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New Teachers Online: How-To Articles:
Teach High School Science

Instructions for Writing Lab Reports Biology 1
Judy Jones

Each of the following sections should be labeled clearly on your lab report.
You should have a cover page with the title of the investigation, your name, date, class, and period.

Background/Statement of Problem:
The first part of your lab report should have a paragraph that describes the problem. This is where you explain what the investigation is about - why you are doing the lab. You should give some background information, explaining what is already known about this problem.

Hypothesis:
Your hypothesis is a statement that tells what you expect to happen AND why. It is very important to explain your reasoning, otherwise, your hypothesis is just a random guess. Scientific hypotheses are based on solid knowledge.

Materials:
In a neat column, list ALL the materials that were necessary to carry out the investigation.

Procedure:
Using a numbering system, give all the steps in the procedure that you used. This should be so complete that someone else could follow your instructions to do the same lab.

Data:
The data that you collect should be presented in a very neat, easy to read data chart that you prepare in advance. Numerical data can be presented in a chart. Other observations may be presented as descriptions or drawings.

Analysis/Conclusions:
In your analysis, you should state whether your hypothesis was supported by the data or not and explain the evidence for your conclusion. This is also where you answer any questions that have been presented in the discussion section of your lab instructions. The analysis is very important and will be a large part of your lab write-up grade. In some labs, you might calculate percent error as part of your analysis.

Sources of Error:
You should describe all the ways that error might have been introduced into the procedure and caused your results to be less likely to fit the expected results. You should try to explain whether the source of error would be likely to increase the numbers you collected or decrease them.

To the Scientific Inquiry Main page

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