Cell Biology Lab Report



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A regular lab report contains sections of title, abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results, discussion, and literature citation (references). However, “abstract” section is not required for your lab report (this change will make you a little easier in preparation of the lab report). Your lab report should be 5-10 pages (including title page), 12 point font, double spaced at margin of 1inch for all sides. You must follow the instructions for each section described below. English writing is considered for each section (structures of sentences and paragraphs; description clarity; grammar; scientific terms; key modifiers; font and format et al).



TITLE PAGE (5 points)


Include the title of the experiment along with your name, and the course title.


INTRODUCTION (new page, 1/2 to 2 pages) (20 points)


The introduction of a research paper sets the stage for your scientific argument. It places your work in a broad theoretical context and gives readers enough information to appreciate your objectives. Orient the reader by summarizing pertinent literature in your field. An effective way to organize the introduction is to proceed from the general to the specific, starting with a review of current knowledge about the topic and narrowing down to your specific research problem. While the hand-out has some background, it is usually no where near being complete. You should utilize other sources. This may include your textbook, review articles, and original research journal articles on the subject. Do not make the introduction too broad or too detailed!  Explain the rationale for the study and your major objectives. After explaining the broad theoretical context, you are ready to clarify the special contribution your own study makes. How does your work fit in with that of other researchers? What special problem does your study address? What new information have you tried to acquire? Why? How? In other words, why are you writing the paper in the first place? Most authors end the introduction by stating the purpose of the study. Some briefly summarize their major findings.

The acceptable format for referencing the cited literature in the body of the text and in the reference section is given below.




You should include enough information so that your study could be repeated. Be sure that this section should not include simply a list of the materials used or resemble a recipe book as your lab manual does (do not write them as a protocol or manual!). You need to organize your material and methods logically (you need to write them in separate paragraphs). In addition, the materials and methods should be in concise sentences and paragraphs making special note of how the protocol utilized deviated from that in the laboratory manual. You may refer to a published primary research paper for writing this section.


RESULTS (30 points)


Summarize and illustrate your findings. Describe your results in detail but do not interpret the data or draw major conclusion in this section. The results section should be a straightforward report of the data with detail description (do not simply list tables or figures without description in the text). Do not compare your findings with those of other researchers, and do not discuss why your results were or were not consistent with your predictions (these should be addressed in the section of “discussion). Integrate quantitative data with the text. If the results section includes tables or figures, be sure to refer to each of these in the text. Each figure or table must have a description title and brief legend.

When reporting the results of commonly used statistical analyses (if applicable), you need not describe the tests in detail nor give all your calculations. Generally, you need to report only the major test statistics, along with the significance or probability level (such as P £ 0.001). Omit peripheral information and unnecessary details


DISCUSSION (20 points)


Interpret your results, supporting your conclusions with evidence. In the Results section you reported your findings; now, in the Discussion, you need to tell the reader what you think your findings mean. Do the data support your original hypothesis? Why or why not? Refer to your data, citing tables or figures where necessary

Do not present every conceivable explanation. Recognize the importance of “negative” results and analyze possible reasons if you got a negative result. Make a conclusion or the impact of your study on the field.





You may acknowledge any person who provides help for your lab activities (do not put the instructor name).




Only list related references in your paper. You need list at least five primary research papers (a textbook and the instructor’s lecture notes are secondary references). You may go to www.pubmed.com to find these references. The format for the references should follow the sample references listed below:


For journals:

Saylors RL, Sidransky D, Friedman HS, Bigner SH, Bigner DD, Vogelstein B, Brodeur GM. Infrequent p53 gene mutations in medulloblastomas. Cancer Res 51: 4721-4723, 1991.


For books:

Yuspa SH, Hennings H, Roop D, Strickland J, Greenhalgh DA. Genes and mechanisms involved in malignant conversion. In: Harris CC and Liotta LA (eds.), Genetic Mechanisms in Carcinogenesis and Tumor Progression, pp. 115-126. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1990.





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