Lab and Field Report

The following are the elements of a standard lab or field report. They should be done with a wordprocessor and printed on plain white paper (If a computer crashes, a hand-written report submitted can hold a place for a typed one). The "Methods" and "Results" should be done in duplicate in your Laboratory Notebook. The duplicated carbon copy will be submitted and the originals will remain in your Laboratory Notebook. Please format your lab by including all the bolded headings below with the appropriate Roman numerals or letters as shown. Use single spacing within a section and sub-section, but use double spacing between all sections and sub-sections.

I. Title: -should concisely convey the nature of the investigation. It should include both the IV (independent variable that you manipulate) and DV (dependent or responding variable you measure). Example: "The Effects of Sprinkling Foundations with Listerine on the Number of Crickets Present"

II. Introduction: (please letter each section as shown below):

  1. Describe what you plan to do and why (A sentence or two).
  2. *Problem (please also write this in lab notebook) : State your problem statement in the form of a question: "To what extent does (IV) affect the (DV)?" Example: To what extent does sprinkling Listerine on home foundations affect the number of crickets present? (One sentence)
  3. Explain why the knowledge gained by this research is of interest. (One complete paragraph)
  4. *Hypothesis (please also write this in lab notebook) : Clearly state the hypothesis with direction: "As the (IV) is increased the (DV) will ...." Example: As the amount of listerine is increased around a home foundation, the number of crickets will decrease. (One sentence)
  5. Background: Give any background information that has allowed you to state your hypothesis. If you are using outside sources, please properly reference them with the author's last name and date of publication (CSE style guide). (Several paragraphs or more. Please be thorough.)
  6. Literature Cited: Please list your sources that you used in your "Backgroud" section. They should be in alphabetical order by the author's last name (CSE style guide | See Ex. Res. Paper using CSE).

III. Methods: (in laboratory notebook only)

  1. **Materials: List all materials that were used for the procedures (include detail needed for replication).
  2. **Procedure: Write concise description in 3rd person past tense ("the graduated cylinder was used to measure 100 ml of ethyl alcohol") of the procedures you used to test your hypothesis. Please write these procedures in numbered steps and complete thoughts and sentences. Again, include enough detail that your procedure can be replicated. Be sure to explain how you manipulated the IV, how you set up a control group or controlled for extraneous variables, how many groups/treatments of the IV you used, and how many trials of each treatment you made. Use as many steps as are need but only do one thing per step.

IV. Results: (in laboratory notebook only)

  1. **Data table(s): Data tables should include the raw data and a graphable summarized data table (if appropriate).
  2. **Graph(s): If appropriate a graph should be done on graph paper in your notebook. Axes must be labeled. It must have a title that includes the IV & DV. The X-axis should always be the IV and include units and labels. The Y-axis should always be the DV and include units and labels. The Y-axis must be scaled so that 2/3 or more of the vertical space of the graph is utilized and its origin should be 0 if it is numerical. If the X-axis is category data, the graph should be a bar graph. If the X-axis is increasing numerical data, the graph should be a line graph.
  3. **Statistics: Use appropriate descriptive statistics (averages, std deviation, correlation coefficients) and appropriate inferential statistics (t-tests, chi-tests) as you are instructed. Statistics can be done in Excel and the results put in your data book.

V. Discussion: What do the results mean? Please write the following 5 paragraphs (letter them please):

  1. Did your data support your hypothesis (briefly restate your hypothesis)? Please use data summary figures here such as group averages with units for each of the groups. Describe differences and how significant they are between groups. Include appropriate statistics.
  2. What went well with this experimental procedure? What did not go so well?
  3. How did the things that did not go so well (extraneous variables) affect the outcome and precision of your experiment? How could you change your procedure to eliminate these errors (extraneous variables) next time?
  4. What are two new related problems that you might study next time because of what you found out during this lab?
  5. What do you now know the relationship between the IV and DV to be? What several other things you learned from this lab? How do these results relate to the topics you are studying in class?

* - indicates this section should be written in your lab notebook and in your formal writeup.
** - indicates this section should only be in your lab notebook (submit these sections as
duplicates from the originals in your lab notebook). They do not need to be rewritten on computer.
- no asterix indicates this section is only found in the formal writeup. You can write brainstorming
from you or your group for any section (for example, discussing the "Discussion" paragraphs'
content would be extremely helpful to aid your writing later )