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Research Guides

CHM217: Introduction to Analytical Chemistry

After the Lab

Once you've completed the lab, it's time to analyze, interpret and report on your results. The steps below will help guide you through the process and provide links to the resources you will need.

1. Analyze your results

After you have collected all your data during the lab, it's time to analyze it! Most of the analysis can be done using Microsoft Excel. To get up to speed on the key functions you will need to use in Excel as well as important statistical concepts for analyzing experimental data, please complete the tutorial below.

2. Draw Molecules and Reactions

For your formal lab report, you will want to include drawings of molecules and reactions. Below are some options for chemical drawing software to help you draw chemical structures and include them in your document.

3. Find Relevant Literature

When writing your lab report, it is important to include references to relevant scholarly sources to demonstrate the context, theoretical background and purpose of the experiment. Rather than simply referencing the lab manual or lecture content, you should cite the relevant sections of your course texts, other reference works and primary research articles.

Required and Reference Resources

Before diving into the primary literature, look for information in your required textbooks and recommended reference resources. A list of the these is available in the References Resources tab.

Analytical Chemistry Journals

To find additional information, you can search for articles within specific journals. Below are some key peer-reviewed journals for analytical chemistry.

Article Databases

You can also find journal articles by searching in broader article databases. These databases do not search the full-text of an article, but only the title, abstract, citation information, and for SciFinder, certain chemical data.

4. Write Your Report

For one of your CHM217 labs, you will need to complete a formal report in a similar format to a scientific journal article. You should use the corresponding Report Form and Post-Lab Assignment to help guide the data analysis and discussion included in your formal report.

Your report should include the following sections:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Experimental details
  • Results & Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References in ACS Style
  • Supplementary information (data tables, graphs, error analyses, etc.)

The document below (also available on Quercus) provides detailed instructions on how to prepare your formal report. This includes tips for what to include and how to organize your report.

5. Cite your sources

Citation Styles

Make sure to properly cite your sources! Below are some commonly used citation styles in chemistry. Your formal lab report requires that you cite your sources using ACS Citation Style.

Citation Management

Citation managers (also called reference managers) are software tools that can help you collect and organize references for your lab reports and save time by automatically generating citations in your preferred style. There are multiple options available, many of which are free to access!