How To Write An Abstract For A Lab Report

How To Write An Abstract For A Lab Report

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Students have to learn how to write an abstract for a lab report. There is no shortcut around that. Although it sounds like it is a complicated process, it’s quite easy once they have mastered a couple of things. It is a necessary skill for scholars in high school and higher learning institutions. A well-written and complete lab report is divided into the following sections:-

  • Title

  • Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Materials

  • Method

  • Results/Findings

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • References

  • Appendices

Our primary focus is on the lab report abstract. Before students can learn tips on how to write an abstract for a lab report that meets set standards, it is essential that they have a thorough understanding of what it is and the purpose it serves.

A Lab Report Abstract

As a student, you’ve probably written abstracts, but for research papers. A lab report abstract is not very different from the one in your research paper. The only difference lies in the type of document and information to be included. Some of the similarities include:

  • Both are brief, a paragraph or a maximum of 200 words

  • The abstract is a summary of the lab report or the research paper

  • The abstract for a lab report and that of a research paper are located just before the introduction

An abstract for a lab report can, therefore, be described as the section that summarizes four essential elements of the document. That is;

  • Why the experiment was necessary, by stating the purpose, aim or background information

  • The materials used and the experimental procedure employed to investigate the hypothesis

  • The outcomes or findings of the experiment

  • A summary of the discussion and conclusion

Here is a list of tips that can guide students on how to write an abstract for a lab report that will be up to standard:

Establish the Format Required

A lot of times, lectures will not specify the format of the lab report abstract. Therefore, students will be expected to use the standard format. Establishing the type of abstract to use for your lab report is a crucial step. That is because; the different formats have special requirements. There are two forms an abstract for a lab report can take:

  • Informational Abstract

  • Descriptive Abstract

Descriptive Abstract

A descriptive abstract has similar features to standard lab report abstract. However, it is way brief, a 100 words or less. It will contain the following information States the background information or purpose of the experiment and the procedure used. It will be brief but detailed enough and will exclude info on the discussion, findings, and conclusion of the report.

Informational Abstracts

An Informational abstract, unlike descriptive abstracts, will contain information on the purpose, method, and materials, findings, discussion, and conclusion. An informational lab report abstract can be a paragraph long or can be 1 or 2 pages long. The length will depend on how long the report is. That is because the right length for your abstract will be equal to 10% of the lab report.

How Long Will the Lab Report Abstract Be?

Has the lecturer specified the format with which your lab report abstract should follow? If not, then the abstract will be brief, a maximum of 200 words. An abstract for a lab report presents a summary of the different sections, which is the aim of the experiment, materials and procedure followed the outcome of the investigation, a discussion of the result and a conclusion. Students are expected to provide a summary of a sentence or two for those sections. Therefore, to write a lab report abstract that meets set criteria, it is essential to keep it concise, limit its length to paragraph.

Be Keen on Your Choice of Words

When students are taught how to write a lab report, they also learn about keywords. Depending on the subject and type of experiment, there are specific words your supervisor will expect to find in the abstract. There are keywords and phrases you will be expected to include in your lab report abstract.

In our modern world where a lot of the work we do gets published online, keywords come in handy. That is because when you include such phrases and words, anybody searching for your document can easily find it. Considering that hundreds of thousands of documents are posted online every single day, keywords help optimize your paper for search engines. Check out for a lab report abstract example online. It will offer some guidance. You can search for several reports to understand the value of keywords. Note that, although not every of lab report will be published online; it is a skill worth learning and practicing for future use.

Writing From the Correct Point of View and Tense

One of the critical things students learn on how to write an abstract for a lab report is the tense and point of view. A wrong tense and point of view will render your abstract inappropriate. A lab report abstract is written in third person point of view and past tense. That is because you want to remain objective and impersonal in your work, which is critical in the field of science.

  • Third Person Point of View

Third person point of view implies avoiding the use of personal pronouns. Therefore, words such as “I,” “our,” and “we” should not be used. Instead, phrases such as “the experiment” will be used. Writing from a third person point of view makes your abstract paper appear impersonal and ensures you remain objective.

  • Past Tense

Since the experiment already took place, your lab report abstract will be in past tense. A test is an event that already took place. Although the rules of grammar dictate that you don’t write in passive voice, such reports are an exception. Using past tense also creates a sense of objectivity. It makes it impersonal.

Check out the lab report abstract example below, note the tense and point of view.

The purpose of the experiment was to investigate which species of plants and their parts could act as pH indicators. The hypothesis was if the petals of the purple azalea flower were subjected to various standardized pH solutions they would change pigmentation. The change in color would depend on the pH of the solutions being tested. The null hypothesis was no visible change in pigmentation would be seen when the petals were placed in standardized pH solutions. To produce the pH standards of 1 14, two starting pH solutions of 14 and 1 and distilled water were utilized. The purple azalea petals were then placed in isopropyl alcohol to remove visible pigmentation. A spot plate was used and the results recorded. The colors ranged from a light pink at the pH1 spot on the plate to a dark blue at the pH 14 spot. To ascertain the pH tests validity, pH strips of paper were placed at the pH spots on the plate. Since the change in pigmentation of the purple azalea flower petals was noted when they were treated to the different standardized pH solutions, the data supports the hypothesis.

It Should Have Flow and Be Error Free

In any piece of writing, regardless of whether it is a class assignment, essay, research paper or lab report, it must be coherent. People should be to read and get the message that you are trying to communicate across. The same applies to the lab report abstract. Your abstract must be well understood without someone having to go through the lab report. Like the introduction of your essay, an abstract for a lab report has the power to either draw readers or bore them. Therefore, draft an abstract that raises curiosity and at the same time clearly articulates what the lab report is all about.

Nothing will bore readers and make you miss out on good grades like poor grammar. Your lab report abstract needs to be spelling, grammar and punctuation error-free. Look at the sentence structure and ensure that there is flow. These are the basics of writing which students can easily perfect with practice. If possible look for a lab report abstract example for the various science disciplines online to help you practice.

Only Include Information Present In the Lab Report

The lab report abstract is a summary of the report. Therefore, any information in the abstract will be presented in the lab report. Do not include any foreign facts in the abstract for a lab report regardless of how relevant it might be. Including any information in the abstract that’s not presented in the lab report will be misleading to your readers. You can create a draft of the lab report abstract then pare it down, limiting yourself to the paper boundary. Note that, there are instances where the experiment will not go as anticipated or students will make discoveries. Don’t be shy to include such information in the lab report abstract since it is very relevant to the report.

Write It Last

Your lab report abstract comes last. It is among the first sections of your lab report, but it will be written after the conclusion. That is because it is a summary of the entire lab report. Scholars can better give a summary when they have a thorough grasp of what the paper entails. That can only be achieved when the lab report is complete, that is the introduction to the conclusion. Writing it last gives you sufficient time to customize an abstract for a lab report accordingly. Ensuring that the information cited is present in the lab report.


Wondering how to write an abstract for a lab report? Then these 7 tips will provide an excellent guide. Search for a lab report abstract example online to get an idea of what will be expected of you. A well-written lab report abstract must highlight four essential aspects of the report, which is its purpose, the method, results, and conclusion. They will be summarized but detailed enough. A lab report abstract needs to be brief, written in past tense and from a third person point of view. It is crucial that student limit themselves to information contained in the lab report when writing the abstract.

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