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

Checklist for the Preparation of 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:
q Type manuscripts on "8� x 11" paper. Double-space throughout.
q Assemble manuscript in this order: Title page, abstract page, text (introduction, methods, results, discussion), acknowledgments, literature cited page, tables, figures, raw data, completed checklist.
II Title Page:
q Center title in middle of first page.
q Capitalize first letter of each word
q Descriptive
q Below title include your name, affiliation (school) and unabbreviated complete address.
q date submitted - in lower left-hand corner
III. Abstract Page
q Abstract must be one paragraph.
q Do not include references or use abbreviations.
q Be concise (include brief statement about paper's intent, materials and methods and significance of findings).
IV. Introduction:
q Provides a background to the work.
q Cites appropriate references
q Cites references as necessary
q Includes a statement of purpose/hypothesis
V. Materials/Methods:
q Gives an indication of the procedures followed.
q Written paragraph style.
q Materials are not listed.
q Includes the scientific and common name of the species used in the study
q Identifies the source, treatment, condition, etc., of the material used in the study
q Gives lighting, growth, etc. conditions
q provide a sample calculation
VI. Results:
q Describe, in words, the data collected in the experiment
q Tables, graphs, figures, and raw data are not included in the text; they are appended at the end of the report
VII. Discussion
q Describes the significance of the findings and any conclusions drawn from the work.
q Refers to other published work
q Explains how results "fit into" our current knowledge of the topic
VIII. Literature Cited:
q Cite references in alphabetical order by the first author's surname.
q Write out full journal titles - no abbreviations.
q Format for citing a journal article: Author AB, Author BC (1977) Title of article. Plant Physiology 59: 121-125
q Format for citing an article in a book: Author AB, Author BC, Author CD (1974) Title of article. In A Smith, B Jones, ed., Title of Book, Ed 2 Vol. 3. Publisher, City, pp. 14-19
q Format for citing a book: Author AB (1998) Title of Book. Publisher, City.
q Each reference cited in the text is listed in the Literature Cited section; and vice versa. 
q Double check for spelling and details of publication
IX. Tables:
q Each table, regardless of size, is placed on a separate page.
q The tables are sequentially numbered (Table 1 ... Table n).
q Use the word "table", not "chart".
q Each table must have a descriptive caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
q The caption should be placed on top of the table

X. Figures : (Graphs, photographs, drawings, etc. are called figures)

q Each figure is placed on a separate page.
q Each figure is sequentially numbered; Figure 1 ... Figure n.
q Each figure has a descriptive caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
q The caption is placed at the bottom of the page
XI. Graph Preparation: (click here for more information on graph preparation)
q Each graph is placed on a separate page.
q Graph uses entire paper.
q Dependent vs. independent variable is plotted.
q Axes of graph are labeled, including units.
q Graph has a caption that makes the general meaning understood with reference to the text.
q The caption, as with all figures, is placed beneath the graph
q Data points are connected by lines when appropriate - or, the best fit line is drawn.
q Minimum and maximum values for x and y axes are appropriate.
q Each graph is sequentially numbered (Figure 1 ... Figure n.)
q Graphs are called "figures" NOT "charts"
XII.  General Rhetoric/Writing:
q Use "Figure" only to start a sentence; otherwise "Fig." if singular, "Figs." if plural (e.g., Fig. 6; Figs. 4-7).
q Use these abbreviations without spelling out: hr, min, sec, yr, mo, wk, d, diam, cm, mm; designate temperature as 30 C.  For a list of other abbreviations visit the Plant Physiology web site
q Write out other abbreviations first time used in the text; abbreviate thereafter: "Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used..."
q 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.
q Use metric system (SI units when possible).
q Scientific names (including family) should be given first time species is mentioned.
q 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.)
q Use active voice (I weighed the leaf - not, the leaf was weighed by me).
q Proper use of significant figures
q The word data is plural (i.e., data are reported ... or, these data show ... ).
q 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; than vs. then; to vs. too vs. two.  For more information about correct usage of many words, click here.
q Refer to data treatments by name, not "Tube #3" or "Sample A"
q Use the word "prove" carefully. It's easy to "support" or "confirm" a hypothesis, but nearly impossible to "prove" it.
q When appropriate, include statistical analysis. Identify the number of replications of the experimental treatment and the number of times the experiment was duplicated.
q Use appropriate headings and subheadings
q Headings are centered & capitalized
q Secondary headings are underlined
q Information is summarized to avoid plagiarism
q References are cited in the text by author (date).  Example:  Apples grow on trees (Saupe, 2000).  Saupe (2000) said that apples ......


Last updated:  01/07/2009     � Copyright  by SG Saupe