Mr. Hoffner's  Classroom

Pantego Christian Academy
2201 Park Row Dr. 
Arlington, Tx 76013 
(817) 460-3315

How do I write a Lab Report?

Scientist must use a consistent and logical format to record and report their findings. This process is done by means of a laboratory report which uses the following outline:

The Title

Be sure that your title is accurate and reflects the major emphasis of your paper and prepare readers for the information you present.

The Title needs to be placed on Top of each page of the lab.

Diagram: (This is only for Labs completed in a 5x5 Lab Quad book)

  1. On the first clean page –{ Left page }– at the Beginning of the Lab
    This should include at least one colored, labeled drawing
    of how the equipment was put together and used.
  2. Label lines should be drawn with a ruler or some other straight edge
    Horizontal, vertical or a union of the two connected at right angles.
    Labels are printed



  1. Background information placing the work in context; (what is already known about the idea)
  2. The problem and/or theory being considered;
  3. Short explanation of why this work needs our attention;
  4. The main outcome of experiment relating it to the consequence of the work (what will the results mean).
  5. Include any necessary definitions, techniques, formulas, reactions and references (author, year).
  6. Your instructor cannot be a reference


 Null Hypothesis (Ho):

Your null hypotheses is to discredit what you are looking for. What you are saying is ... the Independent variable has NO impact on the Dependent Variable!

Remember, Labs are done inorder to disprove that which is currently believed. Therefore, we write the null hypothesis as an "if - then" statement <If independent variable ... then we WILL NOT GET the Dependent variable ..... Because _______?________>


Alternate Hypothesis (Ha)

 Your hypotheses are to be stated as an "if - then" statement.  What you are saying is ... the Independent variable has an impact on the Dependent Variable!                               <If independent variable ... then Dependent variable ...  Because _______?_______>



List in a column (i.e. 1, 2, 3) of all materials used. Be specific include sizes, amounts in SI measurements only and degree of precision



• Give all necessary safety precautions including symbol(s) first.
• Then in complete sentences (in paragraph form) describe what you you should do to perform the experiment. This is not story Time!
• Other experimenters should be able to repeat the protocol using this section.
• Other drawings and/or Photographs within the lab must have their own title and be labeled figure 1, figure 2 and so on. Drawings must be a minimum of 12 cm by 12 cm.



This is where all raw data is recorded.
All data is to be recorded in the form of tables.
Each table must have its own title relevant to the data expressed.
All data must be in metric units. Every number must have units.
This section should only have factual information.

[For AP and IB classes: Make sure you include uncertainties]


  1. Summarize any data trends.
  2. Use of any mathematical models needs to be identified with work shown justifying your conclusion.
  3. Graphs must be 12 cm by 12 cm. or larger.

    [For AP and IB classes: Make sure you include uncertainties]


  1. Address your null hypothesis as “I reject” or “I fail to reject”.
  2. Interpret your lab results and support the interpretation with data.
    Check to see if your results support or refute your hypothesis and state this in complete and clear sentences. 
  3. How does this result attempt to explain processes that occur with us or globally?
  4. List the possible sources for error.
    Although sloppy technique is a source of error, it is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE source of error.
  5. Bibliography: Use APA format only.
    Example to follow:


Example from the internet:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (2000). Title of article. Title of Periodical, xx, xxxxxx. Retrieved month day, year, from source.

Example from a primary source:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (2000). Title of Book. (pp. XX-XX). City, State Published: Name of Publisher

Secondary sources may be used as long as it accopmanies a primary source!


Some Technical aspects of the lab report:

• Record title of lab and page number the lab BEGINS on in Table of Contents in the front of your lab book
• You are to have a 1.5 mm (3 blocks) margin on ALL sides of the lab report
• You may NOT use white out or any other form there of. Draw ONE line through any error and write the corrected information ledgeably following the error. The use of any correction fluid or improper corrections of an error results in a deduction of 10 points for EACH occurrence. White-out Identifies cover up of what could be significant data or information.
• Labs must be done in pen, blue or black ink. Drawings are done in pencil, colored and labeled.
• You must have a page number in the bottom outside corner of each page.
You may not remove ANY page of your lab book for any reason. Loss of a page results in a deduction of 10 points for EACH occurrence and shortens the durability and longevity of your work.