How to Write a Good Lab Conclusion in Science

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This article was written by Bess Ruff, MA. Bess Ruff is a doctoral student in geography at Florida State University. She received her Master of Science and Environmental Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She conducted research for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate associate of the Sustainable Fisheries Group. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 1,723,309 times.

A laboratory report describes the entire experiment from start to finish, outlining procedures, reporting results, and data analysis. The report is used to demonstrate what was learned and will allow other people to see the process of your experiment and understand how you reached your conclusions. The conclusion is an integral part of the report; this is the section that reiterates the main findings of the experiment and gives the reader an overview of the laboratory test. Writing a strong conclusion to your lab report will demonstrate that you have effectively learned the objectives of your assignment.

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    Check your homework. Make sure that you have completed all parts of the task so that you can process them correctly in the conclusion. Take a few minutes to make a list of what you need to demonstrate or learn from the experiment.

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    Review your introduction. To make sure your conclusion is consistent with the rest of your report, review the introduction to your lab report.[1]
    This is a good tactic to help you think about exactly what you want to say in your conclusion.

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    Use the RERUN method. Begin plotting the different elements of your conclusion using the RERUN method. The RERUN method can generally be a useful structure for a short lab report, but it is especially useful for providing a conclusion to your report that provides an overview of the important components of an experiment.[2]
    RERUN is an abbreviation of:

    • Please specify again: Repeat the lab experiment that the task describes.
    • Explain: Explain the purpose of the laboratory experiment. What were you trying to understand or discover? Briefly discuss the process you followed to complete the lab.
    • the results: Explain your results. Confirm whether your hypothesis is supported by the results or not.
    • uncertainties: Consider uncertainties and errors. Explain, for example, if there were other circumstances outside of your control that could have affected the results of the experiment.
    • New: Discuss new questions or discoveries that arise from the experiment.
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    Plan other sections to add. The RERUN method is a good start, but there may be other components that you need to include. It is good to talk about what you learned in the experiment. You may also want to position your reports within the general research field or how you can relate the findings to the concepts you are learning in class.

    • Your assignment may also include specific questions that need to be answered. Be sure to answer them fully and coherently in your conclusion.
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    Introduce an experiment into your conclusion. Begin the conclusion with a brief overview of the experiment. Describe the experiment in 1-2 sentences and discuss the purpose of the experiment. Also, be sure to include your manipulated (independent), controlled, and response (dependent) variables.[3]

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    Repeat your actions. Give a brief summary of the process you went through with the experiment. Provide an overview of the experiment to help the reader visualize what he did.[4]

    • If you tried the experiment more than once, describe the reasons why you did it. Talk about the changes he made in his actions.
    • Think of ways to explain your results in more depth. He goes back through his lab notes, paying special attention to the results he observed.[5]
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    Briefly describe what you discovered. In a few sentences, summarize the results you got from your experiment. Summarize the data here; do not include all results.[6]

    • Begin this section with words like: “The results showed that…”.
    • You do not need to provide raw data here. Simply summarize the main points, calculate averages, or provide a range of data to give the reader a big picture.
    • Be sure to explain whether and to what extent any statistical analysis was significant, such as 1%, 5%, or 10%.
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    Comment if your hypothesis is supported or not. Your hypothesis is a statement that describes what the expected result will be.[7]
    A hypothesis forms the basis of your experiment and drives parts of your process. Restate your hypothesis, then state clearly and concisely whether or not your hypothesis is supported by the experiment. Was the experiment successful?

    • Use simple language such as “The results support the hypothesis” or “The results do not support the hypothesis.”
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    Match your results with your hypothesis. The results of his experiment determined whether or not the hypothesis was supported. After recording this in his report, he comments further describing the significance of the results of his experiment.[8]
    Explain why the results indicate a supported or unsupported hypothesis.

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    Describe what you learned in the laboratory. You may be asked to prove a particular scientific principle or theory. If this is the case, your conclusion should reflect this.[9]

    • If your conclusion is not clear about what you learned in the lab, start by writing: “In this lab I learned…”. This will give the reader a warning that he will describe exactly what he learned.
    • Add details about what you learned and how you learned it. Adding dimension to your learning outcomes will convince your reader that you did, in fact, learn from the lab. Give details of how you learned that molecules will act in a particular environment, for example.
    • Describe how what you learned in the laboratory can be applied to a future experiment.
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    Answer the specific questions given in the task. Your teacher may have specified specific questions in the homework that need to be answered.[10]

    • Write the question in italics on a new line. On the next line, type the answer to the question in plain text.
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    Explain whether you achieved the objectives of the experiment. The introduction to your lab report should have indicated the specific goals you hoped to achieve with this experiment. Review these goals in conclusion to make sure you’re meeting them well enough.[11]

    • If your experiment did not achieve its objectives, explain or speculate why it did not.
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    Describe possible errors that may have occurred. To provide an accurate description of the lab experiment, describe any errors that may have occurred during the experiment. This will add transparency to your experiment and results, so people can more easily see how you reached your conclusions.[12]

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    Talk about uncertainties. There may be uncontrollable circumstances affecting your experiment, such as weather changes or the unavailability of certain supplies. Discuss these uncertainties and their possible impact on the overall experiment.

    • If your experiment has raised questions that the collected data cannot answer, please discuss them here.
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    Suggest future experiments. In light of what you learned in your experiment, make recommendations about the design of future experiments. What could be changed to produce more reliable or valid results?

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    Suggest additional questions that arise. Sometimes scientific research will create more questions than answers. If this is the case in your research, you can discuss it in the conclusion in the context of future research.

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    Link your research to other research. Especially for more advanced lab reports, you may choose to discuss how your research contributes to field research. View all the research on your topic as a brick wall, and your own research is a brick in that wall. How does your research fit into the big scheme of things? [13]

    • Describe what is new or innovative about your research.
    • This can often set you apart from your classmates, many of whom will only write the smallest discussion and conclusion.
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    Add a closing statement. End the entire conclusion, and the entire report, with a statement that summarizes the scope of the laboratory report and the most important conclusions. Alternatively, speculate on future uses of the research. This is your opportunity to provide insightful feedback that will set your lab report apart from the rest.

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    Write in the third person. Avoid using “I”, “we” or “me” in your lab report. Instead, use language like “The hypothesis is supported…”[14]

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    Read the full report. Once you’ve completed your conclusion, read the entire report to make sure it makes sense. Keep an eye out for places where you might be contradicting yourself, and correct those instances. Your conclusion should restate what you learned from the experiment and how you came to understand these learning outcomes.

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    Correct your report. Review your report for spelling and grammatical errors. A report that contains errors may inadvertently reduce the reliability of the report. Please take the time to ensure that your report is free of errors.[15]

  • Be careful when writing your lab report when working in a team environment. While a lab experiment can be a collaborative effort, your lab report is your own work. Copying parts of another person’s report will be considered plagiarism. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
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