KB04: Laboratory Report Guideline

 

Technical writing is a very important skill to acquire. A key component of the engineering design process is to effectively communicate your findings to others. Laboratory reports are different than project reports in that you are generally following a prescribed procedure. Regardless, laboratory reports should follow the same basic guidelines:

  1. Use your own words. Do not copy from the laboratory manual or any other reference.
  2. Write using an objective stance, that is, do not use I/we.
  3. Reports should be concise, clearly organized, and well written.
    1. Provide section headings, left-justified, and in bold.
    2. Clearly delimit paragraphs with a space between each paragraph. Make sure your paragraphs are well written with a topic sentence and supporting sentences that have a logical flow.
    3. Proofread your report. There should not be any typos.
    4. Include figures and tables to effectively describe your design and results. Provide figure and table captions. Figure captions should be centered below the figure and have the format: "Figure 1. Four-bit ripple counter (7493)." Table captions should be centered above the table and have a similar format (use "Table" instead of "Figure"). In the text of your writeup, you should refer to the figures and tables by number (e.g., "Figure 1 shows …" rather than saying "The figure below shows …").
    5. Briefly describe your design and results in the text of your report in addition to showing them in the figure, graph, or table form.

Your laboratory report should include the following:

  • Title page: Include the title of the experiment, the laboratory name (EE 2449 – Digital Logic Laboratory), your name, and the date.
  • Introduction: Include the purpose of the experiment and summarize relevant background theory.
  • Body: Include procedure/method/design, results, and discussion of findings. Organize the body so that you describe each circuit you design, build, and test separately.
    • Describe the purpose of this step and your procedure.
    • If appropriate, show truth tables, K-maps, state diagrams, state tables, and other methods used to design the circuit.
    • Show the wiring diagram of the circuit (include the power and ground table).
    • In addition, describe any challenges you had in completing the experiment including a brief description of steps taken to troubleshoot (debug) your circuit
    • If appropriate, include waveforms captured from the oscilloscope. Discuss how the results compare to the expected results. If you make any other observations, include them in your report.
    • Include the answer to any questions posed in the laboratory manual.
  • Conclusion: Briefly summarize the purpose of the laboratory and your findings, observations, and recommendations.
  • References: Include references at the end of your report. At a minimum, you should reference the laboratory manual. In addition, reference any other sources you use such as the textbook, websites, etc.

    Example (IEEE Reference Style):
    [1] J. Levine, N. Warter-Perez EE-2449 Digital Logic Laboratory. Los Angeles, CA: California State University, Los Angeles, School of Engineering, 2016.
  • Appendix: Normally your pre-labs and lab notes (with the instructor sign-off) would be included in the appendix. Since we are using laboratory notebooks that will be submitted at the end of the quarter, you do not need to include these in the appendix. You may include an appendix if there is any additional information you would like to include.

Note: Lab reports should be self-contained (i.e., include all of the necessary information to understand the experiment) but also be concise. DO NOT simply restate the experimental procedure given; instead, summarize the procedure in your own words.