Guidelines for Scientific Writing of Lab Reports
Learning to write up scientific reports takes time and effort and will help you to be a better scientist for your senior project and a better practitioner after you graduate. In order to receive the highest possible grades for your lab reports, you should closely follow these guidelines and write up sections 1-4.
1. Introduction: (Although I usually hand you a previously written handout for each lab, you should summarize it in ‘your own words’ and hand in with the lab report).
This section should introduce the topic or concept in exercise psychology and discuss theory and research (review the literature) work that is most relevant to the topic. Usually it moves from general topic to specific findings or arguments and may lead us to a statement of the research problem or why specific hypotheses are to be tested (provide a basic rationale). Add additional readings and references you have read or searched for in the basic Introduction. You should include several references in lab report. List a research and null hypothesis(es) formally stated in scientific format to finish.
2. Method: (Although I usually hand you a previously written handout for each lab, you should summarize it in ‘your own words’ and hand in with the lab report).
This section must be divided into 3 sections: Participants, Instruments/Questionnaires, and Procedures. Participants may include number of participants, how they were obtained, how they were assigned to experimental groups, and any special characteristics (sex, age, skill, etc.). Instruments/Questionnaires provides a description of equipment used to test participants, and if a questionnaire, who created it, scoring instructions, description of items, and any evidence of reliability and validity. Procedures provide enough detail to allow a reader to replicate the experiment (timing, instructions, actions).
3. Results: (This is a section based on your SPSS analysis and write it up.)
If there was a significant finding or difference, highlight it in statistical format. Explain it in simple terms with means included for groups or conditions. Report the basic findings (at least means and standard deviations; maybe correlations, t values, significance (p values)) you found in both Table and Figure format and in written text. Three mandatory sections for the Results section include:
1) Results: write up in APA statistical format with explanation of results
2) Table of Means and SDs of dependent variables
3) Figure (appropriate bar chart, line graph, scatterplot, etc.)
4. Discussion: State what the finding was and whether it supports or rejects the questions (hypotheses) stated. Critique design limitations and suggest future research.
For a maximum grade, compare your finding or conclusion with prior supportive or non-supportive research findings cited in research articles you have searched. Use proper APA style (6th Edition) to reference the author(s) and year of publication used as a reference in a Reference list at the end of your lab write up.
5.Reference List: Using APA style (6th edition), make an alphabetical list of all references (books, articles, reviews, etc.) used in any of the four sections of the write up.