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I2: Conclusion Writing

The most updated lab writing instructional modules are available:

Learning Objectives

This module is designed to assist engineering instructors in developing and/or strengthening lab instruction materials so that students should be able to:

  1. Identify technical audience expectations for engineering lab report conclusions.
  2. Describe what makes a conclusion meaningful, especially to a technical audience.
  3. Relate the idea of audience expectations to prior writing instruction.
  4. Write meaningful conclusions for an engineering lab report.
  5. Summarize the important contents of the laboratory report clearly, succinctly, and with sufficient specificity.
  6. Support conclusions with the evidence presented earlier in the lab report.

Why Does the Technical Audience Value Meaningful Conclusions From Engineering Lab Reports?

The technical audience reads the lab report conclusions carefully to take away the writer’s most important information. If the conclusion is well written, they may not need to read any other part of the report or know that they want to read the rest of the report to understand important details.

What is a Meaningful Conclusion in an Engineering Lab Report?

A conclusion is meaningful if it includes a summary of the work (i.e. objective and process) as well as the key findings (i.e., the results of the work and their implications) of the lab work.

What Features Does the Technical Audience Expect From Lab Report Conclusions?

  • Restate the objective briefly.
  • Restate the lab process briefly.
  • Restate the important results of the lab work briefly, including any significant errors.
  • Restate the important findings briefly to meet the objective.
  • Provide brief recommendations for future actions or laboratories.

How Can we Use Engineering Judgment When Drawing Lab Report Conclusions?

In the context of engineering lab reports, engineering judgment can be defined as an application of evidence (i.e., lab data) and engineering principles (i.e. theory) to make decisions. The technical audience can trust the conclusions only when they are based on accurate data. The writer should use appropriate engineering principles when investigating and discussing lab data.

 What Are Some Common Mistakes Seen in Poorly Written Engineering Lab Reports?

  • No conclusion is included in the report.
  • The conclusion is missing an important part (i.e., key results) of the lab.
  • New data or new discussion is included that was not written in the report body.
  • Concluding statements do not address the stated objectives of the report.
  • The conclusion includes opinions rather than the facts supported by other sections of the report.
  • Statements are overly general without containing any meaningful conclusion.
  • Statements are overly specific with the detailed descriptions which are supposed to be in the body.

Sample conclusions from student lab reports

Sample grading comments


  1. Kim, J., Kim, D., (2019) “How engineering students draw conclusions from lab reports and design project reports in junior-level engineering courses,” The Proceedings of 2019 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Tampa, FL, June 2019.
  2. “Argument Papers”, Purdue University, Purdue Online Writing Lab, Argument Papers,
  3. “Student Writing Guide”, University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering,