Spring.wmf (18300 bytes) Plant Physiology (Biology 327)  - Dr. Stephen G. Saupe;  College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University;  Biology Department; Collegeville, MN  56321; (320) 363 - 2782; (320) 363 - 3202, fax;    ssaupe@csbsju.edu

Questions to Consider When Evaluating a Lab Report

    When editing your own lab report or that of someone else, the following are some things to consider:

1. Overall Impression.  What is your general impression of the manuscript? How near to completion is this draft? What steps should be taken to complete the report?

2. Audience Level.  Can the reader understand the manuscript?

3. General Instructions.  Does the manuscript adhere to the general instructions in the Checklist?  For example:

a. Are scientific names used correctly?
b. Is the manuscript assembled in correct order?
c. Is active voice used throughout?
d. Are appropriate abbreviations used?
e. Are numbers written correctly?
f.  Are the appropriate headings used?
g.  Are the headings centered and capitalized?
h.  Are the second level headings underlined?

4. Title page. Does the title page adhere to the guidelines? If not, how can it can be improved?

5. Introduction. Does the introduction prepare the reader for the research being done. An average introduction will demonstrate familiarity with the information in the lab manual. A better-than-average introduction will demonstrate familiarity with additional suggested resource materials (i.e., readings). A superior introduction will include recent references from journals (evidence of a library search).

  1. Does the introduction explain the experiment and why it is important?
  2. What reference(s) have been used in writing the introduction?
  3. Has information from the references been integrated in the introduction?  Does the information apply to this experiment?
  4. Has the information been summarized to avoid plagiarism?

6. Materials and Methods. Using this section and any suggested references (i.e., the lab manual), another student should be able to replicate your work.

  1. Are sources of materials identified
  2. Are the appropriate equipment and techniques identified?
  3. When necessary, are sample calculations provided?
  4. Is the writing smooth, typo-free, grammatically correct, in active voice?

8. Results.  In the results section, the data obtained from the experiment are presented in a meaningful fashion.

  1. Are the results clearly described?
  2. Are differences/similarities identified?
  3. Are all important data provided? Should the author report any other data? Are any data unnecessary
  4. Do the calculations appear to be correct?

9. Figures/Tables.  Data should be summarized in figures and tables whenever possible. A figure (including graphs) is usually preferable to a table.

  1. Are the figures/tables properly prepared?
  2. Is each figure/table on its own page?
  3. Are graphs properly prepared?

10. Discussion. This section should interpret the meaning of the results taking into account other published research on the same topic. Even if the results are not what you expected, you should be able to draw some conclusion.

  1. Does the discussion focus on the importance of the results? Are the results explained?
  2. Does the discussion refer to other published research? Are the references appropriate?

11. Literature Cited?

  1. Are all the references cited in the text listed?
  2. Are the listings in acceptable format?

12. Miscellaneous.

  1. Are words such as "prove" (and others) used correctly?
  2. Does the manuscript refer to treatment name, not tube number, etc.?
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Last updated:  01/07/2009     � Copyright  by SG Saupe