WRITING BIOLOGY LAB REPORTS
This document has some general information on how to write lab reports for the
introductory biology labs at SUNY Stony Brook. It also contains specific information on some
of the topics you should cover in each section of the lab reports to be assigned over the spring
semester, 2004 session of Biology 203. The T.A.’s for the course are available for consultation
during their office hours. We can also suggest a paper called “How to Write Lab Reports for
Biology” at the Union College Biology Department web site,
http://www.union.edu/PUBLIC/BIODEPT/ResearchReports.html. If you are planning to go on
in Biology, you might consider purchasing the paperback book by Victoria McMillan, Writing
Papers in the Biological Sciences. (Third edition, 2001). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. We
DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Any instance of plagiarism is sent to the Academic Judiciary.
Even the use of a phrase from the internet without quotation marks and citing the reference is
considered plagiarism. Be especially careful in cases when you write your passages immediately
after having read information on the topic in a book or on the internet, or in cases in which you
and a lab partner work together. While you would have the same data, the ideas presented in the
rest of the lab report must be your own.
It is permissible in the introduction and the discussion sections, to use brief quotations (a
phrase or one sentence at most). Sometimes a book or reference has a phrase or sentence that
expresses exactly the thought you are trying to convey; you may use that phrase or sentence IF
you use quotation marks and cite a reference at the end of the sentence. It is NOT appropriate to
borrow extensive passages (more than two sentences) from a text or web site. You should also
acknowledge where ideas or knowledge not originally your own come from, even if you state
your understanding of the idea in your own words. This is usually done by...