How to write a Lab Report for Microbiology
As part of the assessments portion of your lab grade, you will be required to write 2 lab reports: one covering the Gram Stain experiment in lab 5 (due lab 6) and one covering the Antibiotic Agents, part 1experiment (AMA 1) in lab 7 (due lab 9). Following, you will find the requirements for the lab reports. Part of your grade will rely on your ability to follow the written directions on this page for BOTH lab reports.
Title: This needs to be detailed enough that anyone reading it would know what the paper is about. “Lab Report” or “Exercise 5.24” is not enough, but “Determining Bacterial Motility Using Motility Agar” would be. DO NOT make a title page! The title needs to be centered on the top of the first page of the report, and should be bold in 20 font. Don’t put a period at the end or make the title in the form of a question.
Author: This is your name. It needs to be in normal font (no bigger than 12) and include the day and time of your lab section. It should be centered directly beneath the title.
You do not need to write an abstract. If you are unsure as to what an abstract is, don’t worry, since you don’t have to write one!
Introduction:This is the beginning of the paper and should be left-side justified in normal font. In this section, you will need to include 3 important things. First, you need to give background about the experiment. This information can come from the lab section in the manual, from notes in lecture, or from other outside sources. You MUST cite anywhere that you obtain outside info from using the (author, year published) or (author, website) format. This background info is where you show me that you understand why we did the experiment and what the experiment shows us about bacteria. You also need to include the basics of the experiment—not the specific steps taken, but general basics (for example, if I was writing a report on the Macroscopic motility experiment, I might say something like: Using special agar containing TTC, the bacteria were tested to see if they are motile or not. If they are motile, there will be red radiating out from the stab line. If there is no motility, the red color will remain right on the stab line.) The last thing needed in the intro is a prediction about what you think the results will be or what observations you expect to make at the conclusion of the experiment. Must be in 3rd person and past tense.
Methods/Materials: Start this section with a header that is on the left margin and reads “Methods/Materials” and is bold font in regular size. Under that header, start the section by listing all the materials (including the bacteria—use the full name of the organisms used, and make sure to italicize the names) used for the experiment. Then, in paragraph form, describe all of the steps that you and your lab partner performed. Do not include any results or conclusions in this section. This should only include what was done. Must be in 3rd person and past tense.
Results: As with the methods and materials section, you need to start this section with a header that reads “results”. In this section you will describe what you saw (color, shape, whatever it is that you are looking for). You can do this using sentences, graphs, and/or data table (or any combination of these). Refrain from telling what the results mean—that belongs only in the next section. The hand-written data tables from lab are not acceptable—you need to embed a typed version. Any data tables need to have a title. Must be in 3rd person and past tense.
Conclusion/Discussion: Start this section with a header (like the methods/materials section, and results sections). This is your “closing argument”—where you tell what the results mean and use the knowledge you obtained and the results to back up your conclusion. This is also where you say whether or not your prediction was supported by your results. This is where the most points will be either earned or lost, so put your best effort into this section. Must be in 3rd person and past tense.
References cited in the introduction and/or methods section MUST be included in a works cited page that follows the paper.