Scientific and Lab Report Writing

Why write scientific/lab reports?

• Demonstrate your practical and theoretical understanding of the subject
• Report original findings and contribute to the global pool of scientific knowledge
• Showcase your skills: Academic writing, presentation, critical thinking, analysis, problem solving
• Practice writing professional reports in a scientific style, useful for future career

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Report Structure

Introduction

Establish the reason for doing the experiments
Funnel: Starts broad and focuses down on YOUR specific research
Aims/Objectives and Hypothesis

Methods

Provides a protocol of your experiment so it could be replicated
Reproducibility is the foundation for evidence based science

Results

Present YOUR data

Discussion

Interpret the results and explain their significance
Reverse the funnel: put your results back into wider context

Other features:

Conclusion
Restate your main findings and key points from the discussion
References
Strengthen your arguments with support from existing literature
Abstract
Summary of the entire report: Interesting, easy to read, concise
Write this last
Title, Appendix and Acknowledgements

Top Tips


Do:

Always read the guidance notes

Methods
• Use past tense
• Write in the third person
• Include detailed materials
• State the study design
• Cite/reference the lab protocol

Results
• Organise your data in a logical order
• Include tables and graphs
• Label clearly and include units
• Include figure legends and titles
• State statistical tests and p-values
• Refer to all tables and figures in the text

Don't:

Leave it until the last minute


Methods
• Copy the lab protocol
• Forget to include statistics and calculation methods
• Write a set of instructions (cookbook!)
• Interpret your results

Results
• Include raw data
• Present same data in a graph AND table
• Overcomplicate the results section
• Interpret your results
• Copy other people’s data or exclude unexpected results

 

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Internal

  • Abstracts, 301