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GENERAL FORMATTING GUIDELINES
• Acceptable Length – A minimum of 3 pages with a maximum of 5 pages.
• Put your name, course and section number, and assignment title at the top of the document.
• Use one-inch margins.
• Use a 12-point Arial font.
• Use double line spacing in the document.
• Use APA Citation Style. Most scientific journals utilize a modified APA style
FORMAL LAB REPORT GUIDELINES
Prepare a written report of your experiment which includes the section titles listed below. These section titles should be used to label each section of your report.
II. Introduction and Hypothesis
III. Materials and Procedures
IV. Data Collection / Analysis
This is a brief summary of a research article or any in-depth analysis of a particular subject or discipline. It is often used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper’s purpose. It allows the reader to judge whether it would serve his or her purposes to read the entire report. A good abstract is a concise (100 to 200 words) summary of the purpose of the report, the data presented, and the author’s major conclusions.
II. INTRODUCTION AND HYPOTHESIS
In this section of the report you should give the reader background information that will help them understand the experiment that you have conducted. Important terms should be defined in this section. Additionally the purpose of the experiment should be clearly stated in the introduction. A good introduction will answer several questions, including the following:
• Why was this study performed?
o Answers to this question may be derived from observations of nature or from the literature.
• What knowledge already exists about this subject?
o The answer to this question must review the literature, showing the historical development of an idea and including the confirmations, conflicts, and gaps in existing knowledge.
• What is the specific purpose of the study?
o The specific hypotheses and experimental design pertinent to investigating the topic should be described.
Hypothesis – Written as a declarative statement of what the researcher believes will happen. It should include both the independent and dependent variables.
Example: Seeds exposed to water alone with have better germination rates than those exposed to vinegar and rubbing alcohol.
Example of how to develop a functional hypothesis.
Scenario: A worker on a fish-farm notices that his trout seem to have more fish lice in the summer, when the water levels are low, and wants to find out why. His research leads him to believe that the amount of oxygen is the reason – fish that are oxygen stressed tend to be more susceptible to disease and parasites.
He proposes a general hypothesis: “Water levels affect the amount of lice suffered by rainbow trout.”
This is a good general hypothesis, but it gives no guide to how to design the research or experiment. The hypothesis must be refined to give a little direction.
“Rainbow trout suffer more lice when water levels are low.”
Now there is some directionality, but the hypothesis is not really testable, so the final stage is to design an experiment around which research can be designed, a testable hypothesis.
“Rainbow trout suffer more lice in low water conditions because there is less oxygen in the water.”
This is a focused, testable hypothesis- he has established variables, and by measuring the amount of oxygen in the water, eliminating other controlled variables, such as temperature, he can see if there is a correlation against the number of lice on the fish.
III. MATERIALS AND METHODS
A complete listing of all materials and supplies used to conduct the experiment should be listed in this section. Here you should present the exact steps that were followed in your experiment. Clearly identify the control, variables and the measuring techniques used.
IV. RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
The section should summarize the data from the experiments without discussing their implications. Also, data should be organized into tables, figures, graphs, photographs, and so on. All figures and tables should have descriptive titles and should include a legend explaining any symbols, abbreviations, or special methods used. Figures and tables should be numbered separately and should be referred to in the text by number, for example:
1. Figure 1 shows that the activity decreased after five minutes.
2. The activity decreased after five minutes (fig. 1).
Figures and tables should be self-explanatory; that is, the reader should be able
to understand them without referring to the text. All columns and rows in tables
and axes in figures should be labeled. Additional handouts will be supplied for
graphing and table requirements.
This conclusion section should not just be a restatement of the results but should emphasize interpretation of the data, relating them to existing theory and knowledge. Speculation is appropriate, if it is so identified. Suggestions for the improvement of techniques or experimental design may also be included here. In writing this section, you should explain the logic that allows you to accept or reject your original hypotheses. You should also be able to suggest future experiments that might clarify areas of doubt in your results.
Here you will cite any references that you utilized in any section of your paper. Peer Reviewed articles. You may also want to consider Google Scholar as well. There is a requirement of a minimum of three peer-reviewed scholarly. In-text citations and a References section should be completed via the APA format.