How To Write An Outstanding Abstract For A Lab Report

Given that online search databases mostly contain only abstracts, writing a complete but concise description of your work has become a critical element of scientific papers. Here, you will find information on how to write an outstanding lab report abstract for academic and journal purposes. Follow these guidelines to increase the chances of people actually reading your complete paper.

What Is a Lab Report?

A lab report is basically a document in which a researcher or group of researchers offer a formal record of the procedures and outcomes of an experiment. The report ought to be presented in a way that allows other researchers, if they so wish, to replicate your study. The descriptions of procedures and methodologies should, therefore, should be clear and consistent.

What Is an Abstract?

An abstract is a short, self-contained and powerful statement, in which an author describes a larger work. The components of this vital section vary according to discipline, although they generally include purpose, scope, findings, and contents of the report. Please note that this not a review or an evaluation of the work. Although it contains important words found in the body of the work, the abstract should be an original work, instead of an excerpted passage. The statement is essential for the purposes of indexing and selection. It allows the readers, who may be interested in the paper, to make a quick decision on whether the text is worth their time.

How to Write a Good Abstract for a Lab Report

Most students who are new to lab reports may not fully understand its format and contents. While the abstract comes first in the order of sections, should be written last. This is because it is the essence of your report, drawing from information from the other elements of your paper. The abstract explains why the experiment was performed, the methodology used, and the conclusions drawn.

A general guideline for a good abstract is to include five areas of focus outlining the rationale for the experiment, the problem, the methodology used, the key findings, and the general conclusions. Make sure that the information is summarized in a succinct and clear manner. The ideal way to approach the abstract is to divide it into the various segments, mentioning each in one or two sentences. A good abstract is brief and compact, stating only what is pertinent. It must also be clear enough to allow readers to understand the rationale behind your experiment.

There are two tricks you can use to write your abstract. First, you can use reverse outlining, which involves noting down the main idea of each paragraph. Try grouping the main ideas in each section into one or two sentences. Alternatively, you can use the cut and paste approach, where you read throughout the paper and take sentences that cover the main ideas. However, this second approach may not be suited for lab reports where findings are encapsulated by concrete results and neat numbers.

What Is the Ideal Length of a Lab Report Abstract?

In scientific writing and lab report abstracts, in particular, a direct and concise approach is preferred. An abstract is often less than 250 words, long enough to include sufficient information to preview the paper. Avoid being vague by stating a key statistic or finding very precisely.

What is included in the Abstract of a Lab Report?

The goal of the abstract is to summarize the four main elements of the lab report, including the:

  • Purpose of the experiment
  • The main findings
  • The implications and reliability of the results
  • Major conclusions

You may also want to include a brief sentence on methodology or theory. From your information, readers should easily decide whether they want to read the rest of the report.  Use the same style and language as used in the lab report to write the abstract. Avoid the temptation to add information that does not exist in the original report. Most importantly, edit and proofread your work.

Example of Abstract for a Lab Report

Here is an example of a concise and well-written abstract to give you a good idea of what yours should look like:


Flies use taste receptors on their tarsi to find sugars to ingest. In this experiment, we examined the ability of blowflies to taste disaccharide and monosaccharide sugars. The flies were attached to the ends of sticks, and their feel lowered into solutions containing a different concentration of the sugars. The study found a positive response when the flies reduced their proboscis to feed. There was also a variation in the way flies responded to the sugars. The findings suggest that flies taste larger sugar molecules more readily compared to smaller ones.