Before you can begin to write your lab report, you will need
You will also need,
Hello BIOL 130,
My name is Brie McConnell and I am the Biology Liaison Librarian here at the University of Waterloo. I specialize in scientific data; from how to organize it, store it, read it, visualize it, and communicate that data into research and policy.
I have designed this guide to organize library resources by the sections of your lab report that they can support. The Introduction is a good place to begin, because it focuses your attention on the problem or phenomenon under investigation, and on the expected results. However, if you have trouble getting started, you may want to start with the simplest section first, that being the Materials and Methods. Next up are the Results, and then the Discussion should be written last. Each of these sections, together with the title page and list of references are discussed in more detail below, in the order in which they are assembled to make a complete report.
As the Biology Librarian, I can help you find articles and demo a database search. I can also help you with formatting issues, referencing questions, and accessing high-quality academic literature. Undergrad is actually the perfect time to start making meaningful connections with your campus Library, as we have the expertise and resources to help you with every level of your academic career!
This is where you will introduce the purpose and objectives of your experiment. The introduction is also where you provide the reader with critical background information such as definitions of principles.
Common sources of information to support you Introduction, include
When mushrooms are cut, monophenol oxidase causes the browning of the surface that is exposed to air (Bender, 2014).
Bender, D. phenol oxidases. In A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 9 Sep. 2021, from https://www-oxfordreference-com.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/view/10.1093/acref/9780191752391.001.0001/acref-9780191752391-e-4152.
You lab manual will provide you with the essential methods for this section. To cite your lab manual, refer to the appropriate section in the manual, giving the course number, the year in which the manual was printed, and the page numbers. If the experiment is not performed exactly as outlined in the laboratory manual, the changes must be noted.
This is the only section of the lab report where you are supposed to refer to (and cite) the lab manual. Do not forget to include the current version of lab manual as one of the references in the Reference section (see below).
Again, for BIOL 130, your lab manual will contain the protocols that need to be used. However in the future and for excellent examples, be aware of the Springer Nature Experiments database.
The heart of the report, this section presents the information derived from your experiment in any of four forms; your major concern is to choose the form(s) that provides the most clarity for the reader.
The results section should contain all of the information yielded from the experiment. If your experiment produced no results at all consult your TA as soon as possible.
Refer to the Fall 2021 BIOL 130 course guide on LEARN. which has detailed instructions for style, formatting, and submission of lab reports.
Figure 1: A photographic comparison of apple slices in four conditions.
In this section, you may refer to your raw data, but do not restate it. Instead, offer some analysis as to WHY the results occurred. Relate the results to the theory that motivated the experiment as well as any previously published results that may be relevant. Remember to use in-text citations for any references to the current literature.
Typical library resources used for the Discussion:
The discussion should be a presentation of the principles, relationships and generalizations shown by the results without recapitulating the results section. To do this, each result should be compared to expected values, a class average, or values of a control group. It will be necessary to compare your results and interpretations with work found in the literature, so do not forget to cite your sources. There should be comment on how the results are integrated with principles given in the introduction. In some cases you may confirm or reject a hypothesis.
This is a web search engine, not a research database, such as Pubmed or Scopus. So while Google Scholar can be great for large scans and "seeings what's out there," it should not be the only place you are searching because it is not actually a research database.
Referencing has multiple purposes:
When writing a Lab Report for Biol 130L you have to provide at least three sources that will support your statements and/or experimental results. For example, the textbook for Biol130 is a valid source for definitions and background information.
References/sources used in writing Introduction and Discussion parts of a lab report have to be listed in a Reference List, which should be placed after Discussion section of lab report.
For properly writing both in-text citations and a Reference List refer to the Fall 2021 BIOL 130 course guide on LEARN. which has detailed instructions for style, formatting, and submission of lab reports.
RefWorks is fully supported by the Library, and is free for the University of Waterloo community. You can export your citations directly to RefWorks from our library catalogue and many other library subscription databases. In addition to Refworks, we also have Librains who work extensively with Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and more.