Data tables are just that: tables of your results. Tables should be organized before you start your experiment, so that you can concentrate on your method instead of scrambling to organize your information while you work. Trust me on this: you will discover that your experiments go more smoothly if you come to class with your data tables set up, so that all you have to do is write the numbers in the right place.
Some rules for data tables included in your lab reports:
- Tables need a title! The title should identify what information is in the table.
- All columns should be labeled and include the units of measurement at the top.
- Use only numbers in the cells. (If you include the units as well, computers won’t read them as numbers, and they won’t be able to plot them on a graph for you.)
- Use the same number of decimal places in every measurement in a column.
- Center your numbers both vertically and horizontally to make the table easier to read.