Physics Lab Report Outline
During the semester, you will be expected to adhere to the following format for lab reports. Lab reports should
adhere to the following format and must include:
a) A stapled 8.5″ x 11″ page report, printed via MSWord, MSExcel or other word-processing
program (no tear-out spiral pages). Please no hand-written lab reports.
b) All data tables, charts and graphs can be made in either MSWord or MSExcel and should be done
accordingly. All tabulated data should be centered, aligned and professional in appearance. There
are documents posted on Blackboard describing how plots can be done in MSExcel and you should
know how to use this software for your labs.
c) Your lab report must be clear and grammatically correct and adhere to the posted “Laboratory
Grading Comments & Errors” form, posted on Blackboard.
Please make sure your first page of the report has the following heading:
Your Name_____________________ Date Done_______ Date Due_________
Your Lab Partner’s Name________________ Labt #____________________
Title of Laboratory
Purpose: Here, in one or two sentences, describe what it is you expect to do in this lab. That is, what is your goal
or intent in performing this particular experiment.
Materials: Here, list briefly the major apparatus, equipment and other devices used in the experiment.
Observations: In this section, you will put all of your actual measurements made in class (i.e. your
collected data and/or written statements about what you observed, NOT calculated data) and any other written
information regarding what you actually observed. All data is to be put in neat and properly organized tables using
Summary and Calculations: This section, when properly done, will relate your observations to the original
purpose of the experiment. When data are used to calculate other quantities, PLEASE SHOW 2 SAMPLE
CALCULATIONS, with your work clearly shown. Thereafter, each calculation need not be shown, only the
results in a table. With graphs, follow “Your Guide to Making Great Graphs!!” and you should be ok. Summary
sections will often include your answers to questions asked of you about the experiment. Be sure you correctly
propagate your uncertainty in all calculations (often incorrectly termed “error.”). If you are unsure about this,
please simply ask.
Questions: Make sure all questions asked of you in the lab sheet are answered in the writeup, in your own words.
Copying will cause you to lose points (it is very easy to spot 2 or more identically written answers to questions).
See your “Physics Laboratory Grading Comments” sheet for more information.
Conclusions: A conclusion will usually be asked of you in one of the lab questions. Did you satisfy your goal?
What happened that threw everything off? Describe all that is important.