Lab Reports Mrs. Stewart Biomedical Science
Lab Report Guidelines • Students will only copy data from his/her lab partner(s). • You may discuss the experiment with your lab partner and other classmates, but the lab report that you turn in must be your own work. Lab reports are subject to all the rules governing academic honesty. • Photocopies of any parts of the lab report are not permissible.
Know the Purpose • You MUST know the purpose of each lab. • Keep the focus on the big picture… – Ex. What was the lab all about? Determining the effects of temperature on growth rate of stonefly larvae…. It was not about measuring, turning on the balance,labeling the tubes, etc.
Quote: • Those who know HOW to do something, work for others who know WHY. -Don Odom
Parts of a Lab Report • The Title page • The Abstract • The Background/Introduction (includes hypothesis) • The Methods and Materials • The Results • The Discussion (includes conclusion) • Literature Cited
Professional Voice • 3rd person • Past tense • Passive
Title Page • Title should be a clear and concise way of indicating the purpose of the lab • Example: Determining the effect of (the independent variable) on (the dependent variable)
Title Page Setup Clear, concise title goes here! Your Name Your lab partner(s) Medical Interventions Activity # Date of lab
Abstract • An abstract is a paragraph summary of your completed research. • Includes one sentence from each section of your lab report.
Writing an Abstract • Sentences should be ordered as: • What is the purpose of the lab? • Why is the lab important? • What did you do to get the results? • What were your results? • What are the implications of your results?
The Introduction/background • What is the purpose (big question)? • What is already known about this topic? • What is your research question? • Why is it important to ask this question? • How will you answer thisquestion? • What do you expect to happen? PREDICTIONS • Formal HYPOTHESIS
Materials and Methods • MUST CITE PLTW. References are absolutely necessary if you didn’t design the lab - You can’t take the credit. • Concise explanation of materials and procedures…may want to include a small figure if a procedure involved a weird or complicated setup.
“Level of Detail” is an art in itself…. Consider these two paragraphs… • On January 5, I obtained four paper cups, 400 g of potting soil, and 12 radish seeds. I labeled the cups A,B,C,and D and planted three seeds per cup, using a plastic spoon to cover each seed with about one-quarter inch of soil. 2. On January 5, I planted three radish seeds in each of four individually marked paper cups, covering the seeds with about one-quarter inch of potting soil.
Essential details without the tedious details… • Cups were individually marked • Three seeds per cup • One-quarter inch of covering • Potting soil • How do we determine if something is “essential”? • Ask: What factor(s) may have influence over my results?
The Results • Data only in this section • Text for each data table shows a SUMMARY- not an interpretation - just the facts. • ALL of the following are appropriate. • A written description of your figures. • The figures themselves • Sentences like: “Feeding rate increased as temperature increased, as seen in Figure X.”
Discussion • This is your interpretation of your results. • why, not what • Relate results back to hypothesis and either accept it or reject it. • What is the significance of your data? • What are the potential errors in your experiment? • How could your experiment be expanded upon or improved upon?
Literature Cited • 3 reliable sources are required for each lab report • MUST cite PLTW • APA style is required
Reference Page AND In-Text Citations Required • For example, in the body of the lab report: • The sky is red at sunset due to the refraction of light off particles of pollution (Smith and Jones, 1945). • At the end of the report in the Literature Cited section, specific format and alphabetized by author • Wilcox, M. R. and G. S. Hoffman. 1987. Human Anatomy and Physiology. Third edition. Benjamin/Cummings, New York, New York. pp. 435-440.