Instructions for Laboratory Practical Report
A group of 44 student volunteers have agreed to try a new drug which affects iron absorption from the gut. The volunteers were split into two equal groups (group A and B) matched for age and gender. One group took the drug and one group took the placebo (sugar pill which looked identical to the drug). Each group then had their Haemoglobin (Hb) levels measured from finger prick blood. On the provided Excel sheet, you have been given the Hb in the white cells measured from the two groups. The yellow cells show the descriptive stats for the data.
Your aim is to investigate whether there is any difference in the mean Hb between the two groups.
You are required to complete a laboratory report based on the above study which is linked to the practical you did ‘Investigation of blood’.
The write-up should be written ideally in the style of a journal paper, i.e a word processed report containing the following sections: Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion and References (IMRD) .
The title should be concise, clear and informative. You can choose your own title.
The introduction should be a relevant background to the study (based on the key words in your title), including ideally a brief literature review and end with a statement of the aim (you can also state a hypothesis if you wish).
The method should give enough information for a person to replicate your study. Attempt to strike balance of detail. Presume the reader is naive but intelligent. Remember to use the subheadings, subjects (brief description of subjects), equipment (brief description of equipment), protocol (brief description of how Hb and HCT was measured) and analysis (what did you do with your data, any statistical tests you used). Be brief with your methods section
The results section is where the data collected and analysed (usually mean+/- SEM) are displayed usually using a combination of words, tables and graphs. In this section you do not explain why your results are so, but describe what your results are (e.gs increase, decrease). Use the descriptive stats provided in the yellow cells to draw your Graphs and/or make tables. Do not repeat the same information in both tables and graphs. Table numbers and title go above the table. Figure numbers and title go below the graph. There is no need to provide the raw data (if you want to do include this, have an appendix section) given to you on the Excel sheet.
The discussion is where you demonstrate your understanding of the experiment. Expand on your results, compare them with findings in the literature and try to explain your findings. Try to be critical, point out errors and make recommendations to improve the study e.g what other tests/measurements could you do to investigate the possibility of the type of anaemia.
The references should be listed alphabetically and be in the Harvard format.
In short, you are trying to produce a piece very similar in structure to a journal article. In general the write up should be:
- single-line spaced
- Minimum of 10-point font
- With a 2.5 centimetre border left around the page
- Correctly referenced (Harvard Style)
- With all pages numbered
- A maximum of 5 pages (including references, appendices)
- With all units of measurement reported in S.I. units
A good mark will be obtained for a report which
- Follows the IMRD structure
- Is concise and clear
- Is logically progressive
- Answers the question raised by the aim
- Acknowledges the limitations of the study
- Displays regard for the accuracy of the data
- Shows an understanding of the practical
- Is accurately referenced