How to Write an Abstract for a Lab Report

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How to Write an Abstract for a Lab Report

This guide on how to write an abstract for a lab report focuses on helping students get the best grades. Writing assignments, in general, tends to scare scholars. Many individuals, not just students, will tend to stay away from writing. However, that ought not to be the case as with practice one becomes good at it. Students, in particular, will need to master the skill as their academic success heavily relies on it.

As a beginner in science classes, lab reports will not necessarily require an abstract. However, as you advance in your learning, it becomes a requirement. A lab report abstract is essential for informing readers what is contained in the report without them having to read the paper in its entirety. In this guide, the different formats, issues addressed and factors to consider when writing an abstract for a lab report are discussed. Importantly, it is crucial to have a thorough grasp of what a lab report abstract is.

A Lab Report Abstract

A lab report abstract is a section of the lab report, just after the title, which gives a precise summary of the purpose, method or experimental procedure, results, discussion, and conclusion. It does not get into much detail but rather a sentence or two of each mentioned aspects of the report. It is a concise summary of the lab report, such that anyone who reads it will have a clear picture of the issues addressed by the lab report. There are two formats of a lab report abstract:

  • Informational abstracts A lab report abstract is expected to be brief, a paragraph or not more than 200 words. That is not the case for an informational abstract which can be as long as two pages or just a paragraph.

  • Descriptive abstracts It is very brief, 100 words or less. It states the purpose and method without touching on the findings and conclusion.

Issues Addressed By the Lab Report Abstract

Students have to learn how to write a lab report abstract. Key issues that will be addressed include:-

  • Purpose/Background Information

The reasons or objective/aim of the experiment must be clearly stated in the lab report abstract. It basically answers the question of why the investigation was conducted and what it addresses.

  • The Method

The abstract for a lab report will contain a summary of the materials and the method for experiment or experimental procedure. In short, summarize what you did to address the problem or purpose of the test.

  • Findings/Outcomes

State the results of your experiment. Using the materials and methods proposed, what was the outcome of your investigation. If your results do come out as expected, state so. Not every experiment will turn out as we anticipated. Also, note when you make discoveries.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion is the last component of the lab report abstract. It highlights the assumptions or answers the so what question. It entails interpreting what your experiment results or findings mean. The outcome is what leads to the conclusion. You don’t have to explain how you reached your conclusion in the abstract. Just state it.

Consider the Following When Writing a Lab Report Abstract

  1. The Length

An abstract, regardless of whether it is for a lab report or research paper, should always be brief. It will be brief but contains all the necessary info. A paragraph or 200 words or less will do. Unless the format of the abstract to be used is specified, you will be expected to draft a paragraph or keep it within the recommended word count. When using an informational abstract, it can be anywhere between a paragraph to two pages. It is suggested in some cases that it be 10% of the lab report.

  1. The Point of View

Abstracts are written from a third person point of view. Therefore no phrases such as “I,” “our” or “we” should be used. Instead, students will be expected to utilize phrases such as “The experiment,” “It was confirmed” or “The hypothesis.” Even if you experimented alone, use a third person point of view.

  1. Be Brief but Detailed

Although a lab report abstract is a paragraph, it is divided into different parts. They represent the different sections of the report, that is the purpose, materials and method, results, conclusion, and discussion. Each of these parts of the report will be summarized using a sentence or two in the abstract paragraph.

  1. Use Keywords

Thanks to the internet, several lab reports get published online. Although not every report you write will get to the internet, it is crucial to learn to use keywords. When students learn how to write an abstract for a lab report, they must also grasp how to utilize keywords. They make it possible for your article to be found when one searches the internet. In short, keywords are essential for search engine optimization.

  1. Stay within the Paper Boundaries

While writing the lab report abstract, chances are you may forget to include some essential facts. However, you cannot have this information in the abstract no matter how relevant it might be. Therefore, your lab report abstract will only include information already present in the report. A well-written abstract for a lab report limits itself to facts previously stated in the paper. You have to stay within the boundaries of the paper, being careful not to introduce foreign content not discussed in the main document.

  1. When to Write the Lab Report Abstract

The lab report abstract is written last. Although it is located just after the title and before the introduction. Students are advised to write it last. That way it captures every single aspect of the lab report. Should you choose to write it first, chances are it will not capture the essence of the report. Plus, writing it after you are done with the report, ensure that you stay within the paper boundaries. It determines whether readers will be interested in reading the lab report further, therefore writing it last gives you sufficient time to customize it accordingly.

  1. The Basics of Writing

Whether it is an essay, research paper or a lab report; the basics of writing must be adhered to. That implies your lab report abstract will have no grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes. Avoid typos and ensure your sentences have flow. Remember it has the power to draw or repulse readers, having such errors or being incoherent will have a negative impact on your lab report abstract. After you are done drafting an abstract for a la report, set aside some time to proofread it.

Lab Report Abstract Examples

In this section, a sample of a lab report abstract example from the following disciplines is provided Biology and chemistry. Note that, each is divided into parts highlighting the different components of a lab report abstract as per subject requirements.

A sample of a lab report abstract from a biology experiment

Australia is a country prone to bushfires. That is attributed to its climate which is generally dry and hot, often experiencing some drought. To survive these fires, many plant species are adapted to bury their seeds. When specific temperatures have reached the seeds under the soil start to germinate. For the experiment seeds of Dillwynia floribunda and Acacia terminalis were examined. The hypothesis was the seeds will require heat to start germination. The seeds of Dillwynia floribunda and Acacia terminalis were subjected to cold and hot water to test whether they would begin germinating. When treated in hot water, Acacia terminalis showed significant germination. Dillwynia floribunda, on the other hand, did not respond to hot water treatment. Both species showed no germination in cold water treatment. Acacia terminalis responded as was expected. The outcome of Dillwynia floribunda was unexpected. The conclusion was, the outcome of Dillwynia floribunda could be justified by the length of time seeds stayed in hot water and the water temperature.

Note the following:-

  • Background Information

Australia is a country prone to bushfires. That is attributed to its climate which is generally dry and hot, often experiencing some drought. To survive these fires, many plant species are adapted …

  • What is being investigated?

For the experiment seeds of Dillwynia floribunda and Acacia terminalis were examined.

  • Hypothesis

The hypothesis was the seeds will require heat to start germination.

  • Methodology

The seeds of Dillwynia floribunda and Acacia terminalis were subjected to cold and hot water to test whether they would start germinating.

  • Results

When treated in hot water, Acacia terminalis showed significant germination. Dillwynia floribunda, on the other hand, did not respond to hot water treatment. Both species showed ….

  • Discussion

Acacia terminalis responded as was expected. The outcome of Dillwynia floribunda was unexpected. The conclusion was the outcome of Dillwynia floribunda could be justified by…

A sample of a lab report abstract from a chemistry experiment

The purpose of the test was to analyze the amino acids in a solution using chromatography. To find out the unidentified amino acids in the mixture, standards were applied. To separate the amino acids in the solution, a combination of ascending layer chromatography and an isopropanol-based solvent was used. For detection, ninhydrin was utilized. The unidentified mixture was established to contain the following amino acids, histidine, and aspartate. It was observed that most mobile amino acids were hydrophobic. The experimental procedure for the experiment proved very useful in analyzing unidentified solutions of amino acids. Based on the outcome of this experiment, a mechanism for ninhydrin binding is proposed.

Note the following:-

Aim: The purpose of the experiment was to analyze the amino acids in a solution using chromatography. To find out the unidentified amino acids in the ….

Methodology: To separate the amino acids in the solution, a combination of ascending layer chromatography and an isopropanol-based solvent was used. For detection…

Results: The unidentified mixture was established to contain the following amino acids, histidine, and aspartate. It was observed that…

Conclusion: The experimental procedure for the experiment proved very useful in analyzing unidentified solutions of amino acids. Based on the outcome of …

Conclusion

Once students master how to write an abstract for a lab report, it all becomes a walk in the park. Any lab report abstract example they come across will prove to be an excellent source of knowledge.

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