Appendix I

The Formal Report

Course Support
Lab Contents



A conclusion is a short section (often only one to three sentences) summarizing the major results of the report, usually answering the experiment's objective. If values where determined in the report, then this section clearly summarizes these results along with how accurate they are (the uncertainty of the results). It usually compares the report results with expected outcomes.

PhysLab Specifications

 A conclusion summarizes the major results of the report along with context to what is being reported. If relevant, the concluding results are compared to expected values (using a percentage or absolute difference). The conclusion must be self-referencing. Any values quoted must be presented in proper final form. It is not acceptable to combine the discussion with the conclusion into one section.

A self-referencing conclusion implies that one can read the conclusion without reading any other part of the report and fully understand what it says. This requires a clear context (foundations to the statements made) and clear definitions of all symbols used in the conclusion.

If a comparison with an expected value is made, then the proper comparative statement must be made.   (for example "The calculated result was \(7.6 \pm 1.2g\).  This result is 2g higher than expected," or "The expected result is \(3\%\) higher than the determined result of \(34 \pm 1.3\)"

Expected Practice

The conclusion usually starts with one or two sentences that provide the context for the information. If numerical results were obtained, then a typical or summary numerical result with uncertainty is stated. Often concluding statements can be drawn from a good discussion. A good conclusion also indicates how the investigation would be furthered (in the opinion of the author), usually in a single sentence.