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Internal Assessment Lab Format

The following titles and subtitles should be used for your lab report and given in
this order within your lab report.
Everything should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-spaced lines

TITLE must be unique to your experiment


Background
This is the place to summarize what you have verified about the topic using
research. Use reputable online sources, but you can probably start with your text
book. You should have a minimum of two sources cited at the end of your report
(No Wikipedia). You may repeat some of this information in your conclusion
when comparing your results to literature values and when explaining your
results. When you proofread this section, make a list (actual or mental) of the
scientific facts used. If there are none, you need to rewrite. (1/2 page maximum)

Design
Problem must be focused and not ambiguous in any way. Restating the
question posed to you is not sufficient. Your question should be more focused
than the question I posed to you.

Hypothesis state first & then give a logical rationale your conclusion should
address the hypothesis you are giving here. Information in your background
section should be repeated and used to support your hypothesis. Do not assume
that the reader can tell which parts of your background research support your
hypothesis. State the science behind your hypothesis explicitly.

Variables chart or list identifying Independent, Dependent, & Controlled


Variables. Include in this chart how dependent variables will be measured, and
how & why controlled variables will be controlled. For example, if you are
assuming that temperature will be controlled by the air handing system for the
building, state that. Dependent variables should be measured quantities, not
calculated quantities. If you are planning on calculating density, mass or volume
is the Dependent variable, not density. A rate of increase (slope) is also a
derived variable.

Materials make a table listing precisely what materials you are using and
what you will use it for. "250 mL beaker" not "beaker", "electronic balance" not
"balance", "100 mL graduated cylinder" not "graduated cylinder". For any
chemicals used, identify the compounds precisely including concentrations where
appropriate.

Experimental Setup annotated photograph showing how variables were


instituted, especially the controlled variables. This is not just a variety of
equipment sitting next to each other. Can be a drawing if necessary.

Procedure write a numbered list of steps that can stand alone and be
followed by any classmate. Be sure to include details of data collection. Saying
you will "collect data" is not sufficient, under any circumstances. If you're
measuring length, say you will measure the length with a ruler, not just measure
the results. Include multiple trials in your procedure!!! Five is generally a good
goal. Even if you are sure you will run out of time to do 5 trials, put at least 5
trials in your procedure (10 minimum if you use a T-test)!! Dont exaggerate the
number of trials you plan on doing either. If the procedure is simple enough to do
100 trials, say you will do 100 trials, but dont say that unless you know there is
enough time. State the method of data analysis as the last step.

Safety - Include any appropriate safety precautions, including use of goggles


and aprons (if appropriate).

Data Collection and Processing


Raw Data Table make sure this is raw data only. Data table design & clarity
is important. A title should be given (Raw Data Table is not a data table title, it is
a lab report section title) Make sure that all columns, etc. are properly headed &
units as well as symbols are given. Forgetting one unit or misidentifying one unit
is enough to drop your score in this section. Do not split a data table (putting
part of a table on one page and finishing it on another). If you absolutely have to
split a table (due to quantity of data), make sure that you re-do the title and all
column headings. Uncertainties are mandatory and can be given within column
headings for equipment precision and as footnotes beneath data tables for other
types of uncertainties. Omitting the uncertainty in any quantitative data will drop
your score. Be sure that the reported significant figures in your tables match
the uncertainties of the instruments.

Raw Data Graph this will typically be a bar or line graph showing values for
each individual. Remember there are no error bars on a raw data graph. Think
about title, axis labels, units, scale, etc.

Observations - You must include qualitative data in addition to quantitative


data. There is always some relevant qualitative observation that can be made,
even if it is as simple as observing the expected color change. In Biology, it
might be the observation that the test tube of the enzyme catalyzed reaction
became hot, or the plants appeared wilted.

Data Processing
Overview this is a short paragraph section that gives an overview of
how and why you decided to process and present the data in the form
that shows up later in this section. This should show that you understand
why you chose to analyze this way!

Calculations neatly lay-out and explain one example only of any type
of manipulation that was done to the raw data to help make it more useful
for interpretation. You should use formulas and units when appropriate.
Label your calculations carefully so the reader knows what you are
calculating. If you decide to type your report and hand write calculations,
please put them in the correct place in your report. This section is

REQUIRED if your experiment doesnt lend itself to calculations you need


to write a new procedure. The minimum that you need to have is mean,
standard deviation and your particular statistical test.

Presentation this is typically 2 data tables (one for descriptive statistics like
means, standard deviations, etc.; the other for statistical test (T-test or linear
regression results) and 1 graph (should be a bar graph with error bars (standard
deviation) for a T-test and a scatterplot with trendline for a linear regression).
Again, the design & clarity of data table(s) is important and the quality of graphs
is also very important. Give careful consideration to the choice of graph style(s)
that you choose to do. Remember that demonstrating errors and uncertainties in
your data is also mandatory for the processed data. Be sure that the significant
figures reported in your calculated data match the calculated uncertainties of
your calculated data. Make sure that you follow good standard rules for doing
graphs (valid title, axis labeled including units, etc.) Please put graphs in the
correct place in your report. They should be BEFORE the conclusion and
evaluation!

Conclusion & Evaluation


Conclusion - this is a paragraph section in which you get a chance to discuss
the results of your experiment. Start by addressing whether your data seems to
support or refute your hypothesis. This should be discussed and not just stated.
Specifically refer to your graphs and statistics to give support to this discussion.
Avoid the use of the word proof or proves within your conclusion, as your data
will not prove anything. Include comparisons to any literature values and
important theories, another 2 citations minimum. (1/2 page maximum)

Limitations of Experimental Design this paragraph section discusses


how well your experimental design helped answer your experimental question.
What worked well (and why) and what did not work well (and why). This is also
a section in which outlier points could be discussed (if there were any outlier
points) as well as possible reasons for those outlier points. Your error bars or
standard deviations must be discussed. This is NOT a place to suggest a new
experiment. Restrict your discussion to the experiment you did. Random errors
(population is variable) and systematic errors (problems with your actual
measurements) must both be explicitly addressed. (1/2 page maximum)

Suggestions for Improvement - in reference to the limitations given in the


previous subsection, what realistic and useful improvements could be made if
you were to do this investigation again? More trials only reduces random error.
If you do not have any fluctuation between trials this isnt really an improvement.
More time gets you no points. A better stopwatch, ruler, etc. is too vague, and
probably unrealistic. Use of calipers instead of a ruler, use of a photogate
instead of a stopwatch are real improvements. This is not a place to suggest a
new experiment with a different independent and dependent variable. Restrict
your improvements to the experiment you performed!! Suggesting a different
way of measuring or controlling the variables is encouraged, as long as it is a
real improvement. Written reports are not an appropriate place to vent. (1/2 page
maximum)