Chem 105 Guide to the
Formal Laboratory Report
The purpose of a formal report is to communicate effectively to another person the goal, procedure, data analysis method, and results of your laboratory work. The report is divided into several well-defined sections. Each section must be present in a complete report. To earn an outcome point for the laboratory report, a student must submit a formal lab report that earns a score of at least 90/100. Each error (factual, grammatical, typographical, spelling) results in a deduction of 5/100. Several opportunities will be offered through the second half of the semester for students to submit a successful report. Sub-par reports may not be resubmitted for regrading. The report structure below must be followed, and notes at the end of this handout should be heeded. For Chem 105, only the Cover Page, Introduction and Experimental Procedures sections are required. In Chem 106, complete formal reports will be written. Lab reports must be posted in Blackboard within two lab periods after the experiment is finished. Late reports will not be accepted. A sample of an acceptable formal lab report is attached to the end of this handout.
Include the title of the lab experiment, the date it was performed, your name, and the name of your partner (if any).
This section is at most three sentences in length but must be a thoughtful summary of the goals and main points of the lab experiment. This section should be written in the past tense.
This section is analogous to the Procedure section of your notebook entry. It contains all of the actions you performed in lab, plus observations such as colors, heat production, gas evolution, etc... The lab report should not read like an instruction manual. It should read like you are telling the story of your day in lab. It should include all the details required for another chemist (at your level of ability) to successfully repeat the experiment that you carried out. The procedure can not simply be a rewording of the idealized procedure in the manual unless you followed the manual exactly during lab, with no deviations. This section should be written in the past tense. Do not include explanations of your calculations in this section. Drawings may be appropriate in this section, depending on the experiment, if the experimental setup is not obvious. Data (not included in the Chem 105 report)
Present any data collected during the experiment in an organized fashion, such as a data table (if appropriate). Include any temperatures, masses, absorbances and other readings collected during the experimental procedure. For computer-interfaced experiments, the data may be in the form of a data plot. If it is attached at the end of the report, be sure to refer to the plot and describe it (one sentence) in the data section.
Calculations (not included in the Chem 105 report)
Explain all the calculations required to reach your results. Use prose (full sentences) to describe the reason for performing each calculation, and explain the steps you make in each calculation. Include one sample of each calculation using actual data, to illustrate the explanations. If you have several identical, repetitive calculations, present the results of the calculations in a table rather than show every equation.
Results (not included in the Chem 105 report)
This section summarizes the information learned in the experiment, including the main numerical results restated from the calculation section. Questions posed in the Introduction are answered in the Results section. This section should be no more than a few sentences.
Discussion (not included in the Chem 105 report)
Answer any questions posed by the manual or instructor that are outside the experiment. Not all experiments will require a Discussion section.
Formal lab reports must be word-processed on a computer (not a...
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