10 Tips on How To Write An Abstract For A Lab Report

Writing GuidesLab Report
Jan 23, 2019

Writing an abstract for a lab report is challenging even for professional researchers. It is difficult because you have to summarize the content of your lab report in a page or less. When you write an abstract for a lab report, you must be able to capture the essence of your lab report. The readers should be able to understand the direction of your paper. A laboratory report abstract must be written accurately and concisely. It is the first thing readers read from your lab report, and for this reason, the abstract cannot be written haphazardly. Indeed, the abstract of your lab report is crucial as it makes an impression on your reader. The abstract for a lab report is not just a simple summary of your paper; it also contains several subsections. 

Lab reports are strictly scrutinized by professors because the data must be accurate and not fabricated and the analysis evidence-based and logical. We understand that it can be exhausting to write an abstract after you have spent hours writing a lab report, so do not worry—we can give you tips on how to write an abstract for a lab report.

What Is An Abstract?

An abstract is a brief statement that summarizes a larger work, such as a lab report. The abstract is meant to inform the reader of what to expect in the lab report so that they can decide whether it is relevant to their research or if it is interesting to read. When writing an abstract for a lab report, it should contain the scope, purpose, results, and contents of the work. There are two types of abstracts for lab reports, descriptive and informational abstracts.

  1. Descriptive Abstract.  Descriptive abstracts are usually on the shorter side as it only describes the key aspects of the report. Descriptive abstracts do not detail the findings, discussion, or conclusion of a lab report, but may provide a summary of the purpose and experiment. The goal of a descriptive abstract is to communicate to the reader the overall essence of the lab report. A descriptive abstract is usually about 100 to 200 words.
  2. Informational Abstract. Informational abstracts are more detailed compared with descriptive abstracts. It should contain a summary of all the main parts of your lab report, including the objective of the experiment, methods, findings, discussion, and conclusion. After reading an informational abstract for a lab report, the reader should have a strong grasp of the contents of your lab report, but they should also be enticed to read its entirety.

How do you know which type of abstract to use? The best way is to see what your professor requires. However, if the professor did not specify which abstract type to use, the best gauge is the length and scope of your lab report. Longer lab reports generally need an informational abstract while shorter, simpler ones need a descriptive abstract. If you’re still not sure, you can always consult this with your writer.

What to Include in the Abstract of a Lab Report?

When writing the abstract for a lab report, brevity is valuable. All sentences must provide valuable information for your reader. It helps to know exactly what you need to write so you can write clearly, concisely, and purposefully. These are the questions your abstract must answer.

Why was the experiment done? 

It is always good to open your abstract with the objective of your experiment. You may provide a little background information about the topic of your study.

How did you conduct the experiment? 

Without going into too much detail, lay out your research design or the method you followed in conducting the experiment. You may include information about the subject or object of your experiment and the materials as well.

What did you find? 

Briefly summarize the findings of your experiment. You do not need to give explanations regardless of whether the study proved or disproved your hypothesis.

What did you conclude? 

From analyzing the data and writing the discussion section of your lab report , what conclusion did you arrive at? You may state here whether your hypothesis was proven or disproven. Do you have recommendations for the next researcher who may want to replicate your study?

Answer these questions based on what your lab report contains. You should not take more than 3 sentences for each question. If you are writing a descriptive abstract, answer only the first two questions. However, if you are writing an informative abstract, make sure to answer all these questions.

Tips on writing an abstract

Abstract refers to a brief overview of the entire paper. It gives the readers the exact variables to expect from the lab report, as well as helps other researchers to quickly identify whether the lab report can aid them with their own study.


Tips for Writing an Abstract for a Lab Report

Writing lab reports is not only about gathering the necessary data and information but also about presenting it accurately. Similarly, the abstract of your lab report should adhere to the prescribed format. Here are 10 tips for writing a lab report abstract and making it right.

  1. Choose the right research question. Writing a good abstract starts at the very beginning of the research process . Your research question should be measurable and feasible but also narrowed down. It also helps to make sure that your research topic would be significant to your field. 
  2. Make a checklist. The abstract section of your laboratory report must contain all the important aspects of your paper: the purpose of the experiment or report, key findings, the significance of the study, and major conclusions.
  3. Write the abstract last . Always write the abstract once you have completed the entire lab report. This will ensure the accuracy and clarity of your abstract. It is also much easier to write an abstract for a lab report that already exists.
  4. Start with the key point . In order to write a good lab report abstract, you have to first establish the answer to your research questions, or whether your hypotheses were proven. Otherwise, you would have a hard time explaining the significance of your results, the key findings, and the major conclusions.
  5. Use a third-person point of view and past tense . The third-person point of view is important for maintaining an objective tone, while the past tense is necessary since the experiment was done in the past.
  6. Use keywords throughout your abstract. If you are submitting your lab report to a publication, keywords will help them and other researchers to find your report through databases.
  7. Avoid grammatical and spelling errors . This is a requirement for any written work, but more so for your abstract. Your abstract must appear professional on top of being comprehensible because it will establish your credibility as a researcher. The quality of your abstract will help the reader decide whether to read your lab report.
  8. Avoid long, winding sentences . Long, winding sentences try to cram a lot of information at once. They often end up becoming confusing, or in the worst cases, incomprehensible. Be mindful of the length of your sentences. If you must write long sentences, be careful with the sentence construction.
  9. Learn about the format. When you write a biology lab report , you must start by familiarizing yourself with the lab report writing guides set by your professor. A lab report usually has a standard format , but you must be careful because the professor might set a different format that is only applicable to his class. 
  10. Stick to the word count . Stay within the standard word count for lab report abstracts. The standard format for descriptive abstracts is exactly 200 words, but an informative abstract may extend up to 500 words. You must be able to summarize your paper concisely within the appropriate word limit.

When you write an abstract, you can use these tips on writing an abstract for a lab report if your professor did not provide any guidelines.

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