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AP/IB Lab Format

AP/IB Lab Format

General Considerations

  • Lab reports should preferably be typed.
  • Graphs, charts, etc. may be computer-generated.
  • NO photocopies of ANYTHING are allowed in lab reports unless specified by instructor. Note: sometimes you will “attach” materials and methods and write “see attached” in that case.
  • Do not personalize procedure or conclusion, i.e., do not write, “I placed the beaker by the light”…
  • Always cite references if you used them in introduction, conclusion, etc.

Specific Items to be Included in Lab Report

TITLE – This should be a clear statement of the problem investigated. It should be long enough to give a definite indication of what the experiment encompassed.

INTRODUCTION – Give some background information relevant to the investigation. This should generally be one half to a full page, and at the end of the introduction, you will lead into your

QUESTION/PROBLEM by stating something such as, “In this experiment, the effect of pH on an enzyme will be investigated.”

HYPOTHESIS – Connect the independent and dependent variables with an “If…then” statement. State what the independent, dependent, and controlled variables are for the investigation.

MATERIALS – LIST all materials used in the experiment.

METHOD – This may be in paragraph or list form. Make sure you are thorough but not wordy. Include EVERYTHING so that someone would be able to pick up the procedure you have written and carry out the experiment by his or herself. Two elements that must be included are how variables were controlled and how data was collected.

DATA – And this means RAW DATA ONLY – whatever readings ore measurements you made or observations that you wrote down. In other words, this data has not been manipulated AT ALL! Should be in chart form and readable. Units must be included, a title is required, and degrees of uncertainty in the measurement must be clearly shown. Drawings must include all the necessary elements of laboratory sketches.

DATA PROCESSING – This may include calculations of averages, standard deviations, rate of change, etc. Always include an example of each type of calculation. Graphs may be the way to represent an analysis of the data. Be sure to include all the required elements of graphing – title, labeled axes with units, proper scale, correct plots, and a key if necessary.

AP/IB Lab Format

CONCLUSIONS – Interpret your results relative to your hypothesis. If possible, state whether or not the hypothesis was supported by your results. Where applicable, compare your experimental results with book values, citing the reference. Speculate on the meaning of your results. This should be detailed and comprise a “healthy” paragraph.

EVALUATION – Discuss and delineate at least three sources of error, discussing how the errors could have affected the experiment. BE SPECIFIC. For instance, do not just say “Human Error.” Instead tell exactly what techniques or procedures were done incorrectly and how it affected the outcome. Next state at least three improvements to the experimental design that would allow for a better result. Discuss modifications that might take the investigation a step further.