Format and Guidelines for BISC 220 Lab Reports
One of our principal goals in the BISC 220 laboratory is to help you develop scientific literacy,
, the ability to read and understand the primary literature in biology.
Primary research articles
are the original and official reports of scientific findings.
They are the sources for all the
information presented in textbooks like the one we use in our class.
Research papers present the
background and objectives of a scientific study, describe the important methods and materials
used, summarize results of experiments, and discuss the authors’ interpretations of those results
in the context of previous work in the field.
As a student of science, your ability to read and
understand the primary literature is as important as general literacy is to your role as a citizen.
You will write your BISC 220 lab reports in the format of a primary research article in biology.
This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the primary literature and further develop your
Like a research article, full lab reports will consist of 6 parts: Title,
Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and References.
Actually, most scientific papers
include an Abstract that summarizes the entire paper and an Acknowledgments section that
credits sources of support, but we will omit these sections for our purposes.
To help you gain
experience with writing in the format of a scientific paper, the 1
lab report will consist only of
the Title, Methods, and Results sections, and one reference from the primary research literature.
The subject of this partial lab report will be the Photosynthesis experiment done during the week
of February 16, and the report will be worth 20 points.
lab reports, on Cellular
Respiration & Fermentation (week of March 30) and ELISA Technique (week of April 20) will
have all 6 parts.
Each of these last two reports will be worth 35 points.
You will have
approximately 2 weeks to complete each report. The following table summarizes these
Week of Mar 7
Cell. Respiration & Fermentation
Week of Apr 13
On May 4
(1) Partial reports consist of Title, Methods, Results, and 1 reference from primary literature.
(2) Full reports consist of Title, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References.
B. Format of the Lab Report
The sections below describe the required format of your lab reports in more detail.
these sections carefully.
Your reports will be graded stringently based not only on their content
but also on conformity to the required format.
Why do we place such emphasis on the format?
The standard format provides a convenient way of presenting all the important aspects of your