Undergraduate reports and latex templates

There is no one template and style that fits all types of reports. This is a guide to writing better reports and developing your own style. Eventually the process of writing undergraduate laboratory and project reports is to be able to write a scientific or technical paper

Here are some guides you might want to follow

Common mistakes
  • Too large margins
  • Heavy template for a short report (book style for a laboratory report)
  • Wikipedia/web figures which are not accurate or important (better make your own)
  • Avoid words you do not understand the meaning of.... simpler is always better
  • Be careful of technical words and understand their meaning
  • Avoid irrelevant introductory material
  • Concentrate on the set problem and try to do that as well as possible, don't expand until you are confident the main parts are complete
Latex style problems
  • Don't start a new paragraph after every equation or figure (don't put a space)
  • Define all symbols
  • Always add units
  • Refer to all figures or pictures
  • Be careful of text in equations {\rm text}
  • Proper words in equations should not be in italic for example I_{max} compared with I_{\rm max}

Laboratory report

These need the following

  • Abstract (Short as possible, include results!)
    • What was measured?
    • Why it was measured?
    • How it was measured?
    • What were the results?
    • Comparison with existing results/analyses
  • Introduction
    • Physics background
    • Explanation of the measurement (should be sufficient for another to reproduce the measurement)
      • Apparatus (Diagrams here are very useful)
      • Measurement (Explanation of error/uncertainty determination)
      • Data analysis (Typically propagation of errors)
    • Explanation of the results
    • Summary and conclusion ( include final results)
      • What can be explained by the measurement?
      • Problems with the measurement
      • What can be done to extend the measurement?
      • Comparision with existing values
    • References

Project/research review

-- StewartBoogert - 25 May 2013

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Topic revision: r2 - 26 May 2013 - StewartBoogert

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