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accelerations are very similar, then it might be difficult to decide the relationship from the
position graphs because we have a hard time detecting fine variations in curvature. It is
much easier to compare the accelerations from the velocity graphs because we then just have
to look at the slopes of lines; see Figure 7. We call this the “calculus” method because velocity
is the first derivative with respect to time of position; we have effectively chosen to plot the
derivative of position rather than position itself. We can sometimes use these calculus-based
relationships to graph more meaningful quantities than the obvious ones. 256 APPENDIX: REVIEW OF GRAPHS (a) (b) (c) (d)
Figure 7: Position and velocity with respect to time for an objects with slightly different
accelerations. The difference is easier to see in the velocity graphs.
The other method is creatively named “linearization.” Essentially, it amounts to choosing
non-obvious quantities for the independent and/or dependent variables in a graph in such a
way that the result graph will be a line. An easy example of this is, once again, an object
moving with a constant acceleration, like one of those in Figure 7. Instead of taking the
derivative and plotting the velocity, we might have chosen to graph the position with respect
to ⁄ ; because the initial velocity for this object happened to be , this would also have
produced a graph with a constant slope. The Bottom Line
Ultimately, graphs exist to communicate information. This is the objective that we should
have in mind when we create them. If our graph can effectively communicate our point to
our readers, then it has accomplished its purpose. 257 APPENDIX: REVIEW OF GRAPHS Figure 8: The position of the first object from Figure 7 plotted with respect to
linearized. 258 ⁄ . The relationship has been Appendix: Guide to Writing Lab Reports (130x) Many students have a great deal of trouble writing lab reports. They don’t know what a lab
report is; they don’t know how to write one; they don’t know what to put in one. This
document seeks to resolve those problems. We will address them in that order.
This manual includes examples of a good and of a bad lab report; examine them in
conjunction with this document to aid your understanding. What Is a Lab Report?
Everyone seems to understand that a lab report is a written document about an experiment
performed in lab. Beyond that, a lab report’s identity is less obvious and more disputed. Let’s
save ourselves some misery by first listing some things that a lab report is not. A lab report is
not … a worksheet; you may not simply use the example like a template,substituting what
is relevant for your experiment. ... the story of your experiment; although a description of the experimental procedure
is necessary and very story-like, this is only one part of the much greater analytical
document that is the report. ... rigid; what is appropriate for a report about one experiment may not be appropriate
for another. ... a set of independent sections; a lab report should be logically divided, but its
structure should be natural, and its prose should flow.
So what, then, is a lab report? A lab report is a document beginning with the proposal of a
question and then proceeding, using your experiment, to answerthat question. It explains not
only what was done, but why it was done and what it means. To try to specify the content in
much more detail than this is too constraining; you must simply do whatever is necessary to
accomplish these goals. However, a lab report usually accomplishes them in four phases.
First, it introduces the experiment by placing it in context, usually the motivation for
performing it and some question that it seeks to answer. Second, it describes the methods of
the experiment. Third, it analyzes the data to yield some scientifically meaningful result.
Fourth, it discusses the result, answering the original question and explaining what the result
There are, of course, other senses of what a lab report is — it is quantitative, it is persuasive,
etcetera — but we will come to those along the way. 259 APPENDIX: GUIDE TO WRITING LAB REPORTS – 130x How Do I Write a Lab Report?
Now that we have a vague idea of what a lab report is, let’s discuss how to write it. By this,
we do not mean its content, but its audience, style, etcetera. Making an Argument
We already mentioned that a lab report uses an experiment to answer a question, but merely
answering it isn’t enough; your report must convince the reader that the answer is correct.
This makes a lab report a persuasive document. Your persuasive argument is the single most
important part of any lab report. You must be able to communicate and demonstrate a clear
point. If you can do this well, your report will be a success; if you cannot, it will be a failure.
At some point, you have certainly written a traditional, five-paragraph essay. The first
paragraph introduces a thesis, the second through fourth defend the thesis, and the fifth
paragraph concludes by restating the thesis. This is a little too simple for a lab report, but the
basic idea is the same; keep it in mind. This structure is typically implemented in science in
four basic sections: introduction, methodology, results, and discussion. This is sometimes
called the “IMRD method.” Begin by stating...
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This document was uploaded on 02/23/2014 for the course MANAGMENT 2201 at University of Michigan.
- Spring '14