Lab Format


When scientists do an experiment, it is important that they keep a complete and accurate record of how they did their experiment, what their results were, and what conclusions were formed from these results.  In order to do this, they write up a lab report. While you are studying AP Biology at Bonney Lake High School, there will be occasions when it will be required that you write up a lab report.  The general format and descriptions of sections for writing a laboratory report follows. Pre-labs will be due on the day we will be doing the lab and are you ticket into the classroom that day. There will be two different types of labs we will be completing this year. Inquiry explorations and discovery explorations. Inquiry explorations are student driven, will have hypotheses, and procedures to test those hypotheses. The format for these lab write ups are below. Discovery explorations will be more teacher directed with varying pre-labs and procedures that will be posted.

The title for the entire lab should be written on the first line of the page. 


Title: The title should be specific or creative, telling exactly what you are studying.  If there is a title already given, you may use it. (1 Point)

Background:  (This section may not be included on all lab reports.) The background information includes all information you know before the experiment either through prior knowledge or research. This section goes from very general about the topic to very specific to your investigation. It occasionally will be 10 sentences from given background. (5-10 Points)

Objectives/Purpose Question: The objectives should be simple, direct, focused on what you want to accomplish and put at the end of the background information. (1 Point) If you are designing your own procedure include a purpose question. Both an independent and dependent variable should be included in the question. Your entire report should be directed towards answering this question. (2 Points) 

Hypothesis: The hypothesis is  an educated guess as to how you think the results might turn out. It should answer your purpose question or objectives. The hypothesis can be in the “If/Then/Because” format, with the "If" part about what you will do to the independent variable, the "Then" part about what you predict will happen to the dependant variable, and the "Because" part should explain why you think it will happen that way. (3 Points)

Null Hypothesis: The null hypothesis states that there will be no difference between the data collected from each of the test group. You should also include what is being tested, the no affect statement, and then a possible reason for there to be no difference. (2 Points)

Description of Experiment: A written description of what you will do in your experiment to test your hypothesis. Must include in your description: at least three test conditions that will be your independent variable (1 Point), an explanation of what your dependant variable will be (1 Point), how you will measure it , how often and for how long (1 Point), all variables that were kept constant but that could have been changed ( 1 Point), a control group is identified for comparison (1 Point), have all logical steps with amounts (1 Point) and there are multiple trials for each test group that are then averaged.  (6 total Points)

Drawing of set up: Need to include a labeled drawing of set up for your experiment or have mini labeled drawings for each logical step of the procedure (2 Points).

Observations and Data: You must also draw an appropriate labeled data table to collect data in and a labeled axis for you to graph your data in your pre-lab. The data section is a record of quantitative experimental data in the form of charts, graphs, or tables. Your observations tell what actually took place and are a record of qualitative data. An observation is a description using one of your five senses and can include drawings. Your opinion or inferences should not be include in your observations. (Complete data table with recorded data 3-6 Points depending on amount of data collect, and complete labeled graph will be 3 Points)


This section is reserved for calculations and processing of data. Here you show all the calculations you make, using the raw data, to determine your values. These can also include calculations of averages (means) and what ever statistical analysis you chose to do. Answers to pre-made questions may also be included in this section. (Points vary depending on investigation)


This section begins by making a relationship statement about the variables being tested that includes data from your experiment to support what you say. (1 Point) It should also include an explanation of why you think the results turned out like they did.(1 Point) Indicate whether these results support your hypothesis or null hypothesis based on you statistical analysis.(1 Point) Explain any errors or factors that affected your results and how they affected them. Can use statistical analysis to support. ( 1 Point) An example of how your results or what you learned apply the real world should then be explained.( 1 Point). Finally, a new question or experiment should be developed to test new variables. (1 Point) (6 total points)