Any biology student knows that they will need to write a biology lab report at some point in their studies. Yet, almost every single student still has a dozen questions in their heads. Questions like, “What should a lab report look like?” or “How to do a lab report for biology?” These are all valid questions worth answering. Fortunately, you are in the right place.
Students shouldn’t waste their time on worries and concerns. They should spend time on learning and education. So here is how to write a lab report on biology, from the beginning to the end. Use this guide as an example for your future assignments, and stop worrying.
Let’s talk about format now. All lab reports’ examples biology students should learn about having the same traditional format. All you need is to structure your paper according to those academic standards, and you’ll be fine. This means that the right formatting is the key to relevant and accurate work. These are the main elements all examples of lab reports for biology should have written in chronological order:
- Abstract (optional)
- Discussion (optional)
As you can see, knowing how to write a formal lab report for biology means knowing how to format. Let’s break down a sample biology lab report by its elements to see which each one of them must consist of and what purpose it carries.
A title must say it all. The name of your work must invite people. It should clarify what this work is about without giving away too much. It should be descriptive, yet concise. Thus, a person who is reading your title would be intrigued and compelled to read the text below. Also, don’t confuse a title with the topic or theme of your biology lab report.
A title should be, in some way, a reflection on your thesis statement. Often, a page with a title should have the name on top, with the name of the student, class, and instructor’s name placed on the bottom. It’s better to consult with your professor about the title page’s specifics.
Sometimes, an abstract is a strict requirement in an assignment like this. Sometimes, you may enjoy the liberty to choose whether you want to do it or not. Overall, an abstract can give a finished, even polished, look to your paper. So, it can be a nice final touch. We say “final,” even though this element always goes after the title because one should always write an abstract section last. Consider it as a mix of introduction and conclusion.
A perfect biology abstract example will state the goal of your experiment, the issues at hand, the methods you used to test or prove your theory, and the outcomes of your experiments. Thus, an abstract lets readers know all about the main issues and discoveries you are covering in your work.
You should try starting your paper with an appropriate introduction hook. A hook, in this case, can be anything from a thesis statement to citing the statistics or common misconceptions on the topic you are writing. Your opening sentence must interest people in reading and set the tone of your future paper.
Overall, your introduction must have two things. First, it should be engaging enough to make people invested in further reading. Second, an introduction must identify the purpose of the paper. Thus, it should consist of a thesis statement and reflect a general theme of the work. Additionally, it’s best when an introduction outlines the structure of the work as if it guides readers through it. Thus, an introduction often serves as a map to future work.
Methods and Materials
Can anyone say how to write a lab report for biology without the actual lab part of the work? It’s simply impossible. At this stage, you have gotten to the core element of your work. Here, you explain what study you are about to conduct. Hence, this section must include the procedures you have chosen to try and the materials you need to go with this report.
Precision and accuracy in this part of your work are absolutely crucial. You have to document every little detail that made it to your experiment. Thus, you need to share the right measurements, sizes, quantities, techniques, etc. Though, just making a list of things you are using for the experiment is not enough. You need to guide readers through the entire process. Thus, write down how and in which order you are using those materials.
Although you should not be overbearing to your readers with too much information here. Instead, you should create a clear guide on how you complete your study. Thus, any other student who wants to use your work in their studies can easily repeat your experiment, following the method section you wrote.
Results and Analysis
Once you have conducted your study and completed the experiment, you need to state your results. Now, whether the results are the ones you were expecting to receive or not is somewhat irrelevant at this stage of the report. Here, you just need to write down the received data first. The analysis of the experiments will follow next.
Make sure you put down your findings in a coherent and orderly way. There must not be any confusion as the section with your results holds the answers to the question you set at the beginning of your work. In fact, you should start this section by presenting your results first. Be concise. Don’t use too many words or descriptions. Just enlist the findings in a logical and efficient manner. Most sample biology lab reports would also insert graphs, tables, or other visuals at this point. Graphics can do a better job in explaining the findings and presenting them to the readers.
Only after you have finished enlisting all the findings from your experiment may you add some additional explanation to the facts. For instance, you can emphasize certain patterns or trends that took place in your study. Also, you should provide written explanations to every case where you are using any illustrations.
At last, the lab report discussion section where a writer finally has the chance to discuss the experiments and their results. Here, a writer gets to share personal ideas, thoughts, and conclusions about the conducted experiment and, particularly, on the last stage of the study. You get to discuss the fundings you have received with the results you were expecting to have in the end.
Feel free to speculate why the findings did not match your expectations (if this is a case) and how you have built your predictions. You also get to discuss whether your findings support or invalidate your thesis statement set at the beginning of your work. Overall, at this point, you need to summarize all your findings and provide an explanation. Though keep your discussion related to the theme of your studies.
Additionally, you need to offer some suggestions for further studies in this area. Offer your thoughts and ideas on how future studies can benefit from your findings or what experiments would be better in this regard.
A laboratory report format would be incomplete without the proper conclusion. Still, many students feel confused about how to write a bio lab report’s ending. Does it end with the discussion, or should it have a conclusion? Well, it has to have both. Your discussion section is there to provide a summary and personal take on the conducted study. The conclusion section of your paper is there to remind your readers about the whole premise of your work.
Thus, you need to remind your readers about the topic or your writing as well as the thesis statement. Next, you need to briefly guide them through the work you have done to receive your results and discoveries. Finally, you have to explain whether your findings have confirmed your thesis statement or not.
This section will also briefly identify why this study matters and what role it can have on further studies. In other words, you get to draw a big picture of why your report matters for future research in biology.
The Bottom Line
Whenever you ask yourself, “What is the best lab report example, biology college students can offer to the world?” think of this format. Truly, you don’t need much to write a great biology lab report. All you need is a good, relevant, and unique idea for the paper. You do have to think hard on coming up with an interesting topic, doing research, and conducting the experiments needed for the work. However, for the rest of it, you just need to follow the standard format of a biology lab report sample.
Sometimes, all it takes to write a solid report is having a clear understanding of the structure, techniques, and traditional execution of an academic paper.