iGCSE Lab Report Headings and Checklist
Scientific reports are written in the 3rd person, past tense and passive voice. No I’s , ours, we, or my’s!
A lab report is not the place for flowery descriptive prose. Use short, clear and concise sentences
For example,. The seeds were placed into 21ºC water. 4 test tubes were set up with…….. In this experiment, the
temperature will be changed. The results show……….To improve reliability, the experiment should be repeated………
Try to use scientific language and avoid vague everyday terms such as sensible result, add some acid, it went down…….it
You SHOULD use the following report headings and subheadings
Aim/Research Question: state what you are investigating (IV) and how you will investigate it (DV)
E.g. Investigating how changing the independent variable effects the dependent variable.
Hypothesis: make a prediction, how does changing the IV effect the DV
Scientific Explanation: explain your hypothesis using scientific reasoning
Variables- state the IV, DV and at least 3 control variables with Units
Independent: explain how you will change the IV and what apparatus will use do to this
Dependant: explain how you will measure the DV and what apparatus will use do to this
Control: explain how you will control at least 3 variables and the apparatus used to do this
Apparatus and Materials: include concentrations of solutions and size of equipment 2M solution, 50ml Beaker
Method/Procedure: include ALL steps, correct units, range of samples. State what you will do with the data and
calculate a mean/draw a graph etc
2. Data Collection and Processing [DCP]
Raw and Processed Data Table- a titled large clear table with all raw and processed data. Include headings/ units
Graphs: correctly plotted with Scale, axis, labels. units and title (SALT)
Data Analysis: describe your results in words by identifying trends and patterns. No explanation in this section
E.g. At………… there was the greatest distance diffused by NaOH (0.76mm) At…..there was the lowest distance of diffusion .
3. Discussion, Evaluation and Conclusion [DEC]
Explanation and Scientific Reasoning explain your results and review your research question/hypothesis
Suggest possible explanation of anomalous results- identify and suggest explanations for results that do fit the trend
Limitations of the Experiment, (validity and reliability) - identify errors in method, measurements and limitations in
collecting data (do not include your human errors)
Suggestions for Improvements: how to realistically improve the limitations you have identified
Relationship to hypothesis and Research Question- do your results and validity/reliability of the experiment support
or disprove your initial hypothesis
Conclusion- summarize report and refer back to research questions, briefly state the trends on patterns, comment
on validity and reliability, and conclude whether data supports or disproves your hypothesis
1. DESIGN (d)
1. States a clear focused research question and relate to real world context. You may use the following structure.
Investigate the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable for a … (perhaps state an important
2. a. Write down what you think will happen (prediction) in your investigation using a if…..then… statement.
b. Include your independent variable and dependent variable in the hypothesis.
You must give clear, scientific reasons for your hypothesis to explain why this will happen. Use diagrams or graphs to
assist your scientific explanation.
Clearly identified the Independent variable
Clearly identified the dependent variable
Clearly identified at least 3 control variables
Explain how you will change the independent variable and the apparatus you will use to do this
State the range of measurements
Explain how you will measure the dependent variable and the apparatus you will use to do this
Explain how you will control at least 3 control variables and the apparatus you will use to do this
Make sure every variable in the list is mentioned
For example, you could use a table like this
Controlled Variable Method and apparatus to control
APPARATUS and MATERIALS
7. List ALL th e apparatus you will use including the precision where relevant. e.g. “500 ml beaker’, instead of just ‘beaker’
‘Thermometer (0-100)’ instead of just ‘Thermometer’‘1 meter stick’ or ‘100 cm ruler’ not just ‘ruler’
8. Draw a large clearly labelled 2-dimensional diagram/clear photograph (labelled) of how you will use the
apparatus. It should include labels clearly showing the independent, dependent and controlled variables.
9 Written a clear numbered method so that another student could complete the experiment with no extra advice.
Included all steps necessary to complete th e exp eriment (even the obvious ones…like you are explaining it to a two
year old or your grandparents!)
10 Say how you will change your independent variable so that you can get many readings (not just repeats).
11 Taken at least 5 data points to be able to plot a good graph.
12 Address an appropriate RANGE and SIZE of intervals or measurements (appropriate SI units).to be able to see a trend
on your graph
13 Stated how many times the experiment was repeated to ensure reliable results
14 What safety precautions you must take and why (if appropriate)?
15 State what Type of graph or statistical method will be used to manipulate the raw data (results).
DURING THE INVESTIGATION (not included in your report)
These are things that you should do during your investigation
Take measurements or observe what happens and write it down in a table you have prepared earlier
Make your observations/measurements as accurate as possible.
Take as many different and (at least 5) suitable readings.
Repeat your measurements.
2. DATA COLLECTION AND PROCESSING [DCP]
RAW AND PROCESSED DATA TABLE
16 Put your results in a simple word processed table
17 Table should have proper headings and units (e.g. time in seconds, etc.).
First vertical column = independent variable
Subsequent column (s)= dependent variable
18 Show processed data( mean, weight change, % differences) and the formula you used in subsequent columns to right
of the raw data
19 You have presented your data in a logically and clearly constructed table with correct headings and units (no errors
with units stated only once in main table heading).
20 You have transformed your data using maths in some way (including calculating the average if you have repeated
21 You have presented your data to the appropriate significant digits/decimal points.
22 Check your calculations for silly mistakes
23 Drawn the correct graph (if applicable with the independent variable on the x axis) and put a best fit line on your
24 Have you used the appropriate graph type, Continuous variable – best line or scatter graphs,
Discontinuous variable – bar graphs, Parts of a whole – pie chart
25 Ensure that your graph is of the appropriate size (about ¾ the size of the graph paper).
26 Have an appropriate scale and axis with appropriate headings and units. (IV on x axis DV on y axis)
27 Add a descriptive title to you graph linking the dependent variable with the independent variable
28 Excel is fine but remember to remove any confusing formatting, use scatter option and draw line of best fit by hand
29 Draw a line of best fit/smooth curve for your graph. It does not have to go through zero.
30 If possible, include the origin for your graph.
DATA ANALYSIS (written description of results)
31 Identify the major trends/patterns in your results using data points (numbers) from your table/graph Eg. Between 2
and 5 minutes, the ……… increased by …….
32 Identify the highest and lowest data points and state the independent variable data point they occurred at Eg. The
highest volume of oxygen (…ml) was produced a t a substrate con centra tion of………. OR the la rgest increase in oxygen
production (…ml) occurred between 4 and 6 minutes. OR The rate slowed down to ….. after 6 minutes
33 Identify peaks/ optimum/plateaus/change in gradient of graph
34 Identify anomalous results and outliners
35 If the line graph passes through the origin, explain why. If not, can you explain why not?
3. DISCUSSION, EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION (DEC)
Explanation and Scientific Reasoning
36 Explain the trends patterns and relationships in your results using scientific theories and concepts (relate to scientific
explanation in planning section)
37 Compare your results to you hypothesis
Suggest possible explanation of anomalous results
38 Suggest possible explanations for anomalous results and outliners
Limitations of the Experiment and sources of error, (validity and reliability)
39 Identified sources of error or faults in your method and measurement
40 Comment on the range of your measurements, could your experiment be improved by extending or narrowing the
range between data points.
41 Evaluate the validity of your method .(did you control all the variables?)
42 Evaluate the reliability of your method. (did you repeat the experiment?)
Note: Reliability is whether or not the method used offers the same result when repeated.
Validity is whether the method used really measures what you are using it to measure.
Suggestions for Improvements
a. Identify at least 2 sections of the method that could be improved.
b. State how these sections could be improved.
c. What else could you do to improve or extend your investigation? (Other variables to investigate, more
measurements, increased/decreased range etc)
d. Is there other apparatus which could improve the validity /reliability of your investigation
e. Do not include mistakes you made (human error) or faulty apparatus. Only comment on the procedure.
For example you could use a table like this
Weakness in method and/or
Relationship to hypothesis and Research Question
44 Make a decision about the hypothesis based on your results
a. Is the hypothesis supported by the results? Explain using appropriate scientific reasoning.
b. If the hypothesis is unsupported say what you think it should have been using scientific reasoning.
(was your hypothesis correct, if no, then explain why? Did the reliability and validity effect whether you can accept
your hypothesis? ).
CONCLUSION- brief summary of report （5-6 sentences）
45 Summarise the trends, patterns or relationships based on the results (table and graph)
46. Comment on the reliability of the data.
47. Comment on the validity of the hypothesis based on the outcome of your investigation.
48 Comment on whether your results support or disprove your hypothesis
49 Link results to real world context and propose ideas for further study.
Alphabetically APA referenced list of all references you used for scientific reasoning and diagrams wi th correct use of in text