Project Report Guidelines

The Project Reports you will prepare for this course are non-traditional laboratory reports. General guidelines for preparing a Project Report are:

1. The Project Report must be a word-processed document.

2. The document must be submitted in the appropriate assignment page in Blackboard by the specified due date. Scores on late submissions will be reduced by 10 points per day unless you discussed special arrangements with your instructor.

3. The Project Report is limited to two pages in total length, including any embedded diagrams, figures, or tables.

4. Images of raw data from laboratory instruments (e.g., an IR spectrum) must be included at the end of the document as addenda and do not count toward the two-page limit. No other material may be included as addenda.

5. The text should be written in a formal, persuasive style that makes an effective argument based on evidence (see Scientific Argumentation).

6. The Project Report should be structured into three sections described below. Each section should be labeled with a heading.

Section 1: Introduction and Goals. This section should explicitly state and describe the purpose of the project. It should also briefly explain the relevance of any theory, law, model, or concept underlying the investigation. For any project in which you design the procedure or choose the data to collect, this section should explain your design choices.

Section 2: The Investigation. This section should explain how you carried out the investigation by providing a general overview (not a step-by-step description) of your procedure. Appropriate terminology and scientific descriptors should be used. An example is given below:

In a 250 mL round bottom flask, 3,4-dimethylacetanilide (1.47 g, 9.0 mmol) was dissolved in acetic acid (12.8 mL), then bromine (0.89 mL, 17.3 mmol) in acetic acid (3.18 mL) was added slowly over 10 minutes. After the reaction mixture was stirred overnight at room temperature, water (130 mL) was added, and a yellow precipitate formed. The precipitate was separated from the mixture solution by vacuum filtration using a fritted filter funnel. The precipitate was purified via recrystallization from ethanol and then triturated with ice-cold ethanol (less than 2 mL), which was stirred in an ice bath, then collected via filtration to obtain a pale-yellow product (1.2 g, 54 %), which was dried under vacuum. (Source:

Section 3: The Argument. This section makes up the majority of the Project Report and should:

1. Articulate one or more claims that address the project objective(s)

2. Present genuine evidence in an appropriate, effective, and concise format (e.g., tables, figures, etc.)

3. Explain why the evidence supports the claim and address any uncertainties presented by the data.

Effective scientific arguments use data to explain the legitimacy of conclusions using direct, concise language. It is strongly recommended that you design easy-to-read visuals (e.g., tables and figures) to summarize your data for the reader.  Make it easy to see what you found at a glance. The text should focus on connecting that data your conclusion(s). In other words, the text helps the reader understand what it means.