About Research Style Lab Reports

In our department, most instructors will require you to write lab reports in the same style as research reports are written.

  • this is the primary way that practising scientists share their research results
  • writing a formal research report will improve your understanding of the study you conducted
  • this helps us evaluate your scientific thinking more in depth than we can on exams
  • it develops your critical thinking skills. It is impossible to write a good report until you thoroughly understand what you did, what you found and what it means.
  • science writing skills are TRANSFERABLE skills. No matter where you end up professionally, good science writing will be useful (e.g. if you become a doctor, you will need to keep good patient notes).

What is a research report?

A research report is a document that is used to share newly acquired knowledge with your scientific peers. No matter how well you conduct your research or how important your results, if you don’t publish them they are useless.

Why do research reports have such a rigid structure?

Biologists are busy people. In addition to conducting their own research, they need to stay up-to-date on the ongoing research in their field (and often other fields as well). This can mean sifting through thousands of research papers every year. Without a standard format this would be impossible to accomplish.

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