Structure

A laboratory report has a clear structure, and this is very helpful when you come to write your report.

The sections in the report and their sequence have developed in this way to accurately re-tell or recount a scientific activity and to interpret the results of this activity.

In this way scientific knowledge is developed out of scientific experimentation.

In a short report, some of the sections are omitted, shortened or combined so that the most important parts of the report can be written and displayed in a smaller space, usually one side of an A4 page in length.

STRUCTURE OF TRADITIONAL REPORT

STRUCTURE OF SHORT REPORT

Title

Title

Abstract

 

Introduction

Introduction (aim and justification for experiment)

Methods

Study design (Optional)

Results

Results (tables and/or figures only)

Legend

 

Discussion

Discussion and Conclusion

Conclusion

 

References

 

Appendix (-ces)

 

A report will need to communicate the following points. Click on each point to see which section of the report communicates that point.

What you set out to do and why

How you set up your study

What your findings were

How you obtained your findings

What your findings mean

Many students will draft their short report in this order, leaving the discussion (and conclusion), generally the most difficult parts to write, until last.

However, some students may also leave the writing of the legends until last as these are not simply a description of the procedure or protocol used but the conditions under which the data were obtained.

Match the summary of the purpose of each section of a short report with the appropriate section. Click the submit button when you are ready to recieve your feedback.

Title

  • to summarise your results, explain their significance and comment on their validity.

  • to tell the reader the experimental conditions for them to obtain your results.

  • to tell the reader the aim of your report or your main conclusion.

  • to tell the reader the overall design of the study.

  • to state the purpose of the study and explain it.

  • to display what you found.

Introduction

Study Design

Results

Legend

Discussion and Conclusion

In the table below, match each sentence to the corresponding section of a report.

Introduction

  • In this study the results are confounded by the fact that the compliance of the participants was not monitored.

  • Dietary cholesterol intake affects plasma cholesterol concentration.

  • This study aimed to demonstrate that increasing the intake of high cholesterol foods leads to an increase in concentration of cholesterol in blood plasma.

  • Figure 2. Effect of Low Cholesterol Diet on Plasma Cholesterol Concentration.

  • Subjects (49-58 years of age) were allocated to high (n=4, 3 male, 1 female) or low (n=4, 3 male, 1 female) cholesterol diets, which they consumed for 12 weeks.

  • After 10 min at room temperature, the absorbance of the incubation mixture was determined at 500 nm.

Results

Title

Legend

Discussion and Conclusion

Study Design

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