writing scientific reports

Scientific Reporting-A Stepwise Guide and Examples

Scientific reporting is a form of journalism that reports on scientific investigation, research, and experimentation. To write an article about it, one must compellingly present accurate information. This guide will provide some basic guidelines for writing such an article and examples that can help you get started.

What is A Scientific Report?

A Scientific Report is a document that presents the results of scientific investigation, research, or experimentation. It can be written by scientists themselves or by journalists.

It is often the first step in publishing scholarly articles about new discoveries, though it may also be used to describe other methods of reporting on research or experimental results.

What is the Purpose of a Scientific Report?

A scientific report aims to disseminate information about discovery or other results from a research study. The report should clarify what the experiment was about, how it was done, and how the results were interpreted. A scientific report is often published by itself but may also serve as the foundation for a scholarly article or conference presentation.

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What is the Goal of Scientific Report?

The goal of a scientific report is to communicate important information to advance knowledge. Reports are scientists’ mode of communication. They should be clear, orderly and accurate.

Essential Things to Know on Writing Scientific Report?

1) Your science lab report needs to communicate important information to advance knowledge.

2) A scientific report presents the results of scientific investigation, research, or experimentation, and laboratory reports. It can be written by scientists themselves or by journalists.

3) A scientific report is often the first step in the process of publishing scholarly articles about discoveries. It may also be used to describe other methods of reporting on research or experimental results.

4) Present your paper’s purpose and content

5) State the significance of your work. Why should anyone care?

6) Explain what you did and why it was necessary. Pay attention to the experimental design and any limitations on external validity (e.g., how generalizable is your finding to non-college students?). Present it in a way that acknowledges the contributions of past research.

7) Explain what you found, trying not to overstate or understate the magnitude of the findings. Just give the reader enough information to judge for herself whether it’s worth following upon.

8) Provide the reader with enough information

9) Include the following parts in the text of your article: Introduction, Methods (how you did it), Results (what you found out), and Discussion (what does it all mean?).

10) You may write a Scientific Report in the first person or third person, depending on your discipline. Please check with your unit coordinator for guidance.

11) Avoid using abbreviations in the text of your report. Not only do they make your paper harder to read, but it is also a violation of the APA style.

12) If you have an extensive data set with more than one table, include a descriptive title and subtitle for each table.

13) When writing something for publication, no matter what it is—an essay, an article, or even just a paper for a class—think about how it will be read.

Stages of Scientific Report Writing Process

The writing process of a scientific report is multi-staged. It requires the writer to understand and acknowledge what facts will be included in their writing.

• Understanding the audience:

The first step of writing a scientific report is identifying who the reader(s) may be. This will help you decide how technical or nuanced your language should be and what information would be helpful for them to know.

• Researching the relevant literature:

Before writing your report, you must conduct thorough research to gain a complete understanding of what has already been written on the topic.

• Writing the draft:

Write an outline that clearly states your purpose, methods, findings, and conclusions.

• Revising your draft:

This stage includes editing for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Include scientific details the reader needs to understand any results or conclusions you present.

• Finalizing your report:

Your final step is to take a printout of what you have written and read through it carefully to find any mistakes you could have missed during the draft stage. Remember to write scientific reports in the third person and past tense.

• Submitting your report:

Before submitting, proofread once more to be sure that the results and their implications are clearly stated.

What is the Step by Step for Writing a Scientific Report?

Here is an outline and step by step on how you should write the scientific report.

1) The Title Page

Start with the title page. The title page should include all author names and affiliations. Note that if you publish your work online, it is unnecessary to provide complete contact information for the author(s) on the title page. This information should be provided in the text of the manuscript.

2) Abstract

The abstract should be a stand-alone paragraph. It should summarize the purpose and findings of your study and provide the context for it. (I.e., why was this research done and what does it add to existing literature and knowledge on the topic).

3) Article Introduction

The introduction should be a brief summary of what you plan to investigate in your study, why it is essential to know the answer to that question, and how you will investigate it. It should not include any new results or interpretations.

The introduction should be self-contained and not state the same data that is presented in the results section. In the body paragraphs, the last paragraph should include a brief summary of the study’s aim and rationale.

4) Literature Review

A literature review is a summary of published literature (what has been published on the topic before). It should provide context for your study by situating it within existing research. It also serves to frame why you are asking specific questions and how they relate to previous studies.

Concentrate on your primary research question. Provide a thorough review of the literature related to your topic throughout the paper. Do this in paragraph form or as an annotated bibliography (with the identifying details removed).

You may consider including a separate section for each central point you wish to make.

5) Introduction to Methodology

Provide readers with an understanding of how you collected your data (e.g., through surveys, interviews, observations, etc.) and the number of people or participants involved in this study.

You should also provide them with the research method (e.g., surveys, interviews, observation) and a brief description of why it is appropriate and robust for your study (i.e., validity and reliability).

6) Methods

In the methods section, provide an overview of what you did in your study. How were participants recruited? What materials were used? How long did your study take to complete, etc.?

7) Participants

Provide enough information about the participants that someone else could find them and get the same results. If you did not collect demographic background information about your participants, do not include it here!

8) Materials/Equipment Conditions

Provide the conditions in which both the materials and equipment were provided and used by participants (e.g., the room temperature during the experiment, whether the room was well lit, etc.).

9) Procedure

Provide a detailed description of the procedure used in your research question. Include information about how participants were recruited and assigned to groups or conditions, what you told them before they began, and any specific instructions that needed to be followed while they participated.

10) Data Analysis Plan

This is not a required section in an APA paper, but if you would like to include it, list the steps of your analysis.

11) Results

Your results will typically organize information about your participants in some way (e.g., by comparing means across groups). The best-written results enable someone who did not participate in the study to re-create your findings. To that end, it is essential that you clearly describe how you have organized and what descriptive statistics you used. Results are typically presented as a separate section within an APA paper.

12) Discussion

Your discussion section should highlight the contributions of your study to existing research or practice. It should also acknowledge limitations of your study that you were not able to overcome.

Point out any new questions that your findings have raised. Provide a synthesis of the results presented in the paper without repeating what you have already said.

13) Conclusion

The main goal for this section is to summarize what you did in your study, what you found, how it can be generalized to other settings, and any new questions raised based on these findings.

This section should also provide a “roadmap” for future research and further studies in this area. It may serve as a guide to researchers interested in replicating or extending the results of your research.

14) References

This section should list all of the sources cited within your research project. The first time a source is mentioned, give the author’s last name and publication year in parentheses after its initial mention (e.g., (Smith, 2009)). All other times it appears in your paper, provide only the date (e.g., Smith, 2009) without the author’s name.

Previous literature should be cited to acknowledge what others have done in this area and how it contributes to your body of knowledge. Similarly, studies that you did not find relevant for your own analysis may still help provide context and improve proper interpretation of your research. Self-plagiarism: “If an author has published an article in a multi-authored book, the author may, with permission of the editor of that volume, reprint parts of it if these are relevant to his/her current article and if proper acknowledgment is given” (APA 6th ed., 2010, p. 79).

Information for Each Section

The following is an example of what information can be included in each section:

  • Introduction (have the background, objective of the study, and significance, theoretical framework, hypotheses, and method)
  • Participants: (participant characteristics, sample size). If the participants were randomly assigned to groups, include how they were assigned and the random assignment process.
  • Materials: (description of all materials used in the study). If a specific test was created by the author(s), please provide an example of the item.
  • Procedures: (the research design, methods to obtain data). If multiple tests were completed or if there were multiple phases of data collection, please include the methods for each.
  • Results (descriptive statistics and interpretation). If specific statistical tests were used, please provide information about them, such as the name of the test, what variables it is designed to measure, and its assumptions.
  • Discussion: (include any limitations that could affect your study or future research). This section should reanalyze the data presented in the Results section. It should provide further insight into the variables you studied. The discussion can be used to interpret your results (APA 6th ed., 2010).
  • Results: Results should be interpreted and discussed within the present research framework.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations to your study that can either affect internal validity or external validity. Internal validity includes manipulating more than one variable at a time. External validity may include generalizing study results to other populations.
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How Do I Format a Scientific Report According to APA Style?

  • Make sure that your article is double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with 1” margins on all sides.
  • Use passive voice when writing a scientific report. Remember, other science units may require the use of active voice. Please check with your unit coordinator. “Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. Active voice is used when the focus is on the do-er of the action.” (Wiki)

Compare: He painted a mural on a wall at school vs. A mural was painted onto a wall at school by him.

  • A research report should only include the following sections: introduction, method, results, and discussion.
  • The section headings are capitalized and in Roman type (not Italic). The numbers of the subsections are written in Arabic numerals (integers) and placed flush left with periods (. period) after each numeral.
  • Have a reference list that includes each source you cited in the text of your report and others that support your findings. Label sources according to the following forms:

Book = Book title (Author’s last name, Year published): page numbers

Journal Article = Journal article title (Author’s last name, Year published): page numbers

Webpage = Website title (last name, first initial or organization, Year created or updated): URL

  • References should be alphabetized by authors’ last names. If there is no author or multiple authors, alphabetize by the title of the work.
  • For articles found online: The date accessed should be included in parenthesis after each article’s citation. If you do not have information about when an article was published, use (n.d.). Use the “resources” field in Zotero to access this information.
  • Place page numbers at the top right-hand corner of each page.
  • Figure how you want to format your titles, left-justified versus centered.

Sample of Scientific Report

Scientific Report – The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine and Risk of Premature Menopause

A team of researchers, led by Lujanna E. Ghitis of the University College of London (UCL), recently published an article in PLoS ONE that investigates the safety profile of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a vaccine against several types of cancer-causing viruses.

The article concludes that the HPV vaccine does not cause any long-term or short-term adverse effects and should be administered to women and girls between 9 and 26 years of age.

The title: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine and Risk of Premature Menopause

The issue: The safety profile of the HPV vaccine

Why it matters: Many people fear that vaccines may be harmful to human health.

The Introduction

New forms of technology, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, are constantly emerging. As a result, there is an increasing public concern about the long-term safety of these technologies.

The Background- The research question for this study was, “Does the HPV vaccine cause any long-term or short-term adverse effects in women?”

The Relevance-This study aimed to assess the safety of the HPV vaccine and its effects on ovarian function.

The Methods- There were a total number of twenty-one participants in this study. They were divided into three groups. Seven participants received both doses of vaccine. Six participants received a single dose of vaccine. Five participants served as a control group.

Limitations of the Study- The HPV vaccine was only tested on women of childbearing age. Another group, such as younger girls or males, should be considered for future studies.

Materials and Methods

Participants – Young women who volunteered were recruited through newspaper advertisements to participate in this study. All of them were healthy, had regular menstrual cycles, and were not pregnant. Inclusion criteria included age between 20-30 years old with a standard reproductive system as determined by ultrasound examination.

Instruments – Transvaginal Ultrasound was used to accurately determine the participants’ follicular development stage during their menstrual cycle. Blood samples were taken from each participant to calculate the estradiol levels and several primordial follicles on each side of the ovary.

Procedures – Blood samples were taken from all participants to assess their hormonal status. Transvaginal ultrasounds of both ovaries were performed at three different time points; before receiving the first dose of vaccine, immediately after receiving the second dose of vaccine, and six months post-vaccination.

The results from blood samples were used to calculate the estradiol levels and several primordial follicles on each side of participants’ ovaries.

Results & Discussion

Doses of HPV vaccine were safe in terms of short-term adverse effects.

A single dose of HPV vaccine was not as effective as two doses.

The findings in the paper suggest that the best way to administer the vaccine is with two doses given six months apart

After analyzing the data collected from this study, it was discovered that there were no significant differences in the estradiol levels and several primordial follicles on both sides of participants’ ovaries. This implies that receiving a vaccination against HPV does not alter ovarian reserve.

Conclusion

The purpose of this article was to assess the safety profile of human papillomavirus vaccines in young women with ovarian reserve. This aim was achieved by conducting a double-blind study, in which participants were divided into three groups. The first group received both doses of vaccine, the second group received only one dose of vaccine, and the third group acted as a control.

Persons who were vaccinated with the HPV vaccine did not experience an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.

The study concluded that there were no significant changes to the number or function of women’s primordial follicles after receiving an HPV vaccine. These findings provide a promising outlook for women’s reproductive health in the future.

References

1. Ghitis, Lujanna E., et al. “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine and Risk of Premature Menopause.” PLoS ONE 11.5 (2016): e0155044.

Professional Tips

  • To save time, organize your work into paragraphs, bullets, or tables. Do not try to create it all in one document.
  • Please format all tables and figures following APA style guidelines, including a title and source line for all tables and figures.

Label all parts (e.g., table A, figure 1) and include a note specifying where they should appear in the paper (e.g., “Table A appears on page 3”).

When appropriate, include actual tables and figures. Tables should be titled with capitalized letters in bold face (e.g., TABLE 1). Figures should be labeled with lowercase lettering in italics (e.g., figure 1)

  • Use passive voice when you write a scientific report.
  • Include a reference list that has each source you cited in the text of your report and others that support your findings. Label sources accordingly.
  • Keep your introduction relatively short – do not let it turn into a mini-research paper. A 300-word introduction is okay. The introduction should, first and foremost, answer the question, why should I read this?
  • Never copy lab manual procedures.
  • Use complete sentences for your descriptions.

What is the Step-by-Step Process for Writing a Lab Report?

Writing a lab report is not that different from writing other reports and papers. However, there are specific steps you need to follow to make your lab report better. These steps include:

1) Introduction – This is where you need to write the problem and main objectives of the study. You can also provide some background information here. This is the first section of your report.

2) Procedure – here is where you describe what you did to answer the given problem or research question. You can also include some details about lab equipment, chemicals, and solutions if they are essential for understanding the experiment.

3) Results should contain a detailed description of all results and answers to the given problem. You can also include some graphs, tables, and charts here if they are necessary for understanding the results.

4) Discussion section is a detailed description of your answers that answer the main research question or problem. Here you need to discuss all results that support your theory and findings. Also, think about possible future experiments that may answer this question.

5) Conclusion – all writing tips on conclusions also apply to lab reports. This is where you need to sum up your main findings again and discuss possible reasons for particular results. Also, do not forget to include a list of references or literature used in your report here.

6) List of References – here is where you cite all literature and sources used in your report.

What Are the Basic Elements of a Literature Review?

Literature reviews tend to follow the same structure. They usually begin by providing a brief introduction that describes what has been studied in relation to the topic of interest and which research methods have been employed. Literature reviews then typically discuss three main components:

1) A review of related literature – this is where the author identifies previous studies or papers that are most relevant for further understanding the topic.

2) An analysis of these studies – this is where you need to summarize key findings, discuss contradictions or methodological weaknesses in previous research, and demonstrate the gaps in the existing literature.

3) A discussion of how your paper fits into this more broad area of research – remember that only one study can be conducted at a time. Please provide a brief introduction to your analysis and summarize the research questions or hypothesis it investigates.

Several different approaches can be used for literature reviews. However, the most important thing to remember is that they should be based on an appraisal of both quality and quantity. This means critically analyzing not just the amount of research on a topic but also the quality.

This information can be provided in tabular form, as is common in systematic reviews. In this case, you should give an assessment of the ‘methodological rigor’ or strength of each study that identifies any weaknesses or issues with design and methodological approaches. A more in-depth evaluation can also be provided using a quality assessment grid.

A related approach is the narrative literature review. Instead of grading each study, it provides a summary and discussion of their key findings and contributions regarding the topic of research. Narrative reviews tend to be easier for students to conduct. You should aim for some form of evaluation to be provided – this can take the form of a brief commentary.

In many cases, it may also be helpful to include a chart or table that provides an overview of key findings from each study identified. Provide a brief summary of their main conclusions and note any contradictions between studies. Provide information on the specific research questions or hypotheses that your study aims to address.

Finally, while it is essential to synthesize literature in relation to your topic, this does not just mean summarizing existing studies and papers. It can also involve discrediting information that may be incorrect or biased and providing counter-arguments against claims or issues raised in previous literature.

What is an Experimental Report?

An experimental report is the means of recording the process and results of an experiment. A good experimental report presents the procedures followed. It also gives the observations, methodology used, and conclusions/interpretations drawn from them.

The report must contain a title page, abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections. In the end, it should list references or literature cited and appendices containing calculations or data.

Conclusion

When writing scientific reports, there are three main sections that you should include in your write-up. The first section covers methods used and how these were employed during the experiment(s). Provide enough information for other researchers to accurately replicate the experiment(s) you carried out.

The second section covers the results of your experiment(s). Briefly describe what was found and link these findings to appropriate statistical tests or presentations. Include relevant figures, that is, graphs/charts, tables or images of your experimental procedures (when writing up an experiment), observations (for example, using a microscope), and any calculations or data.

The third section covers how the results/conclusion of your experiment(s) (the first two sections) fit in with existing research and knowledge on this topic you are investigating. This is where you should explore what can be learned from your experiments and summarize the limitations of each one.

We hope that the information provided here will help you better understand what should be included in a scientific report and its structure. We hope it will be of help when writing this part of your final year project or dissertation. Good luck!

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