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Home | Contents | 1-3 Science | 4.1 Experiments | 4.2 Units | 4.3 Measurement | 4.4 Safety | 5 Data | 6-7 Reports | 8 Appendix

VCS Science Handbook Sections 6-7

6.0.0 Communicating Results

  • You will often be asked to write about your laboratory experiences and results.

  • 6.1.0 Lab reports
    • Different classes and teachers will require different kinds of lab reports. Table 10 shows a sample lab report format with the sections that most often appear on reports.
Table 10: Sample lab report format
Name (in full)

Your Lab Title Goes Here
>Purpose: A written statement of the intent of the lab experiment or the problem to be solved. It may be written as a statement or in question form. Keep it simple and concise. (See section 3.1.0 Observing and stating a problem)
>Hypothesis: After getting some background information about the problem to be solved, write an “educated guess” in an “If…then…” format. (See section 3.2.0 Forming a hypothesis)
>Materials: A complete list of all equipment necessary to run the experiment including safety items.
>Procedure: A complete list of numbered steps that you can follow in order to repeat the experiment (exactly). They do not need to be in complete sentence form, but should be written so anyone could follow them without confusion.
>Data: Record all observations regarding the experiment in this section (see section 5.1.0 Gathering data: data tables). This is also the place for any graphs or other analysis techniques (such as calculations) that may make your data more understandable or meaningful (see sections 5.2.0 Displaying data: bar graphs and 5.3.0 Displaying data: line graphs).
>Analysis Questions: Answer all questions in complete sentences, number each one and skip a line between each answer.
>Conclusion: Using complete sentences, describe the lab that you just completed. In your response, include the several distinct parts described below.
    • Part A- Describe in simple form what you were trying to do or accomplish in this lab. Restate your problem or purpose in this section.

  • Part B- Describe briefly the procedure/protocol used in this lab.

  • Part C- Write a 2+:1 format body paragraph, with your hypothesis as the topic sentence. The concrete details should be drawn from your data, and the commentary sentence is your commentary on the results (see section 6.2.0 Body paragraphs).

  • Part D- What errors or variables beyond your control might have affected your results?

  • 6.2.0 Body paragraphs
    • When asked to write 3+:0 or 2+:1 body paragraphs in your science class (such as in a formal lab report), then refer to Table 11 or to the English writing handbook.
Table 11: The one-chunk science body paragraph
3+:0 Ratio
Sentence number (content)
1 (topic sentence)
Reproduction is the process in which an organism makes more of its species and is able to pass DNA material from one generation to the next.
2 (concrete detail)
There are two types of reproduction that living organisms use—sexual and asexual.
3 (concrete detail)
In sexual reproduction, two different sexes are required to produce an offspring, and the DNA of that offspring will be different from that of the parents.
4 (concrete detail)
In asexual reproduction, a single parent is able to produce an offspring which will have the identical DNA material of the parent.
5 (concluding sentence)
The transfer or DNA material is affected differently in sexual and asexual reproduction. From Oscar Canales, science teacher at South Park Middle School, Corpus Christi, Texas
2+:1 Ratio
Sentence number (content)
1 (topic sentence): state a mini-hypothesis
Trees in the Northern Hemisphere lose their leaves in the autumn due to falling temperatures.
2 (concrete detail): describe data
Experimental data showed that trees in warm temperatures lost an average of one leaf per day in a three-week period.
3 (concrete detail): describe more data
Data also showed that trees in cool temperatures lost an average of one leaf per day in the same three-week period.
4 (commentary): draw conclusions from your data OR make a general observation about your data
Thus, trees in warm and cool temperatures lose their leaves at the same rate.
5 (concluding sentence): accept, refute, or modify your hypothesis OR give a “so what?” sentence of commentary OR cause and effect sentence
The hypothesis that trees lose their leaves in the autumn due to falling temperatures is incorrect, and a more accurate hypothesis might be that trees lose their leaves due to changing light levels.

7.0.0 Citations

  • If you use another person’s ideas or quote or paraphrase someone else’s written or spoken words, then you must cite them as a source within the paper you are writing and include a more detailed reference on your “Works Cited” page. See the English Writing Handbook for more details on citations.