How to write a chemistry lab report: Simple guide

How to write a chemistry lab report: Simple guide

Recently attended a chemistry lab and didn’t know how to write a lab report? Did you have trouble grasping what was going on? You couldn’t understand the procedure on how to carry out a chemistry lab report?

Looking at your chemistry lab report example high school will not help at this level. Worry no more. With the steps provided in this article, you are going to love writing a chemistry lab report.

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What is chemistry?

Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the study of matter. Matter is anything that comprises mass and takes up space. Under chemistry, you study what matter consists of, its properties, and its natural behavior. We are surrounded by matter in all aspects of life. It also covers the comprehension of atoms and their determination on how and what they react to.

Branches of chemistry

Chemistry has many branches. These branches touch on our everyday lives, and each one of them is important You may be expected to write a chemistry lab report in any of the chemistry fields. The branches of chemistry are;

  1. Physical chemistry

This branch looks at the behavior of matter on an atomic and a molecular level. It also deals with the principality of physical and chemical reactions. It looks to estimate, correspond and explain assessable aspects of these reactions. Sub branches of physical chemistry are;

  • Spectroscopy

This branch deals with the study of absorption, scattering, or emission of electromagnetic energy and chemical process it undergoes.

  • Photochemistry

This branch of physical chemistry deals with the study of chemical changes caused by light.

  • Quantum chemistry

This is the study of mathematical description of motion and interconnection of subatomic particles. It incorporates quantization of energy, wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, and their association to chemical processes.

  • Chemical kinetics

This studies rates of chemical responses, factors influencing those rates, and the apparatus by which the reactions proceed.

  • Surface chemistry

This study looks into chemical reactions at the surface of substances

  1. Biochemistry

Biochemistry is a branch of science that focuses on how chemical substances and processes take place in animals, plants, and microorganisms. It is a chemistry of life that covers the transitional development organism go through during their lifetime. These are the branches of biochemistry;

  • Clinical biochemistry

This is the study of conversions that diseases cause in the chemical structure and biochemical activity of the body

  • Molecular biology

This study covers the interconnection between many systems of a cell.

  • Agricultural biochemistry

This study deals with chemistry that takes place in plants, microorganisms, and animals.

  • Pharmacology

This is the study of drug action mechanisms and the effect of drugs on a living thing

  • Genetics

These branches look into the study of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms.

  1. Analytical chemistry

Analytical chemistry obligates itself with tool development. It also deals with ways in which the tools shall be used to measure the physical effects of matter. It would help if you looked at examples of lab reports for analytical chemistry. It puts grouping methods, regression analysis and multiple equation models into the application of recognizing matter.

Branches of analytical chemistry comprise of;

  • Forensic chemistry

This touches on the implementation of chemical principles and approach to the investigation of crime

  • Bioanalytical chemistry

This branch tends to cover the examination of body fluids to detect the presence of a specific drug. These include sweat, urine, blood, and saliva.

  • Environmental chemistry

In this branch, the focus is on chemical and biochemical occurrences in the environment.

  1. Organic chemistry

This branch of chemistry looks into the structure, properties, reaction, and preparation of carbon-containing chemicals. Learning about carbon chemical configuration and formula will need to focus on their structure. Studying carbon-containing chemical properties covers both chemical and physical properties.

Assessing carbon chemical sensitivity helps understand their behaviors. Branches of organic chemistry consist of;

  • Stereochemistry

This study deals with the unique positioning of atoms in molecules and their outcome on the synthesis and physical possession.

  • Medicinal chemistry

This covers the chemicals, plan and growth of medicinal antidote.

  • Physical organic chemistry

This is the study of the correlation between reactivity and structure in biological molecules

  • Polymer chemistry

You focus on the study of polymers

  1. Inorganic chemistry

Inorganic chemistry concentrates on chemical properties, structure, and reaction of a combination of elements. Branches of inorganic chemistry include;

  • Bio-inorganic chemistry

This studies the relationship between a metal ion and living tissues, specifically through their firsthand effect on enzyme occupation

  • Solid-state chemistry

This is the study of chemical properties and structure of solid matter.

  • Geochemistry

Digs into the study of chemical structure and alteration in rocks, atmosphere, and minerals of a celestial body

  • Organometallic chemistry

This is the study of an enzymatic compound consisting of bonds between a metal and carbon

  • Nuclear chemistry

This is the study of radioactive matter

Why it is important to study chemistry

Chemistry offers a pool of useful information that is applicable in our lives, and this is why it is crucial;

  • Creation of job opportunities as it is a field of plenty career options
  • It plays a fundamental role in the enhancement of research and teaching
  • It improves the quality of life by equipping you with the knowledge to produce intensive goods and services
  • It helps with the production of food
  • helps in alleviating environmental threats
  • Forensic chemistry offers techniques used in crime investigation
  • Biochemical responses help with reproduction, digestion, and respiration
  • Assists with the creation of safe alternative sources of energy
  • Chemistry has helped come up with new medicines and treatments
  • Development of analytical skills
  • Basic knowledge of chemistry helps in tackling various issues
  • Chemistry has paved the way for space exploration by helping come up with mechanics, fuels, and food storage
  • The Discovery of explosive substances has helped giving parties an upper hand in a war

chemistry lab report

As part of your chemistry coursework, you will receive different forms of chemistry assignments. Some complex projects you may receive include;

  • Chemistry lab reports
  • Journal articles
  • Laboratory summaries
  • Laboratory worksheets

Some of the general assignments you may receive include;

Lab reports are an essential component of every laboratory course and add to a percentage of your final grade. Having a chemistry lab report template will help you as you write your report. Your professor may give you a summary of what they expect from your report.

In other cases, they may expect your report to be written in your laboratory notebook. And other times, it may be a separate report. There are different types of lab reports. These are;

Informal lab reports

An informal chemistry lab report includes your calculations followed by a written data table of your results. Even though it is informal, your lab report should be neat, well organized, and orderly.

The features of your informal lab report may vary depending on the instructions given by your administrator or institution. This is just a summary of your experiment results and the process used to acquire them. There are fewer expectations when it comes to the format and documentation of the experiment.

Formal chemistry lab report

This is a complete and well-detailed report of the entire experiment. A formal lab report chemistry has expectations for format, presentation, structure, and orders of your paper. There is a general outline that requires to be followed. Some of the format requirements include;

  • show all calculations and all units of measurements used
  • All your data and results should be presented in a table where possible
  • Your report should be typed in a legible font, and your calculations can be well written by hand
  • Your report should be written in a third-person perspective, use pronouns like they and them, not I or we
  • Use graphs, figures, and diagrams to present information and data
  • Explain all your calculations in detail, assume that your reader does not know what you are calculating
  • Begin your calculations with the formula, then insert the correct data as you continue

General chemistry lab report format

A lab report is supposed to explain the details of your experiment. It includes the procedure, what you learned, the results, and what they mean. This is the structure to use in your chemistry lab report;

Title page

The title should tell your leader what you did. Your title can be the name of the experiment, or you can find a clever way of renaming your lab report. Most times, people use the results to come up with a name.

It should be brief, precise and include the main idea behind the experiment or observation. When possible, begin your title with a keyword instead of articles like “A” or “The.” On some occasions, your professor may not want a title page, if it is required, it should include;

  • The title of the report
  • Your name and the names of all other members of the class you were working with
  • The name of your professor or administrator
  • The date you performed the experiment and the date the report was submitted

The lab report title is the first page of your essay, so it needs to be well structured, well written, and captivating to draw the reader. Each detail you list on your title page should be on its line. You are advised to center-align all the information on your title page. You can look at a lab report title example online for guidance.

Abstract

This is a one or two-paragraph summary of the document. Your abstract should be brief and concise. It should not exceed two hundred words. It should capture the purpose of your experiment, acquired results, and how these results were achieved.

 You should briefly mention any conclusions you drew from the investigation. You are advised to write your abstract last so that you include all the vital information. The questions your abstract should answer are;

  • The objectives of what you did
  • How did you do it (method)?
  • What results did you obtain?
  • What was concluded from the experiment?

Introduction

Your lab report introduction should be one or two paragraphs depending on the length of your paper. You explain the purpose or objectives of your experiment. Discuss any background information about the experiment. Has the experiment been done before? Do the results of the previous works match yours?

Show how the experiment was done, the results of the experiment, and the conclusions you have drawn. An essential part of your introduction is the hypothesis. Tell the reader why this particular experiment is relevant. Read some lab report introduction examples before you begin writing. This is what your introduction should contain;

  • The purpose of the experiment
  • Background information of the experiment
  • What problem your experiment is solving
  • Definition of key terms
  • Hypothesis

Experimental section

This section gives a detailed account of all methods and materials used in the experiment. If your experiment’s final product is known, make sure you state it at the beginning of your paragraph. As you mention all the reactants and substances used in the experiment, use parenthesis to include their measurements in grams. You should also have their mole values.

Write the reaction equation you are using for the experiment. It can be found in the laboratory manual in the section providing instructions. This includes the structure and name of reactants and products, solvent used, and the temperature of the experiment.

If there is more than one reaction, use arrows to include them in the primary reaction equation. All the numerical data attained from your experiment should be presented in a table. This consists of facts and calculations and not an interpretation of what they mean.

Describe all procedures in good detail such that someone can repeat the experiment by reading your work. Provide figures and diagrams to support the information about your process. This section should be written as if you are giving someone directions to perform the same experiment. These are the requirements of the experimental section;

  • Discuss the steps you took during the experiment (methods)
  • Discuss the materials, substances, subjects, and equipment you used (materials)
  • Describe your statistical tests and mathematical equations
  • Discuss the general procedure you used to study or observe the experiment

In this section of your paper, you should use passive voice to describe your investigation methodology. Remember to write your essay in the third-person perspective.

Results

Your results should describe what your data means. After creating a table for numeric results, explain what it means.  This section shows your findings from the experiment. Use of tables, graphs, comparisons, and figures is encouraged.  Include all data you have accumulated, including those that do not support your hypothesis.

 Information that you include in your text should be supporting the data in your calculations. Your figures and tables should be synchronized with the text that you add in your results section. Having a chemistry lab report sample will help structure your information correctly. This is the order in which your data should appear;

  • Mass (in grams) of the final product
  • The name of the final product
  • The melting point and literature value of the final product
  • The gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy data (GCMS)
  • The H NMR data
  • Infrared spectroscopy data (IR)

Analysis

This section is also known as the discussion. Here, you interpret the data you got from the experiment. The results are analyzed to explain what the data entails. Your discussion section shows the importance of the results and gives a detailed description of what happened during the experiment.

Using the data, you can determine whether the hypothesis you came up with is acceptable or not. Analyze all values and not just the ones that support your thesis. Discuss any mistakes that may have occurred during the experiment or data collection stages. These mistakes may have altered the results you got.

Give suggestions on how the study and experimentation can be improved in the future. Mention other experiments that can be done in the future to support or build upon what you already have. Sometimes this section is combined with the results.  In summary, your discussion should have the following;

  • A summary of the critical findings and observations
  • Examine the relationships, principles, and patterns shown by your results
  • Explain the connection between your products and your expectations
  • Record any contradictions or agreements and suggest studies that can be done to eradicate contradictions
  • Discuss theoretical impact your results may have, discuss the bigger picture being addressed by your results

Conclusion

This is a variation of the abstract. Summarize what your paper was handling. Restate the purpose of the experiment, the results you got, and their implications. Mention your hypothesis and state whether it was accepted or rejected.

Your conclusion should be a paragraph or two. Do not directly restate your points exactly as they are in the document, paraphrase them. You can find a chemistry lab report conclusion example online that may help in writing.

Questions

After your conclusion, you should have a section to answer all the other questions. If your professor gave you questions that were not addressed in the chemistry lab report, address them here. Refer to your findings as you answer these questions.

Your chemistry lab report answers should match the information in the report. Whether the experiment went as expected or not, make sure that the solutions you present in this section feed from your results.

Reference

If you used someone else’s work or words, they should be credited in your paper. At the end of your essay, create a reference list using the referencing format stipulated by your institution or administrator. Include all the work you have used. Your reference should include;

  • The author
  • The title of the published work
  • The year of publish
  • The publishing companies

Graphs and figures

Your figures and graphs should be labeled with titles. The x-axis should be the independent variable on your chart, while the y axis is the dependent variable. Both axes should have labels that include units of measurements in grams. Each figure, diagram, and graph should have a title beginning as “figure 1” and the second as “figure 2”.

Factors to consider as you write

  1. Your paper should use the passive voice and be written in the third person perspective, your subject is the experiment
  2. Use past tense throughout your paper, you are describing an experiment that has already been done
  3. When describing the properties of substances, use the present tense because they still have those properties
  4. Assume your reader is a regular student, explain everything in your paper so that they understand what you are doing
  5. Avoid repetition, come up with clever ways to start your sentences, and do not use the exact words
  6. Do not start your sentences or write your titles using chemical symbols and numbers; write the name of the chemical in full
  7. Explain key and technical terms in your introduction
  8. The first time you use an abbreviation, write its full name first, then the abbreviation in brackets
  9. Space the numbers from the units of measurement, don’t write them as one word
  10. Use the correct referencing style in your references for chemistry lab report as instructed by your professor

Concluding remarks on the chemistry lab report

As part of your education, you will be required to hand in many write-up assignments. Assignments like chemistry lab reports may have other writing formats, but this shouldn’t stop you. This article has covered the typical chemistry lab report components and the layout of writing a chemistry lab report. In case you have any questions or need assistance with your paper, contact us.

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