Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Lab Reports 

Before starting, review assignment expectations, learning goals, and the pre-lab report (if applicable). 


Common Structure (NOTE: Always follow your course laboratory coordinator and professor’s instructions): 

  • Title Page—Include course name, course code, title of lab with clarification of type of lab (pre-lab, in-lab, post-lab, formal lab report), student name(s), McMaster student ID number, instructor name, lab section and TA name, if applicable include lab partner’s name & student number, due date, McMaster University.  
  • AbstractSummarize major findings along with the problem and hypothesis. Clarify why the problem was studied and the approach used to study it. Describe major findings and conclusions.  
  • IntroductionProvide an overview of the experiment and discuss how the results expand knowledge. 
  • Include past test results (if applicable) with statements supported by the peer reviewed scientific literature in the proper citation format.  
  • Use present tense for theory, equipment, and report, and past tense for results and experiment.
  • Methods and Materials—State what was done and how (instructions should facilitate experiment duplication). 
    • Include the experimental design, apparatus description, methods for gathering and interpreting results, and controls used. Use past tense and the passive voice.
  • ResultsProvide data and observations without interpreting their meaning or significance. Describe events in the order they took place. 
  • Include tables (raw data) and graphs (interpreted data), calculations: Tables, figures and graphs should be properly numbered and include captions. Include proper units of measurement and legends. Figures and tables should be organized and clear (no fuzzy images).
  • Include results that deviated from expectations (leave discussion for next section).
  • Maintain an adequate font size for graph legends. Use past tense.
  • Discussion—Follow the same order as Results section.
    • Analyse results: How do they relate to previous studies? Why did they occur?  
    • Identify patterns and relationships: How did results differ from expectations? How do they relate to theory? 
  • ConclusionsBriefly restate the purpose, results, and concluding interpretations.
  • Include recommendations for further study and/or suggest changes to the procedure.  
  • Support statements with scientific literature. Include research citations in the proper format.
  • References—List references in the proper referencing format (as indicated by the instructor, TA, and lab coordinator). References should display strong evidence that has been recently published.
  • Appendices—Include data, calculations, graphics, and notes along with captions and titles.
    • Provide measurements and legend. Place each appendix on a separate page. 

Remember to maintain a balanced perspective, use clear and precise language, and apply a logical structure. 


Improve your writing and study skills! Book an appointment with a writing advisor and/or academic coach on OSCARplus.  Questions? Email

Source: University of Toronto (n.d.). The Lab Report. Retrieved from: UFT Lab Reports Writing Advice 

Ask Chat is Offline - Send an Email