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3. Structure of a Biocore Lab Report

(See the Paper Review Form for evaluation criteria.)

A primary way that scientists communicate with one another is through scientific papers. We will model our Biocore lab reports on the format most commonly used by scientific journals. (Some journals deviate from this format, and you should always consult the guidelines for the particular journal before preparing a manuscript for submission.) Your lab reports should follow the guidelines described below unless the lab manual or your TA specifically tells you otherwise. Some lab reports have a modified format or require only a subset of the standard sections listed below.

  1. Title & Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Methods & Materials
  4. Results (including figures and tables)
  5. Discussion
  6. Citations & References

Each section of the paper (except for "Title") should begin with one of these terms as a heading.

Target audience . We consider the target audience for lab reports and oral presentations (posters and PowerPoint) to be fellow Biocore lab students. A clearly written lab report should provide a person in the target audience with enough information that s/he could completely understand, critique, and duplicate your experiment. This sort of clarity depends on a solid understanding of the concepts behind the lab, sound logic, careful organization, and proper English usage.

Listing your teammates

Normally, scientists who work together on an investigation write the paper collaboratively and include all researchers’ names as authors. In Biocore we usually ask for individual lab reports because we want to give you many opportunities to work on your writing and thinking skills. In cases where your teammates are not co-authors, list them as contributors at the top of the page in alphabetical order. Also list your lab section and TA.