Tips for Lab Papers
Here is our list of 10 suggestions for lab papers that should help you
avoid some common mistakes. (Some of these are pretty obvious.)
1. Follow the guidelines outlined on the course website! If
at bare minimum, you clearly, thoroughly, and concisely address all the
points listed in the outline, you should get close to a perfect score.
2. In the Introduction, clearly
state what your hypothesis and predictions are. Don't just describe
previous research and then assume the reader (i.e., the Professor or
TA) will implicitly make the leap to what you're testing in the CogLab
3. Your hypothesis is
essentially the one that CogLab outlines for you. No need to come up
with some original proposal.
4. A well written concise
report will generally get a higher score than an overly wordy or
rambling report. In particular, stick to the points that are relevant
to the current experiment. Don't bring in topics from lecture or
reading that have nothing to do with the CogLab study you're conducting.
5. You can choose to report on
the group data instead of or in addition to reporting your own results.
This is a good approach especially if your individual results did not
match the expected ones. Also, when reporting statistics, for purposes
of these lab reports anyway, two decimal places are fine. At the very
least, be consistent across conditions.
6. Make sure to attach a
printout of the CogLab-generated results or graph with your report.
This is our proof that you completed the experiment.
7. What you write about in the
Discussion/Conclusion section should correspond to the results you
report in the Results section.
8. In the
Discussion/Conclusions section, make sure to address the theoretical
implications of the study/your finding. In other words, don't just
conclude by saying "the hypothesis was supported." Link your findings
back to what you discussed in the Introduction. This is the place to
explore in a more general sense, the implications of your findings
9. Label each of the four main
10. Spell-check and proofread!!!
If you're interested in learning more about scientific writing, read
the following article.