Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Format a Biology Lab Report Share Flipboard Email Print Hero Images / Getty Images Science Biology Basics Cell Biology Genetics Organisms Anatomy Physiology Botany Ecology Chemistry Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Regina Bailey Biology Expert B.A., Biology, Emory University A.S., Nursing, Chattahoochee Technical College Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator. Her work has been featured in "Kaplan AP Biology" and "The Internet for Cellular and Molecular Biologists." our editorial process Regina Bailey Updated May 06, 2019 If you are taking a general biology course or AP Biology, at some point you will have to do biology lab experiments. This means that you will also have to complete biology lab reports. The purpose of writing a lab report is to determine how well you performed your experiment, how much you understood about what happened during the experimentation process, and how well you can convey that information in an organized fashion. Lab Report Format A good lab report format includes six main sections: TitleIntroductionMaterials and MethodsResultsConclusionReferences Keep in mind that individual instructors may have a specific format that they require you to follow. Please be sure to consult your teacher about the specifics of what to include in your lab report. Title: The title states the focus of your experiment. The title should be to the point, descriptive, accurate, and concise (ten words or less). If your instructor requires a separate title page, include the title followed by the name(s) of the project participant(s), class title, date, and instructors name. If a title page is required, consult your instructor about the specific format for the page. Introduction: The introduction of a lab report states the purpose of your experiment. Your hypothesis should be included in the introduction, as well as a brief statement about how you intend to test your hypothesis. To be sure that you have a good understanding of your experiment, some educators suggest writing the introduction after you have completed the methods and materials, results, and conclusion sections of your lab report. Methods and Materials: This section of your lab report involves producing a written description of the materials used and the methods involved in performing your experiment. You should not just record a list of materials, but indicate when and how they were used during the process of completing your experiment. The information you include should not be overly detailed but should include enough detail so that someone else could perform the experiment by following your instructions. Results: The results section should include all tabulated data from observations during your experiment. This includes charts, tables, graphs, and any other illustrations of data you have collected. You should also include a written summary of the information in your charts, tables, and/or other illustrations. Any patterns or trends observed in your experiment or indicated in your illustrations should be noted as well. Discussion and Conclusion: This section is where you summarize what happened in your experiment. You will want to fully discuss and interpret the information. What did you learn? What were your results? Was your hypothesis correct, why or why not? Were there any errors? If there is anything about your experiment that you think could be improved upon, provide suggestions for doing so. Citation/References: All references used should be included at the end of your lab report. That includes any books, articles, lab manuals, etc. that you used when writing your report. Example APA citation formats for referencing materials from different sources are listed below. BookName of author or authors (last name, first initial, middle initial)Year of publicationTitle of bookEdition (if more than one)Place where published (city, state) followed by a colonPublisher nameFor example: Smith, J. B. (2005). Science of Life. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Thompson Brooks.JournalName of author or authors (last name, first initial, middle initial)Year of publicationArticle titleJournal titleVolume followed by issue number (issue number is in parenthesis)Page numbersFor example: Jones, R. B. & Collins, K. (2002). Creatures of the desert. National Geographic. 101(3), 235-248. Your instructor may require that you follow a specific citation format. Be sure to consult your teacher concerning the citation format that you should follow. What Is an Abstract? Some instructors also require that you include an abstract in your lab report. An abstract is a concise summary of your experiment. It should include information about the purpose of the experiment, the problem being addressed, the methods used for solving the problem, overall results from the experiment, and the conclusion drawn from your experiment. The abstract typically comes at the beginning of the lab report, after the title, but should not be composed until your written report is completed. View a sample lab report template. Do Your Own Work Remember that lab reports are individual assignments. You may have a lab partner, but the work that you do and report on should be your own. Since you may see this material again on an exam, it is best that you know it for yourself. Always give credit where credit is due on your report. You don't want to plagiarize the work of others. That means you should properly acknowledge the statements or ideas of others in your report.