PLAB 223 Lab Reports

Don’t you think it is about time I said something about lab reports?  I do.


You can pick just about any lab to write up a lab report on (well, not the first lab since you didn’t even really do anything).  If you want to make up your own lab, I think that would be a great idea – but you should probably check with me first to make sure it is appropriate.

Remember that you need to turn one report before the last day to withdraw (this is October 21).  The other report must be turned in by the last day of class.


You might find it surprising that I am not too strict in the format of the report.  At a bare minimum, you must:

  • Describe what you are doing.
  • Describe how you collect data (do this at a level so that another student in the PLAB 223 class could reproduce your results).  Don’t go crazy here.
  • Present your data.  You might want to consider using tables or graphs here.
  • Present the analysis of your data.  You don’t have to show all your calculations, but you do need to at least describe how you got your results.
  • Show the uncertainty in your data.  If there is no uncertainty (or even discussion of uncertainty), you are missing a big chunk.
  • A conclusion summarizing everything is always nice.
If you really must, you can turn this in on paper.  However, I would love it if you posted this as a blog post for the whole world to see.
The lab will be worth 10 points.  Here are some “benchmark” grades.
  • Grade =10.  This lab is awesome.  The lab really did something different and showed something interesting.
  • Grade = 8. This is a textbook lab.  The report and the writer did everything that was asked in the lab, but didn’t take it to that extra step.
  • Grade = 6.  There are some problems with this lab, but still the lab did most of the stuff.
  • Grade = 5 or lower.  Something is seriously wrong.
If you turn in your report early enough, I will grade it early.  You might still have time to correct stuff and resubmit it.  Oh, this is important. I understand that you might collect data with other people.  That is fine.  However, the lab report must be your writing and analysis.  Don’t cheat or a I will freak out.

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