and discussion section , and
All sections other than the table of contents graphic should be delineated
with bold headings.
: Scientific writing is concise.
Journal pages are expensive, and extra long and wordy
articles are seldom read.
Therefore, a long paper will be at a considerable disadvantage compared
to a well-written short paper.
The entire paper is limited to
should be double spaced,
margins all around.
Anything after the first five
pages will not be graded.
Your papers should be written in Times New Roman or
Please note that some VISTA programs may default to 11.5 point type and this will not be
You need to include your
title of the paper
This may be
on a separate title page that does not count toward the page limit, or at the top of the first page of
A reference page (if included) does not count to your five page limit. While there is
no minimum, a paper that is less than three pages long most likely does not go into the depth
required by this assignment.
Your lab reports should be written at a level comprehensible to students taking an
organic chemistry course who have not performed the experiment before.
In other words, you
have to explain the experiment fully, but you can assume knowledge of basic concepts from
organic chemistry and basic organic lab techniques.
While in your lab report you will demonstrate
your understanding of the techniques, your report should be focused on presenting the results you
obtained and discussing these results.
You should not include a lot of background information
about extraction, column chromatography, etc.
For example, assume your reader knows that the
lower layer in the extraction is the layer with the greatest density, and that a drying agent is used to