A scientific lab report is a fast and effective way to communicate the outcome of your experiments to other scientific professionals, so that everyone can add to the global body of knowledge. It will always contain certain types of information, and it has particular information in specific locations so that readers can quickly and easily find what they need. Follow the format described below when writing up the experiments you are assigned for microbiology lab. The reports must accurately reflect the assigned experiment, must be typed, and turned in to your instructor by the assigned due date. Grammar and spelling should be at college level. All lab reports must be individual work. Shared data sets are expected between partners, but each student is expected to compose their own report and produce their own figures. Plagiarism, copying or cheating will be penalized with a grade of 0 for all parties involved for the first offense. More severe consequences may result from repeated offenses. The data sheets from the lab manual are NOT acceptable as figures to be submitted as part of a report.
Title: This should describe the experiment well enough that someone finding it on the floor would be able to read it and know what the paper is about. "Lab Report," or "Experiment 9" would not be acceptable titles, but "Determination of the Motility of Bacteria Using the Agar Stab Technique" would be. A title should not be written as a question. The title should be a centered, in a larger font (14-16), and all words except prepositions and articles should be capitalized. Authors: This is you. Your name should be found in smaller font (12) centered below the title. Abstract: This is a very brief summary of your report. Professionally, it is used as an alternative to skimming the whole paper, so it should include all the most important points- what was done (two sentences or fewer), a brief summary of what results were observed, and what conclusion was drawn. The abstract should be one brief paragraph, centered, and in small font (10-11). Introduction: This section contains two important types of information: Why the work is important, and background information. Importance: You should have a brief paragraph explaining why a microbiologist would need to obtain the kinds of information your experiment provides, why they are useful, or what impact the they could have on events or decisions in our world. For example, for the microscope experiment on the first day, you might say that being able to view microscopic organisms is important to assist in diagnosis, because seeing the size and shape can help identify pathogens, or you might say that using the microscope is important in detecting the presence of microbes, which can aid in assessing risks. Resist the training that you have been given in essay-writing. You do NOT start a paper with an anecdote, a funny story or an attention-grabbing statement. Information and relevance is what grabs scientists' attention. Background: You should have a brief paragraph explaining any relevant background information. In proper reports, you should have enough information that your reader can draw their own conclusions from your data, so you have to explain enough about the experiment that
the reader can understand your results on their own. Types of information included vary depending on the experiment, but in general, it will be information such as how the test works, what it tests for, how different results should be interpreted, and why certain techniques or materials are necessary for the experiment to yield reliable results. The introduction and all following sections should be left-justified, in regular font (12) and require headings in bold font. Any information that has been researched and comes from an outside source must be cited using the (author, date) method. Methods: This section should inform your reader about how the experiment was performed. It need not be