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Science Resources

Writing in the sciences follows the same principles of academic writing, however there may be some technical differences based on the type of report that is required and what is expected of you by your lecturer. It is important to consult your subject resources and marking criteria to ensure you prepare your assessments accurately.

Here are some guidelines to help you write a science report, but be aware that your lecturer may have specific requirements, so this should only be used as a guide.

Presenting Data

Writing Laboratory reports

When preparing a laboratory report, write the methods and results sections first, followed by the discussion and introduction. If you include an abstract, this is usually the last section that is written. The sections are presented here in the order they usually appear in the report.

An overview of the entire report. It usually includes some background information about the context, a brief mention of the method used, the most important results and a statement of conclusion or recommendation.

Tense: Present

**Not all reports have an abstract. They are usually only included in longer reports.

Introduces the broad context and outlines the purpose for the study. An introduction cites and describes the results of other studies to give the context of the current report. The aims/hypothesis is included towards the end of this section.

Tense: Present (when referring to current knowledge), past (when stating what was done and what was found).

Include a description of the materials and methods used. There should be enough details for others to repeat the study. This section sometimes includes a description of how the data was processed, if required.

Tense: Past

A description of the results, with relevant displays of the results, such as diagrams, tables and graphs. Sometimes it is appropriate to make comments about the results, but be careful not to discuss them.

Tense: Past or present (choose one tense and be consistent). Present tense is more authoritative.

An explanation and interpretation of the results. Often this section includes a critical analysis of the results by discussing the strengths and limitations of the study. There are many opportunities within the discussion to compare and contrast your results with previous studies.

Tense: Present (when referring to the results in your study). Past (when referring to other studies).

**Sometimes the discussion includes and concluding paragraph when a separate conclusion is not provided.

A conclusion clearly states the overall findings of the study and their implications. If your study has a research question or hypothesis, the conclusion must explicitly respond to this.

Tense: Present

An appendix section is often not required, even in many longer studies. An appendix is used when including a large amount of data which may not be necessary to understand the result but might be of interest to some readers.

If the data is reported or discussed within the results or discussion section, that data must be presented in the section where it is first mentioned.

Always check with your subject for the referencing format that is expected. If no specification is made, APA 7th is widely accepted.