Writing a lab report

writing a lab report

How to Write a, science, lab, report (with Pictures)

It is most usual to place the statement of purpose near the end of the Introduction, often as the topic sentence of the final paragraph. It is not necessary (or even desirable) to use the words "hypothesis" or "null hypothesis since these are usually implicit if you clearly state your purpose and expectations. Top of page Provide a clear statement of the rationale for your approach to the problem studied. For example: State briefly how you approached the problem (e.g., you studied oxidative respiration pathways in isolated mitochondria of cauliflower). This will usually follow your statement of purpose in the last paragraph of the Introduction. Why did you choose this kind of experiment or experimental design? What are the scientific merits of this particular model system?

Writing, assignments: Sample, lab, report

Although you may read some general background references (encyclopedias, textbooks, lab manuals, style manuals, etc.) to get yourself acquainted with the subject area, do not cite these, becasue they contain manager information that is considered fundamental or "common" knowledge wqithin the discipline. Cite, instead, articles that reported specific results relevant to your study. Learn, as soon as possible, how to find the primary literature (research journals) and review articles rather than depending on reference books. The articles listed in the literature cited of relevant papers you find are a good starting point to move backwards in a line of inquiry. Most academic libraries support the citation Index - an index which is useful for tracking a line of inquiry forward in time. Some of the newer search engines will actually send you alerts of new papers that cite particular articles of interest to you. Review articles are particularly useful because they summarize all the research done on a narrow subject area over a brief period of time (a year to a few years in most cases). Top of page be sure to clearly state the purpose and /or hypothesis that you investigated. When you are first learning to write in this format it is okay, and actually preferable, to use a pat statement like, "The purpose of this study was." or "we investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the. (1) blah, blah.(2) etc.

For example, in the mouse behavior paper, the words hormones and behavior would likely appear within the first one or two sentences of the Introduction. Top of page Establish the context by providing a brief and balanced first review of the pertinent published literature that is available on the subject. The key is to summarize (for the reader) what we knew about the specific problem before you did your experiments or studies. This is accomplished with a general review of the primary research literature (with citations ) but should not include very specific, lengthy explanations that you will probably discuss in greater detail later in the discussion. The judgment of what is general or specific is difficult at first, but with practice and reading of the scientific literature you will develop e firmer sense of your audience. In the mouse behavior paper, for example, you would begin the Introduction at the level of mating behavior in general, then quickly focus to mouse mating behaviors and then hormonal regulation of behavior. Lead the reader to your statement of purpose/hypothesis by focusing your literature review from the more general context (the big picture. G., hormonal modulation of behaviors) to the more specific topic of interest to you (e.g., role/effects of reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, in modulating specific sexual behaviors of mice.) Top of page What literature should you look for in your review of what we know about. Focus your efforts on the primary research journals - the journals that publish original research articles.

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Style : Use the active voice as much as possible. Some use of first person is okay, but do not overdo. Structure : The structure of the Introduction can be thought of as an inverted triangle - the broadest part at the top representing the most general information and focusing down to the specific problem writing you studied. Organize the information to present the more general aspects of the topic early in the Introduction, then narrow toward the more specific topical information that provides context, finally arriving at your statement of purpose and rationale. A good way to get on track is to sketch out the Introduction backwards ; start with the specific purpose and then decide what is the scientific context in which you are asking the question(s) your study addresses. Once the scientific context is decided, then you'll have a good sense of what level and type of general information with which the Introduction should begin. Here is the information should flow in your Introduction: Begin your Introduction by clearly identifying the subject area of interest. Do this by using key words from your Title in the first few sentences of the Introduction to get it focused directly on topic at the appropriate level. This insures that you get to the primary subject matter quickly without losing focus, or discussing information that is too general.

Confirm that all the information appearing the abstract actually appears in the body of the paper. Top of page introduction strategy faqs style structure relevant literature review statement of purpose rationale. Function : The function of the Introduction is to: Establish the context of the work being reported. This is accomplished by discussing the relevant primary research literature (with citations ) and summarizing our current understanding of the problem you are investigating; State the purpose of the work in the form of the hypothesis, question, or problem you investigated; and, Briefly explain your. Quite literally, the Introduction must answer the questions, " What was I studying? Why was it an important question? What did we know about it before i did this study? How will this study advance our knowledge?

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A simple rule-of-thumb is to return imagine that you are another researcher doing an study similar to the one you are reporting. If your Abstract was the only part of the paper you could access, would you be happy with the information presented there? Style : The Abstract is only text. Use the active voice when possible, but much of it may require passive constructions. Write your Abstract using concise, but complete, sentences, and get to the point quickly. Maximum length should be 200-300 words, usually in a single paragraph.

The Abstract should not contain: lengthy background information, references to other literature, elliptical (i.e., ending with.) or incomplete sentences, abbreviations or terms that may be confusing to readers, any sort of illustration, figure, or table, or references to them. Top of page. Strategy : Although it is the first section of your paper, the Abstract, by definition, must be written last since it will summarize the paper. To begin composing your Abstract, take whole sentences or key phrases from each section and put them in a sequence which summarizes the paper. Then set about revising or adding words to make it all cohesive and clear. As you become more proficient you will most likely compose the Abstract from scratch. Check your work : Once you have the completed abstract, check to make sure that the information in the abstract completely agrees with what is written in the paper.

The experimental design and methods used, ( from Methods ) clearly express the basic design of the study. Name or briefly describe the basic methodology used without going into excessive detail-be sure to indicate the key techniques used. The major findings including key quantitative results, or trends ( from Results ) report those results which answer the questions you were asking identify trends, relative change or differences, etc. A brief summary of your interpetations and conclusions. (from Discussion ) clearly state the implications of the answers your results gave you.


Whereas the title can only make the simplest statement about the content of your article, the Abstract allows you to elaborate more on each major aspect of the paper. The length of your Abstract should be kept to about 200-300 words maximum (a typical standard length for journals.) Limit your statements concerning each segment of the paper (i.e. Purpose, methods, results, etc.) to two or three sentences, if possible. The Abstract helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper, or it may be the only part they can obtain via electronic literature searches or in published abstracts. Therefore, enough key information (e.g., summary results, observations, trends, etc.) must be included to make the Abstract useful to someone who may to reference your work. Top of page how do you know when you have enough information in your Abstract?

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It is very general, and could be business referring to any of a number of mouse behaviors. A better title would be : The Effects of Estrogen on the nose-Twitch courtship Behavior in Mice Why? Because the key words identify a specific behavior, a modifying agent, and the experimental organism. If possible, give the key result of the study in the title, as seen in the first example. Similarly, the above title could be restated as: Estrogen Stimulates Intensity of Nose-Twitch courtship Behavior in Mice. Strategy for Writing Title. Top of page abstract. Function : An abstract summarizes, in one paragraph (usually the major aspects of the entire paper in the following prescribed sequence: the question(s) you investigated (or purpose ( revelation from Introduction ) state the purpose very clearly in the first or second sentence.

writing a lab report

The authors' names (pi or primary author first) and institutional affiliation are double-spaced from and centered below the title. When more then two authors, the names are separated by blood commas except for the last which is separated from the previous name by the word "and". For example: Ducks over-Winter in Colorado barley fields in Response to Increased daily mean Temperature Ima mallard, Ura Drake, and woodruff Ducque department of Wildlife biology, university of Colorado - boulder Top of page The title is not a section, but it is necessary and. The title should be short and unambiguous, yet be an adequate description of the work. A general rule-of-thumb is that the title should contain the key words describing the work presented. Remember that the title becomes the basis for most on-line computer searches - if your title is insufficient, few people will find or read your paper. For example, in a paper reporting on an experiment involving dosing mice with the sex hormone estrogen and watching for a certain kind of courtship behavior, a poor title would be: mouse behavior Why?

which should be capitalized, centered at the beginning of the section, and double spaced from the lines. Do not underline the section heading or put a colon at the end. Example of a main section heading: introduction subheadings: When your paper reports on more than one experiment, use subheadings to help organize the presentation. Subheadings should be capitalized (first letter in each word left justified, and either bold italics or underlined. Example of a subheading: Effects of Light Intensity on the rate of Electron Transport Top of page title, authors' names, and Institutional Affiliations. Function : your paper should begin with a title that succinctly describes the contents of the paper. Use descriptive words that you would associate strongly with the content of your paper: the molecule studied, the organism used or studied, the treatment, the location of a field site, the response measured, etc. A majority of readers will find your paper via electronic database searches and those search engines key on words found in the title. Format : The title should be centered at the top of page 1 (do not use a title page - it is a waste of paper for our purposes the title is not underlined or italicized.

Titles to find out what information is available on a subject. Others may read only titles and. Those database wanting to go deeper may look at the. Tables and Figures in the, results, and. The take home point here is that the scientific format helps to insure that at whatever level a person reads your paper (beyond title skimming they will likely get the key results and conclusions. Top of page, the sections of the paper, most journal-style scientific papers are subdivided into the following sections: Title, authors and Affiliation, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, acknowledgments, and Literature cited, which parallel the experimental process. This is the system we will use.

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Table of Contents, fAQs, pdf version, rationale. Sections, section headings, title, authors and Affiliation, abstract. Introduction, methods, results, discussion, acknowledgments, literature cited, appendices. Why a scientific Format? The scientific format may seem confusing for the beginning science writer due to its book rigid structure which is so different from writing in the humanities. One reason for using this format is that it is a means of efficiently communicating scientific findings to the broad community of scientists in a uniform manner. Another reason, perhaps more important than the first, is that this format allows the paper to be read at several different levels. For example, many people skim.


Writing a lab report
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