Duncan-Writing Lab Reports

Duncan-Writing Lab Reports - Writing lab reports Richard...

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Writing lab reports Richard Duncan * Georgia Perimeter College, Lawrenceville, GA (Dated: January 18, 2006) A description of lab report content and formatting is provided. This document describes some guidelines to consider when composing the manuscript. Furthermore, the layout of this article should also serve as a guide for production of the lab reports. I. INTRODUCTION Many lab instructors adhere to awkward paradigm of hav- ing students write instruction-manualstyle lab reports. For ex- ample, typical reports often include sections entitled Equip- ment , Data , and Calculations . However, the instructions pro- vided within the lab manual that accompanies the course are often adequate and reproducing this material is not only re- dundant, but tends to obscure the true objective of the exper- iment. With the great similarity between the course lab book and this method of writing lab reports, students too often are given a poor impression about the central role of experimen- tation in science and the importance of effectively interpreting and communicating the results. The instruction-manual style of writing is better-suited for a newly engineered experiment, as that provides a guide for others to test the reproducibility of the results. In this class, however, the experiments are, for the most part, simple recipes for reproducing data that, ideally, should substantiate relevant models. Instead, a more practical style of reporting experimental re- sults will be used, though it is an unconventional style for sophomore-level labs. The following sections of this docu- ment will provide guidance for both developing content and the use of an appropriate format for each lab report. The first section of this document describes general infor- mation about lab reports including avoiding plagiarism. The section that follows provides more specific details about the format of the report including how to utilize figures and tables and alternate sources of information. Also in this final sec- tion, a few words about document preparation, specially the evils of word processors, will be provided. II. GENERAL INFORMATION Each lab report is to be co-authored by no more than three people; however, the experiment itself may be performed by a larger group. Subsequently, acknowledgement of the other experimentalists should be provided within the report. The manuscript must be written using your own words and con- clusively demonstrate a solid understanding of the experi- mental objectives. The document should be written with lan- guage that is understandable by your peers and consistent with * rduncan@gpc.edu college-level writing skills [1]. In grading the labs, consider-
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Duncan-Writing Lab Reports - Writing lab reports Richard...

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