Laboratory experiments are good fun, aren’t they? You get the opportunity to learn something new while getting hands-on experience.
While conducting experiments is the fun part, the same cannot be said about what follows after. Yes, we’re talking about writing the lab report.
Original: SourceA lab report is a detailed documentation of the experiment conducted in a lab along with the findings. It should capture all the details and is presented in a predefined format so that anyone who wants to read and replicate or refer to the report later, can do so easily.
Here’s what a typical lab report structure includes:
- Analysis and Discussion
As a powerful introduction lays the foundation for a winning lab report, this article will throw light on how you can write a strong introduction for your lab report.
5 Tips to Write a Lab Report Introduction that Captivates Attention
An effective introductory paragraph is integral to writing success - and the same holds true while writing lab reports too.
It comes right after the abstract and students are often left wondering what the difference between the two is. So, let’s get that right first.
While an abstract needs to provide a brief idea of the report, the introduction needs to elaborate on it, state the objective of the experiment along with giving background information.
Here are 5 tips to write a lab report introduction that captivates attention and impresses readers.
1. Hook your audience
The introduction is the first section that a reader reads right after the title. Whether the reader would want to read your entire lab report or not depends a lot on this section. Hence, your introductory paragraph needs to be attention-grabbing.
One of the most common hooks in lab reports is starting with an interesting fact or statistic (relevant to the field of the experiment).
It should be clear and crisp while sharing providing background information and stating the overall goal of the experiment. It should set the context and talk about why the experiment was done, including any laws/theories/formulae relevant to the experiment being conducted.
2. Maintain a logical flow
An introduction should have a logical flow. According to Simply Psychology, the introduction should follow a ‘funnel structure’.
Start with writing about the broader topic. For example, if you are doing an experiment on ice, then write about the different facts of ice, its properties, etc.
In the next step, explain the theoretical framework. Write about why you conducted the experiment, what was the background, and the overall purpose of the experiment.
Next, mention the previous studies that might have been done which have a connection to your study. Include the details like who were the experimenters, what was the study about, and finally the outcome of that experiment.
You then need to draw a rationale between the previous studies and your study. Why did you do this experiment? Did it help to build the gap that was missing in the previous studies or has there been any change in the scenario from the previous experiments to yours?
Write them down clearly. Finally, draw a hypothesis. What is your prediction about the experiment? This is also known as the hypothesis. However, do not include the final result or the procedure used here as you will have dedicated sections for those in the latter part of the report.
3. Include the literature review
Your lab report introduction needs to also include the literature review which is meant to state the existing information that’s already known about the topic of experimentation.
It’s generally an overview of all the scholarly articles and journals pertaining to the topic in question and is meant to offer context.
Here’s some practical advice by Grad Coach on how to write a literature review
4. Formulate a strong hypothesis
If XYZ, then ABC will happen - this is what a hypothesis resembles.
Forming a critical part of lab reports, hypotheses are tentative statements, meant to predict the outcome of the experiment. The key to writing a strong hypothesis is ensuring it’s clear, specific and testable.
It needs to be based on variables that will be measured during the course of the experiment.
Once you’ve conducted the experiment, in the discussions section, you can go on to explain whether you accept or reject it along with justifying it with your findings.
5. Pay attention to the tenses
Students often get muddled up when it comes to the correct usage of tenses, especially while writing the lab report introduction and make silly mistakes in the process.
When you’re referring to the experiment, which has already been conducted, you can stick to past tense and when you’re talking about the report or your findings, you should use present tense as that’s something that’s being worked upon.
Writing lab report introductions can get tedious because it’s the first paragraph your instructor reads and let’s face it - the stakes are high.
However, with these five practical tips in mind, you’re sure to do a better job and write a lab report introduction that forms a strong foundation by reeling the reader in and making them want to read further.
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