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Laboratory Report Guidelines

Guidelines in Writing Formal Laboratory Reports
The laboratory reports should be a collection of your observations, calculations, data, and
conclusions for each experiment done. It should not be a collection of miscellaneous theory and
discussion that has been taken from literature or textbooks. Be clear, concise, and complete. It is
much better to express a thought clearly in one sentence than to write a whole paragraph in which
the thought is restated in an unintelligible manner several times.
All laboratory experiments must be
a. Reported in a manuscript-like format, according to the required guidelines for preparing
a formal lab report
b. Encoded on a short size bond paper (8.5” by 11”, with 1 inch margin on all sides, except
the left side which is 1.5 inches, Times New Roman font, size 12 for text, 1.5 line
spacing, and paginated at top right using Times New Roman font, size 10, starting at the
introduction part of the report
Reports should be submitted one week after the date of completion of the activity.
a. Penalty of late report: minus 5% per day maximum of 3 days
b. Beyond 3 days late, the report will be accepted but not graded. Instead, you will earn a
default performance rating of 40% (4 days late), 35% (5 days late), or 25% (beyond 5
days late). Failure to submit a required formal report will earn a rating of 0% for the said
c. Submitted reports must be received personally by your instructor. In case the instructor
is not around, the report must be signed by any instructor indicating the date and time
the report is submitted. (Laboratory Reports must be submitted and uploaded to Google
Grading System
For Actual Experiments
The laboratory reports are graded mostly according to the following criteria (which may change
slightly for certain experiments):
Materials and Methods
Results (Calculations, Tables and, Figures)
Discussions (Answers to Questions)
For Virtual Experiments
For reports with no corresponding experiments, these are graded according to the following
Theory and Principles
Discussions (Answers to Questions)
a. With valid reason: must arrange make-up schedule. Accepted valid reason is sickness
with appropriate medical certificate.
b. Without valid reason: default score is zero.
Format of Lab Reports
Title Page
This will serve as the front page, stating the title of the experiment, your name, laboratory
group mates, the date the work was started and completed, and a table for your ratings.
Give a short discussion of the general nature of the experiment. The method used in the
experiment should be mentioned briefly. This section should describe clearly but briefly the
background information on the problem or the subject at hand and the objectives of the
Materials and Methods
Do not simply copy the procedure or the lab manual. This section should describe what
was actually done, all written in the past tense. It is a succinct exposition of the lab notebook,
describing procedures, techniques, instrumentations, special precautions, and so on. It should be
sufficiently detailed that other experienced researchers would be able to repeat the work and
obtain comparable results.
In this section, relevant data, observations and findings are summarized. Tabulation of
data, equations, calculations, charts, and figures, can be used effectively to present results clearly
and concisely. Schemes used to show reaction sequences may be used here or elsewhere in the
report. Tables and figures must be numbered and captioned. Figure captions are to be placed
under the figure while table captions are to be placed above the table. Calculations are to be
shown. In case of erroneous calculations, the student will be advised to recalculate.
The crux of the report is the analysis and interpretation of the results. This is where you
demonstrate your knowledge of the experiment. Because the “Results” and “Discussions”
sections are interrelated, they can often be combined as one section but we will attempt to keep
them separate entities throughout this course. If your lab procedure hand out has any questions,
answer these as part of the discussion section. If appropriate, discuss or explain sources of errors
and propose remedies for such errors.
Give the conclusion/s that you arrived at from the results you have gathered. You may
give suggestions for improving the experiment.
A separate section outlining the main conclusion of the lab work is appropriate if
conclusions have not already been stated in the “Discussion” section. Directions for future work
are also suitably expressed here. A lengthy report, or one in which the findings are complex,
usually benefits from a paragraph summarizing the main features of the report: the objectives, the
findings, and the conclusions.
Literature references should be arranged alphabetically at the end of the report and cited
in the format described by standard journals. In this course, use the format (Author, Year). Do not
mix formats.
You are required to attach photocopies of relevant pages (of your lab notebook) to your
lab reports, including photocopies of instrument print out (if any). Reports with no such
attachments will not be graded.
Prepared by:
Dexter C. Canalita, M.S.
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