The Extended Lab Report

This may be ten pages or longer. An extended report consists of the same components of a simple report, plus additional sections, some of which are described on this page.

Possible sections in an extended report

  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Instrumentation
  • Applied Theory
  • Aims
  • Principles
  • Reagents
  • Method
  • Flow Chart
  • Calculations
  • Results
  • Conclusion
  • Discussion
  • Appendices
  • References

Table of contents

This is a good idea if the report is very long or complicated, especially if it has many different sections. 

Introduction

One or more paragraphs which define the subject of the report. For example, if the subject is "High Performance Liquid Chromatography" (HPLC) you might give a definition of HPLC and outline how HPLC differs from traditional liquid chromatography techniques.

Instrumentation

Several paragraphs that describe how the instruments you will be using to perform the analyses (e.g. spectrophotometer, gas chromatograph etc.) work. It is a good idea to include a block diagram of the basic components of the instrument. If it is a complicated instrument capable of running several types of analyses you should use subheadings.

Applied theory

In reports that deal with instrumentation, this is usually an explanation of the mathematics involved and consequently will include several equations.

Principles

More equations. Usually only required if one or more chemical reactions are involved.

Reagents

If your method is to be presented as “Materials & Methods” this is unlikely to be required. It is most often asked for when highly toxic reagents are being used.

Flow chart

This is another way of describing the method, and rewritten as an easy-to-read and logical sequence of events, to allow you to get long incubations etc. underway as soon as possible. Sometimes you may not be allowed into the practical class unless you have a flow chart ready. Preparing a flow chart will allow you to use your lab time as efficiently as possible.

Calculations

These are usually to work out what dilutions of the stock reagents are required in order to prepare working solutions, in the case of biochemistry-related practicals.

Appendices

Sometimes the amount of raw data is excessive (e.g. a computer printout of hundreds of numbers) and it is best to insert this at the end of the report as an appendix and to put a summary of these results in the results section.

References 

An extended report may, in addition to the discussion references, include references for the introduction, instrumentation or applied theory sections. Formal referencing, e.g. using the Harvard system, may be required.


Acknowledgement

Prepared by Deanna Jones and Pam Mort © The Learning Centre, UNSW. For enquiries and suggestions, contact Pam Mort p.mort@unsw.edu.au. This guide may be distributed or adapted for educational purposes. Full and proper acknowledgement is required.