ISIM Lab Reports
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  • Software

    Use whatever software you would like to write your lab reports - Microsoft Word, Latex, or chisled in stone tablets and then take a selfie. As long as lab reports are clear, easy to read, and professional - the software tool does not matter. We will provide some support for Latex, which is useful for writing technical documents. Despite rumors you may hear, use of Latex is NOT required. All labs are submitted via Canvas (discussed in class).

    Latex template

    General Guidelines

    Your lab reports should always contain a description, evidence and interpretation.These are usually not distinctive sections. Note that the lab reports are meant to be brief and focused on results, not a lengthy explanation of all the steps taken. Remember - brievity is a virtue.


    Concisely describe the goal and approach of your investigation, referring to the tables and figures provided in the evidence. In about one sentence each,
    • Explain high level idea­ "In this lab, I built a laser mareograph that estimates expected tides by measuring the distance to the moon."
    • Describe experimental setup (with photo) ­ "The measurement circuits hown in Figure X uses a bandpass filter tuned to the expected frequency followed by an amplifier."
    • If the circuit involves some design aspect on your part, include a schematic as well - if the circuit is provided in the lab handout there is no need to copy the circuit from the lab.
    • Describe post­processing and analysis techniques (if any) "We fit a line to a set of 10 calibration points listed in Table Z"


    Include evidence in the forms of tables or figures that capture your results. Each table or figure should have a brief caption that summarises its content. Tables and figures should be legible, with appropriate axes, units etc (see Plots link)


    You should interpret the evidence that you have included. What do the results indicate? What can you infer? What are some of the issues with the results.


    So how long should a lab report be? There is no general answer, but often 2 or 3 plots and a few paragraphs/captions are sufficient. Please see one of the course instructors (not a nninja) for specific feedback on the length of your labs and whether you are providing enough or too much detail. Some of the early weeks of the course will tend to be shorter than the later weeks.

    Sept 2017.