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Understanding how to write a college lab report in 11 steps is one of the skills that will grant excellence in your STEM career. A lab report is a structured way of providing details on the process and results of the science experiment used in the exploration of a concept. It is therefore a formal account of the science practical work, with the inclusion of the procedure, results, and conclusion.

College Lab Report

Functions of a College Lab Report

  • To provide a formal record of the practical
  • To provide the raw data
  • To provide adequate detail for independent reproduction of the experiment
  • To provide adequate information for further research on the concept in question
  • To provide a structured analysis of the research data
  • To present the collusions
  • To make recommendations based on the practical

College Laboratory Report vs Science Report

First of all, a college lab report is shorter than a research report. On the other hand, a research report provides an autonomous a formulated by the researcher while providing a more in-depth interpretation of the findings. Furthermore, a scientific research report is meant for the public, researchers, and policymakers, while a college lab report is meant for learners and educators. While learning how to write a college lab report, you need to understand that both scientific papers and lab reports contain an acknowledgment, abstract, introduction, graphs, discussion, conclusion, and appendices.

What is Research?

Research can be defined as studious inquiry, diligent search, or examination with the intent of discovering or interpreting facts in the pursuit of information on a given concept. A research report, therefore, provides a structured record of the research process. It, therefore, contains a title, abstract, intro, discussion of results, conclusion, references, and appendices.

College Lab Report

What is a Laboratory Experiment?

A lab experiment is an experiment or practical conducted under controlled conditions and standardized procedures where accurate measurements are made. A controlled experiment involves an empirical procedure that arbitrates the completion of hypotheses and models. They are used in the exploration of new and existing theories supporting and disapproving them. The conditions are controlled to ensure replicability and accuracy in the experiment.

How to Write a College Lab Report: 8 Steps

A lab report has a structured and straightforward portrayal of the learner’s or researcher’s understanding of the scientific method. It provides what is supposed to be accomplished in the experimental procedure.

How to Write a College Lab Report Step 1: Create a Title Page

It is important to note that some college lab reports do not have a title page. It should have the title, learner’s name, instructor’s name, and date. It is however essential to consider the recommended formatting style, for example, Harvard, APA, and MLA styles.

How to Write a College Lab Report Step 2: Provide the Title

The title should be descriptive of the experimental process reflecting the experimental analyses. It shows what the researcher did in the process. It should therefore be brief in describing the main point of the experiment. A good college lab report title should have an independent, dependent, and interfering variable.

College Lab Report Sample

College Lab Report: Effects of Concentration and Surface Area to Volume Ratio on Diffusion Rate

by (Name)

The Name of the Class (Course)

Professor (Tutor)

The Name of the School (University)

The City and State where it is located

The Date


Diffusion refers to a random but directional movement of molecules from a high concentration region to areas that are lowly concentrated. It involves the net movement of energy, molecules, ions, and atoms driven by the regions’ concentration gradients (Stein, 2012). On the other hand, the diffusion rate refers to the change in the number of diffusing molecules inside the cell over time.

Investigating the diffusion rate is vital for biological systems as it helps explain how cells of living organisms can gain useful substances to assist them in obtaining energy and growing while allowing them to get rid of waste products. Through diffusion, cells in a living organism can obtain glucose, oxygen, and amino acids while they can excrete carbon dioxide and urea (Kotyk, 2012). Additionally, diffusion is also utilized in morphogen gradients’ movement, counter-current heat exchange, and movement of ions in sending nerve impulses.

How to Write a College Lab Report

The experiment was conducted to determine the factors influencing the rate of diffusion in living organisms. It involved investigating the diffusion rate in different concentrations and the quality of diffusion in relation to the surface area to volume ratio.

Aims and objectives of the practical

  1. To examine the effect of concentration gradient on the rate of diffusion of hydrochloric acid in cells.
  2. To show the effect of surface area to volume ratio on hydrochloric acid diffusion in cells.

Hypothesis tested:

H0: Concentration gradient and surface area to volume ratio affect diffusion rate in cells.

H1: Concentration gradient and the surface area to volume ratio do not affect the diffusion rate in cells.

Materials and Method

Experiment 1.


  1. Cut three 1 cm3 agar cubes.
  2. Place one of the agar cubes in a beaker containing 50 ml of 0.1 M solution of HCl.
  3. Record the time taken for the indicator to change from pink to colorless.
  4. Repeat the procedure with the two remaining cubes and 0.5 and 1 M solution of HCl. Table I
The concentration of HCl, M Time taken to achieve full discoloration, minutes
0.1 50.40
0.5 24.03
1.0 15.17

Experiment 2.


  1. Cut a 0.8 cm3, 1.30cm3 and 1.70cm3 of agar cube.
  2. Place each cube in a tube/beaker containing 50 ml of 1M HCl and label accordingly.
  3. Record the time it takes for each cube to become completely colorless.

Table II

Surface area/volume ratio, cm-1 Time taken to achieve full discoloration, minutes
7.72 10.30
4.61 14.50
3.53 25.00

College Lab Report: Results

In experiment 1, more time was taken to achieve full discoloration in HCl’s low concentration. At the lowest concentration of 0.1m of HCl, discoloration was achieved after 50.40 minutes. At a concentration of 0.5M of HCl. The full discoloration was achieved at 24.03 minutes, while a concentration of 1.0M of HCl only required 15.17 minutes to attain full discoloration.

How to Write a College Lab Report

In Experiment 2, more time was taken to achieve discoloration in a higher surface area to volume ratio. This is evident as the 0.80 cm cube took 10.30 minutes to achieve full discoloration while the 1.30 cm agar cube took 14.50 minutes to achieve full discoloration. Lastly, the 1.70 cm agar cube took 25.00 minutes to attain full discoloration.

College Lab Report: Discussion

From experiment I, it is clear that the diffusion rate increases with the increase in concentration as 1.0 cm of agar turn colorless in 15.17 minutes in a higher concentration of 1.0 M of HCl. Diffusion occurs down the concentration gradient of the molecules examined hence depicting if the difference in concentration is higher then the molecules will move down the concentration gradient faster (Tyrrell & Harris, 2013).

Experiment II shows that as the surface area to volume ratio becomes smaller, it takes more time for hydrochloric acid to diffuse through the whole block. At a 0.80 cm cube, the surface care to volume ratio is higher, contributing higher permeability, thus taking only 10.30 minutes to attain discoloration. The surface area to volume ratio is important to living organisms as it allows some fewer complex organisms and do not require a respiratory system as to their ratio to conduct a gaseous exchange. It also specialized respiratory systems to allow diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide inside and outside the cells.

The experiment attained its objectives as diffusion rate varied in different concentrations while the surface area to volume ratio contributed disparity in time variations. However, the experiment could have errors that would affect the results, and therefore repeating the experiment several times and then collecting the average would help attain more reliable and accurate results. Secondly, refining the techniques used to measure and cut the cubes would ensure that straight edges have been attained while measuring HCl diffused through the eye should be improved for accuracy.

This experiment’s limitations are that cubes do not represent most organism’s shapes. Besides, cubes are lifeless only to demonstrate a model of diffusion in one substance which is not the same for living organisms as they have semi-permeable membranes and cell surface membranes that control what enters and leaves the cells. Lastly, the experiment is a model as the HCl used does not accurately represent a cells’ conditions in living organisms.

College Lab Report

College Lab Report: Conclusion

In conclusion, the experiment has helped examine the diffusion rate in different levels of concentration as the effect of surface area to volume ratio to diffusion rate. It has been found that the diffusion rate is higher in higher concentrations, while as the surface area to volume ratio increased, the time taken for the cube to be colorless decreased.


Kotyk, A. (2012). Cell membrane transport: principles and techniques. Springer Science & Business Media.

Stein, W. (2012). The movement of molecules across cell membranes (Vol. 6). Elsevier.

Tyrrell, H. J. V., & Harris, K. R. (2013). Diffusion in liquids: a theoretical and experimental study. Butterworth-Heinemann.