Asee peer logo

Supporting Lab Report Writing In An Introductory Materials Engineering Lab

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.917.1 - 6.917.11

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Thomas Hare

author page

Roger Russell

author page

Miriam Ferzli

author page

Michael Carter

author page

Yusef Fahmy

author page

Eric Wiebe

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526

Supporting Lab Report Writing in an Introductory Materials Engineering Lab

Eric N. Wiebe, Thomas M. Hare, Michael Carter, Yusef Fahmy, Roger Russell, Miriam Ferzli NC State University


This paper will describe the development and implementation of a web-based support site for helping students write and reflect on lab reports in an undergraduate Materials Science lab. This project, part of a larger NSF project to support undergraduate lab report writing, details the specific challenges of implementing lab report writing support materials for engineering labs. The lab report writing project, LabWrite, is focused on helping students better understand the process of writing lab reports. This includes help with organization of information prior to coming to lab, how to organize data collection in the lab and finally, writing, graphing, and interpretation of the results.

One of the biggest challenges was the creation of support materials that would be relevant not only to basic science courses, but also to engineering courses. This paper will focus on how lab report writing in materials engineering differs from report writing in traditional science courses, such as chemistry and biology. Also discussed is a more general implementation issue of providing on-line support for writing, graphing, and interpretation of data. Lessons learned include the importance of taking a holistic approach to the infusion of these support materials into lab-based courses by involving faculty, lab instructors, lab support personnel, and students in the development and implementation of the material.

I. Introduction

Communication skills of engineering students have long been a concern of engineering educators 1- 3 . Indeed, poor communication skills are often cited by engineering professionals as one of the primary inadequacies of entry-level engineers 4, 5. The ability to communicate effectively as engineers now has a place among the eleven curricular standards of ABET EC2000 Criterion 3. Certainly, many engineering educators would like to place the entire responsibility--and blame-- for their students’ writing and speaking on teachers in freshman composition and technical writing. But the problem lies much deeper than that. The difficulty engineering students have with

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Hare, T., & Russell, R., & Ferzli, M., & Carter, M., & Fahmy, Y., & Wiebe, E. (2001, June), Supporting Lab Report Writing In An Introductory Materials Engineering Lab Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015