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How to Write an Abstract for a Lab Report

It is critical for students to learn how to write an abstract for a lab report. Although writing, in general, tends to be difficult for a majority of the students, it is not something that cannot be fixed. Learning the concept of writing a lab report abstract and the basics of writing makes it easier. An abstract is a summarized version of a report or a research paper that lets a reader know what the article is all about without having to read the entire document. It is the first section of your report that readers will go to. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that it is well written.

Through this guide, students will get to understand what a lab report abstract is, the different formats, the issues it addresses and some tips on how to write one. A lab report abstract example is also included.

What is a Lab Report Abstract?

A lab report abstract can be described as a miniature version of the lab report. It is one of the sections of a lab report for advanced learning. That means, if you have just started learning the science subject, the lecturer does not expect you to include an abstract in your lab report. It is considered to be complicated for that level of education. However, once students are in high school, they will be expected to include a lab report abstract.

Before we can understand what an abstract for a lab report is, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the main components of a lab report. They include:

  • Title page

  • Abstract

  • Introduction/ Purpose

  • Materials and method

  • Results or outcomes

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • References

  • Appendices

The lab report abstract, as you can see comes before the introduction. However, it is written last when the rest of the report is complete. An abstract for a lab report is a summary of the essential aspects of the report, which is the purpose, method, results, and conclusion. Using a sentence or two, students are expected to present a summary of these parts. It will be easy to write the summary when the report is complete, and that is why you are advised to write it last.

The following section presents a detailed summary of the aspects you will be expected to cover in the lab report abstract.

What Aspects Are Covered By a Lab Report Abstract?

As mentioned in the previous section a lab report abstract is a summary of the essential parts of the report. Therefore, it will address specific aspects that include:

  • What is the purpose/aim or objective of the report?

What exactly does the lab report cover? The lab report abstract will present information on the purpose of the experiment. It gives the background information. An abstract for a lab report answers the question of why you chose to conduct the test.

  • How do you intend to confirm or reject the hypothesis?

One of the components of the lab report abstract is a summary of the experimental procedure. The method with which you get to test your hypothesis including a brief of the materials you will use. Highlight the process of investigation or answer the question of how you experimented.

  • What are your results?

Having stated the purpose and method of experiment, let your readers know what your outcome or findings were. State figures, if your experiment involved quantitative data. However, do not include graphs or images. In case, you do not get the results you were expecting ensure that you state so. You can also declare the new findings made.

  • What is your conclusion?

From your experiment, what conclusion did you reach based on the outcome? In this section, students get to answer "So what?" The last aspect covered by the abstract for a lab report is an interpretation of what you observed while conducting the investigation and your assumptions. It requires only stating, and no explanations will be necessary.

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The Two Formats for a Lab Report Abstract

When students are taught how to write an abstract for a lab report, they are introduced to two popular formats they can use. It is essential for them to have an understanding of the various working formats because it dictates how information will be presented. Scholars have to familiarize themselves with the form the lecturer expects them to use to score points on the paper. There are two formats which are discussed below;

Descriptive Abstracts

Descriptive abstracts are brief - 100 words or less. The lab report abstract will be precise and concise despite not describing all the paper aspects. However, just by reading this extremely summarized lab report abstract, one must be able to tell what the report entails. A descriptive lab report abstract will contain the following information:-

  • The purpose

  • The method of investigation

It will exclude the following:

  • Findings

  • Discussion, and

  • The conclusion of the lab report

Informational Abstracts

The informational lab report abstract is a bit more detailed. Unlike the expected 200 words maximum, this abstract for a lab report can be anywhere from a paragraph to 1 or 2 pages long. To get the right length, students are advised to keep it at 10% of the lab report. The length will also depend on the scope of the lab report.

An informational abstract for a lab report will contain a two sentence brief of the following sections of the report - The aim, procedure for investigation, findings, conclusion, and discussion. However, it will exclude references, appendices, images or graphs from the report.

There is a guide students can utilize to write an informational lab report abstract. It will include all the information that needs to be addressed by an abstract for a lab report. You can use the following outline:

  • Write the purpose

  • State materials

  • State the experimentation process

  • State results

  • Give a brief discussion

  • Present your conclusion

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Tips for a Well-Written Lab Report Abstract

  • Write the abstract after the completion of the report. It is crucial for your lab report abstract to cover all the essential aspects of the report. To write an abstract that is well tailored to the report and includes all the crucial elements, students are advised to write it last. In fact, it makes it easier to present a summary once the report is complete.

  • Write an abstract for a lab report in the past tense. A lab report presents data from an experiment that already took place. Therefore, that implies students will be reporting past events. As expected the lab report abstract will be written in past tense. Although passive voice is not allowed in writing academic, this is an exception. It creates a sense of objectivity in your work.

  • Proofread an abstract for a lab report. The lab report abstract will be located between the title and introduction. It is the first thing readers will read in your report. Therefore, it has to be flawless, having flow and no errors. Proofreading the lab report abstract ensures that it makes sense, has no typos or spelling and grammar errors.

  • Write from a third person point of view. Considering that you want the report to remain objective and be impersonal, writing from a third person point of view will be necessary. Third person point of view implies not using personal pronouns such as "we," "our" or "I." Instead, you will be expected to use phrases like "The experiment," "This lab report" or "It was concluded" and so on.

  • Be precise and concise. A well-written lab report abstract will be brief but at the same time accurate. That means all the essential parts will be summarized appropriately ensuring that all the vital data is presented. A line or two is enough to summarize the different components of the lab report abstract. The length of any abstract will be a paragraph or less than 200 words. To get the right length students must ensure that they are aware of the lab report abstract format the lecturer expects them to use.

  • Do not add different information in the abstract for a lab report. What this means is that any information presented in the abstract must be from within the lab report. Considering that it is a summary of the lab report you cannot include any new material not present in the report in the abstract. The data can be valid, but it will not be right to add it unless you do the same to the lab report.

  • Use keywords. Although keywords come in handy when someone is searching for your document online, they are essential for the lab report abstract. Depending on your chosen topic of interest, the supervisor will expect to see specific words or phrases in the lab report abstract. Even when you do not intend to have your document published online include keywords and phrases, it is a good habit develop and one that will prove beneficial when the time comes. Today any report you write needs to be optimized for search engines, especially if you want an audience.

A Lab Report Abstract Examples

Practice makes perfect. Therefore, one way to improve your skills is searching for a lab report abstract example for your school library, or you can go online. Here is a lab report abstract example:

The experiment aimed to test for amino acids present in a solution using chromatography. A mixture of standards was applied to analyze the unknown amino acids. For the separation of the amino acids in the solution, an ascending layer chromatography and an isopropanol-based solvent were used in combination. To successfully detect the amino acids ninhydrin was used. The unknown mixture was found to contain aspartate and histidine amino acids. Another observation made was that the free amino acids were hydrophobic. The method of the experiment proved to be efficient in analyzing the unknown amino acid solutions. From the findings of the investigation, it is safe to conclude that a mechanism for ninhydrin binding is proposed.


Writing a lab report abstract is not as challenging or complex as a lot of students might think. Having mastered the above and employ the tips provided it becomes an easy task. Practice helps, and a lab report abstract example is offered to help with that — all the best as you write your abstract for a lab report!

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