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Biology LibreTexts

1: Micro-reports - general guidelines

  • Page ID
    17594
  • Page limit: 2 PAGES, excluding figures, tables and references

    Micro-reports have a condensed format. You can think of each micro-report as the equivalent of a figure or table from a scientific publication, together with the methods needed to understand the experiment and a brief analysis.

    Before each micro-report is due, teams will present and discuss their data with their section. This can provide value feedback for the report. Teams are also advised to look at the results obtained by students in other sections who worked with the same strains and plasmids. Good science is reproducible. Did other students get the same results as you did? Do NOTreproduce the results from other sections in your report (remember the plagiarism and academic integrity rules!), but it is fine to discuss these results with proper attribution.

    Micro-report organization. Include the following sections:

    1. Heading

    Your name
    Section number or TA’s name (e.g. Jen’s section)

    2. Purpose - state the purpose of the experiment in one sentence.

    3. Methods and Materials

    The Materials and Methods (M&M) section should be written in paragraph format. Methods should NOT be written as lists of steps, as they might appear in your notebook or in a recipe. Avoid excessive detail. For example, DON’T state: “The solution was prepared by adding 5 μL of 200 mM NaCl to 95 μL of deionized water. “ Instead, state: “The solution contained 10 mM NaCl.” A reader who chooses to repeat your experiment may have his/her own way of preparing the solutions. The final concentrations of components are the important consideration.

    If you are using a published technique, you can cite the procedure without reproducing the detailed steps. In this course, you will probably find it convenient to frequently refer to procedures in the lab manual. If you are using a commercial kit, e.g. the ZyppyTM plasmid purification kit, you can state that you followed the manufacturer’s instructions. In all cases, be sure to include any modifications to the published procedure.

    Rule of thumb: A good M&M section provides enough information for a trained professional to reproduce your experiments.

    4. Results and Discussion

    The section contains a brief narrative that guides your reader through the figures and legends that present your experimental data. Figures need to be clearly labeled and to be accompanied by a figure legend. The figure legend should have a title and include explanations of the different panels or graphs in the figure. The figure legend should be placed below the figure. A well-written legend contains enough information that an expert reader can understand the experiment shown in the figure from its legend (assuming that the reader also looks at the M&M section).

    Tables should have a title. Columns and rows should be clearly labeled and the units of measurement (e.g. grams/liter) should be included. When appropriate, include statistical measures of error in both figures and tables.

    Report the results of all your experiments, even if you think they are incorrect. Discuss any experimental problems that you encountered in the experiment and speculate how these could have affected the results. Compare your results to those posted by other groups on the data sharing site. If your results agree, you may feel more confident about your results. Propose further experiments to resolve any remaining questions.

    State your conclusions in one or two sentences.

    5. Thought question

    The rubric for each micro-report will include a thought question that requires you to apply your conceptual knowledge to a novel situation. NOTE: This question is worth a significant portion of your grade for the report.

    6. References

    Use the FEMS Yeast Research format for citations and references. Cite the lab manual: O’Connor CM (2014) Investigations in Molecular Cell Biology. Hayden-McNeill, Plymouth, MI.

    Document format:

    • Reports must be typewritten
    • Use 1-inch margins on all sides and double line spacing• Use a font that generates less than 15 characters per inch

    The next few pages provide specific guidelines for the five micro-reports of the semester.

    A rubric will be posted before each micro-report is due. The rubric will contain specific details about the grading for each micro-report. The rubric will also contain the thought question for the micro-report. It may also contain some changes and/or additions to the guidelines in this chapter. As such, the rubric should be considered to contain the definitive set of instructions.