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WRITING A SCIENTIFIC LAB REPORT

 

 

A.   ABSTRACT (single spaced)

¯ Summarizes the problem investigated, hypothesis, the methods used, the results and conclusion in 150-200 words.

 

B.   TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

C.   INTRODUCTION: Min. 4 pages, at least 6 pages to be considered for a (B or higher) double spaced

¯ Explains to the reader what your investigation is about. Give the purpose and the problem.

¯ Explain your learning goals & objectives. 

¯ Provide detailed background information on the subject area and variables (IV & DV) in the experiment.

¯ State the hypothesis. Give well-defined research-based reason for making the hypothesis.

¯ Explain the biological or scientific importance of your experiment.

¯ Cite sources using in-text citations.

¯ Explain how the method/procedure used will produce relevant information that is related to the hypothesis. ****Simply stated explain how experiment design (your control group & your test groups) should yield appropriate data that supports the hypothesis made. ****

 

D.   MATERIALS AND METHOD: 1-2 pages double spaced

¯ Provides a detail, step-by-step account of how the experiment was conducted.

¯ Do not write a recipe. Put your instructions in paragraph form. And describe what you did (past tense).

¯ Give enough details so the reader could duplicate the experiment.

¯ State the control set-up, the independent and dependent variables used, and patterns of replication (number of trials).

¯ Include safety procedures and precautions necessary.

¯ Explain who to use specific equipment (Use diagrams to help)

¯ Provide any survey question used, provide pictures/figure to show equipment used. Refer to the survey or pictures in the detailed procedure.

o   For example: During the experiment, 5 potted plants, with 5 plants in each tray was used. (See Figure 1 on p. 3) OR

o   The dimesions for the 3-D home were 4x4x10. (See figure 1 on p. 2)

 

E.   RESULTS

¯ Present data in an organized manner and appropriate format (table, charts, pictures or graph)

¯ Label the axes of each graph completely.

¯ Give units of measurement where appropriate

¯ Give a title and description to ALL tables, pictures, graphs etc, by writing a description caption for each table, picture, diagram, or figure.

¯ Include a SHORT paragraph pointing out the important results. BUT DO NOT interpret or explain the data.

 

F.   DISCUSSION: min. 3 pages, at least 5 pages to be considered for a (B) double spaced.  This is the most important part of the paper.

¯ What do the results indicate clearly?  What have you found?  Explain what you know with certainty based on your results and draw conclusions.

¯ Interpret the results, explain their significance, What ambiguities (things that are unclear or have multiple meanings) exist? What questions might be raised?  Find logical explanations for problems in the data.

¯ State whether the hypothesis was supported or proven false. To do this, cross-reference your results and your prediction from the introduction.  Compare expected results with those obtained.  If there were differences, how can you account for them? Saying "human error" implies you're incompetent. Be specific; for example, the instruments could not measure precisely, the sample was not pure or was contaminated, or calculated values did not take account of friction. 

¯ Cite specific results the support your conclusions. Give the reasoning for your conclusions

¯ Demonstrate that you understand the biological or scientific meaning of your results by writing and explanation as to why these things happened in the experiment. Then explain what this means for the body, research, or other areas of science or healthcare.

¯ Analyze experimental error.   Was it avoidable? Was it a result of equipment?  If an experiment was within the tolerances, you can still account for the difference from the ideal. If the flaws result from the experimental design explain how the design might be improved.

¯ Compare the results with your predictions and explain any unexpected results.

¯ Compare the results with other research or information available to you; be sure to cite the other project.

¯ Discuss any weaknesses in your experimental design or problems with the execution of the experiment.

¯ Discuss how you might extend or improve your experiment.

 

G.  CONCLUSION (1 - 2 paragraphs, double spaced)

¯ Conclusion can be stated in three sections of your report, the introduction, discussion and the conclusion.

¯ Restate and rephrase your conclusions. Try not to use the same sentences from the previous sections.

¯ Restate the important results.

 

H.  APPENDIX

¯ Displays all figures, charts, graphs, or pictures. Each entry has a title, description and a number.

¯ Statistical Analysis: the entire mathematical portions of your project are shown here.

¯ Graphs and tables should reappear in this section.

¯ Make sure reader knows where in lab report to find pictures if you place them in the appendix section. Entries are in the order they appear in the report.

¯ Acknowledgements (donÕt thank parents and teachers, unless they served as your mentor)

 

 

I.     REFERENCE PAGE & IN-TEXT CIATIONS

¯ Use proper citation form (APA)

¯ Use appropriate citation rules for quotes and paraphrasing.

¯ ABSOULTELY NO PILGRISM.