Guidelines on Writing the Best Lab Report Abstract
When it comes to grading a lab report, most professors look at the structure, organization of the content, analysis of the data, and uniqueness. There are many more specifications, all of which depend on the instructor. One aspect of a lab report that can motivate a teacher to keep reading or lose interest is the abstract section.
Sometimes students focus so much on the introduction of a lab report that they forget that often an abstract can be a determinant in the kind of grade they receive. So when writing a lab report, you cannot afford to overlook any sections, including the abstract.
Purpose of an Abstract
In a lab report, an abstract summarizes the key components: methods, purpose, results, and scope. Its function is to provide a summary of the whole paper and create interest in what your paper is trying to communicate. There are two main styles of writing an abstract: descriptive and informative.
The descriptive abstract generally explains briefly what the report is all about. Therefore, the professor will have to read the rest of the lab report to learn the purpose and methods used. Some sections that will be mossing in a descriptive abstract include the results, recommendations, and conclusion. It tends to be very short, not more than 100 words.
The informative abstracts state the key points in each section of a lab report. Hence it’s longer as compared to the descriptive method. However, it should not exceed two pages. Since it summarizes the main points in each section, a reader can decide which part of the report they want to focus on.
Characteristic of a Great Abstract
It should meet the needs of a wide audience. Contain enough information to allow the reader to have a clue about what each section talks about without diverging a lot of information. An abstract for a lab report should not add information that won’t be found in the rest of the paper.
If you are using the chronological method of presenting information, the paragraphs should have a logic flow. Connect through the use of transitions. Each section needs to start with a topic sentence to help it stand on its own.
Instead of explaining the results and validating them, a good abstract will be informative and allow the student to get familiarized with scientific methods. Remember, if after reading an abstract and the reader is still wondering what the research was about and the implications of the results, then you have failed to compose an impressive abstract.
In such a case, you can revise your abstract to include the research hypothesis, purpose, or question and methods use. When explaining the methodology, keep it brief because the lab report will have a chapter on it where you will describe in detail how the experiment was conducted using which methods. However, leave a bigger portion of the abstract to explain the key findings, their accuracy, and their significance. If you are exhausting, the requested word count combines the results with the conclusion. Finally, state whether the hypothesis was confirmed or rejected.