Sample Lab Report (font: 12pt, double spaced) In general, the lab

Sample Lab Report (font: 12pt, double spaced)
In general, the lab report will be typed in a 12pt font and double spaced. When writing
scientifically, a lab report is written in the 3rd person. This means do not use, I's or we's. Also,
if evaluating an unknown sample, clearly include the unknown information in the heading
section (shown below), if this is not included in the lab report points will be deducted.
Sarah F. Phillips
Organic Chemistry 220 Lab-Section 1024
Thin Layer Chromatography
September 1, 2009
Unknown: 12a
Thin Layer Chromatography
Objective: The Purpose of this experiment was to…..(1-2 sentences).
General Procedure: A brief summary is given here of the procedure. This section should be no
longer than a short paragraph.
Results: There shouldn’t be many words in this section as far as paragraphs. The results should
be tabulated to allow for quick reference, and should follow the order as presented in the
procedure. All tables and figures (graphs, diagrams) should be numbered and labeled. This will
help in the discussion section by allowing for reference to a specific table or figure. The results
section should include calculations, interpretation of spectra, melting points, and the percent
yields. Any spectra taken should be attached to the back of the report and labeled clearly as to
what that spectra is (i.e. type of spectra GC, IR, NMR etc. and the compound being analyzed).
Discussion: This section explains and “discusses” What did you do? and why? What happened?
and why? This is the most important section of the lab report. This is where a detailed account
is given of what happened in the experiment. Provide possible reaction mechanisms, tell the
reader why reagents A, B, C were added, why the fraction was collected at temperature X, why
the analyte was detected at wavelength Y, etc. A common way to proceed is to step through
the procedure while discussing points of interest. The most important question here is, Why? It
is important to understand and explain the chemistry behind the experiment just conducted.
The discussion section is also where the results are interpreted and conclusions are drawn.
Refer to the tables and diagrams. Also, compare results to expected values (calculated or from
the literature) this often means doing some research in the library. If poor results were
obtained, the discussion section is the opportunity to suggest why these errors occurred.
Another way to discuss poor results is to suggest changes to the procedure or even to the
method that would improve the experiment. How the results are interpreted is “somewhat”
more important than the results themselves. It shows that knowledge was gained of both the
experiments and the theories behind the experiment, but slight errors led to poor results. This
will be the longest part of the report, but two pages should be plenty.
Conclusions: This section of the lab report will answer the questions, What, how, what
happened and why? The conclusion section is just a quick overview of what was done and how.
Emphasis is put on the results and on how future experiments approached in a different way
might enhance the overall outcome of the experiment.
Also: If questions were assigned (pre-lab) and asked throughout the experiment, please list the
answers labeled with the corresponding numbers on a separate page after the conclusions
section, but before any attached spectra.