Writing a scientific lab report is significantly different from writing for other classes like philosophy, English, and history. The most prominent form of writing in biology, chemistry, and environmental science is the lab report, which is a formally written description of results and discoveries found in an experiment. College lab reports should emulate and follow the same formats as reports found in scholarly journals, such as Nature, Cell, and The American Journal of Biochemistry.
Title: The title says what you did. It should be brief (aim for ten words or less) and describe the main point of the experiment or investigation.
Abstract: An abstract is a very concise summary of the purpose of the report, data presented, and major conclusions in about 100 - 200 words. Abstracts are also commonly required for conference/presentation submissions because they summarize all of the essential materials necessary to understand the purpose of the experiment. They should consist of a background sentence, an introduction sentence, your hypothesis/purpose of the experiment, and a sentence about the results and what this means.
Introduction: The introduction of a lab report defines the subject of the report, provides background information and relevant studies, and outlines scientific purpose(s) and/or objective(s).
Materials and Methods: The materials and methods section is a vital component of any formal lab report. This section of the report gives a detailed account of the procedure that was followed in completing the experiment as well as all important materials used. (This includes bacterial strains and species names in tests using living subjects.)
Results: The results section focuses on the findings, or data, in the experiment, as well as any statistical tests used to determine their significance.
Discussion: The discussion section interprets the results, tying them back to background information and experiments performed by others in the past.This is also the area where further research opportunities shold be explored.
For example, if your bacteria was incubated at the wrong temperature or a piece of equipment failed mid-experiment, these should be noted in the results section.
Acknowledgements and References: A references list should be compiled at the end of the report citing any works that were used to support the paper. Additionally, an acknowledgements section should be included to acknowledge research advisors/ partners, any group or person providing funding for the research and anyone outside the authors who contributed to the paper or research.
Incorrect: We found that caffeine increased amylase levels in Tenebrio molitar. Correct: It was discovered that caffeine increased amylase levels in Tenebrio molitar.