This mini course is designed to demonstrate the lab report guidelines for my physics courses.  Throughout the semester, you will submit lab reports.  I want you to get good grades on them. If you learn to write good lab reports now, you will do better in other classes you take after mine.

While the depth and focus of these labs will vary throughout the semester, there are some general guidelines I would like to have you follow throughout the semester.

These guidelines are not completely arbitrary. I have designed them over years of teaching based on my experience and through interactions with students. I want you to follow these guidelines for a few reasons…

  • To be honest, some of them are just to make my job of grading easier.
  • By following the guidelines, you will learn a bit more about the physics than you would by just doing the experiment.
  • When you submit articles for publication, reports for employers, or proposals for grants, there will be specific guidelines you need to follow. These guidelines will vary from journal to journal, but you may be penalized if you do not follow the guidelines.
  • The lab report guidelines will give you a target of what I expect. This makes it easier for you to get a better grade on a particular assignment.

I want you to write good lab reports.  If you do the lab well, writing a good lab report will help show that you really understand the physics involved.