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Pure ZnO and aluminum doped ZnO films (ZAO) were prepared by sol-gel method and the effect of Al doping on the microstructure and electrical properties of the films was investigated. The results showed that the transformation from granular to columnar structure could be observed in pure ZnO films with the increase in heating time while in aluminum doped films little structural changes occurred even after a prolonged heating time. Additionally, measurements of electrical properties showed that both microstructural evolution and doping could significantly improve the conductivity of the films, which could be assigned to an increase both in Hall mobility and carrier concentration. The relationship between microstructure and the electrical properties of the films was discussed, and various scattering mechanisms were proposed for sol-gel derived ZnO and ZAO films as a function of the carrier concentration.