CMPE12, Spring 2014, Section 01: Lab Write-Up Guidelines


A lab write-up is important in all science and engineering fields to communicate main points of the lab, its procedures, and results to other people.  These directions haven't changed in my classes for years.  The labs have changed, but not what goes into producing a good write-up.  I'm just trying to give you the tools to succeed here.

You can use this outline as a template for each of your labs that you will submit this quarter. You will be graded on the quality and correctness of your lab write-up in addition to the lab itself.

The lab write-up must be submitted as a plain-text file into the course locker along with your other lab files. Here is an example lab write up: Example_Lab_CE12

Here is an example of a README: README

README: Basic descriptions of your files, what to do with them, how to build, etc.

The Lab Write-up

The lab report consists of several sections: header, title, purpose, procedure, algorithms and other data, "what went wrong or what were the challenges?", "Other information (Answer any questions posed in the lab assignment.)", conclusion, and EXTRA. As you can see, you will have to answer questions we ask you in the lab assignment (e.g., "What is your favorite HC11 instruction?") which you will answer in the other information section.


The header is formated as in this example below: If you do have a lab partner, please put full name and ucscid as shown on the first line. ###############################

Aimen Al-Refai -- aalrefai

Lab section: 3 MW TA: John Smith

Due: 1/13/2011

Lab Partner: None



The title of your lab report may be the same as the title of the lab.


Why are we doing this lab? The purpose is a short description of the problem or exercise.


Exactly WHAT you did. This can be a short paragraph. Keep it simple!

Algorithms and other data

Exactly HOW you did it. This can be a short paragraph. Again, keep it simple!

Good (partial) example: Flash the lights and stop after 10 iterations

Bad (partial) example: Increment X by 1; shift D; compare X to 10; check that X is less than 10; if it is, then repeat the process; if not, break out of the loop and continue.

Equation text write up example and meanings:

DeMorgans: (AB)' = A' + B'           (A+B)' = A'B'

AB means A AND B

A+B means A OR B

A' means NOT A

A'B' means NOT A AND NOT B

A'+B' means NOT A OR NOT B

(AB)' means NOT (A AND B)

(A+B)' means NOT (A OR B)

A@B means A XOR B

** When in doubt write it out!!

What went wrong or what were the challenges?

Here you can explain errors and challenges. If a solution or partial solution was or was not found and why? See example lab report.

Other information (Answer any questions posed in the lab assignment.)

Answer any questions posed in the lab assignment.

Example: What is your favorite HC11 instruction? Mine is stab. I like to create a label called inTheEye and store accumulator B to that.


This is arguably the most important part of the lab. The conclusion is a paragraph or two that tells the reader what you learned. Sometimes we will skip down to the conclusion and read that first, and give you a grade based just on that. Ha ha! Just kidding; of course, we'll read the rest of the lab report as well.


Not manditory, but it is a good place to positively critic the lab. See lab write up example.

How we grade write-ups

Here is how we will grade your lab write-up on a 50-point scale.

50 points: EXCELLENT - Not only is the lab write-up complete, readable, succinct, and to the point, but also it goes above and beyond the basic meaning of the lab and tells the reader how the lab relates to general concepts. The student has gained insight through doing the lab, and effectively communicates the insight to the reader.

40 points: GOOD - The lab write-up is complete, readable, succinct, and to the point. The student has effectively communicated his or her work on the lab to the reader, and has gone one step beyond that by creating a link between lab, lecture, homework, and the real world.

30 points: SATISFACTORY - The basics of what you did and why you did it. The lab write-up is complete, readable, succinct, and to the point. The student has effectively communicated his or her work on the lab to the reader.

20 points: LACKING - Entire sections are missing, or there is no clear conclusion. The student did not communicate his or her work on the lab to the reader.

10 points: POOR - A meager attempt. At least you typed something up and submitted it.

0 points: The lab write-up you submitted is wholly inadequate or irrelevant.

-1 point: You did not submit a lab write-up.