Experimental reports (commonly referred to as lab reports), are routinely given to students who aspire to work in a field of science. The experimental research method involves looking at something from a empirical standpoint. How do you define experimental? As it relates to research, it is about providing a narrative about your formal lab report. You argue for why your research is valid and reliable, what the results indicate, and how it relates to previous research. This article will choose the APA writing style guidelines, although you should consult your professor or advisor since some prefer other styles such as MLA or Harvard.

Experimental Lab Report

First, let us discuss the experimental lab report. The research reporting format follows a general pattern known as IMRAD. Start with a laboratory introduction, which ends with creating a thesis and writing a hypothesis. Next, move to the literature review section, and then the APA methods section and the APA results section. Finish with the APA discussion section in which you make a transition from your particular results towards the broader implications. You should also discuss what other related research would be helpful to conduct in the future.

The APA format requires a lab report cover page, also known as a lab report title page. A title page for a science report format will look as follows:

A running head and page number aligned right.

The words “Running Head” followed by a colon (:) and the title of the paper in all caps, aligned left. In the same line, you will put the page number, aligned right. The title of the paper should be centered both horizontally and vertically. Finally, write your name and the name of your academic institution.

As you start to write your paper, think about the reason for the lab report and create an APA outline. What have you discovered? What is important to highlight? What arguments do you want to make? Think of your report as though it were a narrative about your research.

  1. What would you like to share with the reader about your report?
  2. What literature can help you out with this?
  3. How do the results enhance this?
  4. How can you take your story and apply it in a broader way?

As you write each section, think about the story. How does each sentence, paragraph, and section create a sense of purpose?

Your lab report format requires an abstract, which is a brief summary of your report. While it goes at the beginning of your paper, wait until you finish your final draft before writing it. While the length of the abstract depends on how long your full lab report is, generally it should be between 100 and 200 words at most. The abstract should create a complete picture of the study and include all of the essential information. It should also follow the IMRAD format.

Your introduction in an experimental report should provide background of your problem, explain its significance, and include the review of literature. Start with a clear description of the problem in a general sense, and then discuss your most specific problem and how you plan to tackle it. Do not forget to include some context since the reader might not understand all of the details of the problem. If the issue is complex, make sure to include plenty of examples. Finally, the lab report is meant to be informative, but it is not intended to demonstrate your skills as a poet. Choose words that are common and understandable.

The literature review highlights previous research connected to your study and discusses the gaps in the research that require further attention. This is where knowing how to write a hypothesis becomes important. In particular, you should know how to state a hypothesis in a clear, focused way. The hypothesis format involves discussing a testable phenomenon or issue and offering potential explanations that can ultimately be accepted or rejected based on your findings.  If you have several hypotheses, you will need to mention them several times in your paper since you do not want to reader to keep having to refer back to the introduction to find them.

Experimental Method

Now let us discuss the experimental method a little bit. As noted, an experiment definition involves testing something in a careful, deliberate way and taking note of the reactions and behaviors of the subjects. You want to verify, investigate, measure, compare or create an experimental hypothesis that will be tested. When deciding on the hypotheses, make sure they are specific and indeed measurable. In addition, avoid making obvious hypothesis statements that are extremely obvious (i.e., “If a person eats too many calories, they will gain weight.”)You should discuss the purpose of your lab report and what you learned from it. This means being able to recognize what happened, why it happened and how it is related to the aims of your research.

A few more tips: Use infinitive forms of verbs (such as “to examine”). When possible, avoid using the noun form (such as “examination”). While this is appropriate for the report’s title, it disrupts the flow when used in the text of the report. Once you have developed an aim, discuss how you will know whether it has been achieved. The way in which you determine this should be discussed in the aim statement.

Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychology is the study of how individuals respond to stimuli in controlled situations. If you plan to work in the field of psychology, you will certainly be required to write reports related to this. Of course, as you write your introduction, make sure to use your own words. Do not simply copy and paste your lab notes. You need to include enough detail about your psychological experiment that would allow other researchers to replicate the findings.

In the experimental procedure section, always use past tense since you are reporting on an activity that took place in the past. Use a passive voice when discussing what you did. If necessary, you can ask the reader to refer to a page if they want to know more detail about a particular aspect. If you have a lengthy set of results that are highly complex, it would be a good idea to introduce them in the results section and then proceed to discuss them in full detail in the discussion section. The whole point of telling your story is that it should be understood in a clear way.

You should also discuss trends related to your research, what you expected versus what really happened once you conducted the experiments. Discuss the materials and methods and how they could have been improved upon, especially if you discovered errors or found that the results were vastly different from what you had anticipated. Once you get to the conclusion section, tell the reader why it was important for them to have read your study. What should they take away from it? What is the significance and how did it contribute to the field of psychology and science more broadly speaking?