chem lab report on separation of solid

Guidelines for preparing a research report

Organization of the Research Report

Most scientific research reports, irrespective of the field, parallel the method of scientific reasoning. That

is: the problem is defined, a hypothesis is created, experiments are devised to test the hypothesis,

experiments are conducted, and conclusions are drawn. This framework is consistent with the

following organization of a research report:




Experimental Details or Theoretical Analysis



Conclusions and Summary


Title and Title Page

The title should reflect the content and emphasis of the project described in the report. It should be as

short as possible and include essential key words. The authors name (e.g., Mary B. Chung) should follow

the title on a separate line, followed by the authors affiliation (e.g., Department of Chemistry, Central

State College, Central, Arkansas, 67123), the date, and possibly the origin of the report (e.g., In partial

fulfillment of a Senior Thesis Project under the supervision of Professor Danielle F. Green, June, 1997).

All of the above could appear on a single cover page.


The abstract should, in the briefest terms possible, describe the topic, the scope, the principal findings,

and the conclusions. It should be written last to reflect accurately the content of the report. Briefly State

the problem or the purpose of the research, indicate the theoretical or experimental plan used, summarize

the principle finds and point out major conclusions. The length of abstracts vary, but seldom exceed 200

words. A primary objective of an abstract is to communicate to the reader the essence of the paper. The

reader will then be the judge of whether to read the full report or not. Were the report to appear in the

primary literature, the abstract would serve as a key source of indexing terms and key words to be used in

information retrieval.


"A good introduction is a clear statement of the problem or project and why you are studying it." (The

ACS Style Guide. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1986.) The nature of the problem and

why it is of interest should be conveyed in the opening paragraphs. This section should describe clearly

but briefly the background information on the problem, what has been done before (with proper literature

citations), and the objectives of the current project.

 Why is this experiment important?  Include the key question am I trying to answer?  Include the key concepts?

Experimental Details or Theoretical Analysis

This section should describe what was actually done. It is a succinct exposition of the laboratory

notebook, describing procedures, techniques, instrumentation, special precautions, and so on. It should

be sufficiently detailed that other experienced researchers would be able to repeat the work and obtain

comparable results.

 What is my technique/method?  The apparatus should be included in this section. The apparatus should be drawn using

ChemSketch. See Figure 1 for an example.





Figure 1: Alkylation Reaction Setup


In this section, relevant data, observations, and findings are summarized. Tabulation of data, equations,

charts, and figures can be used effectively to present results clearly and concisely. Schemes to show

reaction sequences may be used here or elsewhere in the report.

 What are my most important data/results? (You may have tables, pictures, diagrams, charts, structures, equations, etc.) What is the most effective format for presentation? See Table 1.

Table 1: Temperature Studies


The crux of the report is the analysis and interpretation of the results. What do the results mean? How do

they relate to the objectives of the project? To what extent have they resolved the problem?

1. Review data/results a. Compare with literature value, if applicable (are they similar or very different) b. Compare results with different trials, if applicable (are they similar or very


c. Compare your results with other group results, if applicable (are they similar or very different)

d. Look for oddities like violations of conservation of mass (over or under 100% recovery)

2. Go back to detailed experimental and look for places where error could have occurred.





20 65

30 68

40 70

50 72

60 79

70 89

80 90

90 99

3. Explain 4. Refer to questions asked in the project.

Conclusions and Summary A separate section outlining the main conclusions of the project is appropriate if conclusions have not

already been stated in the "Discussion" section. Directions for future work are also suitably expressed

here. A lengthy report, or one in which the findings are complex, usually benefits from a paragraph

summarizing the main features of the report - the objectives, the findings, and the conclusions.

 Did I answer the key question? o If yes, what did I conclude? (Reflect on the article you chose for the Logic of an Article

assignment. Are their conclusions/inferences different from yours? How?)

o If no, what did I conclude? And what other approach/study/experiment should I try?

References Literature references should be collated at the end of the report and cited in one of the formats described

in The ACS Style Guide or standard journals. Do not mix formats. All references should be checked

against the original literature.

Preparing the Report

Students should use graphics software which allows numerical data to be graphed, chemical structures to

be drawn, and mathematical equations to be represented. These are essential tools of the technical writer.

All reports should routinely be checked for spelling (spell check programs are helpful), and all

manuscripts should be carefully proofread before being submitted.