Uploaded by Shaun Miles


Organic Lab Report Guide
Below, I have summarized what you must include in your reports. I will also upload a sample lab report to show
how the final product should look.
Miscellaneous Info
Place your name, lab section, date, and lab number in the header of the paper. Be sure it displays on all the pages.
Be sure to include the lab # at the start of the title. You can simply use the title from the pre-lab sheet, but I
encourage you to be creative with the title. For example, maybe include something about the mechanism you found
during the lab. This makes it more eye-catching to a researcher skimming through a journal archive.
Pre-lab Title: Lab #: Electrophilic addition of hydrobromic acid to butadiene
Your Creative Title: Lab #: Electrophilic addition of acids to dienes favors the formation of 1,4-addition
Reaction Scheme
Place your reaction scheme underneath the title. Prior to lab 5, you may use the pre-labs’ schemes. After lab 5, you
must draw your own scheme that illustrates the reaction you performed and the products that resulted (even if the
pre-lab doesn’t show them). Place a “Figure 1” label at the bottom of the figure and follow it with a very short
caption about what it is showing.
The introduction is a short paragraph that describes some background information, goals (or hypothesis), and
techniques for performing the work. For example,
“(Background) Reaction of A with B generally produces C via a Z mechanism. Additive D catalyzes this mechanism
and proceeds through a W intermediate. However, this intermediate can decay into several different isomers of C.
(Goal) Therefore, in this lab, we sought to determine which isomer of C was favored under E conditions.
(Techniques) We utilized X and Y techniques to characterize and determine the predominant products.”
This example is very generic and may not apply to every lab we do. Be sure to think about the purpose of the lab
prior to writing your introduction. Imagine you must concisely and accurately introduce it to a sophomore organic
student at a different school who may not be familiar with the lab.
There are no length requirements for the introduction as long as you can effectively illustrate the background and
purpose of the lab. Generally, most of our labs should not require more than a paragraph or two of introduction.
Most journals prefer introductions and discussions to be written in active voice (Subject + action verb + object
receiving action) as it makes them less repetitive and clunky. Students often mistakenly use passive voice (Object +
to be verb + past participle + subject) to write all of their science reports. Here’s an example of both:
Active voice (preferred): We investigated the reaction of A with B and characterized its products using X
and Y techniques.
Passive voice: The reaction of A and B was investigated and characterized using X and Y techniques.
Materials and Methods
In this section, you want to provide a detailed breakdown of the lab’s procedure while avoiding mundane details.
For example, providing the amount of the chemicals you used is almost always a critical detail, while the precise
speed of your stir plate is not. This section should be written as a paragraph in your own words from the procedure
provided. In contrast to the introduction and discussion, this paragraph should be written in passive voice. Also,