Plants & Human Affairs
Cherries.wmf (7140 bytes) Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106)  -  Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;

Checklist for the Preparation of BIOL 106 Laboratory Reports

    This checklist is adapted from the instructions to authors from the American Journal of Botany and Plant Physiology. Authors who submit a manuscript to these journals are required to complete a similar form. This serves as a quality-control step to ensure uniformity and make it easier to edit the manuscript. Similarly, we will complete this checklist for every lab report that you prepare in this course.  Append a completed copy of this checklist to the end of your lab reports.  

I. Format:
  Type manuscripts on "8� x 11" paper. Double-space throughout.
  Assemble manuscript in this order: Title, text (introduction, methods, results, discussion), acknowledgments, literature cited page, tables, figures, raw data, completed checklist.
II Title Page:
Center title
Capitalize first letter of each word
Below title include your name, affiliation (school) and unabbreviated complete address, date
IV. Introduction:
Provides a background to the work.
Cites appropriate references
Cites references as necessary
Includes a statement of purpose/hypothesis
V. Materials/Methods:
Gives an indication of the procedures followed.
Written paragraph style.
Materials are not listed.
Includes the scientific and common name of the species used in the study
Identifies the source, treatment, condition, etc., of the material used in the study
Gives lighting, growth, etc. conditions
Provide a sample calculation if necessary
VI. Results:
Describe, in words, the data collected in the experiment
Tables, graphs, figures, and raw data are not included in the text; they are appended at the end of the report
VII. Discussion
Describes the significance of the findings and any conclusions drawn from the work.
Refers to other published work
Explains how results "fit into" our current knowledge of the topic
VIII. Literature Cited:
Cite references in alphabetical order by the first author's surname.
Use MLA or other format, and use it consistently
Each reference cited in the text is listed in the Literature Cited section; and vice versa. 
Double check for spelling and details of publication
IX. Tables:
Each table, regardless of size, is placed on a separate page.
The tables are sequentially numbered (Table 1 ... Table n).
Use the word "table", not "chart".
Each table must have a descriptive caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
The caption should be placed on top of the table
X. Figures : (Graphs, photographs, drawings, etc. are called figures)
Each figure is placed on a separate page.
Each figure is sequentially numbered; Figure 1 ... Figure n.
Each figure has a descriptive caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
The caption is placed at the bottom of the page
XI. Graph Preparation: (click here for more information on graph preparation)
Each graph is placed on a separate page.
Graph uses entire paper.
Dependent vs. independent variable is plotted.
Axes of graph are labeled, including units.
Graph has a caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
The caption, as with all figures, is placed beneath the graph
Data points are connected by lines when appropriate - or, the best fit line is drawn.
Minimum and maximum values for x and y axes are appropriate.
Each graph is sequentially numbered (Figure 1 ... Figure n.)
XII.  General Rhetoric/Writing:
Use "Figure" only to start a sentence; otherwise "Fig." if singular, "Figs." if plural (e.g., Fig. 6; Figs. 4-7).
Use these abbreviations without spelling out: hr, min, sec, yr, mo, wk, d, diam, cm, mm; designate temperature as 30 C. 
Write out other abbreviations first time used in the text; abbreviate thereafter: "Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used..."
Numbers: Write out one to ten unless a measurement (e.g., four petals, 3 mm, 35 sites, six yr). Use 1,000 instead of 1000; 0.13 instead of .13; % instead of percent.
Use metric system (SI units when possible).
Scientific names (including family) should be given first time species is mentioned.
Scientific names are written properly. They should be written out fully the first time used. They can be abbreviated in successive uses (i.e., Quercus alba then Q. alba.)
Use active voice (I weighed the leaf; Not - the leaf was weighed by me).
Proper use of significant figures
The word 'data' is plural (i.e., data are reported ... or, these data show ... ).
Correctly use the terms: measure vs. calculate; analytical vs. preparative; error vs. mistake; qualitative vs. quantitative; accuracy vs. precision; fact vs. inference; affect vs. effect.  For more information about correct usage of many words.
Refer to data treatments by name, not "Tube #3" or "Sample A"
Use the word "prove" carefully. It's easy to "support" or "confirm" a hypothesis, but nearly impossible to "prove" it.
When appropriate, include statistical analysis. Identify the number of replications of the experimental treatment and the number of times the experiment was duplicated.
Use appropriate headings and subheadings
Headings are centered & capitalized
Secondary headings are underlined
Information is summarized to avoid plagiarism



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Last updated:  10/05/2008 � Copyright  by SG Saupe