Research Style Lab Report Structure

In general, research reports contain the following sections (in the listed order)*:

Materials and Methods
References/Literature Cited

*There are some exceptions.


  • Keep in mind that not all instructors will require all of these sections all of the time.
  • Check the specific guidelines given by your instructor before you begin writing.

Brief guidelines for each section (click the section's name)

We have broken down each section into the following three components:

  • Purpose - a brief description of the main purpose of the section.
  • What to include - a brief guide to the essential components of each section.
  • Strategy - some suggestions for how to approach writing each section.

These guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive. In fact, because you will be writing many biology reports over the course of your degree, we strongly recommend that you consult other report writing resources. Time and effort spent in developing your writing abilities will pay off in the long run, not only in better marks, but also in efficiency (it’s possible to write first-rate lab reports in a relatively short period of time once you are proficient at it).


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