Biology 302 Lab Report Rubric


Context (8)

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the big picture; why is this question important/ interesting in the field of biology?             
  • Provide at least one explanation of why others would find the topic interesting and some relevant context for the research question(s).
  • Details to include:
    • What are HL-60 cells? Where do they come from? Describe the cells.
    • Differentiation
    • PMA
    • DMSO
    • Monocytes
    • Granulocytes
    • MMP-9 and it’s signal transduction pathway

        Accuracy and relevance (6)

  • Content knowledge is accurate, relevant and provides appropriate background for reader including defining critical terms.  
  • Background information is specific to content.
  • Primary literature references are not critical, but if cited, done accurately (Xie paper should probably be cited).

        Hypothesis (6)

  • Hypotheses are clearly stated, testable and consider reasonable alternative explanations              
  • At least one relevant, testable hypothesis is clearly stated.
  • The hypothesis may be compared with a “null” alternative which is usually the absence of the expected result.
  • Details to include:
    • Cell viability with treatments
    • Differentiation experiments
    • MMP9 expression

        Procedure, Controls & Replication

  • Procedure is clearly explained.
  • Appropriate controls (including replication) are present and explained and represent all variables being tested.  
  • Student demonstrates a reasonable sense of why controls/ replication matter for this experiment.
  • Details to include:
    • Trypan Blue Viability Assay
    • Cellular staining
      • May-Grunwald/Giemsa
    • RT-PCR
      • RNA isolation
      • RT reaction
      • PCR
    • Zymogram
  • RESULTS (20)

        Data Selection (8)

  • Data are comprehensive, accurate and relevant.
  • Reader can fully evaluate whether the hypotheses were supported or rejected with the data provided.
  • Details to include:
    • Trypan Blue data
    • May-Grunwald data
    • Agarose gel image for RT-PCR
    • Zymogram gel image

        Data Presentation (12)

  • Data are summarized in a logical format with appropriate table or graph types. Properly label the data including units.
  • Graph axes are appropriately labeled and scaled with informative and complete captions.
  • The figure’s meaning is clear without requiring the reader to refer to the text.
  • Details to include:
    • Descriptive figure title for all figures.
    • Figure caption with appropriate detail.
    • Labels on gel lanes, bands, etc.

        Conclusions based on the data selected (20)

  • Conclusions are clearly and logically drawn from data provided.
  • A logical chain of reasoning from hypothesis then to data and finally to conclusions is clearly and convincingly explained.        
    • Make sure to clearly define conclusions from all experiments. Tie it all together.
  • Conclusions take limitations of the data into account.

        Alternative explanations / Limitations of data (10)

  • Alternative explanations include possible hypothetical outcomes that may support conclusions drawn.
  • Alternative explanations may be modifications of the original hypothesis and present corresponding conclusions.
  • Conclusions take limitations into account.
  • Details to include:
    • Use specific details on alternative explanation and limitations of the data, just saying human error is inappropriate.
      • Think critically about what may have happened in our experiments.

Significance of research (10)

  • Paper gives a clear indication of the significance of the research and its future directions
  • Suggests work that would fill knowledge gaps and move the field forward.
  • Writing quality (10)
  • Spelling and use of grammar are mostly correct (you can still tell the meaning).
  • Word usage makes reader’s understanding easier.
  • A clear organizational strategy is present with a logical progression of ideas.  The information is presented in an easy to read format.
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