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What to include in your Biology Lab Report [Outline & Examples]

In college, you might have been assigned to do a biology lab report. Maybe you’re currently in college and working on one! Regardless of whether or not you’ve done one before, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when writing your lab report. This guide will help you include all the necessary information and avoid common lab report writing mistakes. includes How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract, How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report, How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report, How to present results in a biology lab report, and How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report

Biology Lab Report Writing Guide

What is a Lab Report?

A lab report is a document that is written as part of a scientific or scholarly experiment. It is typically a report of the results of a scientific experiment, including data and analysis. The goal of a lab report is to provide information that can be used to improve the understanding of science and technology.

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What is in a Biology Lab Report?

A lab report is a document that tells the reader about your work in a scientific experiment. It includes information about the experiment, your results, and any conclusions you drew.

Format of a Biology Lab report

The following are some of the most important things to include in your lab report:

-Abstract- Abstract for a lab report should include the following information: The purpose of the lab, research objectives, methods used, major findings and conclusions.

-Introduction – Background information about the experiment, equipment used, and any special instructions you were given.

-Materials and methods – Detailed information about how you prepared and measured the materials used in the experiment.

-Results – The data you collected from the experiment and what you found.

-Discussion – What conclusions do you draw from your results and how do they support or refute hypotheses?

To write a good Biology lab report, you’ll need to pay close attention to these details:

-Organization – Keep your report well-organized and concise. Make sure each section is focused and written in a clear and concise manner.
-Quantitative data – Use quantitative data where it’s appropriate, and explain it clearly.
-Drawing conclusions – Do not simply restate the results of the experiment in your conclusion section. Instead, provide a logical rationale for your conclusions.
-Use language that everyone can understand – Be careful not to use scientific terminology that only experts would understand. Try to write in a clear and easy-to-read style.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to write a successful lab report that accurately reflects your work and provides valuable information for future research.

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Biology Lab report Outline [With Explainations]

Lab report writing is a very important part of scientific research. It allows others to understand your findings and determine whether or not they should be taken further. In order to write a perfect lab report, you need to follow some guidelines. This guide will help you create an outline for your biology lab report.

Abstract – How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract

In a lab report, the abstract is a short paragraph (typically not more than 200 words) that summarizes the objectives and scope, methodology, data, and conclusions.

  1. Why it was done and what is the problem being addressed? These two sections can be grouped together into one brief statement summarizing why the experiment was performed in the first place. What was the question trying to be answered? This should not include many details, rather it should be a simple statement. It can even be stated in one or two sentences at the most.
  2. What did you do? This part of the abstract states what was done to try to answer the question proposed. It should in no way be very detailed. It contains a brief outline of what was done, highlighting only crucial steps. It is the materials and methods section of your abstract, but it is only one or two sentences in length. It is a description of how you decided to approach the problem.
  3. What did you find out? In other words, what did all of your hard work and preparation tell you about the question you set out to answer? This contains only the crucial results obtained. The crucial results are those that are necessary to answer your original question posed. Without these results, the experiment would have been useless. The results should be stated briefly and should not be explained; they should only be mentioned. It is very similar to the results section of your paper, but it highlights only pertinent results used to draw conclusions. An average length for this section is two or three sentences at the most. This number can vary nevertheless, depending on the complexity of the experiment, and so these length guides are just that, guides, not rules.
  4. Conclusions? This is the end of your abstract, directly hinging on the results obtained. This is the “so what” part of your experiment. “So what” refers to what the results mean in the long run. You need not include how you drew your conclusions, only the final conclusion. This should directly follow the results so the reader knows what results led to what conclusions. This is the equivalent to the discussion part of the paper, but again, like the rest of the abstract, it needs to be stated briefly and succinctly. You do not need to explain how you deduced the conclusion from the results obtained, only the end conclusions. After you have stated this, the abstract is complete.

Here’s an example of a Lab Report Abstract

Biology Lab Report Abstract example

Ontogenetic color change at sexual maturation can be useful in identifying an appropriate mate for some organisms. Largus californicus individuals undergo two ontogenetic color changes. First instars are bright red, second through fifth instars are shiny blue-black, and adults are black with orange markings. Adult male mating behavior suggested that the change in color from fifth instars to adults might enable males to discriminate between nymphs and adults. Males mount adults and persist if they have mounted a female and quickly release if they have mounted another male. Males were never observed to mount nymphs. Female color patterns were altered and male’s copulatory attempts were timed to determine if color pattern was used by males in mating decisions. The null hypothesis that dorsal color pattern does not significantly affect male mating behavior could not be rejected, therefore the significance of the color change from nymph to adult must be sought elsewhere.

Biology Lab Report Abstract example

To feed on materials that are healthy for them, flies (order Diptera) use taste receptors on their tarsi to find sugars to ingest. We examined the ability of blowflies to taste monosaccharide and disaccharide sugars as well as saccharin. To do this, we attached flies to the ends of sticks and lowered their feet into solutions with different concentrations of these sugars. We counted a positive response when they lowered their proboscis to feed. The flies responded to sucrose at a lower concentration than they did to glucose, and they didn’t respond to saccharin at all. Our results show that they taste larger sugar molecules more readily than they do smaller ones. They didn’t feed on saccharin because the saccharin we use is actually the sodium salt of saccharin, and they reject salt solutions. Overall, our results show that flies are able to taste and choose foods that are good for them.

This section should be written last, once all of the other sections have been written. Some bibliographic databases only include the abstract, not the entire article, so this information is essential when other investigators are trying to judge the applicability of your work to their current research.

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Introduction – How to Write a Biology Lab Report Introduction

In this section, you will introduce the experiment by explaining generally what you did and why you did it. This section usually starts with an examination of the literature through a library search to inform the reader about work already done on this topic.

It should also state any relevant facts about the participants, materials, and equipment used in the experiment. The introduction then describes how your hypothesis was developed and then explicitly states the hypothesis.

The two critical parts of the lab report introduction are

Statement of the Problem:

  • What question(s) are you trying to answer?
  • Include any preliminary observations or background information about the subject

Hypothesis

The introduction should present the concept being investigated and provide background information.

  • State your purpose for conducting the experiment.
  • The lab report introduction should also state the experiment’s importance/relevance.
  • List and explain any parameters being measured in the experiment, and list any mathematical formulas used to obtain data.
  • Include any information that was given to you prior to the experiment.
  • Discuss any tables or figures that will be included in your report, making sure to identify the variables.
  • Your hypothesis/predictions should also go in the introduction. This information is necessary to include because your goal is to convince your audience of your experiment’s importance to science.

Here are Biology Lab Report Introduction Examples

Biology Lab Report Introduction Example 1

All animals rely on senses of taste and smell to find acceptable food for survival. Chemoreceptors are found in the taste buds on the tongue in humans (Campbell, 2008), for example, for tasting food. Studies of sensory physiology have often used insects as experimental subjects because insects can be manipulated with ease and because their sensory-response system is relatively simple (E. Williams, personal communication). Flies are able to taste food by walking on it (Dethier, 1963). Hollow hairs around the proboscis and tarsi contain receptor neurons that can distinguish among water, salts, and sugars, and flies can distinguish among different sugars (Dethier, 1976). These traits enable them to find necessary nutrition.

In this experiment we tested the ability of the blowfly Sarcophaga bullata to taste different sugars and a sugar substitute, saccharin. Because sucrose is so sweet to people, I expected the flies to taste lower concentrations of sucrose than they would of maltose and glucose, sugars that are less sweet to people. Because saccharin is also sweet tasting to people, I expected the flies to respond positively and feed on it as well.

Materials and Methods – How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report

The materials and methods section includes materials in the paragraphs, as you needed them. Make sure you use PAST TENSE and that you are using PASSIVE VOICE, not an active voice.

Example of active voice: “I added 5 ml of diluted BioRad dye to each test tube…”.

Example of passive voice: “Five ml of diluted BioRad dye was added to each test tube…”.

Includes how to write a biology lab report abstract, how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report, how to write the materials and methods of a lab report, how to present results in a biology lab report, and how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report
Lab report procedure example (includes How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract, How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report, How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report, How to present results in a biology lab report, and How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report)

Here’s a materials and methods example

Keep all information in this section as concise as possible. The reader of the report has a basic understanding of the techniques, hence be straightforward and to the point with the procedure and give enough information for an individual to be able to replicate the experiment.

Ask yourself “if I changed this, would the results be different?” If the answer is yes, then it must be included in the methods. If the answer is no, leave it out.

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Results – How to present results in a biology lab report

There are two parts to a results section: a Narrative, and Tables and Figures.
Narrative

This section is where you clearly, completely, and concisely report your data and explain what it is that you want the reader to notice about your findings.

Do not draw any conclusions from these findings; that will be done in the Discussion section. When taking multiple data sets, you will summarize your data by reporting statistical parameters such as means (averages), range, standard deviations, sample sizes, and results of statistical tests (if applicable).

Includes how to write a biology lab report abstract, how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report, how to write the materials and methods of a lab report, how to present results in a biology lab report, and how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report
Example of lab report results in text (includes How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract, How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report, How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report, How to present results in a biology lab report, and How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report)

Remember to explain what the numbers represent. If you are reporting a mean, state that your numbers represent a mean value. If your numbers represent one of two trials, state which trial. All measurements will be metric units. You must reference all tables and figures in the narrative part of the results section.

Here are two examples of how to reference tables and figures:

“Figure 1 indicates the dramatic difference in the growth rates between the experimental and control groups…” or “The mean growth rate, final mean root length and the mean day of germination were all lower for the experimental seeds than the control seeds (Table1).”

Tables and Figures:

Not all data needs to be reported in a table or figure. Some data can be summarized in the text in one or two sentences (statistical data, for instance).

Remember to title and number all tables and figures. Titles will be self-explanatory and complete. Describe the graph/table in words (sample sizes (n) and scientific names will be included).

Raw data is NEVER included in the Tables and Figures. Treatments, means, ranges and standard deviations are the appropriate numbers to summarize. Tables and Figures are numbered independently.

Includes how to write a biology lab report abstract, how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report, how to write the materials and methods of a lab report, how to present results in a biology lab report, and how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report
includes How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract, How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report, How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report, How to present results in a biology lab report, and How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report
Includes how to write a biology lab report abstract, how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report, how to write the materials and methods of a lab report, how to present results in a biology lab report, and how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report
Example of lab report results in figures and graphs

Make sure each figure has a relevant and detailed title and a short explanation that describes what each figure represents.

Discussion – How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report

The discussion section begins with a restatement of the purpose. The section then includes a discussion of relationships, interprets data, and draws a conclusion based on your original hypothesis. You must make explicit whether your data supports your original hypothesis, or whether you reject your original hypothesis.

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Hence;

  • Accept or reject your hypothesis
  • EXPLAIN why you accepted or rejected your hypothesis using data from the lab.
  • Include a summary of the data – averages, highest, lowest, etc. to help the reader understand your results.
  • What do your results mean?
  • List one thing you learned and describe how it applies to a real-life situation.
  • Discuss possible errors that could have occurred in the collection of data (experimental errors)

Summarize your data, but refrain from reporting specifics about your data in this section. That part will have already been done in the Results section.

This section is also where you suggest any future work and emphasize the importance and usefulness of your findings and experiments of this type.

Here’s an example of a biology lab report discussion

Includes how to write a biology lab report abstract, how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report, how to write the materials and methods of a lab report, how to present results in a biology lab report, and how to write the discussion section of a biology lab report
example of a biology lab report discussion (includes How to Write a Biology Lab Report Abstract, How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report, How to write the Materials and methods of a Lab Report, How to present results in a biology lab report, and How to write the discussion section of a Biology Lab report)

References

You must acknowledge the source of ALL material that is not your own. A thorough paper contains literature citations of published studies within the text.

The last section of a lab report should include a list of all sources used in the research. This includes any figures or tables that were reproduced from other sources, as well as any original research that was conducted.

Appendices

Appendices typically include such elements as raw data, calculations, graphs pictures or tables that have not been included in the report itself. Each kind of item should be contained in a separate appendix.

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Lab report writing tips

Here are some tips for writing a great lab report:

-Start with a clear goal in mind. What did you want to learn from this experiment? What did you find? Why is this information important?

-State the hypothesis that you tested in your introduction paragraph. This will help readers understand what information will be covered in the rest of your report.

Summarize your findings in a clear and concise manner. Make sure that readers can understand what you found without having to read through all of the data.

-In the Summary and Conclusions section, discuss any implications your findings may have. Are there any questions that still remain unanswered? What can be learned from this experiment?

-Provide any recommended resources or further reading at the end of your report. This will help readers who are interested in learning more about the topic covered in your report.

-Follow the standard academic formatting when writing your report. Use a formal tone and make sure all symbols, punctuation, and capitalization are correct.

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While writing a lab report can be daunting, following these guidelines will help you produce a clear and concise document. If you have any questions about how to write a lab report, feel free to contact your instructor or the lab coordinator for help.

Conclusion

In this lab report writing guide, we discuss the different types of information you will likely want to include in your biology lab report. Includes how to write a lab report abstract, introduction, methods and materials, results and discussion.

We will also offer some tips on how to structure your work so that it is easy to read and understand. Finally, we provide an outline for you to use as a starting point when writing your lab report.

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