Ife Uzor, 3rd year Pharmacy student, talks about her experience of lab reports.
What do lab reports look like in your discipline?
Lab reports are generally assessed individually. In some cases a group of people may carry out the lab together and may share results but the lab report will be written and submitted by each individual. Lab reports are required to be written up after most lab practical sessions; it is the most common way to assess the procedure used during the lab and the results obtained following a lab practical.
How do you prepare for lab reports?
Students are encouraged to review the lab manual and be prepared for the lab in advance. The best way to prepare for writing up the lab report is to record results and observations at each step of the lab. Students are encouraged to also ask questions and get assistance from the lab demonstrators if required during the lab, especially if they need help evaluating the results obtained. Students should understand the results, including how they obtained it and why that result was generated and also document any errors (including what caused the errors and how to avoid such errors next time). This will ensure that the main prep work has been concluded effectively, prior to constructing the lab report.
Tell us about your experience of doing lab reports?
I found this assessment style to be very reflective: I was able to appraise my performance during the lab and also analyse my results and suggest ways that I could improve at the next session. Writing lab reports also ensured that I remained focused and proactive during the lab. What you put into each lab session determines the quality of the report written after the lab. It reinforced applying theory (topics covered during lectures) to the practical and solidified my understanding of the topics covered during lectures. As labs were very collaborative, I was also able to learn from my colleagues and share my knowledge with them.
What key tips or advice would you give to anyone doing this type of assessment?
Review your lecture notes that are linked to the lab session prior to the lab session. This will give you the understanding of the principles required for the lab. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the lecturers and lab demonstrators during the lab and also don’t be afraid to learn from your colleagues. Record all your results and observations. And most importantly, try your best to write the lab report as soon as possible. This will ensure that your memory of the session will still be fresh and you will be able to understand your notes and recordings; so after the lab write the lab report asap!
What tools you use to complete this type of assessment?
- Microsoft Word
- Lab Manual (contains instructions, procedures and relevant background information for each experiment).
- Relevant text book required for the module.
- Microsoft Excel (for creating graphs)
- Blackboard Learning (lecturers can upload articles and documents to support students when completing the lab report).
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