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Laboratory Report Guidelines

  • Laboratory activities play a central role in learning in almost every Biology major course offered at NJCU. In most major courses, students will be required to submit reports on lab work in a standard format. The following guidelines and format, with possible modifications by individual faculty, will be used for every Biology lab report:  

    1. Each student may be required to keep a laboratory notebook in which all raw data is recorded and dated.
    2. Laboratory instructions may require students to work independently, or in groups of between two and four students. Individual lab reports are generally required form each student, but group reports are occasionally assigned. When individual reports are assigned for exercises in which students worked in groups, each member of the group will necessarily report the same experimental data, but all other portions of the report must be distinct, original work and not copies of a group effort. Likewise, when group reports are assigned, they must be original efforts and not copies of reports prepared by other groups. All lab reports must be original compositions, whether individual or group efforts.
    3. Reports must be submitted within one week after the completion of the lab activity.
    4. Lab reports must be completed with a word processor and printed on plain white paper. Materials such as drawings, tables, and images should be labeled appropriately and prepared or mounted on plain white paper. Pages should be stapled in the upper left hand corner. No folders or covers of any kind should be submitted. If required, pages from lab manuals should be appended to the lab report. 
    5. Lab reports must report the actual data gathered. Reports should evaluate possible sources of unexpected or erroneous data in the Discussion section.
    6. The lengths of lab reports will vary, but they must be complete, properly prepared, and free of typographical and spelling errors. See the attached pages for descriptions of the component sections of a lab report. Refer to your instructor’s directions on which sections to include in your reports.
    7. A student who misses a lab should check with the professor to see if the lab can be made up. Because of the perishable nature of many lab materials, it is not possible to make up every lab. Students should not assume that an opportunity exists to make up a lab.

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