Lab reports are the only way through which our assessment can be made. Providing a good lab report needs good knowledge about the field, Good communication skills, a better understanding of the concepts and subject. The experience gained through lab experiments should be organized and presented in a scientific way. Even though students possess good skills and knowledge they fail in presenting their reports in an organized manner. A good lab is a proof for the experience of the student in his lab. Once finished reading this guide students will get a brief idea on how to present a report.

Physics lab report format for a high school


High school is the place where most of us start writing lab reports. There we start to learn basic principles in physics by experimenting it. Our lab reports are must even when our experiments are unsuccessful. The below format is the basic format for all high schools



Sample report for physics high school experiment



Mostly in high schools Title is assigned by the Teacher or instructor or else we have to assign the respective title. Our title should be short and summarize the focus of our experiment. Give us a an opportunity to state for example “Assurance of field quality utilizing capacitor”. As you see the title should simple and easy understanding.


Introduction varies based on the reports and requirements. Most of the reports it will be simple as Introduction. While in others it will have Aim and objectives. However, both consist of the same details. Generally, in Introduction, It will have answers to these questions

  1. i) What are you attempting to do?
  2. ii) What are the principles and concepts involved?

iii)    What are the results we will be expecting?

For example

We will be explaining the theory or hypothesis of determining sound using air column. We will clarify the standard behind it. If any previous scientific study is present we have to include that. And also, in addition, we have to include the purpose of our study.

If we are going to split up the Introduction into Aim and Objective then

Aim & Objective will state what we are expecting to do in our experiment. Instead, we could say it consists of a scientific goal of the experiment. It should be more precise.

Example: –   Aim for our study would be “To determine the speed of air column using resonating air column”. Mostly the Aim will be the same as the title.

Materials/ Apparatus required:

As the name itself indicates, here we are going to explain the materials and required apparatus for our experiment.

Example: For the above-mentioned title the materials and apparatus required to go as follows:

Resonance tube, plastic graduated cylinder, four tuning forks, large rubber stopper for striking, ½ meter stick, ring stand with ring clamp, a clamp for meter stick, one thermometer for the room.

Usually, materials should include each and everything you are going to use in the experiment

Methods or Procedure:

This section carries the answer for how to do the experiment or how the experiment is done. This section should be simple and clear with details. A method should be in your own words and do not copy from manual. It explains the step by step process of the experiment that we undergo in the laboratory. The words should be basic so that all readers could understand. This section also includes the tables and graphs to explain our thesis. It will also include any safety notes for the experiment. Following the methods, we will have Calculation if necessary.

Example: Methodology

Note: Do not strike the tuning forks on anything other than rubber. From here your step by step method should continue………..


  1. Formula: λ = 4(L + 0.3 d)………


Data table:   

Frequency f (Hz) Length of air column L (m) Diameter of tube d (m) Wavelength λ (m) Speed v = f λ (m/s)



It consists of the final conclusion or value of our experiment. In this section, we would be explaining what happened during the experiment in a narrative manner. We would also explain any complications during the experiment. We enlist our analyzed data and conclusion in whatever format is applicable. it can be Tables, graphs, or simply paragraphs. Finally, we have to end up with the significance of our result. In the introduction, we stated the theory. We have tried that hypothesis in the analysis. Now we have to write down the significance of that theory.

Example: Result

Source of error

Identified two possible sources of scientific error associated with data collection and how each impacted data/results.

Average Speed of the sound: _______________

Average velocity of the sound: _______________

Physics lab report format for colleges


Colleges and high schools have an only slight difference in their formats. In colleges, the communication will be of a standardized level. And the way of presenting will be more precise on compared to High schools. Colleges reports vary based on the expectation of each professor or college.


It incorporates the title of the lab, the date it was played out, the title of the class, the teacher’s name, and the names of the gathering individuals.


Determination of Acceleration Due to Gravity with a Simple Pendulum

Quintin T. Nethercott and M. Evelynn Walton Department of Physics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112, UT, USA


It is used to summarize the Experiment in one or two paragraph, and it will also throw details on key results and significance drawn from this experiment.  Any numerical entries and the uncertainties should be noted down.


It explains how and why the experiment was selected.

Example: The experiment was of value since the gravitational force is one all people continuously experience and also the assortment and analysis of information verified to be a rewarding  learning expertise in error analysis

It also explains the background and historical data present behind the experiment. If there is any prevalent research it should also be included. We have to explain the problem or any innovation about this experiment if necessary. It should also include the goal of our experiment. The Introduction ought to dependably end with the reason proclamation

Example for purpose statements: The motivation behind the examination was to decide the gravity on a pendulum swing within the sight of resistive air opposition. For investigations including speculation, The theory was that current moving in a conductive material will produce an attractive field around the material.

Experiment, Materials, Methods, and procedure


This section is the most narrative form of the report. As it includes information about the equipment you used, the steps you took, and the methods of gathering and analyzing the data. This must be in a clear manner so that other observers or readers could understand. If readers are planning to duplicate your report then must be able to do it. This section provides the trust to be independently verified by users. Simply copying the manual won’t work as you need to identify the changes in the methods and note it down.

Results, Calculation, and Data


The data collected and analyzed or to be calculated comes under this section. This section should be more precise as this section carries the answers to our hypothesis, problem, etc. Mostly this section will consist of raw data in the format of tables. And highlight in the form of a graph. Other data should be written in an organized and orderly fashion.  We should also mention the uncertainty in our experiment. All the graphs and tables should be clearly labeled and accurate.


The result for g obtained from both measured values of L and T 2 from the equation as well as from the slope in the Linear Fit model agrees very well with accepted results for g

Degrees 3 5 10


Discussion and Conclusion:

All the interpretation of results, Calculations and others will be filled here. It must have answers for certain specific questions

What did our result mean?

Did we get our expected results?

If not did you found out the source of error?

If found then how did you overcome the error?

Were your mistakes irregular or steady?

Finally, you should also include predictions of how your results have been changed if you slightly modified your methods. All the statements in this section should be supported and have evidence.


For the pendulum experiment, the error can be reduced by measuring 20 oscillations and then taking the average by dividing it with 20. Uncertainty in the period and time can be produced by error propagation hence it is divided by 20.


This section includes other articles and sources that you have used to conduct your experiment. You have to include all those references in bibliographic citation formats.


  • R.A. Nelson, M.G. Olsson, Am. J. Phys. 54, 112 (1986).
  • A.G. Dall’As´en, Undergraduate Lab Lectures, University of Utah,(2013).
  • B.N. Taylor, The NIST Reference,,(2013).


Other data, tables,  and graphs related to our experiment will be placed here.

Example: Error Analysis, Gravity measurement

Physics lab report measurements and uncertainty

Uncertainty is the measurement of the accuracy of the instrument. The uncertainty of a measurement is 50% of the least count. Not all experiments are perfect and precise. As the measurements made by humans and machines are imprecise to a certain extent. But reasonable estimate what your estimates in measurements are and they must be recorded. You can account for the impact on your future experiments.

For example: While estimating the conductivity of a metal bar, and estimated the distance across as 6.0cm +/ – 0.1 cm. Consequently your estimations are no less than 1/50 = 2% indeterminate. Consequently genuine esteem would have been 5.9cm or 6.1 cm.

These uncertainties and measurements should be clearly explained in the Results and discussion to avoid any future mis-interruptions. 

Physics lab report introduction format


This is the narrative part of our lab report. It represents an overview of the experiment. This section provides the readers the sufficient information on the purpose of the article.

The major points to be taken in while writing an introduction is

  1. Identify the Problems
  2. Explain the hypothesis
  3. Historical background
  4. Important concepts and theories
  5. Result to be expected

Generally, the introduction should be short with not more than a paragraph containing more than 8-15 lines.

Physics lab report on abstracts


The Abstract is the summary for the whole reports. As they contain everything from aim and objective to result and conclusion. The abstract should be short and precise. It should also contain any drawbacks of experiments or errors made during the experiment. Readers should have a clear understanding of the whole report once they have finished reading the abstract.

Physics lab report on theory

This explains the background of the whole experiment. It includes the basic principles involved in the physics related to the experiment. It should be in a narrative manner and not more than paragraphs. It would be good if it is kept short. This provides the readers with clear basics and understanding of the experiment. For example: In the experiment to determine the sound using air resonance. We need to explain the basic principle of how it works.

Physics lab report on procedure


This is the section where the whole methodology is explained in a narrative way. This should not be copied from any manual. It is a roadmap or flow chart for the experiment. The procedure should not contain any complicated words or sentences. It should be simple and understanding and to be written in own words. The procedure should have answers for how and why we are collecting this data.

Physics lab report measurements


The measurements are the calculative and theoretical proof for our experiments. All these measurements should be tabulated and plotted if necessary. Each experiment will have its own format of presenting measurements.  While noting down the measurement make sure that you are writing down with correct notations and units.

Physics lab report discussion


Discussions are written based on the result achieved in the experiment. If we had achieved the expected result then the discussion would be on how and what are the complications while undergoing experiments and how we tackled it. It should have all the evidence to prove our result. If our result didn’t go as expected then the discussion should be made on the erroneous part of the experiment. And what made the experiment to fail. We should also write on the future implications and predictions of the experiment in the discussion section.

For example: In measuring sound using air column we can write, In future sound will be measured using even more sophisticated ways like vacuum method in the absence of air.

Physics lab report conclusions


The conclusion is drawn from the discussion we have made and the effect our analyzed results. It should be more precise and not more than 4-5 lines. It will form the answer for the hypothesis we have stated in Introduction or a continuation for future experiments. Example: “. When the initial velocity is doubled the stopping distance is quadrupled.” The conclusion should not hold any statements which have no evidence or supporting documents.


While writing a lab report one must be careful and precise. Clarity is an important factor. Always follow the standard principles and methods for carrying out experiments. By reading this guide you would have a clear idea for how to write a report. All the examples provided in this guide are for an understanding purpose. Physics is part of science where we can innovate and test. It has no bound for anything.



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