EDIT: Links are dead, so I've uploaded the documents into a google drive folder.
Stuck writing reports? Have no idea what you're writing? You've clicked on the right thread, you procrastinator you. Or not so procrastinator! Who knows.
Here's a handy report template for your perusal. I've been 'working on'™ this since my preliminary 2011 year, so I hope you find some use in it.
Preachy preface oh nooo: Hold up. Before you dive into some keyboard-smashing trance, I want to give a few friendly cautions, from one HSC student to another. Report writing is a lot of things (mostly terrible), but, above all else, it's an exercise in understanding the subject material. Write them with a focused mind, caffeine-induced or otherwise. And enjoy what you write. Sneak in a few run-on sentences just to spite that one teacher that keeps giving you the evil eye. Whatever makes you happy!
Science can be fun - and it is, if that's what you make of it at the end of the day (as is the case with many other subjects, might I add). Hold on to that ember of motivation, and carry it into the rest of your studies. After that, it'll become something of your own. A pool of inspiration you'll always be able to fall back on, even in the worst of times. By the time the HSC exams roll over, you'll be a force to be reckoned with. (And yes i've hammed it up with the cheese. This is probably the cheesiest thing you'll ever read and, for that, i'm deeply sorry.) I should probably stop here. I'm betting this is old news to most of you anyway, haha. So, on a concluding note, happy learning???
- Copy-paste has decimated a lot of the technical stuff, so refer to the attached template document to view everything in its native format!
- Basic format to each 'section' (i.e. aim, hypothesis...) involves a general statement to give you an idea of what's expected (gratuitously copy-pasted from elsewhere) - which i've followed up with a spine-structure of a response!
Template is here; example biology pracs: 1 (Yr 11, Abundance and distribution of an estuarine plant and animal species) and 2 (Yr 12, Investigating the Effect of Temperature on Enzymes); example chemistry pracs: 1 (Yr 12, Testing Natural Indicators) and 2 (Yr 12, Decarbonating Soda Water). No physics, I'm sorry to say.
Abstract: [[the abstract can be skipped in most cases. only include it if you’re asked to by the teacher]]
Quick Abstract Reference
2. Key result(s)
3. Most significant point of discussion
4. Major conclusion
Summarize in a concise paragraph the purpose of the report,
data presented, and major conclusions in about 100 - 200 words.
Aim: What do you want to test or prove? OR What do you want to learn or discover?
-What you are doing
-‘To (verb)’ is the standard beginning of an aim
Hypothesis: This is your prediction of the effect one variable will have on another.
-What you think will happen/your predicted answer
-Justify your hypothesis
Equipment: List the equipment you need to conduct the experiment. Draw a labelled diagram clearly showing what the equipment is and how it is used, preferably large and easy to understand.
Procedure: List the steps you follow to conduct the experiment.
-Every. Single. Step. No skipping. Fight the temptation!!
-Commands (‘Burn the…” “Prepare the…” “Record any…”) always start with a verb
-Exact measurements with the appropriate units
Safety Precautions: What danger could there be in doing this experiment? Consider electric shock, burns, chemical contamination etc.
-In table form, you could use the headers: Hazard; Consequences; Probability; Damage Control and Prevention
Alternatively, you could use these headers for non-serious reports that aren’t being marked: Risk Factor; Hazard; Control
Results: Draw up a TABLE to record results, if numerical data is obtained. Results may include written observations in a list or table, sketches, diagrams, photos, etc.
-You could possibly find the average of your results + percentages
-Make sure you include calculations, etc. if you’ve included any ‘processed’ information in the table. Yes, I know they’re a pain to type up. Do it for practice & revision purposes
-Include graphs (if appropriate)
-Date; Time; Location; Method (of gathering data e.g. quadrat sampling) [optional]
Discussion: How did you ensure that the measuring was accurate? What mistakes were made? How could this improve? What did you observe? Is the result what you expected? Compare to published information. Were there any hazards (dangerous things/situations)?
-Was your hypothesis correct? Make reference to the data gathered
-Mention and account for any trends or outliers (explain them properly, referencing variables) AKA Describe + Explain observations
-Mention average in discussion (if appropriate)
-Could add further calculations here (depending on the experiment)
i. A general statement (e.g. ‘There was a low level of reliability…’) which is accordingly justified when discussing the later points
ii. Sample size
b. Validity (Food for thought: ‘are you testing what you’re setting out to test?’)
i. Variables –
1. controlled variable (e.g. area of the quadrat kept at 1m2)ii. Assumptions made during the course of the experiment include: (e.g. …
2. dependent and independent variables (e.g. distance from the creek and no. of crabholes respectively)
1. The testing area was not subject to any man-made contaminants prior to the investigation (i.e. no littering or disposal of hazardous chemicals, etc.). Such aspects would have affected the distribution of seedlings and crabs. iii. Improvements (could refer to the ‘assumptions’ section)
2. The distance from the creek was a sole and determining influence apropos the placement of crabholes and seedlings – sunlight, soil nutrients and other factors notwithstanding.
3. The seedlings were distributed as uniformly as naturally possible along the distance, in the sense that there were no clusters in certain areas.
4. The quadrats were placed entirely randomly. Such would have been impaired, considering the travel restrictions placed by the boardwalk.
5. And then finish off with an evaluation – e.g. As such, the investigation possessed moderate validity, hedged by a number of fallacies in scientific method
c. Accuracy (Could include a graph in the accuracy section, depending on the experiment)
i. Make reference to the relevant apparatuses (e.g. beakers, plastic pipettes, measuring cylinder) in evaluating their accuracy, whilst mentioning their accuracy to…
1. Half of the smallest measuring unit. (e.g. 25ml for a solution in a 50ml measuring cylinder [with 1ml increments on the side] – making it accurate to 0.5ml,)ii. General statement whilst considering the prior points
2. Step one can be skipped if you obtained a digital reading (i.e. digital scale, ph meter)
iii. Improvements (e.g. alternatives to the equipment used; e.g. digital scale)
Conclusion: Have you tested or proved what you had as your aim? Say that you have done so in a clear, logical statement. Make an assessment of the reliability and validity* of your experiment.
-Answer aim and then hypothesis
-Basically a two sentence response, although this is only a guideline—feel free to expand upon your response to the aim and hypothesis if absolutely necessary. No waffling, or else you chance the wrath of a thousand science teachers
KEY/LEGEND: [[general paragraph (s)]] [[reliability paragraph (s)]] [[validity paragraph (s)]] [[accuracy paragraph (s)]].
-Use formal language
-Do not use contractions
-Use relevant scientific terminology/jargon (possibly refer to your textbook’s glossary)
-Add endnote references if you've searched something on the net, etc. Proper format if you’re handing it in for marking!
-Check the marking criteria (again, if you’re handing it in for marking)
Questions + suggestions are A-okay. Note: the validity section makes a lot more sense if you check out one of the example pracs; just putting that out there. :L