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Lab reports are frequently an integral part of any science course in post-secondary education. They provide a detailed description of a particular experiment, an overview of literature used, and explanation of research findings. Lab reports are also intended to help students learn to communicate what they gained and accomplished by virtue of an experiment or lab work. This last section plays a major role and is often presented in the concluding part. The conclusion is supposed clearly to convey the results of the experiment that should ensue from its main purpose.
Writing the Conclusion
Though the conclusion seems to be the dullest part of the report because of its repetitiveness, it is actually necessary to restate the most essential points and findings presented in previous sections. The thing is that by the time the readers get to the conclusion they are likely to forget some relevant pieces of information. Moreover, some readers prefer to flick through the paper without actually reading it entirely. In this case, conclusion is where all points made and issues discussed fall into right places forming a well-organized, consistent paper.
In scientific reports, the conclusion is usually a separate section, but it may also go along with the discussion section as well. The main difference between the discussion section and the analysis as well as evaluation sections lies in the fact that it not only elaborates on technical details of the experiment but also reveals its scientific value by giving an insight into what particular results mean and why they are significant. This adds a smooth transition directly to the conclusion that in general focuses on accomplishing similar tasks.
The length of the conclusion is arbitrary depending on the size of the lab report. It is important to strike the right balance between the concluding part and the rest of the paper: it should be neither too long nor too short. For example, if a lab report is three pages long, a conclusion of one page in length will suffice.
Overall, the structure of the conclusion includes the following subsections:
- Overview of the information presented in the main body of the report
In the conclusion, you should demonstrate the results of your work, i.e. what you accomplished after doing an experiment. Synthesize the key points highlighted in the previous sections to create a coherent text that makes sense. The things that should be restated in your conclusion include:
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- research question, hypothesis, objectives
- methods applied
- findings you discovered
- Interpretation of the results
At this point, clearly enlist what findings you arrived at and what results you obtained over the course of your experiment. Lab instructors are looking for explicit answers to the questions like “So what that you achieved this and that?”. In addition, you should explain how everything you yielded fits together and why it is important.
- Imaginative points and discoveries
Frequently, students manage to dig up some interesting points never mentioned before or startling outcomes while examining particular phenomena. These things are not of utmost importance but definitely add value to your report.