HOW TO WRITE A LAB REPORT Mrs. Stewart Biomedical Central Magnet NOTE: 1. No student should copy data from anyone who is not his or her lab partner. 2. You will perform the experiment with your lab groups, but the lab report that you turn in must be the individual work of you and your lab partner. (Lab reports are subject to all the rules governing
academic honesty.) PROFESSIONAL VOICE All sections of a lab report are expected to be written in professional voice Professional Voice: 3rd person Passive Methods = past tense
SECTIONS OF A LAB REPORT Title page (separate) Abstract Introduction (background) Methods Results Discussion Conclusion References IN WHAT ORDER IS A LAB REPORT
WRITTEN? It is easiest to approach a lab report in the following way: 1. Methods 2. Results 3. Discussion 4. Conclusion 5. Introduction 6. References 7. Title 8. Abstract
TITLE Title should be a clear and concise explanation of the purpose for performing the experiment Examples: The effect of age on short term memory The production of antibiotic resistant bacteria through conjugation and selective pressure Using an ELISA to determining patient zero in a meningitis outbreak TITLE PAGE SETUP Clear, concise title goes here!
Name(s) Medical Interventions Activity # Date(s) of lab ABSTRACT The abstract should be a summary of the information contained in the entire lab report One paragraph Could stand alone without the lab report Write this last!
WRITING AN ABSTRACT A well written abstract will contain 1-2 sentences on each of the following sections of your paper: 1. Research purpose: what is the purpose of your research (research question) and why is it important to know the answer? 2. Previous Knowledge: has this been studied before? What do we already know? 3. Hypothesis: what is your hypothesis? 4. Methods: What did you actually do to test your hypothesis?
5. Results: what was the overall summary of your data? 6. Conclusion: Did the results support/refute hypothesis? 7. Implications: What is the significance of your data? What are the applications of this research? INTRODUCTION (BACKGROUND) Research purpose Summarizes current knowledge on the topic Longest part of the lab report (2-3 paragraphs) Hypothesis
DO NOT DISCUSS THIS CLASSROOM IN YOUR LAB REPORT! PREDICTION VS. HYPOTHESIS Prediction Tells what you expect to happen in a lab Example: It is expected that Maria will be patient zero in the outbreak of bacterial meningitis on this campus. Hypothesis
Specific prediction of what the RESULTS will be to show whether or not the prediction will be accurate Example: Maria will have the highest concentration of pathogen in her spinal fluid. METHODS Written in paragraph form Concise explanation of procedures, including all necessary measurements, materials, equations, etc. Do NOT list the materials used separately. This is not a recipe
The reader can make his/her own list of materials by reading this section Citations are a must! You did not design these labs so you cannot take credit. LEVEL OF DETAIL IS AN ART... Consider these two paragraphs 1. 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 onequarter 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. Which one would you prefer to read? Why? ESSENTIAL DETAILS ONLY How do you know if a detail is essential? Ask: Does this information have influence over my results? Yes = Essential No = Can leave this info out RESULTS
All data gathered during experimentation Quantitative data Must be represented in graph/chart form. Qualitative data must be represented in a chart or table form All data (charts or graphs) must be by a brief summary stating what information is shown. This is NOT an interpretation of what the results indicated. EXAMPLE: Mean Reaction Times vs. Cue Reaction Time (in seconds)
3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Auditory Visual
Combination Reaction Cue Provided The graph shows the average reaction times for each type of stimulus (cue) provided. Auditory /Visual combination stimulus produced an average reaction time that was shorter than either auditory or visual when applied individually. DISCUSSION Interpret the meaning of the results (data) here!
At least one paragraph Suggest sources of possible error (there is always a source of possible error) Suggest improvements to eliminate errors Suggest future experiments that could expand on your work DISCUSSION EXAMPLE: The average reaction time based on a combined auditory & visual cue was shorter than the average reaction time based on a singular cue alone. This
indicates that the combination of auditory and visual stimuli creates a faster response time in individuals than when these stimuli are applied separately. Therefore, stimuli is more effective when it combines more than one form. There were potential errors in the experiment, including the confounding variables of age and gender in the sample population. For a more reliable study, this technique should be repeated with a greater focus on eliminating the confounding variables. CONCLUSION
Begin by restating the purpose of the lab (research question or problem statement). Restate the hypothesis and reflect on how the results either support or refute the hypothesis. Reflect on significance of this research (why is it important this was known) and discuss possible applications for the knowledge gained. CONCLUSION EXAMPLE: The purpose of this research was to determine if combining a visual stimulus with an auditory
stimulus would create a faster reaction time than when these stimuli are applied separately. It was hypothesized that the combination of the stimuli would decrease the reaction time. The results support the hypothesis. This research could significantly improve reaction times in drivers if a brake light was also combined with a sound to indicate stopping. Even a millisecond decrease in reaction time could improve accident statistics by increasing the likelihood of someone stopping sooner. CITATIONS
You are required to include AT LEAST 3 credible sources in each lab report. PLTW MUST BE CITED You did not design the experiment, so you cannot take credit for it. APA style In text citations should be utilized where necessary and appropriate.
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