If you have been given a practical investigation as part of your depth study assessment, you’ll be required to write a scientific practical report. If you are wondering about how to write a practical report or looking for a depth study template, you’ll find it all here!
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
‘Prac reports’ are a formal way of documenting practical experiments. They summarise:
Practical reports have a well defined structure to ensure all of the relevant information is included. They also need to be written in a way that is easy for others to understand and replicate.
We recommend that you use the following depth study template for a practical report to ensure you are adopting the right structure.
A practical investigation report consists of the following sections:
Each section of the Depth Study Template for a practical report is explained below.
The title of a practical report is a short description of the practical investigation. It contains sufficient information for the reader to understand what the experiment is about.
What is the abstract?
The abstract is a precise summary of the whole report. Its function is to preview the contents of your report so that the reader can judge whether it is worth their while to read the whole report.
What should be included in the abstract?
In your abstract, you need to include:
How long should the abstract be?
The abstract should normally be a single paragraph between 100 and 200 words.
What is introduction?
The introduction describes why the report is important and what the report is about. It provides relevant background information about the topic being investigated.
What should be included in the introduction?
In your introduction, you need to include the answers to the following questions:
It is easier to write the introduction after you have written your method and results section of the report.
What is the hypothesis?
A hypothesis is a testable statement about a relationship between two variables. It is a prediction that you can test through an experiment.
In an experimental hypothesis, there is a relationship between the two variables being studied (one variable has an effect on the other). It implies that the results are not due to chance and that they are significant in terms of supporting the theory being investigated.
How do you write a hypothesis?
Examples of hypothesis
|Projectile Motion||That the range of a projectile will increase as the horizontal launch velocity is increased.|
|Circular Motion||That the centripetal force will increase as the speed of the rotation is increased.|
|The motor effect||That the torque in a simple DC motor increases with increasing supply voltage.|
|Electromagnetic induction||That as the area of the rotating wheel increases, the time taken to come to a stop decreases.|
What is the aim?
The aim provides a succinct description of the objective of your experiment.
How to write the aim
The aim is often written in one of the following formats:
Example: This experiment aims to determine the relationship between horizontal range and launch velocity.
What is the method?
The method describes the materials and the procedure used to conduct the experiment.
It is recommended that you explain why you chose a particular method.
What should be included in the method?
In your method, you should include:
What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment is a process of identifying and evaluating the risks that are involved in the procedure of your practical investigation.
Identifying risks within your experiment and how to mitigate these risks is integral to the safety of the person carrying out the practical investigation
What should be included in the risk assessment?
A risk assessment contains three main components:
A risk assessment is always presented in table format. An example of a risk assessment format is provided below
|Source of Risk||Potential Hazard||Procedure to Minimise Risk|
|250mL glass beaker||Broken glass can cause cuts to skin||Handle glass beaker with care. Do not place near ledges where it can fall|
|Bunsen burner||Open flame is very hot and can cause burns to skin||Do not touch open flame. Use the safety flame when not using the blue flame. Do not use bunsen burner if rubber hose is damaged|
|Scissors||Sharp blades of scissors can cut skin||Take care when handling. Store when not in use|
What are the results?
The results provide your findings of the experiment.
Results describe (not explain) your findings.
What is included in the results?
The results include qualitative and quantitative description of your findings.
In quantitative results, your collected data is organised in a table format and must include:
A scaffold of an appropriate results table is provided below.
|Independent Variable (units)||Dependent Variable (units)|
|Trial 1||Trial 2||Trial 3||Trial 4||Average|
In qualitative results, you will need to use both the past tense and the present tense.
What is the discussion?
The discussion explains (not describes) the results of your experiment and discusses the significance of your findings.
What is included in the discussion?
Your discussion needs to include:
The conclusion answers the aim and summarises what the experiment has contributed to in understanding of the problem posed.
What is a reference?
A reference is a piece of information within the report that provides an acknowledgment of the use of someone else’s work. This is the final section of the depth study template and perhaps the most important for negating any signs of plagiarism in your work.
What is included in the references?
It is essential to include a reference list or bibliography of the reference material you referred during your research for the experiment.
In a reference list, sources are listed alphabetically by the surname of the author and when reference is made to more than one work by an author/s, list them chronologically, ending with the most recent work.
How to write correct references?
There are several systems of referencing such as the Harvard or author-date system. You can use this website for creating Harvard, APA & MLA citations for your bibliography
Depending on your school teacher, you may be asked to use Harvard or APA citations. Below is scaffolds and examples of Harvard and APA citations.
How to provide Harvard citations for different media is outlined below.
Author(s) surname, Initials. (year of publication). Article title, Journal title. Volume number (issue number), pp.(pages)
Example: Ehrlich, R. (1992). The Exploratorium Science Snackbook: Teacher Created Versions Of Exploratorium Exhibits. Physics Today. 45(3), pp.65-68
Author(s) surname, Initials. (year of publication). Webpage title. [online] Website name. Available at URL, [Accessed (date)]
Example: Gyorki, J. (2010). How to Determine Digital Multimeter Accuracy. [online] Design World. Available at https://www.designworldonline.com/how-to-determine-digital-multimeter-accuracy/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019]
How to provide APA citations for different media is outlined below.
Author(s) surname, Initials, (year of publication). Title of journal. Place of publication
Example: Farr, R., Wilson, K., Philip, Y., Gossens, D. (2018). Physics in Focus Year 12. Cengage Learning Australia, Victoria.
Author(s) surname, Initials, (year of publication). Title of website. Retrieved from URL
Example: Gyorki, J. (2010). How to determine Digital Multimeter Accuracy. Retrieved from https://www.designworldonline.com/how-to-determine-digital-multimeter-accuracy/
If there are more than 4 authors for a website or a journal article, they are referred to as [main author et al.]. This applies to both Harvard and APA citations.
Example: Munday et al. (2010). Replenishment of fish population is threatened by ocean acidification. Retrieved from https://www.pnas.org/content/107/29/12930
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