- Title Page (5 points)
Experiment number and title
- Abstract (10 points)
Summarizes the content of the experiment using no more than 100 words. This should be written last. Actual numbers and conclusions will go in here.
- Introduction (15 points)
Background, and theory pertaining to the experiment should be in this section. This can include information from previous research, explanations of theories, methods or equations used, etc.; for the example above, you might want to explain the theory behind acid/base titration. Be sure to cite any sources used. Be careful to include only the information that a reader would need to know in order to understand the purpose and methods; the report should still be as straightforward as possible. The main focus of the introduction should be on helping the reader to understand the purpose, methods, and reasons these particular methods are being used.
- Materials and Methods (15 and 20 points)
This includes a simple list of the equipment used, and any specific hazards relevant. It should be complete and accurate. Experimental Procedure should also be included in this section describing the process of the experiment exactly as it was done in the laboratory. This is written in past tense and is preferred in paragraph form but you will not have points deducted if it’s written in a list. There should not be any results (things that happened when the procedure was being carried out) included in this section; only include the procedures carried out. A good rule of thumb for writing complete but concise experimental procedures is to include enough information so that others who read the report would be able to duplicate the experiment at a later date.
- Results and Calculations (evaluated together with methods/procedure)
This section contains all the results of the experiment, including:
· Raw data (weights, temperatures, etc.) organized into graphs or tables. Each graph, table, or figure should be labeled and titled properly. The key to making tables and figures effective is to refer to and explain each one in the body of the paper.
· Important results in verbal form. For the main results that will be expanded upon in the discussion section, use complete sentences (i.e. “The percentage of acetic acid in vinegar was calculated to be 4.982 %”). This will help the key results to stand out from all the calculations, tables, and figures that normally dominate the results section.
· Chemical Equations and Calculations. Usually, only a sample of each calculation is needed. For example, if the percentage of acetic acid in 10 samples of vinegar has to be calculated and then averaged, write out the calculation for only one of them, then mention that the calculation was repeated for 10 samples and give the average of all 10.
- Discussion (20 points)
The discussion is the most important part of the report. This is the section where the results are explained, and a student can show the instructor that he or she has a thorough understanding of the concept of the experiment and the results obtained. The main question to be addressed in this section is “What is the significance of the results?”
· Compare expected results with actual results.
· Analyze experimental error. You should not have pages of errors. This isn’t like your or go reports where that’s all you talked about. A few sentences on what went wrong will be fine.
· Explain how the methods could be improved. How could the setup be made more effective? Should more precise equipment be used?
· Explain the results in terms of the purpose.
- Conclusion (10 points)
This section includes only one or two sentences that summarize definitive conclusions from the results. It cannot be longer, try to sum up the experiment in a meaningful way.
- References/Appendices (5 points)
· References need to be cited according to formal ACS style. Some reports may have more references than others. Avoid having to use a web URL as a substitute for a formal ACS style citation.