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Writing a Discussion Section

Aims (or objectives)

❶Engineering and science writing skills Report writing. Some lecturers will be happy with a reference to the method, e.

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For example, the aim for a biochemistry practical which uses a spectrophotometer to determine serum protein levels might be written as "to determine protein levels in normal serum samples by spectrophotometry". Normally, the method is given out as part of the practical notes and very rarely would you be required to rewrite it, although you may have to note any alterations.

Some lecturers will be happy with a reference to the method, e. This is the raw data and is best presented in the form of tables and graphs. Record your data in tables and use the tabulated data to do the graphs. Record any data you have determined from the graph in a separate table. For example, if you are trying to determine protein levels by spectrophotometry, you would record all the spectrophotometry readings for your standards and samples in the first table, and use the standard readings to construct a graph of protein concentration versus absorbance readings a standard curve.

The concentration of the samples can then be worked out from the graph, and recorded in a separate table. If the amount of raw data is excessive, consider presenting it as an appendix. This is normally a brief statement e. It should always reflect the question s posed in the Aim s. Sometimes the conclusion is not separate from the discussion, i. Sometimes the conclusion may be required to go after the discussion, in which case it will not be a summary of the results but will be what you conclude based on your discussion.

Some instructors may let you refer to your textbook if the materials are listed there. This might look like: See page in Chemistry Labs. Ask your instructor before doing this to make sure it is okay. Write them in the sentence in the order that you used them. Write down the exact steps you followed during your experiment and the exact measurements you took.

This takes you through a step by step procedure of the lab. Once again, this allows someone to replicate your experiment. Make sure to outline any precautions that should be taken when performing the experiment. Detail all variables in the experiment. The controlled variables are the ones that don't change throughout the experiment. The independent variable is the one thing you will change during the experiment.

It should be outlined in the hypothesis. The dependent variable is the variable that is changed because of your manipulation of the independent variable in the experiment. Be sure to check with your instructor before writing this part of a lab report.

You want to make sure to provide enough detail so that anyone can complete the experiment and explain the steps in an easy to follow, detailed manner. However, be careful not to over explain or add in irrelevant information.

The procedure and materials list can be combined into one paragraph. Make sure to find out which way your instructor prefers before choosing. Using your procedures and materials, perform the experiment. You should complete all of the steps outlined in Part 1 before performing the experiment.

Completing part of the lab write up before you do the experiment, such as the materials and procedure, is important because it gives you a clear idea of what will happen during the experiment. Writing out the hypothesis, purpose, and introduction material helps you understand the results of the experiment and not change your hypothesis based on the outcome of the experiment.

This section contains the raw data observed during the experiment. You should record your observations in a clear, logical manner. Organize data and categorize the data so it is easy to read and understand. This section includes data tables, graphs, or any notes made during the experiment. The data tables should be labeled clearly, and all units of measurement should be recorded.

When using graphs, use X or O instead of dots. Make sure each axis is labeled with a variable. Qualitative data is observable data that does not have a numerical value. These are things you observe with your five senses. Quantitative data is observable data that responds to measurable values.

Examples of quantitative results are measurements in units like centimeters, weight in grams, speed in kilometers, along with density, volume, temperature, and mass. In this section, analyze the experiment. Interpret the results by explaining them, analyzing what they mean, and comparing them. Hypothesize what might happen if a variable in the experiment was changed. Accept or reject your hypothesis. In the conclusion, explain if your hypothesis was correct or incorrect.

Use data obtained from the experiment to support why you accept or reject it. If so, make sure to say that. Explain what the other conclusions are. An example of a hypothesis rejection is: Our hypothesis was incorrect. The cake did not cook at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. The cake was still raw when it was taken out of the oven. Make sure to include any errors in your data, or data that is extreme and does not fit with the other data.

Discuss reasons why the data might be wrong. State what you could do differently to improve the quality and preciseness of the experiment. If you want to write your lab report in a more formal voice, you might end up with more passive language in your report.

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Here's a format for a lab report you can use if you aren't sure what to write or need an explanation of what to include in the different parts of the report. A lab report is how you explain what you did in your experiment, what you learned, and what the results meant. Here is a standard format.

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An experiment report is a common requirement for many science courses. This document explains to others what you did and what you found so they can replicate your work and improve upon your findings. Although experiment reports can vary in length and format, the general guidelines for structure and content remain the same.

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How to Report on an Experiment A laboratory report should communicate, as clearly and concisely as possible, the rationale for the experiment, what was done, what the results were and what the results mean. To write an experimental report or lab report, you should first read published articles of that type. Once you are familiar with the style, you can start writing.

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Sample Lab Report #2 in the Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students: guidelines to help students of science and engineering make their writing more efficient for others to read and to make the process of writing more efficient for them to perform. This report discusses an experiment to study the relationship of temperature. Writing a good lab report requires you to include the following parts: Title page that includes the title of the experiment performed, your name and the names of your group project members, your instructor's name, and the date of submission.