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Help with writeup!

  1. Sep 30, 2004 #1

    I will be doing some experiments in the coming week from school and it will be assesed.

    I know that in the formal write up i should use the following order

    Name of experiment
    Results(If any)

    I wanted to know if there is a better way to write the experiment, and also the words that will mean a lot in explination of the experiment.

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 30, 2004 #2
    It is understanding that counts, not words. I have a couple of severe dyslexic pupils who can barely write, but the understanding shown in their work is far better than some of the beautiful prose of less able Physicists.

    Understand and explain the Physics. Content is king, not style!
  4. Sep 30, 2004 #3

    Claude Bile

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    The general structure is quite standard and should be okay. Here is a few other things you should consider including in your report;

    Uncertainties - This is a biggie, take time to give a reasonable estimation of uncertainties in your measurements. Also, distinguish between errors and uncertainties, as they are not the same thing.

    Comparison of Results with Theory - You should be able to do one of two things, a) Show that your results agree with theory or b) Explain why they don't. Most likely a combination between the two, often along the lines of 'Results were in reasonable agreement with theory, but there was a slight discrepancy due to.....'. This shows that you have gone away and put your results in a meaningful context.

    Discussion of Results - This kind of blends in with the previous point, you should include a short discussion of what your results mean in a broader context, that is, what theories they support for example.

    Write in third person - Experiments are supposed to be objective observations, so it is godd practice to avoid using words such as 'I' or 'we'.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. What your teacher will most likely be looking for is whether or not you understand the physics. If you can look at the results, discuss them in a meaningful context and then draw a conclusion, then you should do well.

    Also, just as an aside, you should also include the date, and your partners' names (if any).

    Good luck,
  5. Oct 1, 2004 #4
    Thanks "Claude Bile".

    When it comes to understanding the physics of what i am doing i dont have trouble with it, but when it comes to writing it i always screw it and ussually end up with a C, where as some of my class mates get better mark dispite that their physic work was not as good as mine. Even my teacher said that if the write up part improves they will be all A.

    But when i try my best i end up with worst marks than C in my english class, when i am just kidding arround i end up receiving a B.

    I don't know if there is something wrong with the teacher of if there is something wrong with the basic idea of good english in my head!
  6. Oct 1, 2004 #5
    Weird. Ask your teacher specifically what he/she wants you to improve upon in your write-ups.

    There is no one standard format for lab write-ups. Often each teacher or organisation will have its own set of guidelines. Did your teacher give you some guidelines? Other than that, the suggestions of others above are good to keep in mind as well.
  7. Oct 4, 2004 #6

    Claude Bile

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    I suggest you read the reports of people who are getting A's and see what they are doing well that you aren't. Often the best feedback comes from your peers rather than your teacher.

    The most likely reason that you are getting lower marks is that, while you understand the material in your head, you find it difficult to explain concisely in plain English. If you have a tendancy to woffle on a bit, then it will come across as if you do not understand the material

    Use plenty of diagrams, the bigger the better. This will help convey your understanding of the material to your teacher.

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