Full Lab Reports

A lab report lets you communicate the data that you collected in an experiment, along with your statement of what you learned from the experiment. When writing a lab report, observe the following points:

  • Write the entire report by yourself, even if you performed the lab with a partner. Every table, every diagram, and every word in the report should be your own work.
  • Do not include photocopies or handouts in your report. The entire report should be your work.
  • Write complete sentences with correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Write clearly.
  • When you write a measured or calculated value, insert a space between the number and the unit. For example, write 12.2 mA, not 12.2mA.
  • Type your report, and use software to create any schematic diagrams in your report. No part of your report should be handwritten except, for some labs, drawings of the waveforms that you observed on the oscilloscope.

In this course I'll ask you to write some short lab reports and some full lab reports. This page describes full lab reports. Another page describes short reports.

A full lab report should contain the following items, in the order listed:

  1. Title page, listing course number, title of experiment and lab number, date performed, date submitted, your name, and your lab partner's name (if any).
  2. Objective(s) of the experiment, in your own words.
  3. List of equipment used. Include manufacturer, model number, and serial number so that each piece of equipment is uniquely identified.
  4. Experimental procedure, in your own words, stated in enough detail that a student in your class could perform the lab by following your procedure.
  5. Schematic diagrams , drawn using Multisim or other software. In these diagrams, each component should have a label (such as R1) and a value (such as 2 kΩ).
  6. Data tables. Each table should have a short title telling the reader what kind of data it contains. Usually each table will include both predicted values and measured values, along with percentage errors. To calculate percentage error, use the equation

    % error = |measured value - predicted value| ÷ predicted value × 100

  7. Graphs (if called for) created using Microsoft Word or other software.
  8. Answers to all questions asked in the lab handout. Be sure to explain how your data support the answers that you are giving. For instance, don't just say, "Yes, Ohm's law is verified." Rather, say, "The data in Table 3 show that Ohm's law is verified, because . . ."
  9. Technical conclusion, where you state what you have learned from the lab. Be sure to relate your conclusions back to the objective(s) listed earlier. Also, either this section or the previous section should include some discussion of how far off (percentage errors) your measured values were from the predicted values. Are your percentage errors acceptably small, or too large? If they're too large, can you explain why they're so big (measurement error, faulty equipment, etc.)?

To see the formatting you should use when you write your reports, study this sample full report (in PDF format; requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Nick Reeder | Electronics Engineering Technology | Sinclair Community College

Send comments to nick.reeder@sinclair.edu