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Writing Lab Reports: Writing Sequence

Why you shouldn't start with the introduction

Although it is tempting to dive into writing the lab report by beginning with the introduction, writers often find that this is the most difficult section to compose; you may therefore benefit from a more strategic approach. Many researchers find it easiest to begin by writing the methods section as this information is right before you: you will summarize information from the lab manual and the notes that you took during the lab. Next, move on to the results, including tables, figures, and appendices, and then to the discussion.

Because the discussion dictates the scope of the paper (it is here that results are analyzed, compared, and discussed within an appropriate and relevant context), you will have an easier time writing the introduction once it is complete. Although the title is the first thing someone will read, it should be the last thing that you write. Once you have completed your lab report, you will have the best sense of what is essential to include.

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