General Report Guidelines

All lab reports must be typed. Learn to use the equation editor in Word or whatever software you use to prepare the report.

All lab reports must be written individually. Since you work in teams, you will likely have the same data as your partners, however, you must write and prepare you own report (text, figures, equations, etc). No copying from others. (except for the raw data, which you will of course have to share).

Include your name, and any partners names, as well as your Lab Section and Lab Instructor's name.

Below is a generic format for a basic lab report. Certain experiments might call for different structure, but this should suffice as a starting point for all.


Include the name and number of experiment. Include your section number, and lab instructor's name as well your own.


In your own words, give a brief description of the main idea behind the experiment(s). Explain how to the topics explored in the experiment relate to the everyday world or a particular application in science. [1 point]

(the following sections might need to be repeated if there are multiple experiments in the same lab)


Describe briefly the procedure of the experiments. [1 point]


Data – Include all tables, graphs, and figures as required. Everything must be clearly and neatly labeled. Graphs must have titles, axes need to be labeled and have units.

Tables must have titles: Table 1: Distance (m) versus Time(sec)

Do not just hand in the scrap paper you used during lab. [3 points]

Questions – Answer all questions that were listed throughout the lab. Thoughts are clear, and give justification for your answers. [3 points]


State a summary of your results. Was the result what you expected? Why or why not? Include sources of error, “human error” is not acceptable, “incorrectly counting trials leading to…” is acceptable.

Make suggestions for improving the procedure, if any. Writing and grammar should be at university levels. (i.e. spelling and grammar are correct) [2 points]

TOTAL: 10 Points

Other Guidelines

Like all written assignments and essays, lab reports must be typed. Do not hand in hand written documents for college level work.

MS Word and Mac Pages both have support for equation editing. If you're planning on continuing on in the natural sciences, especially Physics, for your career, now would be a fine time to start learning latex, which allows for easy creation of beautiful scientific documents. (try Overleaf or The Latex Project for more information.)