How to Write Lab Reports BIOL240.docx

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LabReports_BIOL240Fall2017 How to Write a Lab Report in BIOL240 Your lab reports in BIOL240 will all consist of the same components. These sections are: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, and Works Cited. Although these components should appear IN THIS ORDER in your final document, you should not write them in this order. For example, your abstract is a concise summary of your entire report. Therefore, it is best to write this section LAST, after you have finished the remainder of your report. Read through this entire guide first, and then work through it as you write your lab report. Introduction Since you have already performed the experiment and collected your data, you can start by writing the introduction. Your introduction is the place where you provide your reader with all the pertinent background information they will need to understand the remainder of your paper. To this end, you should assume that the reader has a basic knowledge of biology but no specific knowledge or expertise in the specific experiment or field about which you are writing. Any specific vocabulary that you will use later in the paper should be defined here. A good way to start writing your introduction is to take your lab handout and highlight a few sentences worth of background information that is especially pertinent to your report. Also highlight some vocabulary that will need to be defined. Then, you can take these concepts, put them into your own words, flesh them out using additional resources, and put it all into meaningful context. The introduction does not need analysis, just enough information. If, as you write the rest of your paper, you feel you missed an important concept in your introduction, it is easy enough to add it in later. How to approach writing your introduction: Highlight what you believe are the five most important and pertinent background information statements from your lab handout. Also highlight any important vocabulary from the lab handout that you would want to define in your lab report. Take the information you just highlighted and put it in your own words. Intertwine the sentences so they don’t sound jumpy. Use an outside source or two (don’t forget to cite your sources, including the lab handout!) to add in additional interesting and pertinent information. Identify any gaps in your introduction. Do any concepts need additional reinforcement? The second purpose of your introduction is to state your objectives (why you are performing this experiment) and your hypothesis (what did you expect to find BEFORE you did this experiment). These, generally, are placed at or near the end of the last paragraph of your introduction, as this leads in nicely to the next section of your paper. In the end, your introduction should not be too brief, but also does not need to include unnecessary or superfluous information. In general, 2-4 paragraphs will be required to convey
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