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Biology: Lab Reports

Lab Reports

Industry Standards

The format of your standard laboratory report is a variation of that used for research papers like those published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, the Canadian Journal of Zoology, and many other scientific journals.

Watch and Learn

Breaking down the sections of a lap report

Here you will find a series of subpages dedicated to each unique section of your lab report, as defined in your Lab Manual (LEARN). Remember to always refer to your Lab Manual, and use this guide as some additional support. Click on a section for more resources and support.

 

The Introduction of a lab report:

  • provides a short statement of the objectives of the experiment;
  • provides background information to allow understanding of the results of the study
  • includes definitions or principles that you can find in credible sources
  • uses textbook(s) or scientific dictionaries as appropriate sources

Remember to provide in-text citations for any resources that introduce your concepts!

Definitions of Principles

When searching for definitions of principles that you find in credible sources other than your official Lab Manual (on LEARN), consider using textbook(s) or scientific dictionaries as appropriate sources.

Materials and Methods Refer to your lab manual. This section will become more detailed in upper-year biology courses. This is the only section of the lab report where you should refer to (and cite) the lab manual.
   
   
   
Results Tables, figures (line graphs, histograms), diagrams and more! This section contains all of the information the experiment provided. Refer to your Lab Manual 
   
   

The Discussion of a lab report:

  • rejects or confirms your hypothesis;
  • uses current literature to inform your lab results and interpretations (noting agreement and lack of agreement);
  • discuss of methodology, the rationale for using specific media, errors in technique, and ways to improve the accuracy and precision of the results, if relevant;
  • uses peer-reviewed research articles and review articles as appropriate sources.
References APA citation format (unless otherwise noted in your lab manual). Save time with a reference manager like Refworks! Use in-text citations and reference lists.

[Section 1] of the Lab Report: Introduction resources

The Introduction of a lab report:

  • provides background information to allow understanding of the results of the study
  • includes definitions or principles that you can find in credible sources
  • uses textbook(s) or scientific dictionaries as appropriate sources

 

Subject Encyclopedias

These subject encyclopedias are peer reviewed, contain substantial articles and CAN be cited in university level lab reports and essays.