A lot of college students take Biology classes and thus have to write biology papers from time to time, and while they comply with general paper writing rules, there are (not surprisingly) some peculiarities that you should be aware of before getting down to writing.
As there are way too many different types of Biology papers, here we focus on one of them, namely lab reports,and provided you with a short guide of biology report writing. Use it to get a general idea of what you are supposed to submit and remember: the deeper understanding of the task you have, the easier it will be to write.
So, there are a few parts in any Biology lab report and we would like to elaborate on each of them.
First and foremost, the Introduction.Here you are supposed to state the question you are going to try and answer, i.e. the purpose of the experiment. Be as concise and specific as possible. It is allowed to use active or passive voice, present or past tense, as well as plural ‘we’(‘In this experiment we measured …’). After you formulated the question, provide some background information (stating the sources you relied upon). In case there are some terms that call for definition, provide the definitions in the Introduction part and add any required explanations.
The Introduction is usually followed by Materials & Methods chapter. This is an account of the experiment itself and has to be clear enough for anyone to understand and duplicate what you have done. Reproducibility is actually a convenient means to determine whether you provide excessive/insufficient detail. The materials and the tools used shall be mentioned through the entire section as you apply them. It is recommended to write this chapter in the past tense, yet this is a piece of advice rather than a requirement.
In the Results section you are to present the results obtained in the experiment. Be clear, brief and consistent. There is no place for ambiguity – you don’t want to keep your reader guessing about what you have found. Use tables, charts, graphs, diagrams or whatever it is you deem fit to summarize the results obtained. Make sure that a reader will grasp the logical flow of the data otherwise the work will have been done in vain.
The Discussion section should restate your expected findings and hypothesis along with explanation why you expected to get these results. You shall continue with the actual results obtained and their relation to what you forecasted. Did they support your hypothesis or claim it wrong? In case there are some unexpected results, try and look in the reasons why you obtained them (was the equipment adequate etc.). Pay attention to possible variances.
References of your report should list all other works you relied upon in the process. Make sure you use appropriate citation style.
After all of the above mentioned is done, it’s time to write an abstract of your paper. This is the part to summarize what have been done in the process. Although it precedes the introduction, it is the last section to write. After you are done with it, the paper is ready.
This is it. Writing biology essays is not difficult, yet kind of exhausting. However, once you learn to do it properly, it’s not going to be a problem anymore.