Description of the content of each conclusions for lab reports these sections follows. Additional remarks on report preparation and writing style are given at the end.
The ABSTRACT is not a part of the body of the report itself. Rather, the abstract is a brief summary of the report contents that is often separately circulated so potential readers can decide whether to read the report. The abstract should very concisely summarize the whole report: why it was written, what was discovered or developed, and what is claimed to be the significance of the effort. The INTRODUCTION should provide a clear statement of the problem posed by the project, and why the problem is of interest. It should reflect the scenario, if available.
If needed, the introduction also needs to present background information so that the reader can understand the significance of the problem. The purpose of the MATERIALS AND METHODS section is to describe the materials, apparatus, and procedures used to carry out the measurements. Most importantly, the section needs to provide a clear presentation of how key measurements were obtained and how the measurements were analyzed. This is where the particular approach followed to reach the project’s objectives should be described. The detail should be sufficient so that the reader can easily understand what was done. Every Figure and Table should have a legend that describes concisely what is contained or shown.
Figure legends go below the figure, table legends above the table. The DISCUSSION interprets the results in light of the project’s objectives. The most important goal of the DISCUSSION section is to interpret the results so that the reader is informed of the insight or answers that the results provide. The DISCUSSION should also present an evaluation of the particular approach taken by the group. For example: Based on the results, how could the experimental procedure be improved?
What additional, future work may be warranted? The CONCLUSIONS should summarize the central points made in the Discussion section, reinforcing for the reader the value and implications of the work. The conclusions should never contain «surprises». Therefore, any conclusions should be based on observations and data already discussed. It is considered extremely bad form to introduce new data in the conclusions.
The REFERENCES section should contain complete citations following standard form. The form of the citation depends on the type of source being referenced, and is different for whole books, chapters in books, and articles published in a journal. One good format to follow is that used in the Chemical Engineering Progress journal, published by AIChE. The references should be numbered and listed in the order they were cited in the body of the report.
Reports should be as long as they need to be — no longer. Brevity is desirable, provided the necessary information is properly communicated. Some suggestions: Avoid reproducing standard information, for example, calibration curves. Avoid appendices unless there is a specific reason for them. Consider each sentence — does it meaningfully contribute to the report?