NSCC BIO101-01 Winter 2004 






Research Paper



About Your Instructor


Lab 1:  Microscopy and Cells

Lab 2:  Diffusion and Osmosis

Lab 3:  Respiration and Photosynthesis (cancelled)

Lab 4:  Mitosis and Meiosis

Lab 5, 6, 7:  DNA Fingerprinting

Virtual Lab (HHMI Virtual Bacterial Identification Lab) Worksheet

Lab 8:  Wetland Ecology

Lab 9:  Owl Pellet Analysis

Instructions for Lab Reports:

Lab reports should be short (2-4 pages, depending on the complexity of the experiment) and written in the general format of a scientific research paper:  Introduction, Methods, Data (with figures), and Results/Conclusions.

Introduction:  Give background, define scientific terms, state the main objectives and hypotheses.
Methods:  Describe, in detail, the experiment (how you are testing the hypothesis), including the materials and equipment that you used as well as the protocol that you followed
Data:  State any measurements that you made or observations that you noted.  Include figures (sketches) and label them appropriately. 
Results and Conclusions:  Discuss the results of your experiment and your interpretation of the data.  State whether the results support or refute your hypotheses.  Propose an alternative hypothesis/experiment if the data does not support your hypothesis.


Suggestions for Lab 2 Report:

Intro: Give background on diffusion, osmosis, and membranes (what those terms mean, why they're important for life, and mention some examples).  Generally describe the goals of the lab and state the hypothesis for each of the three experiments (the dialysis membrane, the egg-osmosis, and the Elodea experiment).

Methods:  You could have three paragraphs, one for each experiment.  List the materials and reagents necessary for each and describe the protocol in enough detail that someone could repeat it without the lab hand-out.  Identify the dependent and independent variables.  Technically, we didn't have a "control" for these experiments, but what would have been an appropriate control?

Data:  Again, three paragraphs, one for each experiment.  Write about anything you recorded (numbers, observations, etc.)  Refer to tables or figures in the text and include those (you can just cut them out of your lab hand-out and tape them into your report).  An example of an observation would be the color change of the starch solution in the dialysis slide from clear to purple when I put it into the iodine solution and you could even give an approximation of the amount of time it took to notice the color change.

Results and Conclusions:  Discuss what the numbers and observations mean.  For example, if the starch solution turned purple, that indicates that some iodine molecules must have passed through the membrane because iodine reacts with starch and causes a color change (if you want to look up the chemical reaction, that would be a nice way to illustrate what happened in the experiment.  From this, you would conclude that the membrane must be semipermeable.  Make sure to state whether the data supports your original hypotheses and say why/why not.  If any of your expements didn't work, you can use the data that we tabulated at the end of the lab (in 7 of 8 independent experiments, solution A was hypotonic (egg gained mass) and solution B was hypertonic (egg lost mass).

Please do not copy the lab hand-out word-for-word.  You should discuss the results with your lab partners (this is called 'collaboration'), but write your lab report independently.  It doesn't have to be super-technical, just try to incorporate some of the terms that you have learned in class/lab so far and simply state what you thought would happen, what did happen, and what that means.