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Writing the Laboratory Report: Your Way, My Way, or the Right Write Way


FOR MORE INFO... Working With Chemistry: A Laboratory Inquiry ... Experiment 1: 'Physical Properties: The Glass Bead Lab' Includes Rationale for all Parts ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing the Laboratory Report: Your Way, My Way, or the Right Write Way

Writing the Laboratory Report Your Way, My Way,
or the Right (Write) Way?
  • Wendy L. Elcesser, Anne Kondo, John C. Woolcock
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Indiana, PA 15701

Working With Chemistry
  • Three-Lab Sequences of Experiments Centered
    Around a Particular Problem in Chemistry
  • Skill Building Lab
  • Foundation Lab
  • Application Lab

Working With Chemistry A Laboratory Inquiry
Program, Donald J. Wink, Sharon Fetzer Gislason,
Julie Ellefson Kuehn, W.H. Freeman New York,
Project Goals
  • Improve Student Writing Skills
  • Focus on Scientific Writing Skills
  • Facilitate Student Understanding
  • Student Appreciation of Chemistry Applications

Common Types of Laboratory Reports
  • Fill-in-the-Blank
  • Traditional Laboratory Reports
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Procedure
  • Data
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Group Reports

Traditional Functions of Laboratory Reports
  • Record of Participation
  • Evidence of Observation Skills
  • Data Collection and Recording (Organization)
  • Manipulation of Data (Calculations)
  • Interpretation of Results (Conclusions)
  • Future Reference

What Working With Chemistry Reports
  • No general report guidelines
  • Flexibility for instructor
  • i.e., You can structure reports Your way!
  • Range of writing requirements
  • Calculations
  • General List of Things and/or Questions to
    Include in Your Report
  • Involved post-lab questions that relate to the
    scenario posed for the sequence

Using Lab Reports as Writing Practice
  • Range 50-80 of lab grade determined by student
  • Individual requirements My way!
  • Majority doing things as the Write Way
    including specific writing requirements that
    increase through the group of three experiments

Report Writing via Parts
  • Three-Week Sequence is Experimenting via Parts
  • Skill Building Lab new laboratory skill
  • Foundation Lab procedure design
  • Application Lab solution to a real-world

Starting with Skill Building
  • Model Lab Report Provided for First Experiment of
  • Experiment Group A. Methods of Inquiry and
    Measurement Float an Egg. Experiment 1
    Physical Properties The Glass Bead Lab
  • Includes Rationale for all Parts

Skill Building Labs
  • What Must the Students Write?
  • Fill-in data tables
  • Calculation practice questions
  • Guided inquiry conclusion questions
  • Students can Follow Model Lab Report
  • Focus is on substance rather than style

Foundation Labs
  • What Must the Student Write?
  • Procedural Notes
  • Data Tables (Construct and fill)
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • Develops and Enhances Organization Skills

Application Labs
  • What Must the Student Write?
  • More CompleteTraditional Report including
  • Objective
  • Procedure
  • Data and Calculations
  • Conclusion
  • Or Summary Report
  • Medical Summary
  • Recommendation for design
  • Examples of Professional Practice
  • Higher-level writing skills

Reports vs. Laboratory Notebooks
  • How does our General Chemistry Department
    Teaching Circle use laboratory notebooks?
  • Notebook counts as 0-75 of laboratory grade
  • Record observations and data (include raw data
    with report)
  • Give Sample calculations
  • Answer questions
  • Write conclusions
  • Some instructors had students write reports
    directly in their notebook including pre- and
    post-lab questions

Our Comments About the Use of Laboratory Notebooks
  • Provide the feel of doing research
  • Allow for the progress within an experimental
  • Students can create the lab report directly from
    the notebook pages
  • Problems with duplicate writing between report
    and notebook

History of Writing the Laboratory Report
  • References from way back when!
  • Concerns from faculty, students, future employers
  • Self-realization (How much fun is writing?!)
  • Fit with liberal studies or general education
    requirements, i.e., written communication skills

Issues to Consider
  • Time commitments by all
  • Instructor Grading
  • Student Report Writing
  • Group Reports
  • Accountability
  • Student Presentations

  • Practice, Practice, Practice!
  • Provide Example Report
  • Break Down Task/Report into Smaller Parts
  • Tie Together with Pre-Lab Preparation
  • Flexible Report Format including Notebook Use
  • Limit Time Commitment by ALL

  • National Science Foundation (CCLI AI)
  • IUP General Chemistry Teaching Circle
  • IUP Reflective Practice Project and Center for
    Teaching Excellence
  • Donald Wink, Sharon Fetzer Gislason, Julie
    Ellefson Kuehn

  • Wink, Donald J. Gislason, Sharon Fetzer Kuehn,
    Julie Ellefson. Working With Chemistry A
    Laboratory Inquiry Program, W.H. Freeman New
    York, 2000.
  • Lobban, Christopher S. Schefter, Maria.
    Successful Lab Reports A Manual for Science
    Students. Cambridge University Press New York,
  • Pickering, Miles. J. College Sci. Teaching, 1986,
    16(3), 187.
  • Pickering, Miles Monts, David L. J. Chem. Educ.
    1982, 59, 794.
  • Rosenthal, Lois C. J. Chem. Educ. 1987, 64, 996.
  • Tilstra, Luanne. J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 762.
  • Coffin, Frances Dunkle. J. Chem. Educ. 1993, 70,
  • Rudd, James A. II Greenbowe, Thomas J. Hand,
    Brian M. J. College Sci. Teaching 2002, 31, 230.

References, cont.
  • Rudd, James A. II Greenbowe, Thomas J. Hand,
    Brian M. Legg, Margaret J. J. Chem. Educ. 2001,
    78, 1680.
  • Hand, Brian Keys, Carolyn W. The Science Teacher
    1999, 66(4), 27.
  • Wartell, M. A. J. Chem. Educ. 1973, 50, 361.
  • Kreger, Clarence W. J. Chem. Educ. 1927, 4, 1043.
  • Hopkins, B. S. J. Chem. Educ. 1933, 10, 404.
  • Kobe, Kenneth A. J. Chem. Educ. 1956, 33, 55.
  • Waldo, W. H. J. Chem. Educ. 1956, 33, 59.
  • Albrecht, George H. Gould, Jay R. J. Chem. Educ.
    1955, 32, 407.
  • Doody, Thomas Gibbens, Victor. E. J. Chem. Educ.
    1954, 31, 8.
  • Sunderwirth, Stanley G. J. Chem. Educ. 1993, 70,
  • Jenkinson, Gregory T. Fraiman, Ana. J. Chem
    Educ. 1999, 76, 283.
  • Gordon, Nancy R. Newton, Thomas A. Rhodes,
    Gale Ricci, John S. Stebbins, Richard G.
    Tracy, Henry J. J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 53.
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