First page: Student name and SS# (last 4), course, instructor, date submitted, followed by a Title and Abstract(Abstract = the purpose, intent and method(s) of the lab project,and the general nature of the data and results obtained, all in one paragraph; try to cover every section of the Report that follows, with for example (but not necessarily) a sentence or two per section.

Second page: Introduction. What question is being asked? What did you already know (from the lab manual and references) and what did you plan to find out coming into the project? In this section, do not discuss what actually happened or what you found. Literature and internet references that you cite should be listed in a separate section at the end of the report.

Methods:In different scientific journals, the Methods section either follows the Introduction or comes at the very end of the paper. In this course, since understanding the methods is a key objective, we will put the methods section after the Introduction. Describe the experimental procedures completely; in some cases where there are too many details to list, it is OK to introduce a method succinctly and end with “…as described in the Lab Manual.” Use headers for each separate part, and full sentences. Use past tense (this work was already done), usually third person passive voice (e.g., “…the solution was transferred to the microcentrifuge tube…”). Mention references where applicable, and list them in detail at the end of the report (below).

Results:A description in words of observations, measurements, etc., illustrated by Tables, graphs,photographs or other experimental data as actually obtained by you or your group in the lab. Imagine the Tables and Figures as Powerpoint slides that you are describing.

Use headers for each sub-part. Figures referred to in the text should be numbered and described in figure legends at the end of the report, or, alternatively, integrated into the text (see below).

Interpretation or Discussion:Following the experimental Results, a careful interpretation should be provided. This is usually called the Discussion section. What do the results mean? The results should be interpreted in light of the original hypothesis or the original purpose as mentioned in the Introduction. Did the data support your expectations in your hypothesis?

Conclusion: Summarize (again) what you found,very briefly, and then discuss where it could lead next. If you continued working on this project, what might you do next? What could be done better or differently?

References and citation style: You may mention references within the text of the report either by name (e.g., Lab Manual, page…) or bysuperscript number, listed by order of appearance.If listed by name in the text, give the full references in alphabetical order in the Reference section at the end, and if listed by number in the text, give the references in numerical order in the References section. For example:

Author(s), Title, Year (if known), publication, pages.

For Internet references, provide the URL and state last date(s) accessed.

Reference citation guides:


Tables and Figures:One convention, similar to that used for journal article submissions, is to place Tables and Figures at thevery end, Tables first, followed by Figure Legends, followed by Figures. Give each Figure a number, title and legend (descriptive textual note). Numbered figure titles and legends are traditionally given on a separate page, before the Figures themselves, because the art departments of scientific journals prefer that graphic materials be submitted separately from printed text, making it easier for them to prepare page layouts. An alternative format, which may give the report a smoother flow, is to integrate the Tables and Figures and their accompanying Legends with the text, as in the final published form of a scientific paper. You may adopt either of these formats, but be sure that your Tables and Figures are accompanied by corresponding legends and that they ate referred to and described in your Results text (and possibly also referred to in your Interpretation or Discussion text).

Summary of Format

First page

Student name (SS#, last 4):

Name/Number of course:



Date(s) lab work was performed:

Date Report submitted:


Following pages:



Headings; Narrative style, past tense (avoid cut/paste of text from Lab Manual)

Ideally, third person passive (“The sample was analyzed…”)






Tables and Figures(alternatively, could be integrated withinResults text):

Tables with titles

Figure titles and legends (title + legend without the Figure itself)


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