C125/C126 FORMAL LAB REPORT
FORMAL LAB REPORT, General
A formal lab report is required in conjunction with some of the experiments in each
It is your chance to demonstrate to your professor or TA how well you
understand the experiment and the chemical principles involved.
A formal report is
different than a term paper.
It should be written in a scientific style, which is not the
same style used for English or philosophy papers.
The keys to effective technical writing are organization, brevity, clarity, and an
appreciation of the needs of the reader.
You must write clearly and be thorough, but
Do not ramble.
The best way to avoid rambling is to first prepare an outline of
the report and stick to it.
Always use complete sentences.
Bulleted lists are okay in a lab
notebook but are unacceptable in a formal report. Formal reports must be typed. Use 1.5
line spacing, 1-inch margins, 12 pt font and 8.5x11 inch paper.
Only use third person,
past tense. Also, proofread well.
The general structure of a formal lab report follows that of a scientific paper.
and Author (s)
Data and Calculation
Results and Discussion
Results and discussion sections are combined into one single section.
instructors may have specific formats that they want you to follow.
You should always
defer to the instructions given to you by your course.
Presented here are general
guidelines for writing formal lab reports and scientific papers.
Before writing your first report, visit the library and examine several journal articles.
close attention to the style of the prose and the contents of each particular section.
Several common journals to investigate are:
The Journal of the American Chemical Society
The Journal of Physical Chemistry
Initialed and dated laboratory notebook pages of the experiment must be submitted.
While report sheets may be a joint effort,
formal reports must be individually written
A schedule of reports and dates on which they are due is given in the course laboratory
We highly recommend that reports be completed prior to the day of submission
to allow time to proofread, and thus avoiding loss of points due to last minute problems.
Lost data or the inability to print reports is not acceptable excuses for incomplete or
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