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Writing a Lab Report: Writing Style

Writing a Lab Report

Scientific Writing

Students struggle with writing lab reports, because they are used to writing for ENG 111 and similar classes.

Scientific writing is different!

Use the tips on this page to avoid common problems, and check out the tabs above for "What to Include" and an "Example" of a successful lab report.

Helpful Tips

  • Be concise
  • Write in the third person (No I, me, we, us, etc.)
    • Incorrect:  I added 50 mL of water to a 250-mL beaker.
    • Correct:  To a 250-mL beaker, 50 mL of water was added.
  • Do not write reports as a list of commands
    • Incorrect:  Heat the solution until it boils.
    • Correct:  The solution was heated to boiling.
  • Use correct verb tenses
    • Write in the present tense unless you are describing procedures that you did in the past.
  • Use Section Headings
    • Introduction, Methods, Conclusion, etc.
    • Include all required sections.
  • Proof-read
    • Check for APA format (double-spacing, margins, Times New Roman 12, etc.).
    • Ask your lab partner to read your draft.