BSC 2011L Lab Report Guidelines
The lab report must be in APA format:
12 pt font, Times New Roman
1 inch margins
pages numbered on the top right, running header on the top left
Quotes are NOT allowed. Everything must be properly paraphrased.
No website references as sources. No exceptions.
Everything must be properly cited. It is considered plagiarism if it is not.
Paper must be in third person, past tense
o Note: Never write statements like the following: “My lab report is
about...”, “My hypothesis is...”, or any version of this type of statement.
For more information on how to cite in APA, you may visit
The lab report will be composed of seven sections. Each section will have a heading
immediately followed by the text, figures or graphs. The order of the sections is: cover/title
page, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion and literature cited.
You must include a cover page with your name, panther ID, BSC2011L, your section,
TA name, date, and title of your paper.
Create a title that briefly conveys to the reader the purpose of the paper. The title of
your report must be informative. Many readers scan journal article titles and the
decision whether or not to pursue an article is based on the information in the title.
Generally, this information includes primary factor(s) manipulated or studied,
outcome of manipulation (the response or effects) and organism studied, if relevant.
The abstract should be a quick but comprehensive summary of the entire report. It
serves to help readers determine how relevant the report is to their own interests.
This section should only be one paragraph and should include what was done, the
reasoning behind it, the results and the conclusions. It must highlight only the most
important elements of each major sections of the report (Introduction, Methods,
Results, and Discussion). Only the most important aspects of the report should make
it to the abstract.
This section should be between 200 and 250 words in length and should contain a
clear summary of what was demonstrated, how each part of the lab was carried out
and how conclusions were reached. It should also be on its own page.
This section contains the basic background information for the lab report. Be sure to
comment on what is the significance of this study and its relation to the larger field.
Give an example of why the study is significant. After reading the introduction, the
reader should have a good idea of the general purpose of the experiment and the
importance of the problem being addressed. Here, you will also introduce the
purpose of your experiment. You should also be including your hypothesis and
predictions in this section – which should be based in the introduction (without
saying "My predictions are..." or "My hypothesis is...").
This section should be about 2 pages long and smoothly flow from one topic to the
next. All of your background information should be presented here, so the majority
of your citations should be found here. You must include 10 sources, 5 of which are
primary sources. Remember: do NOT quote anything and make sure you are
properly paraphrasing – otherwise, you are PLAGIARIZING.
In this section, you must carefully outline the procedures and techniques used in a
way that a reader can replicate the experiment based on the information provided
here. This section should also include models or equipment used (this should not be
written like a laundry list of materials), source of chemicals (if relevant), numbers
and types of organisms used, including sex and strain sample sizes, number of times
experimental procedure was performed, and other pertinent factors. Keep in mind
the you used the methods in the lab manual, so you should be citing the lab manual.
Please note: This section must be a NARRATIVE – not bullet points or a numbered
list of steps. No credit will be given for a methods section written in a bulleted
format. Also, it must be past tense and in 3rd person – you should not be saying “first,
I did this…..” and so on.
In this section, you will be presenting all of the observations and findings from the
experiment. It is crucial that the outcomes of your experiments are carefully
organized and clearly presented, and you must do so using tables, graphs and
pictures wherever necessary. Each figure should have a title or number and brief
caption that explains the information being presented by the figure.
All graphs and tables should be your own work! Graphs and tables should not be
identical to anyone else's in the lab, including your lab partner's.
Please note: You should NOT be interpreting the results in this section!! This section
focuses on what you observed quantitatively and qualitatively throughout the
collection of data. Any and all analysis belongs in the discussion section.
In the discussion section, you should begin this section with restating the purpose
and hypothesis of your experiment. This section is where results are interpreted,
and conclusions are drawn. The significance and interpretation of the study should
be explained in this section as well. You should be referencing figures in the results
sections and explaining what these figures mean. Because you restated the
hypothesis before interpreting the results, you should be indicating whether or not
the results support your hypothesis – keyword: SUPPORT. Remember nothing is
EVER proven, so the results either support or refute your original
In addition to explaining the results, you have to indicate the significance of your
results. What does this mean? How is it relevant or important? How can this
information be applied to the real world? If there were any errors made or any
limitations to the experimental design, this should also be included and in context
with the interpretation of the results. Please note: If you indicate any errors or
limitations, you must present SOLUTIONS to these issues, in the event that this
experiment will be replicated.
This section should be approximately 2-3 pages long and should be the longest part
of your lab report.
This section includes the alphabetical listing of all sources cited in your paper. This
will primarily include research articles but may include review articles and texts as
well. The citations must be written using APA format. You need include at least 10
references, 5 of which must be primary sources. You may include your general
biology textbook and lab manual (don’t forget to cite the methods). No website
references or any encyclopedia references are allowed.
For each source in this section, YOU MUST HAVE IN-TEXT CITATIONS! Any intext citation in the body of the report is put at the end of a sentence and should be
done in APA format.
General APA citation Guidelines:
1. References should be listed in alphabetical order
2. If a particular reference takes more than one line, then all lines (except the first)
should be indented
3. Include ALL authors, never write “et al.,” when writing the full literature cited page
4. Remember to write “and” before the name of the last author, if the article or book
has multiple authors.
5. References should not be numbered nor bulleted.
6. Everything counts including but not limited to the placement of period, italics,
7. If there are no in-text citations and no works cited section the report will be
General Rules For the Lab Report:
If you are not present in lab you cannot turn-in a lab report for that lab.
You will turn in your lab report in its entirety. Turning in one or more components
or sections of the lab report after the due date and time will make the entire lab
This lab report must be your own work (no plagiarism). Content used from
references needs to be cited. All text and graphs should be original and not the
same as your partners. You cannot resubmit work previously done in another
class (per the plagiarism policy)
You will need to turn in only an electronic copy. Turnitin will be used to check for
plagiarism. 10 points per day will be deducted from your lab report until your
instructor has your report through Turnitin.
It is your responsibility to turn your lab report on time electronically to your
instructor, per their instructions. A late lab report will lose 10 points every day it is
late. It is your responsibility to know how to properly submit your report AND to
check to make sure it is submitted. Make sure you receive a confirmation email for
submitting on Turnitin.
BSC 2011L – General Biology II
Lab Report Rubric
Does the cover page have an informative title?
Is all information (name, section, etc.) included?
Does the abstract reflect the entirety of the paper, including
methods, results and limitations?
Is the abstract on its own page?
Is the abstract length adequate (1 paragraph, 200-250
Is the topic clearly introduced and well researched?
Is the purpose of the experiment explained?
Is there a hypothesis?
Is the introduction at least 2 pages long?
Are the procedures correct?
Are all steps included?
Is this section a past-tense narrative (NOT in bullet points)?
Are the observations clearly explained?
Are there relevant pictures/graphs/tables included, and if
so, is there a description under each?
Are results analyzed in this section? (they should NOT be).
Are the purpose and hypothesis restated?
Are the results well discussed?
Are real-world applications and significance of findings
Are limitations and sources of error evaluated, and are
solutions provided for these?
Is paper in APA format?
Is the information clear and concise?
Does the paper flow and transition well, with no jumping
Is there proper grammar, spelling and paraphrasing?
Are sentences structured properly?
Are in-text citations consistently and properly formatted in
Was each source cited at least once in the paper?
Are sources properly formatted in APA?
Are there 10 sources, 5 of which are primary sources?
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