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BIOLOGY INTERNAL ASSESSMENT - A FORMAT FOR THE LAB REPORT

Type the lab report on A4 paper. The complete report (excl. Title page) should max at 12 pages. No
Abstract is required. Write the report in the past or passive tense. Use full sentences whenever possible,
and also use sub-headings, numbered sections and bullet points. Footnote all your sources of information
and make a complete bibliography. The Lab Report is a form of communication, so note the three C's:
CLARITY, COHERENCE and CONCISENESS. Your teacher will advise you through the lab
investigation and will review your draft lab report once only, making suggestions for improvement

TITLE (Page)
Include essential information: date, supervisor, place, candidate number.
Use the title and date as a repeating page header in the write-up.

PLANNING
Introduction
Purpose or setting or background: Why undertake this investigation
Research question or problem: A statement of the problem to be investigated
Hypothesis: A testable if-then statement, followed by a justification
Prediction: Brief statement of the general procedure and method employed to answer the research
question and test the hypothesis, with expected results

ACTION
A description of how the investigation was carried out. The goal is that the investigation is described in
such a way that another researcher could follow these instructions and obtain equivalent results. The
design of the investigation should be able to achieve statistically useful, quantitative results.
Method
Materials & Equipment
Variables - table, incl. how controlled variables are handled
Risk Assessment & Safety
Ethical and environmental considerations

Results
Results should be tabulated and then treated - graphed and statistically manipulated - and described.
Results may be qualitative but should always be quantitative.
Raw Results Tables - titles; units of measurement; clarity.
Treatment of results
Statistical manipulation.
Graphing - all graphs should have a title and a brief sentence or two of explanation.
Statements drawing attention to patterns, trends and relationships (but not discussion).
Errors and limitations

EVALUATION
Conclusions: possibly a simple statement of support for, or rejection of, the hypothesis.
Discussion: justification for the conclusion, supported by summaries of the results and analysis of results.
Interpretation and implications: What is the meaning of these results and conclusions?
Proposals for extension: questions which need further investigation.
Modifications and improvements: how the errors and limitations listed previously could be reduced or
eliminated - be scientific and exact in this section.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
This should be a complete list of all resources and references used, including all that have been footnoted.
Copy/paste URL's of web pages used. Follow a convention for referencing journals and books.

IB Biology Individual Investigation Checklist (Chris Hall, Malvern


College)
In order to be able to achieve high marks for the individual investigation criteria you need to be able to answer
YES to the following questions, which are arranged according to the IA assessment criteria and protocol.

PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT
QUESTIONS

YES

Does the report show evidence of your personal engagement with the chosen topic?
Does your report demonstrate clear evidence of independent thinking, initiative and
insight?
Have you justified your reasons for choosing the topic you are investigating?
Does your report demonstrate personal input and initiative in the design, implementation
and presentation of the investigation?

EXPLORATION
QUESTIONS
Does the title clearly identify what the investigation is about?
Is the research question relevant and fully focused?
Is the research question carefully worded to include the dependent and independent
variables?
Are the dependent, independent and controlled variables fully specified in detail?
Is your research question accompanied by appropriate, relevant and properly referenced
background theory that enhances the context of the investigation?
You may write a hypothesis but you must explain and/or justify it.
Has all the apparatus been listed to include details of sizes and uncertainties of
measurement?
Is there a clear, labelled diagram of the experimental apparatus?
Have you stated the reasons for using the apparatus chosen?
Have all chemicals and materials been listed with specific amounts, units and
concentrations?
Does your report show appropriate evidence of the significant safety, ethical and
environmental issues that are relevant to the methodology of the investigation?
Have you stated the dependent variable clearly and specified precisely what you will be
measuring? (NB it must be quantitative)
Have you stated the independent variable(s) clearly and specified details of
quantities/concentrations/temperatures etc?
Are there at least 5 different independent variable groups?
Are there at least 5 repeats of each independent variable group?

YES

Are all relevant controlled variables stated and how they are to be kept constant
explained?
Have you explained the likely effects of these variables on the results and conclusions
expected?
Are all the runs and repeats of the experiment clearly stated?
Have you included any preliminary experimental evidence in your planning?
Is you method clear and does it include all relevant details?

ANALYSIS
QUESTIONS
Does your report include sufficient relevant quantitative and qualitative raw data that will
support a detailed and valid conclusion to the research question?
Is the raw data presented in neat and easy to follow tables with appropriate titles, clear
row and column headings and units?
Is each table printed on one page only?
Are all uncertainties of measurement and degrees of precision of any measuring devices
used (+/-) clearly stated?
Does the report fully and appropriately consider the impact of measurement uncertainty
on the analysis of the data?
Is the use of decimal places consistent throughout?
Has any relevant descriptive/qualitative data been included?
Has the raw data been properly and appropriately processed with the degree of accuracy
required to enable a conclusion to the research question to be drawn that is fully
consistent with the experimental data?
Have you described the processing (state the formulae used and give sample calculations)
and given reasons for your choice?
Calculations of means and standard deviations and the drawing of graphs should be
done as a matter of course. Other relevant data processing can included statistical
analysis (t-test, X-squared, correlation coefficients, rate calculations, diversity index
etc.)
Is the processed data presented properly in tables and/or graphs?
Are the graph axes clearly labelled with units and uncertainties?
Do the graphs have clearly identified error bars?

YES

EVALUATION
QUESTIONS

YES

Have you analysed the raw and processed data to identify any trends and patterns?
Have you described your findings?
Have you described and justified a clear conclusion which is relevant to the research
question and supported by the data presented?
Have you scientifically justified your conclusion and compared your findings and
conclusions to the accepted scientific context (eg literature values)?
Have you properly referenced the literature used in footnotes on each page and in the
references stated at the end of the account?
Have you stated the strengths and weaknesses in the experimental method that may
impact on the conclusion reached?
Have you discussed the quality, reliability and limitations of the data collected and
presented and considered any possible sources of error?
Have you discussed any systematic and random errors present in the experimental design
or in the data collected?
Have you suggested realistic and relevant modifications and improvements to the
experiment?
Are these modifications and improvements directly related to the weaknesses identified
earlier?
Are your suggestions for improvement specific and detailed?
Have you suggested possible ways in which the investigation could be extended?

COMMUNICATION
QUESTIONS
Is the presentation of your investigation clear so that a reader can fully understand the
methodology, data, conclusions and evaluation?
Are there any errors that hamper the readers understanding of the focus, process and
outcomes of the investigation?
Is your report well structured and clear with all relevant information on focus, process
and outcomes presented in a coherent way?
Is your report relevant and concise so that it facilitates a ready understanding of the
focus, process and outcomes of the investigation?
Is your use of subject specific terminology appropriate and correct?
Have you followed the correct conventions for presentation of raw and processed data?
Have you followed the correct conventions for length of report (6 to 12 pages),
references, footnotes, page numbering, appendices?

YES