Written lab reports are a key component of the course. They are due at the beginning of the next lab. In a report, you demonstrate your ability to organize and interpret data, to draw inferences, and to communicate conclusions. Unless otherwise specified, students may submit a single report for their lab group of four or fewer students directed, each student must complete their own lab report individually.
A standard lab report consists of the following sections, with the given weights. Labs whose reports deviate from this format will be accompanied by specific guidelines.
Summarizes the investigation, including procedure and conclusions, as briefly as possible.
Identifies the questions investigated, hypotheses tested, or skills taught.
Identifies the physics principles relevant to the situation. Develops the formulas or equations to obtain the desired information from the measurements.
Describes the apparatus and procedure in enough detail for a reader to duplicate your experiment.
Data are to be presented to the instructor at the end of the lab period in which they are recorded. If they need to be included in the report for reference, they should be transcribed.
Report all processing of data, such as statistics and plots. The actual formulas and procedures you use should already have been addressed in the “Theory” section above.
Detail the meaning of your results, particularly pertaining to the “Purpose” above.
Describe possible sources of measurement error, and how errors would affect your results. Please do not use the term “human error.” If the experimenter may have done something wrong, identify it specifically.
What is the answer to the question you investigated? Is your hypothesis supported or not? Is your study conclusive? Explain, referring to your “Discussion” above.
You can download a printable version of these guidelines in pdf format.
Copyright © 30 August 2023.
Revised: 13 January 2024. Maintained by Richard Barrans.