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City Tech’s WAC Program Presents: WRITING LAB REPORTS: A WORKSHOP With special guests in order of appearance: -Peter Spellane: Chemistry: Lab Reports.

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Presentation on theme: "City Tech’s WAC Program Presents: WRITING LAB REPORTS: A WORKSHOP With special guests in order of appearance: -Peter Spellane: Chemistry: Lab Reports."— Presentation transcript:

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2 City Tech’s WAC Program Presents: WRITING LAB REPORTS: A WORKSHOP With special guests in order of appearance: -Peter Spellane: Chemistry: Lab Reports in the Real World, pt. 1. -Luz Amaya-Bower: Mechanical Engineering: Clear and understandable expectations. -Daniel Newsome: WAC (with Jay Deiner and Diana Samaroo from the Chemistry Department): Goals and expectations using the web. -Mark Schiebe: WAC: (working with Armando Solis) A report on lab reports in Biology. -Elizabeth Schaible: Hospitality Management: Lab Reports in the Real World, pt. 2.

3 Warm Up Exercise Please take out some paper. Think of a lab situation that you have participated in or witnessed. In one or two sentences, describe the purpose or goal of this lab. Start your sentence with… “The goal of this lab was to...”

4 Peter Spellane from the Chemistry Department Why Lab Reports?

5 What is the key to ensure students know how to write in a report? Laboratory Reports Luz Amaya-Bower, Mechanical Engineering

6 What is the key to ensure students know how to write in a report? Key is to provide them with CLEAR idea of what you are expecting. - Professor must provide detailed explanation of what is expected. - Professor must provide examples. - Professor must emphasize that successful report writing is a technique that takes practice and consistent improvement.

7 Key: Provide Clear Expectations 1) List of ALL the components of the report Coversheet Introduction or Objective Equipment and Materials Procedure Results Analysis Discussion Conclusions References

8 2) Provide details of each component, examples if possible. Cover sheet: Include school’s name, student’s name, professor’s name, class and section, title of the experiment, date of the experiment. Please avoid graphics in this page. Introduction: Discussion of the purpose of the experiment: Your task is to explain to your readers the importance of what se you are testing and to give them any theories or other background information that they will require in order to understand your results. The introductory section should state what you hoped to find out by doing the experiment. Equipment and Materials: This is the part of your report where you describe how you performed your experiment. The description should be presented in sufficient detail so that another researcher would know how to repeat your experiment if he or she desired to do so. Key: Provide Clear Expectations

9 Results : This is where you report the data and findings generated by your experiment. This section will generally feature tables, charts, graphs, and figures. Even though these tables and figures should have sufficient information to be comprehensible on their own, the text accompanying these representations should also describe the most important data and findings. Discussion: Many scientists regard this as the most important part of a scientific report. It is where you interpret and explain the significance or meaning of your results to your readers. Your discussion should address questions such as: Did your experiment accomplish its purpose? Why or why not? Did you find anything unanticipated? The key to a well-written discussion is to link your interpretation back to the issues raised in your introduction. Conclusion: Finally, the concluding section should summarize the main finding of the experiment in relation to the purpose. This should include a brief summary of what you found and what you expected to find. Include some theoretical discussion(s) as to the specific topic. Key: Provide Clear Expectations

10 3) Provide details of structure of report, for example: The lab report should be typed, using 12 pt. Times New Roman text and double spacing. Margins must be 0.75” in all four sides. The body of the report should be written in the third person, passive tense. (In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed (The new policy was approved)). The procedure is written in the past tense. Label and number your figures, tables, equations, and graphs. Hand calculations are not acceptable, use Microsoft Eq. Editor to write equations. Use Matlab or Excel for plots and Interpolation. Key: Provide Clear Expectations

11 Questions? How about some hot coffee or a snack… Maier- Alchemical tract from 1618

12 Daniel Newsome, WAC Fellow, Working with Jay Deiner and Diana Samaroo from the Chemistry Department - both have schedule conflicts with this workshop. Our basic approach and format is quite similar to that of Prof. Amaya-Bower’s. We have settled on 8 sections for the Chemistry Lab Report. 1. Title 2. Abstract 3. Introduction 4. Experimental 5. Results 6. Discussion 7. Conclusion 8. References The issue: How to get good lab reports from the students.

13 Goals for the Students 1. We want to give a sense of purpose to each section of the lab report so that students will have some idea of what they are doing and why. 2. We want to explain each section as clearly and succinctly as possible so that students will know what is expected of them. 3. We want to formulate questions and examples that will guide students through each part, without patronizing them. 4. We want our lab report resource to be short and sweet so that students will actually use it. 5. We want our students to be able to write a lab report without stress and anxiety. Lab reports are standard operating procedure in the real world, and a student who can write one confidently will have a leg up on the competition.

14 Goals for the Students 1. We want to give a sense of purpose to each section of the lab report so that students will have some idea of what they are doing and why. 2. We want to explain each section as clearly and succinctly as possible so that students will know what is expected of them. 3. We want to formulate questions and examples that will guide students through each part, without patronizing them. 4. We want our lab report resource to be short and sweet so that students will actually use it. 5. We want our students to be able to write a lab report without stress and anxiety. Lab reports are standard operating procedure in the real world, and a student who can write one confidently will have a leg up on the competition.

15 Goals for the Students 1. We want to give a sense of purpose to each section of the lab report so that students will have some idea of what they are doing and why. 2. We want to explain each section as clearly and succinctly as possible so that students will know what is expected of them. 3. We want to formulate questions and examples that will guide students through each part, without patronizing them. 4. We want our lab report resource to be short and sweet so that students will actually use it. 5. We want our students to be able to write a lab report without stress and anxiety. Lab reports are standard operating procedure in the real world, and a student who can write one confidently will have a leg up on the competition.

16 Goals for the Students 1. We want to give a sense of purpose to each section of the lab report so that students will have some idea of what they are doing and why. 2. We want to explain each section as clearly and succinctly as possible so that students will know what is expected of them. 3. We want to formulate questions and examples that will guide students through each part, without patronizing them. 4. We want our lab report resource to be short and sweet so that students will actually use it. 5. We want our students to be able to write a lab report without stress and anxiety. Lab reports are standard operating procedure in the real world, and a student who can write one confidently will have a leg up on the competition.

17 Goals for the Students 1. We want to give a sense of purpose to each section of the lab report so that students will have some idea of what they are doing and why. 2. We want to explain each section as clearly and succinctly as possible so that students will know what is expected of them. 3. We want to formulate questions and examples that will guide students through each part, without patronizing them. 4. We want our lab report resource to be short and sweet so that students will actually use it. 5. We want our students to be able to write a lab report without stress and anxiety. Lab reports are standard operating procedure in the real world, and a student who can write one confidently will have a leg up on the competition.

18 Goals for the Instructors 1. We want all instructors to have access to an easily adaptable resource so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every class. 2. We want instructors to receive lab reports that have a predictable format so that grading them will be easier. 3. We want instructors to get what they want in the lab reports so that they can focus on teaching chemistry, not endless corrections of style and format.

19 Goals for the Instructors 1. We want all instructors to have access to an easily adaptable resource so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every class. 2. We want instructors to receive lab reports that have a predictable format so that grading them will be easier. 3. We want instructors to get what they want in the lab reports so that they can focus on teaching chemistry, not endless corrections of style and format.

20 Goals for the Instructors 1. We want all instructors to have access to an easily adaptable resource so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every class. 2. We want instructors to receive lab reports that have a predictable format so that grading them will be easier. 3. We want instructors to get what they want in the lab reports so that they can focus on teaching chemistry, not endless corrections of style and format.

21 The Lab Report Web Site Currently Under Development You can peruse this site at your leisure any time at Just click on the link Writing Chemistry Lab Reports at City Tech.Writing Chemistry Lab Reports at City Tech

22 A few typical problems in the Abstract.

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24 What is an Abstract? Why is there an Abstract? Style of the Abstract. What is the passive voice?

25 1. What was done and why? 2. What results were found? 3. What conclusions can be drawn from the results or how could the results be applied?

26 We seem to be heading in the right direction.

27 PDF form for Abstract

28 The Lab Report in BIO 1101 The Lab: “Quantitative Determination of Proteins” Mark Schiebe: WAC Fellow Working with Armando Solis in the Biology Department.

29 Problems Professor Solis Encountered Confusion about audience, purpose and formatting Who is my potential audience? Why am I writing this report? Why is formatting important?

30 Sample Student “Introduction” We did an experiment to figure out the amount of proteins in substance in a test tube. To do this, we used a spectrophotometer along with the beer Lambert law to measure the light absorption of each test tube. Also, there were five unknown substances and using the data we collected from the five known substances and beer Lambert law in graph form we were able to determine concentration.

31 Professor Solis’s Margin Comments What about the biuret reagent? How is this useful? How does the spectrophotometer work? What is the Beer-Lambert Law? Explain in greater detail.

32 Breaking Down the Components Introduction, Materials, Methods, Data & Results, Conclusion & Discussion, Graphs & Tables, References What information goes in each of these sections? What is the appropriate writing style for each section? (Full sentences vs. bulleted lists, verb tense, active vs. passive voice...)

33 Issues: General and Lab-Specific Should I define and explain general concepts in my introduction? Should I state the general purpose of the lab in the Introduction? Where should I explain how I used the Beer-Lambert Law to construct a standard curve? What goes in the “Discussion” section?

34 Sample Student Conclusion Because the data of this experiment was used to create a standard curve graph for absorption/protein concentration of known solution, it is possible to accurately identify protein concentrations of known solutions. One implication of these results is that protein concentration and absorbance are linked, and correspond to each other, as was initially predicted. By using this data to graph a standard curve, it is not only possible, but easy to determine the protein concentration of any substance by first determining its level of absorption.

35 Elizabeth Schaible, Hospitality Management

36 Warm Up Exercise Please take out some paper. Think of a lab situation that you have participated in or witnessed. In one or two sentences, describe the purpose or goal of this lab. Start your sentence with… “The goal of this lab was to...”

37 City Tech’s WAC Program would like to thank Peter Spellane, Luz Amaya-Bower, & Elizabeth Schaible for their participation in this workshop… and also special thanks to Armando Solis, Jay Deiner, & Diana Samaroo.

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