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The Science report

Formal reports are a common feature of scientific work and it is important to pay particular attention to the structure, style, and presentation of your reports.

The following section presents general guidelines, but you should consult your unit guide for specific information about the requirements for your unit.

The scientific report will usually have the following sections. Those which are optional are given in brackets (..).

Section Description
Title page and ID details
  • provides your name and student ID number
  • if the title is not given, ensure that your title is informative.
(Abstract) gives a very brief indication of:
  • the aim of the report
  • what you did
  • what you found
  • what you concluded.
Introduction provides the context for the report
  • states why the topic is important or useful
  • explains any abbreviations or special terms.
Method sets out what you did in sequence
  • explains how you did it
  • indicates what materials, techniques or equipment you used
  • provides sufficient information for the reader to replicate the study.
Results presents what you found
  • includes clearly titled and labelled graphs, tables and figures as appropriate
  • do not simply cut and paste an Excel file into your document
  • detailed calculations may be provided in the appendix.
Discussion
  • explains what the results mean
  • indicates whether the results were consistent or inconsistent with your expectations
    • explains what possible sources of error there are
    • indicates how the experiment could be improved in future.
Conclusion
  • briefly restates the main results
  • briefly explains the significance of the findings.
References
  • provides a list of sources of information which you have used, following the referencing conventions required for the unit (see Referencing).
(Appendices)
  • provides supporting information such as calculations.

For an outline of the organisation of a typical laboratory report and samples of each section of the report, check the site on laboratory reports Launch new window.

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