Biology Formal Laboratory Write Up Procedure

Labs are an important part of this course.  Some labs will beexperimental and will involve hypothesis formation, setting upequipment, manipulation of variables, gathering data and developingconclusions.  Other labs will be observation labs and willinvolving observing organisms or phenomena and drawingconclusions.  Some labs will be of your own design.
Record your data in your journal notebook.  You will be asked toread all laboratory exercises ahead of time and you will mostly likely need tocomplete the Pre-lab before being allowed to participate in many labexercise.  There will be anywhere between 4-8 formal labs duringthe school year.
Labs will be graded on a scale of one to five. Five represents a labthat meets and exceeds all requirements, Four represents a lab thatjust meets the requirements. Scores of three and below are missinginformation, sloppy or messy and/or are incomplete. Please note that the use of pronouns is very restricted. Please use the proper noun as many times as needed. SeePronouns to Avoid list for information.

Semi- Formal Lab Write-ups:

For semi-formal lab write-ups, which will be the predominant typeof lab report, you will most likely only be only asked to do parts1,2,6,7, and 8.  Be sure to read all instructions on the homework calendar carefully.

Part 1:  Title:

The title should reflect the purpose of the activity and be very descriptive of the exercise. You can use the following formula:  The Effect of (the dependent variable) on the (independent variable). Here's an example: The Effect of Light on Plant Growth. You may also inject some fun into your title with a colon after the formula title. Here's an example: The Effect of Salinity on Brine Shrimp Growth: A Little More Salt Can Kill .

Part 2: Abstract:

Includes 1-2 sentences of introductory information, 1-2 sentences regarding the purpose/hypothesis of the activity, 1-2 sentences regarding the result trends and 1-2 sentences regarding the analysis/conclusions of the activity.

Part 3: Introduction/Purpose/Background Information

Length:  Several  paragraphs
In your own words describe your prior knowledge ( any backgroundmaterial), the purpose of this activity ,the specific question youare trying to test. Expand upon all of your previous knowledge related to the problem/ topic of the lab. Incorporated within your background, you must be specific and extremely detailed. You must include a bibliography for all information gathered at the end of your write-up.

Part 4: Hypothesis/Null Hypothesis, Variables (IV,DV,SV), Control Setup

List the independent, dependent, and five (5) standardized variables (identify all standardized measurements, temperatures, time, numbers, etc.) and the control setup for the experiment.

Part 5:  Procedure

Length:  Two to four paragraphs
In your own words describe the experimental tests you used, organizethe methods in a logical order; explain how the work was done andremember you cannot copy the lab instructions out of your labbook.

Part 6:  Results/Observations/Data

Length: Two to four paragraphs (not including graphs or datatables.)
In your own words describe the experimental results, i.e. what youobserved.  If appropriate, use graphs or data tables tosummarize/organize your results.  If calculations are required,show your work clearly (these may be handwritten). Do not form conclusions, this is done in the next section.  When using graphs usecomputer graphing program and, if appropriate, use best fit for allline graphs.  The class computer is available for those withoutaccess to graphing programs.  Free-hand graphs areunacceptable. Go to Excel Graphing Help for additional help.

Part 7:  Analysis/ Post-Lab Questions/ Conclusions/Discussion

Conclusions: In your own words, answer the following questions ( several paragraphs). Be specific and extremely detailed. Remember avoid the use of any pronouns.

a) Support. Do your results support your hypothesis? Do you accept or reject your hypothesis based on your results? Why? (restate your hypothesis.) Make sure you reference these statements with your data and controls (in other words, site/state your data). For example, the hypothesis is accepted because the hypothesis stated... and the results were...

b) Inferences. Explain why you obtained all the results you obtained. What is the biological reason behind the results? This is the part where you apply the information learned in class as an explanation for the results you obtained in the experiment. Compare all your results to the control.

c) Errors/Misconceptions. What errors occurred during the lab? If you feel there weren't any, then what were any possible errors? What misconceptions did you have before you conducted the lab? How can this lab be improved?

d) Answer all post lab review/analysis questions.


Part 8:  References/ Bibliography (Go toMLA Works Cited Source for more details)

List the sources used in the write up of this report. Here are the main types of format for references:


Author(s). Name of Page. Date of Posting/Revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site. Date of Access <electronic address>.

Article on a Web Site

Author(s)."Article Title." Name of web site. Date of posting/revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with site. Date of access <electronic address>.


Author(s). Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Pages used.

An article in an online journal or magazine

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume. Issue (Year): Pages/Paragraphs. Date of Access <electronic address>.

A Personal Interview

Listed by the name of the person you have interviewed.

example: Purdue, Pete. Personal Interview. 1 Dec. 2000.

Here are some automatic MLA reference generators:



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