Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Laboratory Techniques for Experimental Physics (10 Credits)
Academic Year
Available semesters 1 and 2
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
Registration on degree scheme: Physics Joint Hons, Major (Physics)/ Minor, Space Science and Robotics.
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Weekly Written Laboratory Diary.  The students are assessed on the quality of note-taking during a three hour experiment. Each experiment is unique and the length of words required is different.The minimum is 200 words per experiment.  The students are assessed on the quality of note-taking during experiments. A typical diary will be approximately 200 words per experiment.  30%
Semester Assessment 1 x Lab Report,  1000 words  30%
Semester Assessment Written Workbook,  40 hours  40%
Supplementary Assessment As determined by the Departmental Examination Board  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate practical competence and accuracy in carrying out experimental procedures including measurement, use of scientific instruments and recording of results.
2. Produce a laboratory report using a word processing package.
3. Identify types of uncertainties in an experiment and determine error propagation.
4. Work with others in a considerate way, dividing the duties efficiently.
5. Respect and acknowledge the intellectual property of others.

Brief description

Experimentation is a fundamental part of the physical sciences process. It allows us to understand the world around us, to develop theories and to test those theories. In this module you will learn the basic techniques of performing experiments, taking measurements, accounting for uncertainty in your measurements, analysing results and comparing them with theory.

This module will introduce science undergraduates to the key areas of experimental physics which can be used to understand the world around us. A worksheet detailing uncertainties in measurement and accuracy of models is expected. Emphasis is placed on accuracy of note-taking. Undergraduates will be expected to keep a laboratory diary as they are conducting the experiments. In addition to the notes kept in the diary, students will be expected to write up one of the experiments as a formal report, including background research into the topic.


• Basic error analysis.
• Keeping laboratory diaries and writing a report. The series of experiments are based on core physics ideas. These experiments cover key introductory areas of physics.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number In essence, physics is based on the use of mathematics and experimental physics on the manipulation of number. Application of number is a central part of this module.
Communication Students will keep laboratory diaries and write a report on an experiment.
Improving own Learning and Performance Each week the feed-back provided for the lab diaries encourages the student to improve their note-taking.
Information Technology Modern data analysis is dependent on the use of computers. In some experiments, students use a computer package to analyse data and will be expected to word process their lab reports.
Problem solving Students will apply problem solving techniques in the course of experimentation and in the handling of data arising from experiments.
Research skills Students will be expected to research the background to experiments.
Subject Specific Skills Use of scientific equipment. Performance of experiments. Writing scientific method. Analysis of experimental uncertainty.
Team work Students are encouraged to co-operate in the solution of modelling problems.


This module is at CQFW Level 4