• BME 210
  • Lab Report Format

    BME 210 Lab Report Format - Spring 2018

    Lab reports, participation, and quizzes will be the basis for your lab grade, which is 20% of the course grade. Labs are due at the beginning of lab, which is usually one week after the completion of experiments. Three points will be deducted for each day that the lab is late. Labs will be graded out of a 10 point scale using the following guidelines.

    Score Quality of Work
    10 All required responses correct
    9 1–2 Responses incorrect
    8 3–4 Responses incorrect, etc.

    Fractional points will be subtracted depending upon the severity of the errors. Emphasis will be placed on the procedures and calculations used to arrive at an answer, not on the actual numbers obtained. Conceptual errors will be considered more than arithmetic errors. The lab report should contain each of the following sections:


    Summarizes the whole lab. Include a sentence or two that specifically says what was done and what was found (includes numerical results if appropriate).


    States the goals of the lab and says why we are studying this lab. Theory includes important concepts and formulas that are needed in the lab.

    Experimental Procedure

    Can say that the lab procedure was followed, but it should state any changes that were made, or any specific components and their values.

    Example: We followed the instructions in the lab handout. In step 3 we used a 300 \(\mathrm{\Omega}\) resistor instead of a 200 \(\mathrm{\Omega}\) resistor because the lab supplies ran out. We measured current and voltage with a DMM and oscilloscope. We measured the output of our circuit and it matched our predictions.


    Answers the questions that are asked in the lab (make sure to read the questions carefully and answer what is being asked for). An attached data table or graph showing relevant/important data can be used in this section or attached as a separate sheet.


    Summarizes the important findings and objectives of this lab, and no new information is introduced.


    Reports should always be in the past tense. You can use either the active (“Figure 1 shows…”) or passive (“It can be seen in Figure 1…”) voice. In general, the active voice is more concise and unambiguous. You may also use the first person (“We measured the resistance…”), especially in the experimental procedure section.

    Suggestions for improving lab reports

    1. Read each question carefully, and answer each. Make sure you are doing exactly what the question is asking—for example, if a question asks you to plot on a logarithmic axis, make sure you do so.
    2. If a question asks you to measure a quantity, your answer should include a numerical measurement. If this isn’t possible, explain why (i.e. “measurement could not be obtained because the output saturated the data acquisition box”).
    3. If a question asks to compare obtained and theoretical values, you should certainly have both of these values in the answer, even if you previously stated them.
    4. Also, comparison is more than just listing both numbers—calculate a percent error, and comment on the error. This doesn’t have to be wordy: “We observed a gain of 900, which is 10% lower than the theoretical gain of 1000. This is a reasonable value, because our theoretical calculations assumed ideal op amps and resistors of exactly the nominal values.”
    5. Show your process of calculations. For example, do this: $$I = (V/R) = (5 \mathrm{V}/1 \mathrm{k\Omega}) = 5~\mathrm{mA}$$ Not this: $$I = 5~\mathrm{mA}$$
    6. You don’t need to show every step, but I would like to see the formula you used and the values you used. If you attach calculations on another sheet, reference that sheet and make sure the calculations are either typed or neatly printed.
    7. Attach all of your raw data. If your datasheets are illegible, consider attaching a typed version in addition to your handwritten datasheets.
    8. Make sure you include appropriate units for your data.
    9. If you are submitting graphs, make sure your axes are meaningful. For example, in a graph of amplitude vs. time, make sure your time axis is labeled in seconds (or milliseconds, microseconds, etc. as appropriate). Don’t plot amplitude vs. sample number.

    Last updated:
    January 7, 2018