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Writing a report is not easy! The writer always has a hard time trying to figure out what to write about, how to say it, what to include and what not include. There is no easy way around this. Like much of what we learn, we learn it by doing. (Try following a set of instruction about how to walk!).

Below you will find some links to information about report-writing and information about how to send reports.

The formal lab report should be written in a style that conveys information to the reader about 'the five Ws': who, what, when, where, why.

Every report must include references used, if any. This includes web sites. Refer to the section in the "message" document regarding academic honesty for more information.

The length depends on the report and the type of report. It is the amount and depth of content that determines the length. A typical page of 12 point font with one-inch margins all around will be around 250 words.

A research report will be eight to ten pages (2000 to 2500 words), not counting references or bibliography.

A typical lab report will be three or four pages (750 to 1000 words), not including illustrations or attachments, etc. Some reports may be longer than this while others may be shorter.

Page Count is not as a basis for the grade, however the report should be the right length for what you are reporting.

A complete research report has an introduction, a body and a conclusion or summary. The introduction states what the report is about and what it will cover. The body is the 'meat' of the report. The summary/conclusion is the wrap-up that refreshes the reader's memory, ties the pieces of the report together, or reaches a conclusion after presenting two or more sides of an issue.

Research reports will be graded on 'completeness', content, organization, and relation to course objectives.

Here are some links that have helpful information about writing 'term papers' or research reports. They are guidelines and not models to be followed to the letter. Virginia Tech
University of British Columbia
Fordham University
Wright State University
Yukon College

Lab reports (if any) will be graded on the basis of 'completeness' and 'frugality' as well as information content.

1. Is the report complete? Does in convey what was done, or what site was visited? A good report will not leave the reader wondering what the writer saw, read, or if somwthing was done that was not reported.

Each COMPLETE lab exercise will include:

  • data and calculations from the exercise
  • graphs/illustrations (if any)
  • answers to questions in the lab exercise
  • a brief summary/conclusion about the lab

2. Is the report frugal? Too much information is as bad as not enough information. No one wants to read how many times you had to restart your computer on the way to a website, for example. A good report will not include unnecessary material that leaves the reader wondering why it was included.

Submit reports in one of the following ways:

1.Text of Email message. If the report does not contain special formatting such as tables, or illustrations this will be the easiest way.

2. Attach to Eemail. The following formats are acceptable if the report contains special formatting, if you want to preserve the format of your original docuement, or if it contains tables or illustrations. . Othe fformats will not be readable.

Most word processing software can save documents in many different formats through the 'save as' menu.

Last Update 08.19.09