The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Scientific Reports

What this handout is about.

This handout provides a general guide to writing reports about scientific research you’ve performed. In addition to describing the conventional rules about the format and content of a lab report, we’ll also attempt to convey why these rules exist, so you’ll get a clearer, more dependable idea of how to approach this writing situation. Readers of this handout may also find our handout on writing in the sciences useful.

Background and pre-writing

Why do we write research reports.

You did an experiment or study for your science class, and now you have to write it up for your teacher to review. You feel that you understood the background sufficiently, designed and completed the study effectively, obtained useful data, and can use those data to draw conclusions about a scientific process or principle. But how exactly do you write all that? What is your teacher expecting to see?

To take some of the guesswork out of answering these questions, try to think beyond the classroom setting. In fact, you and your teacher are both part of a scientific community, and the people who participate in this community tend to share the same values. As long as you understand and respect these values, your writing will likely meet the expectations of your audience—including your teacher.

So why are you writing this research report? The practical answer is “Because the teacher assigned it,” but that’s classroom thinking. Generally speaking, people investigating some scientific hypothesis have a responsibility to the rest of the scientific world to report their findings, particularly if these findings add to or contradict previous ideas. The people reading such reports have two primary goals:

Your job as a writer, then, is to fulfill these two goals.

How do I do that?

Good question. Here is the basic format scientists have designed for research reports:

Methods and Materials

This format, sometimes called “IMRAD,” may take slightly different shapes depending on the discipline or audience; some ask you to include an abstract or separate section for the hypothesis, or call the Discussion section “Conclusions,” or change the order of the sections (some professional and academic journals require the Methods section to appear last). Overall, however, the IMRAD format was devised to represent a textual version of the scientific method.

The scientific method, you’ll probably recall, involves developing a hypothesis, testing it, and deciding whether your findings support the hypothesis. In essence, the format for a research report in the sciences mirrors the scientific method but fleshes out the process a little. Below, you’ll find a table that shows how each written section fits into the scientific method and what additional information it offers the reader.

Thinking of your research report as based on the scientific method, but elaborated in the ways described above, may help you to meet your audience’s expectations successfully. We’re going to proceed by explicitly connecting each section of the lab report to the scientific method, then explaining why and how you need to elaborate that section.

Although this handout takes each section in the order in which it should be presented in the final report, you may for practical reasons decide to compose sections in another order. For example, many writers find that composing their Methods and Results before the other sections helps to clarify their idea of the experiment or study as a whole. You might consider using each assignment to practice different approaches to drafting the report, to find the order that works best for you.

What should I do before drafting the lab report?

The best way to prepare to write the lab report is to make sure that you fully understand everything you need to about the experiment. Obviously, if you don’t quite know what went on during the lab, you’re going to find it difficult to explain the lab satisfactorily to someone else. To make sure you know enough to write the report, complete the following steps:

Once you’ve completed these steps as you perform the experiment, you’ll be in a good position to draft an effective lab report.


How do i write a strong introduction.

For the purposes of this handout, we’ll consider the Introduction to contain four basic elements: the purpose, the scientific literature relevant to the subject, the hypothesis, and the reasons you believed your hypothesis viable. Let’s start by going through each element of the Introduction to clarify what it covers and why it’s important. Then we can formulate a logical organizational strategy for the section.

The inclusion of the purpose (sometimes called the objective) of the experiment often confuses writers. The biggest misconception is that the purpose is the same as the hypothesis. Not quite. We’ll get to hypotheses in a minute, but basically they provide some indication of what you expect the experiment to show. The purpose is broader, and deals more with what you expect to gain through the experiment. In a professional setting, the hypothesis might have something to do with how cells react to a certain kind of genetic manipulation, but the purpose of the experiment is to learn more about potential cancer treatments. Undergraduate reports don’t often have this wide-ranging a goal, but you should still try to maintain the distinction between your hypothesis and your purpose. In a solubility experiment, for example, your hypothesis might talk about the relationship between temperature and the rate of solubility, but the purpose is probably to learn more about some specific scientific principle underlying the process of solubility.

For starters, most people say that you should write out your working hypothesis before you perform the experiment or study. Many beginning science students neglect to do so and find themselves struggling to remember precisely which variables were involved in the process or in what way the researchers felt that they were related. Write your hypothesis down as you develop it—you’ll be glad you did.

As for the form a hypothesis should take, it’s best not to be too fancy or complicated; an inventive style isn’t nearly so important as clarity here. There’s nothing wrong with beginning your hypothesis with the phrase, “It was hypothesized that . . .” Be as specific as you can about the relationship between the different objects of your study. In other words, explain that when term A changes, term B changes in this particular way. Readers of scientific writing are rarely content with the idea that a relationship between two terms exists—they want to know what that relationship entails.

Not a hypothesis:

“It was hypothesized that there is a significant relationship between the temperature of a solvent and the rate at which a solute dissolves.”


“It was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases.”

Put more technically, most hypotheses contain both an independent and a dependent variable. The independent variable is what you manipulate to test the reaction; the dependent variable is what changes as a result of your manipulation. In the example above, the independent variable is the temperature of the solvent, and the dependent variable is the rate of solubility. Be sure that your hypothesis includes both variables.

Justify your hypothesis

You need to do more than tell your readers what your hypothesis is; you also need to assure them that this hypothesis was reasonable, given the circumstances. In other words, use the Introduction to explain that you didn’t just pluck your hypothesis out of thin air. (If you did pluck it out of thin air, your problems with your report will probably extend beyond using the appropriate format.) If you posit that a particular relationship exists between the independent and the dependent variable, what led you to believe your “guess” might be supported by evidence?

Scientists often refer to this type of justification as “motivating” the hypothesis, in the sense that something propelled them to make that prediction. Often, motivation includes what we already know—or rather, what scientists generally accept as true (see “Background/previous research” below). But you can also motivate your hypothesis by relying on logic or on your own observations. If you’re trying to decide which solutes will dissolve more rapidly in a solvent at increased temperatures, you might remember that some solids are meant to dissolve in hot water (e.g., bouillon cubes) and some are used for a function precisely because they withstand higher temperatures (they make saucepans out of something). Or you can think about whether you’ve noticed sugar dissolving more rapidly in your glass of iced tea or in your cup of coffee. Even such basic, outside-the-lab observations can help you justify your hypothesis as reasonable.

Background/previous research

This part of the Introduction demonstrates to the reader your awareness of how you’re building on other scientists’ work. If you think of the scientific community as engaging in a series of conversations about various topics, then you’ll recognize that the relevant background material will alert the reader to which conversation you want to enter.

Generally speaking, authors writing journal articles use the background for slightly different purposes than do students completing assignments. Because readers of academic journals tend to be professionals in the field, authors explain the background in order to permit readers to evaluate the study’s pertinence for their own work. You, on the other hand, write toward a much narrower audience—your peers in the course or your lab instructor—and so you must demonstrate that you understand the context for the (presumably assigned) experiment or study you’ve completed. For example, if your professor has been talking about polarity during lectures, and you’re doing a solubility experiment, you might try to connect the polarity of a solid to its relative solubility in certain solvents. In any event, both professional researchers and undergraduates need to connect the background material overtly to their own work.

Organization of this section

Most of the time, writers begin by stating the purpose or objectives of their own work, which establishes for the reader’s benefit the “nature and scope of the problem investigated” (Day 1994). Once you have expressed your purpose, you should then find it easier to move from the general purpose, to relevant material on the subject, to your hypothesis. In abbreviated form, an Introduction section might look like this:

“The purpose of the experiment was to test conventional ideas about solubility in the laboratory [purpose] . . . According to Whitecoat and Labrat (1999), at higher temperatures the molecules of solvents move more quickly . . . We know from the class lecture that molecules moving at higher rates of speed collide with one another more often and thus break down more easily [background material/motivation] . . . Thus, it was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases [hypothesis].”

Again—these are guidelines, not commandments. Some writers and readers prefer different structures for the Introduction. The one above merely illustrates a common approach to organizing material.

How do I write a strong Materials and Methods section?

As with any piece of writing, your Methods section will succeed only if it fulfills its readers’ expectations, so you need to be clear in your own mind about the purpose of this section. Let’s review the purpose as we described it above: in this section, you want to describe in detail how you tested the hypothesis you developed and also to clarify the rationale for your procedure. In science, it’s not sufficient merely to design and carry out an experiment. Ultimately, others must be able to verify your findings, so your experiment must be reproducible, to the extent that other researchers can follow the same procedure and obtain the same (or similar) results.

Here’s a real-world example of the importance of reproducibility. In 1989, physicists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman announced that they had discovered “cold fusion,” a way of producing excess heat and power without the nuclear radiation that accompanies “hot fusion.” Such a discovery could have great ramifications for the industrial production of energy, so these findings created a great deal of interest. When other scientists tried to duplicate the experiment, however, they didn’t achieve the same results, and as a result many wrote off the conclusions as unjustified (or worse, a hoax). To this day, the viability of cold fusion is debated within the scientific community, even though an increasing number of researchers believe it possible. So when you write your Methods section, keep in mind that you need to describe your experiment well enough to allow others to replicate it exactly.

With these goals in mind, let’s consider how to write an effective Methods section in terms of content, structure, and style.

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing this section isn’t what you should talk about, but what you shouldn’t talk about. Writers often want to include the results of their experiment, because they measured and recorded the results during the course of the experiment. But such data should be reserved for the Results section. In the Methods section, you can write that you recorded the results, or how you recorded the results (e.g., in a table), but you shouldn’t write what the results were—not yet. Here, you’re merely stating exactly how you went about testing your hypothesis. As you draft your Methods section, ask yourself the following questions:

Describe the control in the Methods section. Two things are especially important in writing about the control: identify the control as a control, and explain what you’re controlling for. Here is an example:

“As a control for the temperature change, we placed the same amount of solute in the same amount of solvent, and let the solution stand for five minutes without heating it.”

Structure and style

Organization is especially important in the Methods section of a lab report because readers must understand your experimental procedure completely. Many writers are surprised by the difficulty of conveying what they did during the experiment, since after all they’re only reporting an event, but it’s often tricky to present this information in a coherent way. There’s a fairly standard structure you can use to guide you, and following the conventions for style can help clarify your points.

Increasingly, especially in the social sciences, using first person and active voice is acceptable in scientific reports. Most readers find that this style of writing conveys information more clearly and concisely. This rhetorical choice thus brings two scientific values into conflict: objectivity versus clarity. Since the scientific community hasn’t reached a consensus about which style it prefers, you may want to ask your lab instructor.

How do I write a strong Results section?

Here’s a paradox for you. The Results section is often both the shortest (yay!) and most important (uh-oh!) part of your report. Your Materials and Methods section shows how you obtained the results, and your Discussion section explores the significance of the results, so clearly the Results section forms the backbone of the lab report. This section provides the most critical information about your experiment: the data that allow you to discuss how your hypothesis was or wasn’t supported. But it doesn’t provide anything else, which explains why this section is generally shorter than the others.

Before you write this section, look at all the data you collected to figure out what relates significantly to your hypothesis. You’ll want to highlight this material in your Results section. Resist the urge to include every bit of data you collected, since perhaps not all are relevant. Also, don’t try to draw conclusions about the results—save them for the Discussion section. In this section, you’re reporting facts. Nothing your readers can dispute should appear in the Results section.

Most Results sections feature three distinct parts: text, tables, and figures. Let’s consider each part one at a time.

This should be a short paragraph, generally just a few lines, that describes the results you obtained from your experiment. In a relatively simple experiment, one that doesn’t produce a lot of data for you to repeat, the text can represent the entire Results section. Don’t feel that you need to include lots of extraneous detail to compensate for a short (but effective) text; your readers appreciate discrimination more than your ability to recite facts. In a more complex experiment, you may want to use tables and/or figures to help guide your readers toward the most important information you gathered. In that event, you’ll need to refer to each table or figure directly, where appropriate:

“Table 1 lists the rates of solubility for each substance”

“Solubility increased as the temperature of the solution increased (see Figure 1).”

If you do use tables or figures, make sure that you don’t present the same material in both the text and the tables/figures, since in essence you’ll just repeat yourself, probably annoying your readers with the redundancy of your statements.

Feel free to describe trends that emerge as you examine the data. Although identifying trends requires some judgment on your part and so may not feel like factual reporting, no one can deny that these trends do exist, and so they properly belong in the Results section. Example:

“Heating the solution increased the rate of solubility of polar solids by 45% but had no effect on the rate of solubility in solutions containing non-polar solids.”

This point isn’t debatable—you’re just pointing out what the data show.

As in the Materials and Methods section, you want to refer to your data in the past tense, because the events you recorded have already occurred and have finished occurring. In the example above, note the use of “increased” and “had,” rather than “increases” and “has.” (You don’t know from your experiment that heating always increases the solubility of polar solids, but it did that time.)

You shouldn’t put information in the table that also appears in the text. You also shouldn’t use a table to present irrelevant data, just to show you did collect these data during the experiment. Tables are good for some purposes and situations, but not others, so whether and how you’ll use tables depends upon what you need them to accomplish.

Tables are useful ways to show variation in data, but not to present a great deal of unchanging measurements. If you’re dealing with a scientific phenomenon that occurs only within a certain range of temperatures, for example, you don’t need to use a table to show that the phenomenon didn’t occur at any of the other temperatures. How useful is this table?

A table labeled Effect of Temperature on Rate of Solubility with temperature of solvent values in 10-degree increments from -20 degrees Celsius to 80 degrees Celsius that does not show a corresponding rate of solubility value until 50 degrees Celsius.

As you can probably see, no solubility was observed until the trial temperature reached 50°C, a fact that the text part of the Results section could easily convey. The table could then be limited to what happened at 50°C and higher, thus better illustrating the differences in solubility rates when solubility did occur.

As a rule, try not to use a table to describe any experimental event you can cover in one sentence of text. Here’s an example of an unnecessary table from How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , by Robert A. Day:

A table labeled Oxygen requirements of various species of Streptomyces showing the names of organisms and two columns that indicate growth under aerobic conditions and growth under anaerobic conditions with a plus or minus symbol for each organism in the growth columns to indicate value.

As Day notes, all the information in this table can be summarized in one sentence: “S. griseus, S. coelicolor, S. everycolor, and S. rainbowenski grew under aerobic conditions, whereas S. nocolor and S. greenicus required anaerobic conditions.” Most readers won’t find the table clearer than that one sentence.

When you do have reason to tabulate material, pay attention to the clarity and readability of the format you use. Here are a few tips:

A table labeled Boyle's Law Experiment: Measuring Volume as a Function of Pressure that presents the trial number, length of air sample in millimeters, and height difference in inches of mercury, each of which is presented in rows horizontally.

It’s a little tough to see the trends that the author presumably wants to present in this table. Compare this table, in which the data appear vertically:

A table labeled Boyle's Law Experiment: Measuring Volume as a Function of Pressure that presents the trial number, length of air sample in millimeters, and height difference in inches of mercury, each of which is presented in columns vertically.

The second table shows how putting like elements in a vertical column makes for easier reading. In this case, the like elements are the measurements of length and height, over five trials–not, as in the first table, the length and height measurements for each trial.

How do I include figures in my report?

Although tables can be useful ways of showing trends in the results you obtained, figures (i.e., illustrations) can do an even better job of emphasizing such trends. Lab report writers often use graphic representations of the data they collected to provide their readers with a literal picture of how the experiment went.

When should you use a figure?

Remember the circumstances under which you don’t need a table: when you don’t have a great deal of data or when the data you have don’t vary a lot. Under the same conditions, you would probably forgo the figure as well, since the figure would be unlikely to provide your readers with an additional perspective. Scientists really don’t like their time wasted, so they tend not to respond favorably to redundancy.

If you’re trying to decide between using a table and creating a figure to present your material, consider the following a rule of thumb. The strength of a table lies in its ability to supply large amounts of exact data, whereas the strength of a figure is its dramatic illustration of important trends within the experiment. If you feel that your readers won’t get the full impact of the results you obtained just by looking at the numbers, then a figure might be appropriate.

Of course, an undergraduate class may expect you to create a figure for your lab experiment, if only to make sure that you can do so effectively. If this is the case, then don’t worry about whether to use figures or not—concentrate instead on how best to accomplish your task.

Figures can include maps, photographs, pen-and-ink drawings, flow charts, bar graphs, and section graphs (“pie charts”). But the most common figure by far, especially for undergraduates, is the line graph, so we’ll focus on that type in this handout.

At the undergraduate level, you can often draw and label your graphs by hand, provided that the result is clear, legible, and drawn to scale. Computer technology has, however, made creating line graphs a lot easier. Most word-processing software has a number of functions for transferring data into graph form; many scientists have found Microsoft Excel, for example, a helpful tool in graphing results. If you plan on pursuing a career in the sciences, it may be well worth your while to learn to use a similar program.

Computers can’t, however, decide for you how your graph really works; you have to know how to design your graph to meet your readers’ expectations. Here are some of these expectations:

How do I write a strong Discussion section?

The discussion section is probably the least formalized part of the report, in that you can’t really apply the same structure to every type of experiment. In simple terms, here you tell your readers what to make of the Results you obtained. If you have done the Results part well, your readers should already recognize the trends in the data and have a fairly clear idea of whether your hypothesis was supported. Because the Results can seem so self-explanatory, many students find it difficult to know what material to add in this last section.

Basically, the Discussion contains several parts, in no particular order, but roughly moving from specific (i.e., related to your experiment only) to general (how your findings fit in the larger scientific community). In this section, you will, as a rule, need to:

Explain whether the data support your hypothesis

Derive conclusions, based on your findings, about the process you’re studying

Explore the theoretical and/or practical implications of your findings

Let’s look at some dos and don’ts for each of these objectives.

This statement is usually a good way to begin the Discussion, since you can’t effectively speak about the larger scientific value of your study until you’ve figured out the particulars of this experiment. You might begin this part of the Discussion by explicitly stating the relationships or correlations your data indicate between the independent and dependent variables. Then you can show more clearly why you believe your hypothesis was or was not supported. For example, if you tested solubility at various temperatures, you could start this section by noting that the rates of solubility increased as the temperature increased. If your initial hypothesis surmised that temperature change would not affect solubility, you would then say something like,

“The hypothesis that temperature change would not affect solubility was not supported by the data.”

Note: Students tend to view labs as practical tests of undeniable scientific truths. As a result, you may want to say that the hypothesis was “proved” or “disproved” or that it was “correct” or “incorrect.” These terms, however, reflect a degree of certainty that you as a scientist aren’t supposed to have. Remember, you’re testing a theory with a procedure that lasts only a few hours and relies on only a few trials, which severely compromises your ability to be sure about the “truth” you see. Words like “supported,” “indicated,” and “suggested” are more acceptable ways to evaluate your hypothesis.

Also, recognize that saying whether the data supported your hypothesis or not involves making a claim to be defended. As such, you need to show the readers that this claim is warranted by the evidence. Make sure that you’re very explicit about the relationship between the evidence and the conclusions you draw from it. This process is difficult for many writers because we don’t often justify conclusions in our regular lives. For example, you might nudge your friend at a party and whisper, “That guy’s drunk,” and once your friend lays eyes on the person in question, she might readily agree. In a scientific paper, by contrast, you would need to defend your claim more thoroughly by pointing to data such as slurred words, unsteady gait, and the lampshade-as-hat. In addition to pointing out these details, you would also need to show how (according to previous studies) these signs are consistent with inebriation, especially if they occur in conjunction with one another. To put it another way, tell your readers exactly how you got from point A (was the hypothesis supported?) to point B (yes/no).

Acknowledge any anomalous data, or deviations from what you expected

You need to take these exceptions and divergences into account, so that you qualify your conclusions sufficiently. For obvious reasons, your readers will doubt your authority if you (deliberately or inadvertently) overlook a key piece of data that doesn’t square with your perspective on what occurred. In a more philosophical sense, once you’ve ignored evidence that contradicts your claims, you’ve departed from the scientific method. The urge to “tidy up” the experiment is often strong, but if you give in to it you’re no longer performing good science.

Sometimes after you’ve performed a study or experiment, you realize that some part of the methods you used to test your hypothesis was flawed. In that case, it’s OK to suggest that if you had the chance to conduct your test again, you might change the design in this or that specific way in order to avoid such and such a problem. The key to making this approach work, though, is to be very precise about the weakness in your experiment, why and how you think that weakness might have affected your data, and how you would alter your protocol to eliminate—or limit the effects of—that weakness. Often, inexperienced researchers and writers feel the need to account for “wrong” data (remember, there’s no such animal), and so they speculate wildly about what might have screwed things up. These speculations include such factors as the unusually hot temperature in the room, or the possibility that their lab partners read the meters wrong, or the potentially defective equipment. These explanations are what scientists call “cop-outs,” or “lame”; don’t indicate that the experiment had a weakness unless you’re fairly certain that a) it really occurred and b) you can explain reasonably well how that weakness affected your results.

If, for example, your hypothesis dealt with the changes in solubility at different temperatures, then try to figure out what you can rationally say about the process of solubility more generally. If you’re doing an undergraduate lab, chances are that the lab will connect in some way to the material you’ve been covering either in lecture or in your reading, so you might choose to return to these resources as a way to help you think clearly about the process as a whole.

This part of the Discussion section is another place where you need to make sure that you’re not overreaching. Again, nothing you’ve found in one study would remotely allow you to claim that you now “know” something, or that something isn’t “true,” or that your experiment “confirmed” some principle or other. Hesitate before you go out on a limb—it’s dangerous! Use less absolutely conclusive language, including such words as “suggest,” “indicate,” “correspond,” “possibly,” “challenge,” etc.

Relate your findings to previous work in the field (if possible)

We’ve been talking about how to show that you belong in a particular community (such as biologists or anthropologists) by writing within conventions that they recognize and accept. Another is to try to identify a conversation going on among members of that community, and use your work to contribute to that conversation. In a larger philosophical sense, scientists can’t fully understand the value of their research unless they have some sense of the context that provoked and nourished it. That is, you have to recognize what’s new about your project (potentially, anyway) and how it benefits the wider body of scientific knowledge. On a more pragmatic level, especially for undergraduates, connecting your lab work to previous research will demonstrate to the TA that you see the big picture. You have an opportunity, in the Discussion section, to distinguish yourself from the students in your class who aren’t thinking beyond the barest facts of the study. Capitalize on this opportunity by putting your own work in context.

If you’re just beginning to work in the natural sciences (as a first-year biology or chemistry student, say), most likely the work you’ll be doing has already been performed and re-performed to a satisfactory degree. Hence, you could probably point to a similar experiment or study and compare/contrast your results and conclusions. More advanced work may deal with an issue that is somewhat less “resolved,” and so previous research may take the form of an ongoing debate, and you can use your own work to weigh in on that debate. If, for example, researchers are hotly disputing the value of herbal remedies for the common cold, and the results of your study suggest that Echinacea diminishes the symptoms but not the actual presence of the cold, then you might want to take some time in the Discussion section to recapitulate the specifics of the dispute as it relates to Echinacea as an herbal remedy. (Consider that you have probably already written in the Introduction about this debate as background research.)

This information is often the best way to end your Discussion (and, for all intents and purposes, the report). In argumentative writing generally, you want to use your closing words to convey the main point of your writing. This main point can be primarily theoretical (“Now that you understand this information, you’re in a better position to understand this larger issue”) or primarily practical (“You can use this information to take such and such an action”). In either case, the concluding statements help the reader to comprehend the significance of your project and your decision to write about it.

Since a lab report is argumentative—after all, you’re investigating a claim, and judging the legitimacy of that claim by generating and collecting evidence—it’s often a good idea to end your report with the same technique for establishing your main point. If you want to go the theoretical route, you might talk about the consequences your study has for the field or phenomenon you’re investigating. To return to the examples regarding solubility, you could end by reflecting on what your work on solubility as a function of temperature tells us (potentially) about solubility in general. (Some folks consider this type of exploration “pure” as opposed to “applied” science, although these labels can be problematic.) If you want to go the practical route, you could end by speculating about the medical, institutional, or commercial implications of your findings—in other words, answer the question, “What can this study help people to do?” In either case, you’re going to make your readers’ experience more satisfying, by helping them see why they spent their time learning what you had to teach them.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

American Psychological Association. 2010. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Beall, Herbert, and John Trimbur. 2001. A Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry , 2nd ed. New York: Longman.

Blum, Deborah, and Mary Knudson. 1997. A Field Guide for Science Writers: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers . New York: Oxford University Press.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald. 2016. The Craft of Research , 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Briscoe, Mary Helen. 1996. Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications , 2nd ed. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Council of Science Editors. 2014. Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers , 8th ed. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Davis, Martha. 2012. Scientific Papers and Presentations , 3rd ed. London: Academic Press.

Day, Robert A. 1994. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper , 4th ed. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

Porush, David. 1995. A Short Guide to Writing About Science . New York: Longman.

Williams, Joseph, and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. Boston: Pearson.

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How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples

Published on August 30, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 11, 2022.

A results section is where you report the main findings of the data collection and analysis you conducted for your thesis or dissertation . You should report all relevant results concisely and objectively, in a logical order. Don’t include subjective interpretations of why you found these results or what they mean—any evaluation should be saved for the discussion section .

Table of contents

How to write a results section, reporting quantitative research results, reporting qualitative research results, results vs. discussion vs. conclusion, checklist: research results, frequently asked questions about results sections.

When conducting research, it’s important to report the results of your study prior to discussing your interpretations of it. This gives your reader a clear idea of exactly what you found and keeps the data itself separate from your subjective analysis.

Here are a few best practices:

If you conducted quantitative research , you’ll likely be working with the results of some sort of statistical analysis .

Your results section should report the results of any statistical tests you used to compare groups or assess relationships between variables . It should also state whether or not each hypothesis was supported.

The most logical way to structure quantitative results is to frame them around your research questions or hypotheses. For each question or hypothesis, share:

A note on tables and figures

In quantitative research, it’s often helpful to include visual elements such as graphs, charts, and tables , but only if they are directly relevant to your results. Give these elements clear, descriptive titles and labels so that your reader can easily understand what is being shown. If you want to include any other visual elements that are more tangential in nature, consider adding a figure and table list .

As a rule of thumb:

Don’t forget to also mention any tables and figures you used within the text of your results section. Summarize or elaborate on specific aspects you think your reader should know about rather than merely restating the same numbers already shown.

Example of using figures in the results section

Figure 1: Intention to donate to environmental organizations based on social distance from impact of environmental damage.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

In qualitative research , your results might not all be directly related to specific hypotheses. In this case, you can structure your results section around key themes or topics that emerged from your analysis of the data.

For each theme, start with general observations about what the data showed. You can mention:

Next, clarify and support these points with direct quotations. Be sure to report any relevant demographic information about participants. Further information (such as full transcripts , if appropriate) can be included in an appendix .

“I think that in role-playing games, there’s more attention to character design, to world design, because the whole story is important and more attention is paid to certain game elements […] so that perhaps you do need bigger teams of creative experts than in an average shooter or something.”

Responses suggest that video game consumers consider some types of games to have more artistic potential than others.

Your results section should objectively report your findings, presenting only brief observations in relation to each question, hypothesis, or theme.

It should not  speculate about the meaning of the results or attempt to answer your main research question . Detailed interpretation of your results is more suitable for your discussion section , while synthesis of your results into an overall answer to your main research question is best left for your conclusion .

I have completed my data collection and analyzed the results.

I have included all results that are relevant to my research questions.

I have concisely and objectively reported each result, including relevant descriptive statistics and inferential statistics .

I have stated whether each hypothesis was supported or refuted.

I have used tables and figures to illustrate my results where appropriate.

All tables and figures are correctly labelled and referred to in the text.

There is no subjective interpretation or speculation on the meaning of the results.

You've finished writing up your results! Use the other checklists to further improve your thesis.

The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.

In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:

In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:

Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.

Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.

The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.

In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.

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Writing Studio

Writing a Lab Report: Introduction and Discussion Section Guide

In an effort to make our handouts more accessible, we have begun converting our PDF handouts to web pages. Download this page as a PDF:   Writing a Lab Report Return to Writing Studio Handouts

Part 1 (of 2): Introducing a Lab Report

The introduction of a lab report states the objective of the experiment and provides the reader with background information. State the topic of your report clearly and concisely (in one or two sentences). Provide background theory, previous research, or formulas the reader should know. Usually, an instructor does not want you to repeat whatever the lab manual says, but to show your understanding of the problem.

Questions an Effective Lab Report Introduction Should Answer

What is the problem.

Describe the problem investigated. Summarize relevant research to provide context, key terms, and concepts so that your reader can understand the experiment.

Why is it important?

Review relevant research to provide a rationale for the investigation. What conflict, unanswered question, untested population, or untried method in existing research does your experiment address? How will you challenge or extend the findings of other researchers?

What solution (or step toward a solution) do you propose?

Briefly describe your experiment : hypothesis , research question , general experimental design or method , and a justification of your method (if alternatives exist).

Tips on Composing Your Lab Report’s Introduction

Part 2 (of 2): Writing the “Discussion” Section of a Lab Report

The discussion is the most important part of your lab report, because here you show that you have not merely completed the experiment, but that you also understand its wider implications. The discussion section is reserved for putting experimental results in the context of the larger theory. Ask yourself: “What is the significance or meaning of the results?”

Elements of an Effective Discussion Section

What do the results indicate clearly? Based on your results, explain what you know with certainty and draw conclusions.


What is the significance of your results? What ambiguities exist? What are logical explanations for problems in the data? What questions might you raise about the methods used or the validity of the experiment? What can be logically deduced from your analysis?

Tips on the Discussion Section

1. explain your results in terms of theoretical issues..

How well has the theory been illustrated? What are the theoretical implications and practical applications of your results?

For each major result:

2. Relate results to your experimental objective(s).

If you set out to identify an unknown metal by finding its lattice parameter and its atomic structure, be sure that you have identified the metal and its attributes.

3. Compare expected results with those obtained.

If there were differences, how can you account for them? Were the instruments able to measure precisely? Was the sample contaminated? Did calculated values take account of friction?

4. Analyze experimental error along with the strengths and limitations of the experiment’s design.

Were any errors avoidable? Were they the result of equipment?  If the flaws resulted from the experiment design, explain how the design might be improved. Consider, as well, the precision of the instruments that were used.

5. Compare your results to similar investigations.

In some cases, it is legitimate to compare outcomes with classmates, not in order to change your answer, but in order to look for and to account for or analyze any anomalies between the groups. Also, consider comparing your results to published scientific literature on the topic.

The “Introducing a Lab Report” guide was adapted from the University of Toronto Engineering Communications Centre and University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center.

The “Writing the Discussion Section of a Lab Report” resource was adapted from the University of Toronto Engineering Communications Centre and University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center.

Last revised: 07/2008 | Adapted for web delivery: 02/2021

In order to access certain content on this page, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader or an equivalent PDF viewer software.


How to Write the Results Section of a Lab Report

The results section of a lab report is one of the sections in your paper that will be most scrutinized. If you are looking to separate yourself from other students in your class, take care in developing this portion. A common mistake among younger students is writing too much information at once. Keep in mind that you are not writing a dissertation. Rather, you are trying to explain to the reader what happened in the lab so that they may either reproduce your results or better understand your conclusions.

What is the Results Section in a Lab Report?

The results section of the lab report is the section in which you show the findings of the experiment. In this portion of your paper, you will be reporting the number of trials performed and the outcome of the trials.

The result section should not be confused with the discussion section. The results section shows the outcomes of the experiments carried out, while the discussion section focuses on your interpretation of the experiment.

Parts of the Results Section in a Lab Report

The results section in your lab report will typically consist of the following four parts:

1. The first thing you will want to do is to correctly identify which part of the experiment these results correspond to. If you are using data from more than one condition, make sure that you label each set of results.

2. Describe the methods used to carry out the experiment and summarize what you did in a few sentences. This is where your lab manual will come into play. It should be clear from the text of this section as well as your graphs and results in the table if you followed your lab manual correctly or not.

3. Summarize the results in a table or chart. Make sure to include important information such as what it is, how much of it there was, and when you expect this result to happen. This will help your reader reproduce your experiment.

4. Finally, give your conclusion. In this part, you will want to include any relevant information from the background section of your lab report and how it relates to these results.

Just follow the simple steps below!

Steps for Writing Your Results Section

1. Identify the variables in your experiment. This is perhaps the most important part of your paper. You will want to list all of the variables and declare which of them you were manipulating and which ones were controlled throughout your experiment.

2. Identify what happened when these variables were manipulated by explaining how they affect your dependent variable (the thing that you measure in the experiment).

3. List the conditions that were tested under each experimental variable in your results section. If you are using data from more than one condition, make sure to label each set of results in addition to describing the methods used to carry out this experiment in brief sentences.

4. Compile all of your results in a table or chart. If you have trouble understanding what you did, feel free to step back and think of another way to display this information.

5. Describe your results in words, showing how they relate to the problem stated in the introduction of the paper.

Here is an example of a Results Section:

Results section.

The first part of the experiment tested what temperature was needed to allow the maximum amount of light to pass through a plant leaf.

The dependent variable in this experiment is transmittance, which was measured using an instrument called a spectrometer.

The independent variables were temperature and wavelength of light that were used, both controlled by placing them into one of three different heat lamps.

After various trials, it was found that the maximum transmittance of red light occurred at a temperature between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius, as shown in Figure 1 below.

This is because, at approximately 40 degrees Celsius, there is a visible change in pigment colors within the leaf visible to the naked eye. The peak visible wavelength for this change in pigment color is approximately 663 nanometers, corresponding to red light.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Fig 1: Transmittance of Red Light over Time at Various Temperatures (Just an Example)

The second part of the experiment tested what wavelength caused the maximum transmittance through a plant leaf and how this relates to photosynthesis.

The dependent variable for this part of the experiment was transmittance, as in the first part.

The independent variables were wavelength and temperature, controlled by placing them into three different heat lamps.

After each trial, transmittance measurements were taken using a spectrometer for various wavelengths of light and temperatures.

As expected from the first part of the experiment, transmittance peaked at a wavelength corresponding to red light for this particular set of conditions.

However, it was found that there was a secondary peak in transmittance at 600 nanometers for this temperature and wavelength combination, shown in Figure 2 below.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Fig 2: Transmittance of Various Wavelengths over Time at a Particular Temperature (Just an example)

The third part of the experiment tested what wavelength caused maximum transmittance and how this relates to cellular respiration.

The dependent variable in this experiment was transmittance, as it has been in the previous two parts.

The independent variables were wavelength and gas mixture, both controlled by placing them into one of three different gas containers.

After each trial, transmittance measurements were taken using a spectrometer for various wavelengths and gas mixtures.

As expected from the first two parts of the experiment, it was found that red light had the maximum transmittance at the tested temperature and wavelength combination.

However, red light no longer had the highest transmittance when oxygen was removed from the gas mixture and replaced with carbon dioxide.

In fact, when there was no oxygen in the environment, wavelengths between 575 and 630 showed a higher maximum in transmittance than red light. This is shown in Figure 3 below.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Fig 3: Transmittance of Various Wavelengths over Time in Different Gas Mixtures (just an example)

This experiment showed that the maximum transmittance through a plant leaf does not change significantly when tested at different gas compositions. Moreover, although photosynthesis is related to carbon dioxide intake and cellular respiration is related to oxygen intake, their effects on transmittance can be separated.

General Guidelines for Writing the Results Section of a Lab Report:

When writing the results section of lab reports, there are some general guidelines that should be followed.

Use formal language – writing a lab report is different from an essay because it should follow the same language, format, and structure as a scientific paper. This means that all results in the results section should be written in complete sentences.

Number each section – each part of the lab report should be numbered in the order presented. This makes it clear for readers and graders to follow.

Write out all measurements – unlike most other sections in a lab report where units can be dropped, all measurements in the results section need to include units. This helps to ensure that results are reliable and accurate.

Edit and proofread – A common mistake is writing measurements in the text without including units. This makes results seem imprecise and can damage reader confidence. Check for errors like this as well as any other mistakes, before handing in the final version to your instructor.

Tips for Writing a Solid Results Section in a Lab Report

1. Make sure you have tables and figures for every piece of data reported in the paper. The reader should not have to flip through the report and read each result individually.

2. Always include units in your data and do not abbreviate anything. You should not be writing “g” or “ml” when you would normally write “grams” or “millilitres.” Instead, use gram for grams and millilitre for millilitres.

3. When analyzing your data, make sure to include any relevant graphs from previous parts of the lab report as well as those that you created in this section. Draw a line under the graph and provide a caption for it. If you are using other pieces of information from your paper, be sure to reference them.

4. Make sure to reference all outside sources that you relied upon. While this is not a literature review , the reader should know where your information came from and how it applies to what you are discussing.

The results section of a lab report is about the data that you collected during your experiment. It should present this information in an organized fashion, making it easy for readers to follow along and understand what you have done.

It is important to remember that writing a lab report is different from writing essays because the language must be formal, scientific, and appropriate for a scientific paper.

Include your results in a table or chart, and be sure that each data point has a caption and units. Make sure to proofread your results section before handing in the final version of your lab report to ensure that all information is accurate.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

I ‘m a freelance content and SEO writer with a passion for finding the perfect combination of words to capture attention and express a message . I create catchy, SEO-friendly content for websites, blogs, articles, and social media. My experience spans many industries, including health and wellness, technology, education, business, and lifestyle. My clients appreciate my ability to craft compelling stories that engage their target audience, but also help to improve their website’s search engine rankings. I’m also an avid learner and stay up to date on the latest SEO trends. I enjoy exploring new places and reading up on the latest marketing and SEO strategies in my free time.

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How to Write an APA Results Section

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity,, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee 

Know What to Include

Report All Relevant Results

Include Tables and Figures

What not to include, frequently asked questions.

Psychology papers generally follow a specific structure. One important section of a paper is known as the results section. The results section of an APA-style psychology paper summarizes the data that was collected and the statistical analyses that were performed. The goal of this section is to report the results of your study or experiment without any type of subjective interpretation.

This article discusses how to write a results section for an APA format psychology paper. It covers what you should include in your results section as well as what you should avoid.

The results section is the third section of a psychology paper. It will appear after the introduction and methods sections and before the discussion section.

The results section should include:

The Results Should Justify Your Claims

Report data in order to sufficiently justify your conclusions. Since you'll be talking about your own interpretation of the results in the discussion section, you need to be sure that the information reported in the results section justifies your claims.

As you write your discussion section, look back on your results section to ensure that all the data you need are there to fully support the conclusions you reach. And when you are writing your discussion section, be sure not to make claims that are not supported by your results.

Summarize Your Results

Remember, you are summarizing the results of your psychological study, not reporting them in full detail. The results section should be a relatively brief overview of your findings, not a complete presentation of every single number and calculation.

If you choose, you can create a supplemental online archive where other researchers can access the raw data if they choose.

Just as the results section of your psychology paper should sufficiently justify your claims, it should also provide an accurate look at what you found in your study. Be sure to mention all relevant information.

Don't omit findings simply because they failed to support your predictions.

Your hypothesis may have expected more statistically significant results or your study didn't support your hypothesis , but that doesn't mean that the conclusions you reach are not useful. Provide data about what you found in your results section, then save your interpretation for what the results might mean in the discussion section.

While your study might not have supported your original predictions, your finding can provide important inspiration for future explorations into a topic.

Report Your Statistical Findings

Always assume that your readers have a solid understanding of statistical concepts. There's no need to explain what a t-test is or how a one-way ANOVA works. Your responsibility is to report the results of your study, not to teach your readers how to analyze or interpret statistics.

Include Effect Sizes

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association recommends including effect sizes in your results section so that readers can appreciate the importance of your study's findings.

Your results section should include both text and illustrations. Presenting data in this way makes it easier for readers to quickly look at your results.

Structure your results section around tables or figures that summarize the results of your statistical analysis. In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish this is to first create your tables and figures and then organize them in a logical way. Next, write the summary text to support your illustrative materials.

Only include tables and figures if you are going to talk about them in the body text of your results section.

In addition to knowing what you should include in the results section of your psychology paper, it's also important to be aware of things that you should avoid putting in this section:

More Tips for Writing a Results Section

If you are struggling, there are a few things to remember that might help:

A Word From Verywell

Remember, the results section of your paper is all about providing the data from your study. This section is often the shortest part of your paper, and in most cases, the most clinical.

Be sure not to include any subjective interpretation of the results. Simply relay the data in the most objective and straightforward way possible. You can then provide your own analysis of what these results mean in the discussion section of your paper.

The length of your results section will vary depending on the nature of your paper and the complexity of your research. In most cases, this will be the shortest section of your paper.

The results section provides the results of your study or experiment. The goal of the section is to report what happened and the statistical analyses you performed. The discussion section is where you will examine what these results mean and whether they support or fail to support your hypothesis.

Bavdekar SB, Chandak S. Results: Unraveling the findings . J Assoc Physicians India . 2015 Sep;63(9):44-6. PMID:27608866.

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. APA sample paper: Experimental psychology .

Berkeley University. Reviewing test results .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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How to Write a Lab Report: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Olivia Guy Evans

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons), Psychology, MSc, Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

A typical lab report would include the following sections: title, abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion.

The title page, abstract, references, and appendices are started on separate pages (subsections from the main body of the report are not). Use double-line spacing of text, font size 12, and include page numbers.

The report should have a thread of arguments linking the prediction in the introduction to the content in the discussion

Table of Contents

This must indicate what the study is about. It must include the variables under investigation. It should not be written as a question.

Title pages should be formatted in APA style .

The abstract provides a concise and comprehensive summary of a research report. Your style should be brief but not use note form. Look at examples in journal articles . It should aim to explain very briefly (about 150 words) the following:

The abstract comes at the beginning of your report but is written at the end (as it summarises information from all the other sections of the report).


The purpose of the introduction is to explain where your hypothesis comes from (i.e., it should provide a rationale for your research study).

Ideally, the introduction should have a funnel structure: Start broad and then become more specific. The aims should not appear out of thin air; the preceding review of psychological literature should lead logically into the aims and hypotheses.

The funnel structure of the introducion to a lab report

There should be a logical progression of ideas that aids the flow of the report. This means the studies outlined should lead logically to your aims and hypotheses.

Do be concise and selective, and avoid the temptation to include anything in case it is relevant (i.e., don’t write a shopping list of studies).



Use APA Style

The reference section lists all the sources cited in the essay (alphabetically). It is not a bibliography (a list of the books you used).

In simple terms, every time you refer to a psychologist’s name (and date), you need to reference the original source of information.

If you have been using textbooks this is easy as the references are usually at the back of the book and you can just copy them down. If you have been using websites then you may have a problem as they might not provide a reference section for you to copy.

References need to be set out APA style :

Author, A. A. (year). Title of work . Location: Publisher.

Journal Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number (issue number), page numbers

A simple way to write your reference section is to use Google scholar . Just type the name and date of the psychologist in the search box and click on the “cite” link.

google scholar search results

Next, copy and paste the APA reference into the reference section of your essay.

apa reference

Once again, remember that references need to be in alphabetical order according to surname.

how to write a good results section in a lab report


How to Write a Lab Report: Definition, Outline & Template Examples

Joe Eckel

Table of contents

A lab report  is a document that provides a detailed description of a scientific experiment or study. The purpose of a lab report is to communicate the results of experimentation in a clear and objective manner. It typically includes sections such as introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.

In this blog post, you can find lots of helpful information on writing a lab report and its basics, including such questions:

Several exemplary laboratory report samples are also offered in this article. You are welcome to use them as an inspiration or reference material.  Need expert help? Contact our academic service in case you are looking for someone who can “ write my lab report .”

What Is a Lab Report?

Let’s start with the lab report definition and then dive deeper into details. A lab report is a document in which you present results of a laboratory experiment. Your audience may include your tutor or professor, your colleagues, a commission monitoring your progress, and so on. It’s usually shorter than a research paper and shows your ability to conduct and analyze scientific experiments.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

The purpose of a laboratory report is to fully share the results and the supporting data with whoever needs to see them. Thus, your laboratory report should be consistent, concise, and properly formatted. Both college and scientific lab reports must follow certain strict rules, particularly:

Let’s talk about these rules in more detail.

Lab Report Main Features

Wondering how to write a lab report ? First of all, such documents must be descriptive and formal. An average scientific lab report is expected to:

Additionally, your school or institution may have its own very specific requirements, so make sure to check them before creating a report.

How Long Should a Lab Report Be?

First of all, lab reports need to be informative, so there is no need for making your writing too wordy. That being said, your paper’s volume will be defined by the specifics of your research. If its results are complicated and require much explaining, your paper isn’t going to be brief. Recommended lab report length varies between 5 and 10 pages, which should include all appendices such as tables or diagrams. You should also confirm such requirements with your tutor prior to planning your report.

Lab Report Structure

Plan ahead before writing your lab report. It is useful to keep its structure in mind from the very beginning. 

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Here is our detailed list of what to include in a lab report:

You should shape the structure of a lab report before writing its complete text by preparing a brief write-up, i.e. an outline. Below we’ll explain how it is done.

Lab Report Outline & Template

Preparing lab report outlines is useful for extra proofreading: you can review such a sketch and quickly find some gaps or inconsistencies before you’ve written the complete text. A good laboratory report outline must reflect the entire structure of your paper. After designing such a draft, you can use it as a lab report template for your next papers. It is highly advisable not to ignore this approach since it can boost your general academic performance in multiple other areas. Here is an example of a science lab report template:

how to write a good results section in a lab report

How to Write a Lab Report Step-By-Step?

Now, let’s discuss how to write a scientific lab report. You already know what elements it contains, so get ready for detailed laboratory report guidelines. We’ve collected helpful information for each step of this guide and broke it down into comprehensive sections. So, scroll down and learn how to write a good lab report without experiencing extra pains and making unnecessary mistakes.

how to write a good results section in a lab report

1. Create a Strong Title

Before you write your lab report, think about a good title. It should help understand the direction and the intent of your research at the start, while not being too wordy. Make sure it is comprehensible for your tutor or peers, there is no need to explain certain specific terms because others are expected to know them. Here are several examples that could give you some ideas on how to name your own lab write up:

•  Effects of temperature decrease on Drosophila Melanogaster lifespan •  IV 2022 marketing data sample analysis using the Bayesian method •  Lab #5: measurement of fluctuation in 5 GHz radio signal strength •  Specific behavioral traits of arctic subspecies of mammals.

Also, check our downloadable samples for more great title suggestions or use our Title Generator to create one. 

2. Introduce Your Experiment

A good scientific lab report should contain some explanations of what is the meaning of your experiment and why you conduct it in the first place. Provide some context and show why it is relevant. While your professor would be well aware of it, others who might read your laboratory report, may not know its purpose. Mention similar experiments if necessary. As usual, keep it short but informative. One paragraph (100 – 150 words) would suffice. Don’t provide too many details because this might distract your readers. Here is an example of how a science lab report should be introduced:

Lower temperatures decrease the drosophila flies’ activity but also increase their lifespan. It is important to understand what temperature range is optimal, allowing them to feed and multiply and at the same time, increasing their lifespan to maximum. For this purpose, a strain of Drosophila Melanogaster has been observed for 3 months in an isolated lab under varying temperatures.

3. State the Hypothesis

When learning how to make a lab report, pay a special attention to the hypothesis part. This statement will be the cornerstone of your lab writing, as the entire paper will be built around it. Make it interesting, relevant, and unusual, don’t use well-researched topic or state obvious facts - exploring something really new is what makes your work worth time and effort. Here is an example of statement for your lab report sample:

The temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for Drosophila Melanogaster longevity and ability to multiply while being at a lower border of their normal zone of comfort.

4. Present the Methods and Materials

One of the key parts of a lab report is the section where you describe your assets and starting conditions. This allows any reviewers to understand the quality of your work and thus contributes to the credibility of your scientific lab write up. The following elements must be mentioned:

More lab report writing tips available below, so let’s keep on!

5. Explain Procedures

The core part of a lab report is describing the course of the experiment. This is where you explain how exactly the experiment has been conducted. Give all necessary information about each step you’ve taken, arranging all the steps in proper chronological order so that readers could clearly understand the meaning behind each action. The following procedure elements may be present in an experimental report:

After you have finished describing your actions, it is time to summarize them, answer all remaining questions, and present your findings. Check out other tips on how to write lab reports in a few sections below and you’ll learn more about that. Need professional help? Buy lab reports at our writing service to get efficient solutions in a timely manner.

6. Share Your Results

After all the lab steps have been properly described, it is time to present the outcomes in your results section . Writing a good lab report means that it will be quite transparent for your reviewers how you’ve come to your results. So, make sure there is a clear connection between this part and the previous one. Don’t leave any gaps in your explanations, e.g. mention limitations if there are any. Tell if the captured statistical analysis data falls in line with the experiment's initial purpose. Describe sample calculations using clear symbols. Where necessary, include graphs and images. Your raw data may be extensive, so present it in the Appendix and provide a reference to it. Here’s an example of how to share the results when you create a lab report:

Average lifespan and average birth rate was measured for each group subjected to a different temperature range. Additionally, statistical methods have been applied to confirm the correctness of the results and to minimize potential errors. Lifespan and birth rate values corresponding to each temperature range can be found in the table below. Optimal combination of lifespan and birth rate corresponds to the range between 75 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, as demonstrated by the figure (see Appendix A).

7. Discuss and Interpret Your Outcomes

When you write an experiment report, your main purpose is to confirm whether your thesis  (hypothesis) is true. That’s why you should give a clear explanation on how useful your results were for the problem investigation. Next, make sure to explain any dubious or controversial parts, if there are any. Science lab reports often contain contradictions to popular theories or unexpected findings. This may be caused by missing important factors, uncovering facts which have previously been overlooked, or just by fluctuations in experimental data. In any case, you need to study and address them in your lab report for the sake of clarity. If you need some data interpretation in a science lab report example, here’s an excerpt from a discussion section :

According to the research results, the optimal temperature for Drosophila Melanogaster appears to be at the low border of the comfortable range which is considered normal for this species. It contradicts existing theories about Drosophila Melanogaster. However, this discrepancy may be caused by the longevity factor not taken into account by previous researchers. Additional experiments with larger sample size and extended timeline are needed in order to further investigate the temperature effect on the longevity of Drosophila Melanogaster.

8. Wrap Up Your Lab Report

Final step of your laboratory report is to make a proper conclusion. Here you just summarize your results and state that your hypothesis has been confirmed (or disproven). Keep it short and don’t repeat any descriptions from the previous section. However, you may add some notes about the significance of your work. After finishing to write your lab report, don’t forget to read it again and check whether all its parts are logically connected with each other. Here is an example of a lab report last section:

As confirmed by the experiment conducted in an isolated laboratory on a limited population of Drosophila Melanogaster, the optimal temperature for both its longevity and activity is 75 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain contradictions with the existing theories can be explained by the longevity factor being overlooked during previous research. Hopefully, this experiment will pave the way for further exploration of the temperature effect on the lifespan of Drosophila Melanogaster.

9. Write Your Abstract

Another stage of lab report writing is composing its abstract. This part should be placed at the beginning of your paper in order to get your audience familiar with its contents. Make it brief, up to 200 words long, but make sure you’ve included the following information:

Abstracts of laboratory reports are delivered on separate pages. So, you can compose one after writing the entire text. This is another good chance to review your work while you are briefly describing its key parts. Check our detailed guide to get more information on how to write an abstract . Check below for more tips and hints on how to write a science lab report.

Lab Report Format

Learning how to format a lab report is crucial for its success. As all other scholarly papers, such reports must follow strict rules of presenting information. Make sure to find out which laboratory report format is required for your assignment. If there are no specific requirements, you may choose from the usual lab format styles, namely:

Depending on the scientific domain of your experiment, you might want to choose one or another lab write up format from that list. Particularly, the APA style paper is typically required in Humanities , while MLA style can be used for papers in Technologies or Applied Science . In any case, pay close attention to citation and reference rules, as each of these styles has strict requirements for that. A real lab report format example can be found below – note that it follows the APA guidelines.

Lab Report Examples

Need some good examples of lab reports in addition to all these guidelines? We’ve got some for you! Each sample lab report that can be found below is available for free and can be downloaded if needed. Feel free to use them as an inspiration for your own work or borrow some ideas, styles, or sources from them. Pick a laboratory reports sample from this list below: Lab report example 1

Example of lab report 2

Scientific lab report example 3

Please avoid copying anything from them into your paper as that would be considered plagiarism . Make sure you submit 100% original text for your assignments.

Tips on Writing a Lab Report

We hope this detailed information on how do you write a lab report will be useful. In addition, to make our guide even more convenient, here are some quick lab report writing tips:

Don’t forget to check our laboratory report example for more useful ideas.

Lab Report Checklist

Let’s summarize all the above information on how to do a lab report. We’ve prepared a short checklist for you. So, here’s what you should do in order to compose a great science lab report:

Bottom Line on Lab Report Writing

In this article, we have prepared all necessary information on how to write a lab report. This should help you with your own research or studies, especially when it comes to complicated tasks, such as composing lab reports outline. Several lab reports examples are also available here. They are provided by real researchers and may help you a lot with ideas for your own work. Feel free to check them online or download them. Just remember that you should only submit 100% original content for your assignments.

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FAQ About Lab Reports

1. what is the difference between a lab report and a research paper.

A lab report should showcase your ability to conduct experiments and properly describe your actions and findings. It is focused on specific data and methods used to analyze it. A research paper is expected to reflect your investigation of a problem, including asking correct questions and finding relevant information about it.

2. Should I continue to write a lab report if an experiment failed?

It depends on your assignment. If your primary goal is to display your ability to document your steps and results, then you may report on a failed experiment too. Particularly, analyze the integrity of your data or conditions that were set and make an assumption about factors which led to the failure.

4. Should lab reports be written in the third person?

Yes, laboratory experiment reports usually present information in third person. The reason is that you are expected to focus on the data, methods, and findings, rather than on yourself or your audience. Check the samples available here and see what writing style is followed there.

3. What tense should a lab report be written in?

You should mostly use past tense in your paper, since your science experiment has already been conducted. But you can also speak in present tense when describing the context of problems which still exist. Check any template available here to get more clarity on this issue.

5. Where do I put calculations in a lab report?

Remember to follow our layout guidelines and put your calculations in the analysis section. This is where you process the results collected during your experiments. You can also make brief write ups about your calculations in the abstract paragraph or discussion section, but make sure they precede the description of outcomes.


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How to Format a Biology Lab Report

If you are taking a general biology course or AP Biology , at some point you will have to do biology lab experiments. This means that you will also have to complete biology lab reports .

The purpose of writing a lab report is to determine how well you performed your experiment, how much you understood about what happened during the experimentation process, and how well you can convey that information in an organized fashion.

Lab Report Format

A good lab report format includes six main sections:

Keep in mind that individual instructors may have a specific format that they require you to follow. Please be sure to consult your teacher about the specifics of what to include in your lab report.

Title:  The title states the focus of your experiment. The title should be to the point, descriptive, accurate, and concise (ten words or less). If your instructor requires a separate title page, include the title followed by the name(s) of the project participant(s), class title, date, and instructors name. If a title page is required, consult your instructor about the specific format for the page.

Introduction:  The introduction of a lab report states the purpose of your experiment. Your hypothesis should be included in the introduction, as well as a brief statement about how you intend to test your hypothesis.

To be sure that you have a good understanding of your experiment, some educators suggest writing the introduction after you have completed the methods and materials, results, and conclusion sections of your lab report.

Methods and Materials:  This section of your lab report involves producing a written description of the materials used and the methods involved in performing your experiment. You should not just record a list of materials, but indicate when and how they were used during the process of completing your experiment.

The information you include should not be overly detailed but should include enough detail so that someone else could perform the experiment by following your instructions.

Results:  The results section should include all tabulated data from observations during your experiment. This includes charts, tables, graphs, and any other illustrations of data you have collected. You should also include a written summary of the information in your charts, tables, and/or other illustrations. Any patterns or trends observed in your experiment or indicated in your illustrations should be noted as well.

Discussion and Conclusion:  This section is where you summarize what happened in your experiment. You will want to fully discuss and interpret the information. What did you learn? What were your results? Was your hypothesis correct, why or why not? Were there any errors? If there is anything about your experiment that you think could be improved upon, provide suggestions for doing so.

Citation/References:  All references used should be included at the end of your lab report. That includes any books, articles, lab manuals, etc. that you used when writing your report.

Example APA citation formats for referencing materials from different sources are listed below.

Your instructor may require that you follow a specific citation format. Be sure to consult your teacher concerning the citation format that you should follow.

What Is an Abstract?

Some instructors also require that you include an abstract in your lab report. An abstract is a concise summary of your experiment. It should include information about the purpose of the experiment, the problem being addressed, the methods used for solving the problem, overall results from the experiment, and the conclusion drawn from your experiment.

The abstract typically comes at the beginning of the lab report, after the title, but should not be composed until your written report is completed. View a sample lab report template .

Do Your Own Work

Remember that lab reports are individual assignments. You may have a lab partner, but the work that you do and report on should be your own. Since you may see this material again on an exam , it is best that you know it for yourself. Always give credit where credit is due on your report. You don't want to plagiarize the work of others. That means you should properly acknowledge the statements or ideas of others in your report.

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How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.

What makes an effective discussion?

When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.

A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:

Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.

You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.

Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts. 

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Questions to ask yourself:

How to structure a discussion

Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:

how to write a good results section in a lab report

Writing Tips

While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results! 

What to do

What not to do


Snippets of Effective Discussions:

Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

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Ensure appropriateness and rigor, avoid flexibility and above all never manipulate results In many fields, a statistical analysis forms the heart of…

A thoughtful, thorough approach to your revision response now can save you time in further rounds of review. You’ve just spent months…

The Lab Report

This document describes a general format for lab reports that you can adapt as needed. Lab reports are the most frequent kind of document written in engineering and can count for as much as 25% of a course yet little time or attention is devoted to how to write them well. Worse yet, each professor wants something a little different. Regardless of variations, however, the goal of lab reports remains the same: document your findings and communicate their significance. With that in mind, we can describe the report’s format and basic components. Knowing the pieces and purpose, you can adapt to the particular needs of a course or professor.

A good lab report does more than present data; it demonstrates the writer’s comprehension of the concepts behind the data. Merely recording the expected and observed results is not sufficient; you should also identify how and why differences occurred, explain how they affected your experiment, and show your understanding of the principles the experiment was designed to examine. Bear in mind that a format, however helpful, cannot replace clear thinking and organized writing. You still need to organize your ideas carefully and express them coherently.

Typical Components

1. The Title Page needs to contain the name of the experiment, the names of lab partners, and the date. Titles should be straightforward, informative, and less than ten words (i.e. Not “Lab #4” but “Lab #4: Sample Analysis using the Debye-Sherrer Method”). 2. The Abstract summarizes four essential aspects of the report: the purpose of the experiment (sometimes expressed as the purpose of the report), key findings, significance and major conclusions. The abstract often also includes a brief reference to theory or methodology. The information should clearly enable readers to decide whether they need to read your whole report. The abstract should be one paragraph of 100-200 words (the sample below is 191 words).

Quick Abstract Reference

May Include:


ONE page 200 words MAX.

Sample Abstract

This experiment examined the effect of line orientation and arrowhead angle on a subject’s ability to perceive line length, thereby testing the Müller-Lyer illusion. The Müller-Lyer illusion is the classic visual illustration of the effect of the surrounding on the perceived length of a line. The test was to determine the point of subjective equality by having subjects adjust line segments to equal the length of a standard line. Twenty-three subjects were tested in a repeated measures design with four different arrowhead angles and four line orientations. Each condition was tested in six randomized trials. The lines to be adjusted were tipped with outward pointing arrows of varying degrees of pointedness, whereas the standard lines had inward pointing arrows of the same degree. Results showed that line lengths were overestimated in all cases. The size of error increased with decreasing arrowhead angles. For line orientation, overestimation was greatest when the lines were horizontal. This last is contrary to our expectations. Further, the two factors functioned independently in their effects on subjects’ point of subjective equality. These results have important implications for human factors design applications such as graphical display interfaces.

3. The introduction is more narrowly focussed than the abstract. It states the objective of the experiment and provides the reader with background to the experiment. State the topic of your report clearly and concisely, in one or two sentences:

Quick Intro Reference

May include:

Example: The purpose of this experiment was to identify the specific element in a metal powder sample by determining its crystal structure and atomic radius. These were determined using the Debye-Sherrer (powder camera) method of X-ray diffraction.

A good introduction also provides whatever background theory, previous research, or formulas the reader needs to know. Usually, an instructor does not want you to repeat the lab manual, but to show your own comprehension of the problem. For example, the introduction that followed the example above might describe the Debye-Sherrer method, and explain that from the diffraction angles the crystal structure can be found by applying Bragg’s law. If the amount of introductory material seems to be a lot, consider adding subheadings such as: Theoretical Principles or Background.

Note on Verb Tense

Introductions often create difficulties for students who struggle with keeping verb tenses straight. These two points should help you navigate the introduction:

“The objective of the experiment was…”
“The purpose of this report is…” “Bragg’s Law for diffraction is …” “The scanning electron microscope produces micrographs …”

4. Methods and Materials (or Equipment) can usually be a simple list, but make sure it is accurate and complete. In some cases, you can simply direct the reader to a lab manual or standard procedure: “Equipment was set up as in CHE 276 manual.” 5. Experimental Procedure describes the process in chronological order. Using clear paragraph structure, explain all steps in the order they actually happened, not as they were supposed to happen. If your professor says you can simply state that you followed the procedure in the manual, be sure you still document occasions when you did not follow that exactly (e.g. “At step 4 we performed four repetitions instead of three, and ignored the data from the second repetition”). If you’ve done it right, another researcher should be able to duplicate your experiment. 6. Results are usually dominated by calculations, tables and figures; however, you still need to state all significant results explicitly in verbal form, for example:

Quick Results Reference

Using the calculated lattice parameter gives, then, R = 0.1244nm.

Graphics need to be clear, easily read, and well labeled (e.g. Figure 1: Input Frequency and Capacitor Value). An important strategy for making your results effective is to draw the reader’s attention to them with a sentence or two, so the reader has a focus when reading the graph.

In most cases, providing a sample calculation is sufficient in the report. Leave the remainder in an appendix. Likewise, your raw data can be placed in an appendix. Refer to appendices as necessary, pointing out trends and identifying special features. 7. Discussion is the most important part of your report, because here, you show that you understand the experiment beyond the simple level of completing it. Explain. Analyse. Interpret. Some people like to think of this as the “subjective” part of the report. By that, they mean this is what is not readily observable. This part of the lab focuses on a question of understanding “What is the significance or meaning of the results?” To answer this question, use both aspects of discussion:

More particularly, focus your discussion with strategies like these:

Compare expected results with those obtained.

If there were differences, how can you account for them? Saying “human error” implies you’re incompetent. Be specific; for example, the instruments could not measure precisely, the sample was not pure or was contaminated, or calculated values did not take account of friction.

Analyze experimental error.

Was it avoidable? Was it a result of equipment? If an experiment was within the tolerances, you can still account for the difference from the ideal. If the flaws result from the experimental design explain how the design might be improved.

Explain your results in terms of theoretical issues.

Often undergraduate labs are intended to illustrate important physical laws, such as Kirchhoff’s voltage law, or the Müller-Lyer illusion. Usually you will have discussed these in the introduction. In this section move from the results to the theory. How well has the theory been illustrated?

Relate results to your experimental objective(s).

If you set out to identify an unknown metal by finding its lattice parameter and its atomic structure, you’d better know the metal and its attributes.

Compare your results to similar investigations.

In some cases, it is legitimate to compare outcomes with classmates, not to change your answer, but to look for any anomalies between the groups and discuss those.

Analyze the strengths and limitations of your experimental design.

This is particularly useful if you designed the thing you’re testing (e.g. a circuit). 8. Conclusion can be very short in most undergraduate laboratories. Simply state what you know now for sure, as a result of the lab:

Quick Conclusion Reference

Example: The Debye-Sherrer method identified the sample material as nickel due to the measured crystal structure (fcc) and atomic radius (approximately 0.124nm).

Notice that, after the material is identified in the example above, the writer provides a justification. We know it is nickel because of its structure and size. This makes a sound and sufficient conclusion. Generally, this is enough; however, the conclusion might also be a place to discuss weaknesses of experimental design, what future work needs to be done to extend your conclusions, or what the implications of your conclusion are. 9. References include your lab manual and any outside reading you have done. Check this site’s documentation page to help you organize references in a way appropriate to your field. 10. Appendices typically include such elements as raw data, calculations, graphs pictures or tables that have not been included in the report itself. Each kind of item should be contained in a separate appendix. Make sure you refer to each appendix at least once in your report. For example, the results section might begin by noting: “Micrographs printed from the Scanning Electron Microscope are contained in Appendix A.”

To learn more about writing science papers, visit our handout on writing in the sciences .

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a student standing in front of a blackboard full of physics and Math formulas.

Writing Lab Reports: Discussion

Keys to the discussion .

Purpose : Why do we care? Relative size : 40-45% of total Scope : Narrow to broad: the bottom of the hourglass Verb Tense : Use the past tense to refer to results from your experiment or from other studies (e.g., the results supported my hypothesis that). Use the present to suggest implication of your study (e.g., these results suggest that...). Use the future or conditional to suggest what you will study in the future (e.g., future studies should investigate...)

The discussion offers an analysis of the experiment.

The purpose of the discussion section is to provide a brief summary of your results, relate them to your hypotheses, and put them into context within the field of research. This is the most substantial section of your report, and where you will include your unique interpretations and ideas. The discussion must therefore address the following essential questions: 

Remember that this section forms the bottom of the hourglass – it should mirror the introduction by first focusing on your hypotheses and interpretation of results, and then gradually expanding to make comparisons with previous research, to provide implications of your study and to pose questions for future work – and completes the cycle of the scientific method.

Discussion Section Details

Support or reject hypotheses : Begin by stating whether your results supported your hypotheses or not; remember not to say that you proved anything – you can only support or reject hypotheses. You may also briefly summarize your results.

Interpret and compare results : Do your results make sense? Why do you think you found what you did? Compare your results to those of other studies. Do they differ? If so, how and why? Use literature to support your arguments, statements, and generalizations.

Discuss factors influencing results : Were there any anomalies in your data? Discuss any errors, inconsistencies, assumptions, or other factors that may have influenced the outcome of your study. If you were to repeat your study, would you do anything differently?

Discuss implications : How do your results contribute to existing research? Why was your study important?

Propose ideas for future research : Did your research generate questions for future research? What are the next steps in this field of study?

A good discussion section should…

A good discussion section should NOT…

Back to Writing Lab Reports

How To Guides

How to Write a Lab Report: Format, Tips, & Example

A lab report is quite a serious piece of paper that has a massive value in your research. And don’t be deceived by the name as the lab report is not a form you just need to fill in. There is an impressive list of components you need to describe to produce a decent paper. Long story short, it includes a presentation of everything you have done, learned, and its significance. If you study in the field of engineering, you should be familiar with this type of writing. In any case, the following article by Custom-Writing experts guides you through the process of creating the lab report with all the details explained!

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1. 🔖 Lab Report Format

Let’s begin with getting to know the most critical parts of the paper you should include.

2. 📃 How to Write a Lab Report Title Page

Four main pieces of information must be present on the title page:

A title page might also include a contact number, a security classification, or a copy number, depending on the nature of the report you are writing. Make your titles informative, straightforward, and moderately short.

Useful Tip:

Learn specific requirements from your tutor

3. 📓 How to Write a Lab Report Abstract

First thing first, a lab report abstract should be written last. There is no point in trying to guess what will be in your paper before you actually write it! And since this part is basically an overview of your experiment, it should also contain the essential findings and conclusions.

Another thing to remember is that the abstract needs to be brief! So try not to include any irrelevant information. Just stick to the main points. Also, make it as straightforward and coherent as possible since some readers might not be familiar with your research. They should be able to get the idea without reading the whole report first.

Write your abstract when the whole text is ready. The abstract should summarize the report’s content.

Example of a Lab Report Abstract

As you can see from the example below, the abstract resembles the general format of the report. Note which main parts are included.

4. 🚦 How to Write a Lab Report Introduction

In the introduction, you need to start with some background that you think would be useful for the reader. For instance, describe the latest research and theories in the field of your experiment. If there are any equations or laws that also seem relevant, include them as well.

And again, clearly state your aims and objectives in the form of a thesis statement.

Also, try not to confuse the tenses while writing the lab report. If you have already finished the experiment, mention it in the past tense. However, all the theories and equipment that still exist need to be addressed in the present tense.

Before describing the purpose of the report, make sure you understand it clearly. If you don’t, your reader won’t either.

Example of a Lab Report Introduction

In the following example, you can find all the parts pointed out with the description of their role.

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5. 🔬 How to Write a Lab Report Methods Section

It is the place where you finally get to explain what you did during the experiment. No matter what the plan was, you should describe how it actually went. Usually, the procedure would include the following details:

If something may have caused an error in the results, don’t forget to mention it here!

Your methods section can be a simple list. It is important to make sure that it is complete and accurate.

6. 📊 How to Write a Lab Report Results Section

It’s true that in the lab report results section, there are loads of figures and tables. However, you should always remember to interpret all the findings in the verbal form! Moreover, some fundamental analyses, such as calculations and error analysis, may be presented here. You should still stick to the relevant information and drop the extra stuff like raw data in the appendix.

Then, when you introduce a graph, try to highlight the results in a couple of sentences so that the reader knows what to focus on when looking at it. Besides, there are a few rules to remember if you want your graphs to be a success.

First of all, they need to be easy to read and well-labeled. Even when you deal with a relatively complicated topic, try to make it at least look simple. So don’t add any unnecessary stuff like decorations or 3D effects. Moreover, never exaggerate or distort the data! It’s essential that your graphs reflect the truth correctly. Sometimes, it may happen by accident. In that case, ask some experts in the field to double-check their quality. Also, try not to overuse graphs! There is no need to insert one if there is only a small amount of data to display.

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Best Practices for Using Pie Charts

Use a graph-making tool to make your data look beautiful. There are a lot of free tools on the web, like Adobe Spark or Canva .

7. 👨‍🎓️ How to Write a Lab Report Discussion Section

Some people say that this part of the lab report is the most important because it shows what you have taken from the experiment beyond the results. Here, you would need to try and interpret your findings from your perspective. Highlight the significance, or maybe, discuss the problems that occurred and explain them. Here are some strategies that might help you.

Take the time to write your discussion section. Interpreting the results of your experiment is the most important part of your lab report.

8. 🏁 How to Write a Lab Report Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of your report writing. Sum up the main points and refer to any underlying theme. If any questions or issues remain unresolved, mention them here. Write in a brief, concise manner because your readers are already familiar with your points.

Before writing your conclusion, make a draft. Go over your report and underline all the vital information to be repeated. Your conclusion has to stress the importance of the research.

Don’t introduce any new information in your conclusion. All you need to do here is to summarize the ideas from your report.

9. 🖇️ How to Write Lab Report References

Since it’s a report, you have most likely used some literature while working on a theoretical part of it. Therefore, the need to list all the sources arises. Not only do you have to take care of the proper in-text citations, but also you need to correctly organize the reference section at the end of the paper.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to struggle with it! As soon as you find out which referencing style you are required to use, go to our guides , and follow the detailed instructions. Just like that, your paper is ready with no hassle at all!

To keep track of numerous sources, begin writing them down at the very beginning of working on your report.

10. 📈 How to Write Lab Report Appendices

Your appendices should include data tables, background calculations, specification lists for equipment used, details of experimental configuration, and any other information that doesn’t quite fit in the main body.

Put each item into a separate appendix.

You need to refer to each of your appendices at least once. Don’t forget to check that!

Good luck with your report writing, and be sure to check out our blog for other writing tips and ideas for your next assignments!

11. 👀 Lab Report Example

Below you’ll find a downloadable example of a lab report. You can also check out Nature Journal Report Sample (MLA.)

12. ✍️ Lab Report Topics

🔗 References

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You are already required to write a bibliography. Why would you waste your time and effort on additional details and create an annotated one? Don’t worry. We have an excellent answer! Annotated bibliography would include such details as a brief overview of the content, usefulness, and some analysis of every...

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  1. 40 Lab Report Templates & Format Examples ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write a good results section in a lab report

  2. Lab Report Format

    how to write a good results section in a lab report

  3. 34+ Lab Report Templates

    how to write a good results section in a lab report

  4. Formal Lab Report Template Best Of Biology Lab Report format

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  5. Scientific data , 7 Formal Lab Report Template : Formal Lab Report

    how to write a good results section in a lab report

  6. Results section lab report

    how to write a good results section in a lab report


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  1. How To Write A Lab Report

    The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but they usually contain the purpose, methods, and findings of a lab experiment. Each section of a lab report has its own purpose. Title: expresses the topic of your study Abstract: summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions

  2. Writing a Scientific Paper: RESULTS

    Email this link: Writing a "good" results section This is the core of the paper. Don't start the results sections with methods you left out of the Materials and Methods section. You need to give an overall description of the experiments and present the data you found. Goals: • Factual statements supported by evidence.

  3. Writing Lab Reports: Results

    Summarize the results of your study. Be careful to present your results in a manner that relates to your hypotheses; the reader should be able to identify your hypotheses in your introduction and easily find their associated results. This is not a place to provide raw data - present only summarized or analyzed data.

  4. Scientific Reports

    This format, sometimes called "IMRAD," may take slightly different shapes depending on the discipline or audience; some ask you to include an abstract or separate section for the hypothesis, or call the Discussion section "Conclusions," or change the order of the sections (some professional and academic journals require the Methods section to ap...

  5. How to Write a Results Section

    Published on August 30, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 11, 2022. A results section is where you report the main findings of the data collection and analysis you conducted for your thesis or dissertation. You should report all relevant results concisely and objectively, in a logical order.

  6. Writing a Lab Report: Introduction and Discussion Section Guide

    State the topic of your report clearly and concisely (in one or two sentences). Provide background theory, previous research, or formulas the reader should know. Usually, an instructor does not want you to repeat whatever the lab manual says, but to show your understanding of the problem. Questions an Effective Lab Report Introduction Should Answer

  7. Results

    Use the Results section to summarize the findings of your study. The text of this section should focus on the major trends in the data you collected. The details can be summarized in tables and/or graphs that will accompany the text. In this section, just tell the reader the facts.

  8. Library Research Guides: STEM: How To Write A Lab Report

    A lab report is broken down into eight sections: title, abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results, discussion, conclusion, and references. Title The title of the lab report should be descriptive of the experiment and reflect what the experiment analyzed. Ex: "Determining the Free Chlorine Content of Pool Water" Abstract

  9. How to Write the Results Section of a Lab Report

    1. The first thing you will want to do is to correctly identify which part of the experiment these results correspond to. If you are using data from more than one condition, make sure that you label each set of results. 2. Describe the methods used to carry out the experiment and summarize what you did in a few sentences.

  10. How to Write an APA Results Section

    You will have the opportunity to give your own interpretations of the results in the discussion section. 2. Use APA format. As you are writing your results section, keep a style guide on hand. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the official source for APA style. Visit your library.

  11. How to Write a Results Section for a Lab Report

    One can present the results section using either of two approaches: stating the results together or breaking them into a series of short individual explanations. The latter approach provides readers a better understanding because of its logical flow. Lengthy pieces of texts can create confusion among the readers.


    described in the previous section. The laboratory report should always be written for the convenience of the reader. Thus, for example, each section of the report should be headlined and the sections should be arranged in an appropriate, easily-understood sequence. In the context of the course for

  13. How to Write a Lab Report: Step-by-Step Guide & Examples

    A typical lab report would include the following sections: title, abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion. The title page, abstract, references, and appendices are started on separate pages (subsections from the main body of the report are not). Use double-line spacing of text, font size 12, and include page numbers.

  14. How to Write a Lab Report

    It should be brief (aim for ten words or less) and describe the main point of the experiment or investigation. An example of a title would be: "Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Borax Crystal Growth Rate". If you can, begin your title using a keyword rather than an article like "The" or "A". Introduction or Purpose

  15. How to Write a Lab Report—Basic Parts and Steps

    Parts of a lab report. Ultimately, the required elements for your lab report will depend on your university or your instructor. But below, we offer you a basic description of the usual parts and tips for getting them right. As shown in the steps above, we'll start with how to write an introduction for a lab report, then move down the list.

  16. How to Write a Lab Report: Writing Steps, Format & Examples

    12 min read UPD: May 9, 2023 A lab report is a document that provides a detailed description of a scientific experiment or study. The purpose of a lab report is to communicate the results of experimentation in a clear and objective manner. It typically includes sections such as introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, and references.

  17. How to Write a Good Lab Report

    Include a page number, usually either in the top or bottom right corner of each page. Clearly separate specific sections of the report with headings and subheadings. Below is a quick overview of how to format a basic lab report: Next, let's examine each section in detail and review how to structure a lab report. Introduction

  18. How to Format a Biology Lab Report

    A good lab report format includes six main sections: Title. Introduction. Materials and Methods. Results. Conclusion. References. Keep in mind that individual instructors may have a specific format that they require you to follow. Please be sure to consult your teacher about the specifics of what to include in your lab report.

  19. How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

    Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion. Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and ...

  20. The Lab Report

    1. The Title Page needs to contain the name of the experiment, the names of lab partners, and the date. Titles should be straightforward, informative, and less than ten words (i.e. Not "Lab #4" but "Lab #4: Sample Analysis using the Debye-Sherrer Method"). 2.

  21. poLab : Guide to Writing a Partial Lab Report

    You may open a word processing program and use the guide on this page for writing your lab report. As you are writing, create a heading for each section. 3. Follow the order for writing lab reports the LabWrite way: Methods, Results, Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion, Abstract, Title, and References. 4.

  22. Writing Lab Reports: Discussion

    The discussion offers an analysis of the experiment. The purpose of the discussion section is to provide a brief summary of your results, relate them to your hypotheses, and put them into context within the field of research. This is the most substantial section of your report, and where you will include your unique interpretations and ideas.

  23. How to Write a Lab Report: Format, Tips, & Example

    The report title. ️. The name of the author and the company or university that originated the report. ️. The name of the instructor. ️. Report completion date. A title page might also include a contact number, a security classification, or a copy number, depending on the nature of the report you are writing.

  24. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    CDC is the nation's leading science-based, data-driven, service organization that protects the public's health. For more than 70 years, we've put science into action to help children stay healthy so they can grow and learn; to help families, businesses, and communities fight disease and stay strong; and to protect the public's health.