Home About Us Learning Guides Become a Tutor Contact Us

Science Lab Note Taking

  • Find out what the requirements are for the lab component of the course. Know the format for the lab report, e.g.,:
    • Abstract: a brief summary of the salient points
    • Introduction: Stating the objective or hypothesis for your experiment, including references to other studies where relevant
    • Materials and Methods: Describing your procedure so that someone else could conduct the experiment after reading this section
    • Results: Reporting your data or observations using tables, graphs and figures where appropriate
    • Discussion: Analyzing your results, explaining their significance and showing how they support the hypothesis or explaining why results differ from what was expected. State conclusions based on your results supported by other sources.
    • References: appearing at the end of the report in the proper format
  • Write out the first two steps before you begin to help you think about the purpose of the experiment.
  • Plan your lab time by listing the steps of the procedure that you need to take to complete the lab.
  • Construct tables for the data either on a separate sheet or in a lab notebook if the lab instructor requires it.
  • Be familiar with the laboratory, note where reagents and equipment are stored and be aware of general procedures.
  • Ask the lab instructor questions about the procedure or analysis to make sure the lab assignment is clear and that you are handling materials safely.
  • Know how to dispose of all used materials and equipment properly.
  • Share all lab work equally with your partner and be sure you both learn the skills and instruments used in the experiment.
  • Write the lab report as soon as possible after finishing the experiment.
    • Comment on sources of error that affect precision and accuracy
    • Include only what is asked for by the instructor
    • Follow rules of grammar, composition, and style
    • Write your own report
  • Review returned reports and see how to improve future reports.