Formal Laboratory Report Format



            In this course, you will be asked to submit several formal laboratory reports.  The format described below is recommended, because it has proven to be an effective way to present experimental results, and it is widely used in scientific and Engineering journals.  It is important to keep in mind that your goal is to present the information as clearly and completely as possible, while still concentrating on being concise.  If you choose not to use this format, you should have a good reason. 

            As always, you should write in complete sentences only, and you should use care to avoid grammatical errors.  I recommend the use of the passive voice, as it is more formal and more widely used in the field of electrical engineering, though it will not affect your grade if you do not choose to take this recommendation.

In Engineering 11, students have permission to refer to the lab handout.  There is no need to simply restate what is already written in the handout.  It is important to use appropriate citations when referring to handouts or other materials.

The format for the formal laboratory report consists of up to 10 sections.  Each group will submit a single report, using this format, for each experiment requiring a formal lab report..


1.   Title Page

This page should include the department and number of the class, the date, and the names of the students who performed the lab and wrote the report. 


2.   Abstract

      The abstract is a very concise summary of the experiment and the results obtained.  It is usually a single paragraph (just a few sentences) long, though in some cases, it may be somewhat longer.


3.   Introduction

The introduction serves to set up the reader for the rest of the report.  It includes background information, as well as a description of how this work fits into the broader/wider contexts of the class, field, discipline, etc.  It sometimes includes a description of the principles that underlie the experiment, but the details of the work usually fit better into later sections.


4.   Theory

This section is used to present and/or derive any equations that will be needed to understand the experiment or perform the data analysis.


5.   Procedure

      In this section, the details of the way the experiment was performed, how the equipment was configured, the way the data was collected, etc., are described.  You will likely refer to the handout quite a bit in this section.


6.   Results

      Include both results, as well as sample calculations when appropriate.

7.   Discussion     

This section is used to demonstrate the significance of the results, and to explain why they are or are not consistent with those that would be expected from theory and analysis.

8.   Conclusions and Future Work

      The purpose of this section is to wrap up the lab and summarize what was reported.  It is also a place to make suggestions for future improvements.


9.   Acknowledgments

      The purpose of this section is to acknowledge any collaboration or help that was received during the experiments or writing of the report. This section may not be necessary; it is optional.


10. Appendices

Appendices can be used as sections for very detailed or lengthy sections of information.  Information placed in an Appendix is usually supplementary to, or supportive of the discussion in the body of the report, but I usually not the most critical to the main points being made in the report.  This section may not be necessary; it is optional.


Other Suggestions


Email Professor Cheever with any comments on how to improve the information on this page (either presentation or content), or to let me know if you had any particular difficulties with this lab.