Producing Lab Reports of Quality

by Zoya PopoviŠ and Edward Kuester

Over the years, we have found that there are several very common mistakes made in student lab reports. These guidelines are intended to help you present your data in a more professional manner and also make your lab reports easier for the TAs to grade. Here we list many of the more common mistakes made in the writing of lab reports (and other technical literature as well). Remember this guiding principle: even though you as an engineer may understand thoroughly what you have done, this is of no practical value unless you can communicate that knowledge to others. Imagine that you are writing your report for a technically literate person who does not know what you did or why.

                                      % error = 100  (Value obtained - Value expected) / (Value expected) That's it.  If you follow these recommendations, your instructors will be happier, you will not lose points because of your report style, and, most importantly, you will be a better engineer.