Writing Lab Reports in the Biological Sciences

Report
Writing Research Reports in the
Biological Sciences
By
Michael G. Smircich
Biology and Marine Biology Peer Tutor
This handout is
provided by the CLR.
7 Main Sections
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Methods
Results (Data)
Discussion
Conclusion
References (works cited)
Abstract
•
•
•
•
•
Why the experiment was done
What questions/problem was addressed
How the research was done
What major results were obtained
What major conclusions were drawn
• Don’t be fooled, this paragraph could make or
break your entire paper!!!
Introduction
• Background information from previous studies
that directly relates to your research
• Should anticipate any questions that are
discussed later
• Should end with a clear statement of the
specific issues that will be addressed in the
report
Introduction
• Should NOT:
– analyze results
– List data
– Go into detail about methods
– Make any conclusions
Materials and Methods
• Must be descriptive
– Anyone should be able to read this section and
replicate your experiment
• Include all details that may have influenced
your results
• Should NOT include details that are irrelevant
– i.e. we used #2 pencils to write in our notebooks
Results
• Summarize your findings
– Use tables, graphs, illustrations, and words
• Draw readers attention to major observations,
trends, and important points
• Be selective about including tables and graphs
– Present data only once
• DO NOT INTERPRET DATA HERE!!!
Results
• Good or bad?
Results
• Now this is good!
Discussion
• Interpret your results
• Why were your results different than
expected?
• How do your results compare to other similar
studies?
• Ideas for future research
• Ways to improve your experiment for future
recreations
Conclusion
• Reiterate your original hypothesis or question
statement
– Did you answer/solve your question?
• Sum up your findings
• Suggest ways this study can be built upon in
the future
Works Cited
• Should include all data you referenced
• Typically done in APA format
– In text citations should include (Author, date of
publication) after the statement you quoted
– i.e. Starfish have radial symmetry (Smircich,1999)
• Reference list should be in alphabetical order
according to author’s last name
Works Cited
• Example reference
– Calabrese, A., Davis, H.C. (1966). The pH tolerance
of embryos and larvae of Mercenaria
mercenaria and Crassostrea virginica. Biological
Bulletin. Vol. 131. No. 3. pp. 427-436
• For more help with APA format:
– http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/
01/
Acknowledgment (optional)
• Some people may choose to add this section
to thank anyone who has helped make their
paper possible
• Try to be short and concise
• This can often be a tricky section
• You never want to insult anyone by not including them
Should I write each section in order?
• Easiest method
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Materials and Methods
Results
Discussion
Introduction
Abstract
• Most importantly, do whatever works best
for you!
Thank you!
If you have an questions, please email me
at [email protected]
You may request an electronic copy of this
presentation

similar documents