Guidelines for Lab Reports
The lab report is an exercise in critical thinking and scientific
writing, as well as usage of the English language.
Lab reports must be typed. No handwritten reports will be
accepted . When relevant, hand-drawn sketches of the
experimental setup are acceptable.
A concise (short paragraph) statement of the objective of the
the results (including errors and accepted values if relevant)
and the conclusion. Should include one or both of the following
"We have measured q = (xx +/- yy)x10^z
[unit] in [excellent, good, fair, poor] agreement of the
accepted value v [unit]".
"Our experimental test of the hypothesis h yields a
value of [chisq/degree of freedom], in agreement with the
at a confidence level of xx %".
Explain the goals of the experiment. What is the scientific
reason for doing the experiment? Include any relevant theoretical background.
Briefly describe the apparatus and procedure. This should not
be a repeat or summary of the lab manual, but rather a reflection
of your understanding of what the important components are and how they
work. Imagine that you were designing the
Explain what calibrations are necessary. Discuss how calibrations
were done. Display calibration data in a table. Describe
and include any fits that were done to obtain calibration
constants. Include an estimate of the systematic error, for
example from the error on the fit to a slope.
Briefly describe how the data was taken, including choice of data
points. Present the raw data in a well organized table or tables.
Derive and discuss any formulas used
in applying calibrations and calculating derived quantities from your
data. Present calibrated and derived data in a table or tables.
#6 Analysis and Results:
Describe any analysis (calculations of averages,
graphs, fits, etc.) done to obtain your final results for parameters
measured and/or hypotheses tested (e.g., de Broglie). Discuss in detail
your calculations of statistical and
systematic errors. Include a list of systematic errors
considered and discuss how each was estimated.
Compare your results with expected values and/or discuss how well
hypotheses were verified. Answer all questions in the lab manual or
additional questions asked by the instructor. If necessary, conjecture
systematics that you did not have time to investigate. Speculate on the
cause of any discrepancies, and suggest further experimentation that
might resolve such discrepancies.