Sample Lab Reports from Related Courses

Sample Lab Report for BCOR 102: Ecology and Evolution

This is a lab report written for BCOR 102: Ecology and Evolution (PDF). While it is certainly not perfect, it still provides a good example of how a full lab report should look. Reports for this class are usually created using RStudio, a computer program to run the programming language called ‘R’, which you will use often in the lab. If the formatting seems a little weird, it’s because I wrote this report using RStudio then had to ‘knit’ it to Word, something you’ll be very familiar with once you take this class.

Lab reports are a way to descriptively summarize the process of experimentation. They should provide enough detail so that another researcher could repeat the procedure and obtain similar results. In professional fields, reports are published in academic journals once they go through the rigorous process of peer revision, so getting the hang of writing papers like this early on is extremely advantageous! A report consists of an abstract (brief summary of each section of the report), introduction (where you introduce your topic and any previous research), methods (describe what you did with plentiful detail), results (show your results in figures and tables, and describe them in words), discussion (interpret your results in the context of your experiment), and the literature cited (in Ecology format).

I’ve annotated this report to try to highlight key spots in the format or content of the report. Each TA is different with their grading style, but each assignment comes with a grading rubric that should be very closely followed if a great grade is desired. I omitted some parts of this report that were not necessary components of understanding what a lab report is, which you will see noted with “…[omitted]…” Good luck!

Sample Lab Report: What Not to Do

This lab report was on an experiment conducted in BCOR 102 lab (PDF). This experiment aimed to observe evolution by measuring phenotypic variation in different species of goldenrod plant in Centennial Woods. Researchers went out in the field and took height and stem diameter measurements for the different species of goldenrod and then analyzed the data to draw conclusions.

This report was written in a hurry and failed to address all of the expectations of the TA. The main problem with this report is that it did not include enough detail about the specifics of the experiment. There is a lot of red pen on the physical copy of the draft that is somewhat difficult to read. So I took my original copy and added annotations for each section to summarize and analyze the comments from the TA in paragraph form, and to avoid making the draft crowded and illegible.