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Writing for Biology Class Part 2: How to Write Each Section of a Lab Report Materials taken from Knisely, Karin. Writing in Biology. 2009 Sinaur/Freeman.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing for Biology Class Part 2: How to Write Each Section of a Lab Report Materials taken from Knisely, Karin. Writing in Biology. 2009 Sinaur/Freeman."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing for Biology Class Part 2: How to Write Each Section of a Lab Report Materials taken from Knisely, Karin. Writing in Biology. 2009 Sinaur/Freeman and edited by Angela Bush, SRVHS

2 The Pre-Lab All laboratory assignments begin with a pre-lab Pre-labs are essential for being prepared for the lab activity. They ensure: 1)Student safety during the lab 2)Successful completion of the lab in the limited time class allows 3)Increased student understanding of the lab 4)An increased chance of desired results from the lab This portion of the lab includes the purpose, hypothesis and procedure –Done in lab journal (or typed if preferred) –You must read and be familiar with the lab prior to writing a purpose or hypothesis! –ULTIMATLEY MUST BE TYPED FOR FORMAL LAB REPORTS

3 Procedure You must read the lab before writing the purpose and hypothesis, therefore the procedure is a good place to start! – In your report, the purpose and hypothesis still come first! Summarize all the steps of the lab. –Be detailed, but don’t exactly copy the lab manual or simply change a few words. Plagiarizing your teacher is still plagiarism! –Someone should be able to repeat the lab based on your notes in this section. Avoid listing materials, containers & elaborate procedures. Its ok to summarize as long as you still have enough information to perform the lab! –Include any pictures, measurements, tables, graphs etc. made/used during the lab in this section –Please number your steps (no bullet points, no paragraphs)

4 Procedure Samples Example: –Original: Label six clean beakers with the following concentrations of sucrose and create and place those solutions in the appropriate beaker: 0, 7%, 14%, 21%, 28%, and 35%. –Revision: Label beakers: 0%, 7%, 14%, 21%, 28%, and 35%, and place the appropriate sucrose solutions in each beaker Example 2: –Original: Place a few yeast under a microscope and draw what they look like. –Revision: Observe and draw yeast under a microscope

5 Purpose Purpose: What is the point of the lab, what are you trying to learn, why it is interesting, etc. –Approx. 1-2 sentences to 1 paragraph –A statement not a question! Example: –Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to observe osmosis using carrots and varying sucrose solutions.

6 Hypothesis Hypothesis: If---, then---- –If (IV), then (DV) –NOTE: Again, this will be easier to do after you have read the lab! –Find key words or concepts

7 Hypothesis Example You are working with sand and yeast. You will observe both for signs of life using a microscope and a sugar-water mixture. IV? – sugar-water mixture DV? –Signs of life Hypothesis: –If sugar-water mixture is added to yeast and sand then (yeast and/or sand) will show signs of life. Which would you choose yeast or sand?

8 Prior to the Lab Experiment Know what to expect from the experiment –Know the hypothesis and what the outcome will be if the hypothesis is correct! (or supported) Recognize other (standard) variables –Know what other variables may effect the lab so you can do your best to control them What should remain constant? Make sure they do! Identify a control group or groups –Groups using standard variables

9 Writing Titles for Lab Reports The Effect of the IV on the DV Example: –The hypothesis was: Hypothesis: If a sugar-water mixture is added to yeast and sand, then (yeast or sand) will show signs of life –The effect of sugar-water to determine if sand and yeast are living or not living

10 During the Lab Experiment Collection of observations and data –Throughout the lab use your senses to make observations! What could one, hear, smell (if appropriate), taste (if appropriate), and touch (if appropriate) during this lab. Note these observations, you never know what will be important when you start to draw conclusions! Qualitative- make notes in your journal, it will help you with your lab report! Quantitative- use a data table to collect numerical data, with units of measurement Make drawings with dimensions and magnification, where appropriate. Think about questions, possible errors, and other anecdotal notes as you go, it will help with your lab report! –Decide if the data is trustworthy or erroneous, if you have time you may need to repeat a portion of the experiment

11 Observations Answer all observation questions. Write the question then the answer. Separate answer and question. For a formal lab report, you should have at least 3-4 sentences of your own observations (in addition to your answers to the observation questions). This section should also be as long as is necessary to include all information. This section should be at least 1-2 paragraphs. Use proper grammar and “good writing techniques” (see Writing for Biology Class Part 3: Grammar) If references are used, be sure to include the number of the reference according to your reference page, in parentheses, after the sentence(s) containing the information.

12 Conclusions Answer all conclusion questions after the conclusion paragraph. Write the question then the answer. Separate the answer and the question. Draw your own conclusions! What did the observations lead one to believe about the hypothesis? What experimental error factors may have played a part? What could be done in a future lab to better prove or disprove the hypothesis and limit experimental error? What other questions did this lab raise? –For a formal lab report, you should have at least 3-4 sentences of your own observations (in addition to your answers to the conclusion questions). You must also state whether or not the hypothesis was supported –This section should be as long as is necessary to include all information, it should be at least 1-2 paragraphs Use proper grammar and “good writing techniques” (see Writing for Biology Class Part 3: Grammar) If references are used, be sure to include the number of the reference according to your reference page, in parentheses, after the sentence(s) containing the information.

13 References Include a references list for any references used, including your text book, to find information or definitions to help answer questions or make statements in the observation and conclusion portions of the lab Use MLA format –For help creating MLA references go to the Citation Machine Website, on the left hand side of the screen select MLA, then the appropriate reference type.Citation Machine Website


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