The Laboratory Report (333T)
The format you will use to generate reports for ChE 253M should be rigorously followed. Our goal in this undertaking is to teach you how to produce a professional engineering report that would be acceptable to any manager or agency.You should leave this course with a structure that you can be confident to submit and one that you can modify and adapt for any application.
Reminder: Write the bulk of your laboratory report in the 3rd person. Also, use the past tense, except to describe equipment or to express facts that are always true. See FAQs for more guidelines on technical writing.
The laboratory report has nine sections:
1. Front Matter
The front matter includes a title page, a table of contents, a list of tables, and a list of figures.
2. Abstract or Letter of Transmittal
The abstract or letter of transmittal is a condensation of the subject matter. It gives a quantitative summary of your procedure, results, and conclusions. Read more on the abstract.
The introduction answers the questions: What were your goals? Why is this experiment important?
A good introduction clearly states the purpose or objectives. It also summarizes the basic approach to the problem and gives an overview of the procedures.
If you had a design problem, the introduction restates the problem and its significance. The introduction may also include background on previous work.
The methods section answers the questions: What was measured? How was it measured? What was the theoretical basis of the experiment?
This section briefly describes the apparatus and procedures and specifies any modifications. A concise discussion of the theory (1-2 equations) is also included.
Note that the Laboratory Report’s Methods section condenses three parts of the Research Report (the theory, apparatus, and procedures) because your readers do not need to duplicate the experiment. Your instructor, however, may require that you refer to fuller descriptions of the apparatus, procedures, and theory in the appendix.
5. Sample Calculations
Copy from the template.
The results section answers the questions: What data were collected? How were the data analyzed? What conclusions were drawn from the analysis?
The results section is a discussion that links your data analysis to your conclusions. It develops conclusions with reference to the figures, graphs, and tables of your analysis. Its depth and detail will vary according to your experiment and your TA’s preferences.
The conclusions and recommendations section answers the questions: What were the tasks? What were the most important conclusions and recommendations developed from each task?
The results section has already stated the report’s conclusions, but they are buried in the discussion. This final section re-presents them so they are accessible to someone reading quickly.
The appendices of the laboratory report generally include raw data and sample calculations. Some instructors may also require a discussion of safety issues, fuller descriptions of the apparatus, fuller descriptions of the procedure, derivatives of theory, an effort report, and other assignments specified by your instructor.
The text should cite all sources used, including the lab handout. References should be listed at the end of the appendix, using APA documentation style. NoodleBiB (UT Library) will generate the reference list for you. For example, you may cite a source like this in the text (Henry, 1998). The reference would look like this:
Henry, J. (1998, Summer). Liquid-Liquid Extraction. Lab Handout ChE 264, The University of Texas at Austin.
Laboratory Reports vary in length depending on the type of experiment. They typically contain between 1500-3000 words of text, from the “Introduction” through the “Conclusions/Recommendations.” This is not a word “limit”; it is a guide. If your 253M report is 5000 words long, you are definitely being too verbose. Conversely, it is unlikely that you can write a professional report for the 253M experiment in less than 1000 words! The number of pages will also vary, depending on how many figures and tables you include. The final version of the laboratory report should be single-spaced.
Template for the Laboratory Report Laboratory-Report-Template-2014-333T
Follow the Laboratory Report template in preparing your assignment. Instructions are in square brackets [like this]. If you cut-and-paste your writing onto a template, it helps if you (1) save a copy of your work as “text only,” and (2) transfer the “text only” version to the template. This way, you avoid importing new formatting.