University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Preparation is a key to success in this lab. For this reason, you are required to thoroughly read through the experiment information presented in the lab manual, and complete a pre-lab for each experiment you do. The prelab must be completed prior to the day of the experiment. Each Friday I will ask to see your completed prelab before I allow you to enter the lab. If you have not finished the pre-lab, I will not allow you to enter the lab and you will receive a zero. Note: Your prelab/lab report is to be done in your carbon copy lab notebook (sold in FIU bookstore) A complete pre lab has the following sections:
I. Title of the experiment
This is the name of the experiment as written in your lab manual. (ex. Experiment 1: MEASUREMENTS AND DENSITY DETERMINATION)
II. Purpose or Objective (purpose and objective are the same thing) This section should be a couple of sentences SUMMARIZING why you are doing this experiment. This must be in your own words. (ex. For your first experiment on density determination and measurements your objective would be something like : ” To become familiar with scientific measurements and the importance of recording measurements accurately and precisely. Also, to explore the concept of density, mass , and volume.”)
In this section, in your own words you should discuss the important concepts of the lab. You should try to make this section flow from one concept to the next. You should make sure to include any important formulas mentioned in your lab manual for that particular experiment. (ex. A good way to organize an introduction for the density determination experiment would be something along the lines of: Experimental sciences such as chemistry, use measurements to quantify information about the physical world. Density, which shows the relationship between the mass of an object and its volume is an example of one such concept. The formula used to calculate the density of an object is D=M/V…. ) **What I want you to pay attention to in the above example is that I have extracted information from the lab manual and condensed it into a logical paragraph that explains some of the important concepts. Notice that I did not include any “fluff” (useless information to make my introduction longer.) Remember that there is no minimum length for any of your sections so you don’t have to worry about adding in anything that is not pertinent to the lab (unless you actually want to include some background info to help develop your ideas.)
This section should be concise. List each step of the procedure in either numbered format or you can use bullet points. Remember to always use PASSIVE language when writing lab reports. Never use I placed HCl into a 50mL beaker, instead say 50 mL HCl was placed in a 50 mL beaker. (ex.
1. Wash a 50mL beaker with deionized water
2. Into a 50mL beaker, add 2mL HCl
etc…you get the point. )
Tip! If you look at your lab notebook, you will notice that there is a line down the middle of the page. When writing your procedure it is in your best interest to list your procedure on the left side (leaving a space between each step) so that you can list observations on the right side of the page when you’re performing the experiment, however, this is only a suggestion and not a requirement. V. Data
As part of your pre-lab you must have all data tables already copied into your lab notebook. These tables have already been provided for you in your lab manual, so all you are required to do is copy them (neatly please) directly into your notebook. Recap: In order to be let into the lab you must have completed your pre-lab. Your pre-lab consists of the following five sections listed above (title, purpose, introduction, procedure and all data tables provided for you in the lab manual.) Remember that after you complete the experiment and you have recorded all of your data, you must complete the following sections: calculations (if any), discussion, and results. Check your lab manual for more information on what to include in these sections.
Post lab instructions:
Once you have completed an experiment you must complete a lab report. A complete lab report consists of the sections you completed as part of your prelab and a few additional sections which I will detail below. Lab reports are due exactly one week from the day you complete the lab. If you are making up a lab, your lab report is still due one week from the day YOUR LAB SECTION completed the lab. If you have any questions about this, please ask me ???? All labs must be turned in by 6 pm. If you choose to turn in your lab after class you have to get it time stamped from the stock room before you place it in my mailbox. If you fail to get it time stamped, I will consider it late and points will be deducted accordingly. Post lab sections to be completed after you have done the lab: VI. Calculations
You will have to do calculations for some if not all of your experiments. If they are required, your lab manual will let you know. VII. Discussion (a.k.a conclusion)
This is the most important section of your lab report. In this section you should discuss and tie together the concepts and theory discussed in the introduction. This section should include the results of your experiment, a brief discussion of any graphs you had to generate, identity of your unknown (if applicable) etc. Make sure to explain if these were the results you expected and why. If not, list possible sources of error. REMEMBER there is no minimum length required so you can make this section as long or short as you find necessary to cover all the important aspects of your experiment. If you need help with any part of your lab report please email me or come see me during help hour. I’m here to help you and I want you all to do well in this lab!