The skills needed to prepare a proper of
a laboratory report are an important part of the
General Chemistry experience. Your laboratory report should be a clear
accurate record of
your experiment's procedure, observations, and calculations as they
happen. These records
transpires in the laboratory are critical to the practice of chemistry
laboratory sciences. Thus, when you are done with an experiment and all
of the chemicals
used have been washed away, and all of the apparatus taken down, the
report will serve as
an infallible "memory" of what happened and how. In the real
constitute the basis for:
major question to keep asking yourself as you prepare a laboratory
report is this: have I provided sufficient detail so
can reproduce what I did in the laboratory AND get the same result
I did. Do you
think someone could successfully run the lab from your report alone?
Laboratory reports are critical when
unusual or unexpected results
Discoveries and inventions are extreme examples of unusual results. The
acceptance of such
findings by the scientific community generally depends on independent
reproduction of the
finding. A recent example of an irreproducible, unusual finding was the
announcement of the production of large amounts of energy through 'cold
Think of your lab report as a
'blog'. It should tell people what you hope to discovery during
the lab, a detailed procedure you will follow, your observations of
what happened, any calculations, and finally a conclusion.
Attendance at all laboratory
required. If you find you can not attend a given lab then you
will have to use it as your 'drop lab'. If you miss a second lab,
a grade of zero (0) will be assigned.
that each lab report should
Each of these sections must be separate
and labeled. You must have
purpose and procedure written prior to the laboratory session for each
Leave a little space in case the procedure must be modified from that
found on the
Your laboratory grade represents 30% of your overall course
grade. You will be conducting eleven experiments and taking a
comprehensive laboratory final. The majority of your lab grade
will come from your lab reports. I will average the best ten lab
reports and this will represent 25% of your lab grade. So
you will have one 'drop lab' which will be your lowest grade or one you
had to miss. The
other 5% will come from a comprehensive lab final.
Grading of the Lab Reports:
report consists of a 'Word' document that will be sent to me three
times (see Submission
Process). Each report is
worth a total of 100 points which will be
- Purpose, and Procedure (20 points):
- What exactly are you attempting? What is the goal of this
- Give an overview of how you intend to accomplish this.
- Balanced chemical reactions.
- Diagrams of equipment.
- Detailed, step by step instructions to carry out experiment.
- It's OK to copy the Procedure, but the Purpose must be in your
- DO NOT
put in 'Background' or 'Sample Calculations', this is for your
enlightenment, but should not be in your report.
- Remember, this is due at least 24 hours prior to your lab
- Data and Observations (30 points):
- Physical and chemical properties of reagents.
- Physical and chemical changes that occur during the experiment..
- Calculations, plots, etc.
- Photos and/or screen captures of experiment in progress.
- Proper units and significant figures for every measurement
- You must submit this BEFORE you
leave the lab.
- Analysis, Summary, and Conclusions (50 points):
- Show all of your calculations, they account for 15
points. If they are complicated, you can
write them out on a piece of paper and then scan or photo them into
your report. Just make sure that they are easily readable.
- Document your experiment with several photos; they account
for 10 points. Remember to compress
them before submitting your report! There is a strict
2MByte limit on the size of your electronic report.
- Your conclusions account for 15
points. Review why the experiment was attempted, how it was
carried out, and major observations. Were the results as
expected? Why or Why not. A portion of these points will be
determined by how closely your results match the expected results.
- The manner in which you conducted the
lab will acoount for the final
10 points. How prepared were you, did you use your time
efficiently, did you conduct the experiment safely, did you keep your
work space and common areas clean.
A typical laboratory report
is shown below:
(click on each thumbnail to see the full page)
(Updated 5/30/11 by C.R. Snelling)