Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a lab report and a research paper.

The purpose of a lab report is to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method with a hands-on lab experiment. Course instructors will often provide you with an experimental design and procedure. Your task is to write up how you actually performed the experiment and evaluate the outcome.

In contrast, a research paper requires you to independently develop an original argument. It involves more in-depth research and interpretation of sources and data.

A lab report is usually shorter than a research paper.

Frequently asked questions: Academic writing

A rhetorical tautology is the repetition of an idea of concept using different words.

Rhetorical tautologies occur when additional words are used to convey a meaning that has already been expressed or implied. For example, the phrase “armed gunman” is a tautology because a “gunman” is by definition “armed.”

A logical tautology is a statement that is always true because it includes all logical possibilities.

Logical tautologies often take the form of “either/or” statements (e.g., “It will rain, or it will not rain”) or employ circular reasoning (e.g., “she is untrustworthy because she can’t be trusted”).

You may have seen both “appendices” or “appendixes” as pluralizations of “ appendix .” Either spelling can be used, but “appendices” is more common (including in APA Style ). Consistency is key here: make sure you use the same spelling throughout your paper.

The sections of a lab report can vary between scientific fields and course requirements, but it usually contains the following:

  • Title: expresses the topic of your study
  • Abstract: summarizes your research aims, methods, results, and conclusions
  • Introduction: establishes the context needed to understand the topic
  • Method: describes the materials and procedures used in the experiment
  • Results: reports all descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
  • Discussion: interprets and evaluates results and identifies limitations
  • Conclusion: sums up the main findings of your experiment
  • References: list of all sources cited using a specific style (e.g. APA)
  • Appendices: contains lengthy materials, procedures, tables or figures

A lab report conveys the aim, methods, results, and conclusions of a scientific experiment . Lab reports are commonly assigned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis , dissertation or research paper .

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

  • Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
  • Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
  • Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:

  • The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
  • The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.

There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.

An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:

  • To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
  • To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.

Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.

In a scientific paper, the methodology always comes after the introduction and before the results , discussion and conclusion . The same basic structure also applies to a thesis, dissertation , or research proposal .

Depending on the length and type of document, you might also include a literature review or theoretical framework before the methodology.

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

  • Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
  • Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
  • Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

Editing and proofreading are different steps in the process of revising a text.

Editing comes first, and can involve major changes to content, structure and language. The first stages of editing are often done by authors themselves, while a professional editor makes the final improvements to grammar and style (for example, by improving sentence structure and word choice ).

Proofreading is the final stage of checking a text before it is published or shared. It focuses on correcting minor errors and inconsistencies (for example, in punctuation and capitalization ). Proofreaders often also check for formatting issues, especially in print publishing.

The cost of proofreading depends on the type and length of text, the turnaround time, and the level of services required. Most proofreading companies charge per word or page, while freelancers sometimes charge an hourly rate.

For proofreading alone, which involves only basic corrections of typos and formatting mistakes, you might pay as little as $0.01 per word, but in many cases, your text will also require some level of editing , which costs slightly more.

It’s often possible to purchase combined proofreading and editing services and calculate the price in advance based on your requirements.

There are many different routes to becoming a professional proofreader or editor. The necessary qualifications depend on the field – to be an academic or scientific proofreader, for example, you will need at least a university degree in a relevant subject.

For most proofreading jobs, experience and demonstrated skills are more important than specific qualifications. Often your skills will be tested as part of the application process.

To learn practical proofreading skills, you can choose to take a course with a professional organization such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders . Alternatively, you can apply to companies that offer specialized on-the-job training programmes, such as the Scribbr Academy .

Ask our team

Want to contact us directly? No problem.  We  are always here for you.

Support team - Nina

Our team helps students graduate by offering:

  • A world-class citation generator
  • Plagiarism Checker software powered by Turnitin
  • Innovative Citation Checker software
  • Professional proofreading services
  • Over 300 helpful articles about academic writing, citing sources, plagiarism, and more

Scribbr specializes in editing study-related documents . We proofread:

  • PhD dissertations
  • Research proposals
  • Personal statements
  • Admission essays
  • Motivation letters
  • Reflection papers
  • Journal articles
  • Capstone projects

The Scribbr Plagiarism Checker is powered by elements of Turnitin’s Similarity Checker , namely the plagiarism detection software and the Internet Archive and Premium Scholarly Publications content databases .

The Scribbr Citation Generator is developed using the open-source Citation Style Language (CSL) project and Frank Bennett’s citeproc-js . It’s the same technology used by dozens of other popular citation tools, including Mendeley and Zotero.

You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .

Kent State University logo

  • FlashLine Login
  • Phone Directory
  • Maps & Directions
  • Give to Kent State
  • Administration
  • Advisory Board
  • Alumni Relations
  • Campus Advisories
  • Campus History
  • Facts & Figures
  • Faculty Resources
  • Media & News
  • Offices & Departments
  • Staff Resources
  • Support the Campus
  • Academic Departments
  • Academic Support Services
  • Advising Services
  • Class Schedules & Final Exams
  • Degrees, Majors & Minors
  • Global Education Initiatives
  • Graduation & Commencement
  • Honors Program
  • Summer Sessions
  • Writing Center
  • Admission Types & Tips
  • Transfer Students
  • Campus Tours
  • Admissions Events
  • Admissions Staff
  • Admissions Appointments
  • Newly Admitted Students
  • First Step: First-Year Advising & Registration
  • Campus Ambassadors
  • For School Counselors
  • Senior Guest Program
  • College Credit Plus
  • Rising Scholars
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Tuition & Fees
  • Ohio College Comeback
  • Annual Security Report
  • Campus Events
  • Computer Services
  • First Year Experience
  • Flash Bistro
  • Mental Health Resources & Support
  • Parking Services
  • Recreation & Wellness
  • Student Involvement & Organizations
  • Student Support Services
  • Veterans Services
  • Corporate University
  • Conference Center
  • Directions & Maps
  • East Liverpool
  • Regional Campuses
  • Other U.S. Academic Locations
  • Kent State Worldwide
  • ALICE Training Sessions
  • Fingerprinting & Background Checks
  • Lab Reports and Scientific Writing

Writing lab reports is different from writing research papers in the humanities, but it is not difficult. There are some main differences to keep in mind when writing a paper in the sciences:

  • Science writing is meant to be factual and straightforward, and every claim needs to be fully supported. 
  • Graphs and figures are an important means of expressing information, and are almost as important as the text itself.


In a lab report, these are the required sections, in order: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion, followed by a References page.  

  • Title should be on its own page 
  • Title should be informative
  • Page should include full name and affiliation (e.g., your name on one line, then Kent State University at Stark on the next)
  • Page should follow APA format, unless otherwise instructed
  • Summary of your entire paper
  • Should not be longer than 250 words
  • Should contain a few sentences regarding the purpose of the experiment, methods, results, and discussion
  • Should be on a separate page of its own


  • Contains 3 vital components: 1. Background information – Provides information that demonstrates why you are conducting the experiment and what has been previously found. This is where your citations will occur. 2. Statement of purpose – What is the purpose of the experiment? (Should be clear/concise and stand out.) 3. Hypothesis – Prediction about the results of the experiment. Should have clear justification; why did you make this prediction? You never “prove” a hypothesis in science; you only falsify or support it.
  • Approximately 1.5 pages

Materials and Methods

  • Should be written in a precise way so that the reader could potentially replicate your experiment 
  • Written in a step-by-step fashion, but in paragraph form (do not list)
  • Approximately ¾ of a page 
  • Report your results rather than interpreting them
  • Simply write your data in paragraph form
  • Often contains at least one table and one figure 1. Table – Summarize your raw data. Title of the table should be above the table (ex. “Table 1. Title…”) 2. Figure – Data should be plotted on a graph. The figure should have a figure caption, which goes below the figure (ex. “Figure 1. Title…”). X and y axis should be labeled
  • Interpret your data. Discuss any patterns you see and provide explanation for those patterns. If you provide a possible explanation for a pattern, you then have to provide a citation that supports it. If you have an idea of how a pattern might be explained, you must remain speculative, and be clear that it requires further research and investigation. State if your hypothesis was supported or not, provide a statement regarding how/what future investigation will add to this field of research
  • Approximately 1 page


Writing style.

  • The writing needs to be concise and well supported. It should be technical and straightforward.
  • One experiment cannot “prove” anything. Therefore, you must use phrases like “the data suggest…” to discuss your findings.
  • Every claim needs to be heavily supported with valid references. These references should be cited in APA style (unless instructed otherwise).
  • It may sometimes sound redundant when trying to speak clearly and completely. This is normal, but avoid excessive repetition and wordiness.


Tables should be used to present findings. These can be created in many programs, including Microsoft Word and Excel. For your table, you will need a specific title and at least two (2) clearly labeled columns, as shown below:

Table example

You may also want to utilize graphs within your report. For example, the above table contains data that were collected over time. Therefore, a line graph (which can be created in Microsoft Excel) is appropriate to show the relationship between the time and the growing number of bacteria. Again, you will need a detailed title and clearly labeled x and y axes. An example of such a graph is below:

Graph example

  • Writer's Toolbox
  • Argumentative Writing
  • Creating An Outline
  • Creating Strong Paragraphs
  • Creating Thesis Statements
  • Effective Prewriting Techniques
  • Ethical Writing & Reliable Sources
  • Incorporating Quotes
  • Reading Critically
  • Revision Strategies
  • Understanding Academic Language
  • Writing Essay Exams
  • Writing a Conclusion
  • Writing about Literature
  • Writing an Introduction
  • Catching Fragments & Run-Ons
  • Confused Diction Errors
  • Dangling Modifiers
  • Editing and Proofreading Tips
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Using Apostrophes
  • Using Commas
  • Using Conjunctions
  • Using Punctuation
  • Using Semicolons
  • Using Simple and Compound Sentences
  • Using Transitions

Mailing Address

Street address.

  • 330-499-9600
  • [email protected]
  • Kent State Kent Campus - flickr
  • Kent State Kent Campus - linkedin
  • Kent State Kent Campus - facebook
  • Kent State Kent Campus - twitter
  • Kent State Kent Campus - youtube
  • Kent State Kent Campus - instagram
  • Campus Safety
  • Class Cancellations & Advisories
  • Jobs & Employment
  • For Faculty
  • For Our Alumni
  • Privacy Statement
  • University DACA Response
  • Website Feedback Form


Biology Lab Reports: Scholarly vs. Popular

  • Lab Report Research Overview

Scholarly vs. Popular

  • Peer Review
  • Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Finding Database Articles
  • Reading Scholarly Articles
  • Website Evaluation
  • NoodleTools
  • Lab Report Guidelines/Examples

The importance of scholarly resources

Popular or general magazines and newspapers are good sources for basic articles to begin learning about a topic area. These articles are usually written to give non-scientists some background information on a topic in easily understood terms. However, as you develop your research project, you will need to find peer-reviewed, scholarly articles that have been written by experts for other experts to pass the highest academic standards for scientific research. The following provides some guidance on what types of publications would be considered scholarly vs. popular and how you can tell the difference:

Scholarly vs. Popular

Common Types of Journals

Remember that you will need to find articles from scholarly journals for your research. The following explains the difference between the three main types of journals that you may come across as you search:

scientific article vs lab report

Popular Magazines

Articles are written by a staff writer or journalist for the general public.

Includes glossy pictures and ads. Reference lists are rare.

scientific article vs lab report

Articles about current news and trends in a specific industry.

Written by someone with knowledge of the field for other practitioners.

Includes ads targeted to the field. Not peer-reviewed.

scientific article vs lab report

In-depth primary account of researchers' findings. Credentials are provided. Written for scholars, researchers and students.

Only includes informational graphs, charts, and tables.

Peer-reviewed by experts in the field.

References are required and everything is verifiable.

  • << Previous: Lab Report Research Overview
  • Next: Peer Review >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 30, 2023 11:06 AM
  • URL:


  1. 40 Lab Report Templates & Format Examples ᐅ TemplateLab

    scientific article vs lab report

  2. 😍 Good lab report titles. The Lab Report. 2019-01-06

    scientific article vs lab report

  3. 48+ SAMPLE Lab Reports in PDF

    scientific article vs lab report

  4. Science Lab Report Template (1)

    scientific article vs lab report

  5. A Sample Of Something Used In A Lab For Study

    scientific article vs lab report

  6. Professional Lab Report Example

    scientific article vs lab report


  1. Introduction to scientific research


  3. Science research 🧑‍🔬🧑‍🔬🧑‍🔬

  4. Scientific Research Aid

  5. 'Facts' are somewhat at odds with science being a process. #science #researcher #facts #shorts



  1. How Do You Read Lab Results?

    When reading laboratory results, take note of the test performed, the test result and the normal reference ranges. All lab reports contain certain items as required by law, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

  2. Upgrading Your Chemistry Lab: Key Considerations When Investing in New Equipment

    Chemistry labs are essential for conducting experiments, analyzing data, and advancing scientific research. To ensure accurate results and efficient workflow, it is crucial to have the right equipment.

  3. What Are the Seven Steps of the Scientific Method?

    The seven steps of the scientific method are observing an occurrence or asking a question, researching the topic, forming a hypothesis, designing and conducting an experiment, analyzing results, drawing a conclusion and reporting results.

  4. A Comparison of the Scientific Article and Lab Report

    A Comparison of the Scientific Article and the Lab Report. Lab Reports. Scientific Articles. Writer Students. Professional scientists. Subject Frequently

  5. Lab Reports and Scientific Papers

    ... lab reports are shorter documents whose audience is typically a teacher and classmates. A scientific paper contains the same sections as a lab report

  6. What's the difference between a lab report and a research paper?

    A lab report tests your understanding of the scientific method, while a research paper required you to develop an original argument.

  7. What are the differences between a scientific report and a laboratory

    While a lab report is mostly aimed at a student's professor and classmates, the discussion in a scientific report is much broader, and it

  8. How is a research report different from a laboratory report?

    ... lab or company versus a report to a peer reviewed Journal ... What is the main difference between a case report and a scientific research article?

  9. Lab Reports and Scientific Writing

    In a lab report, these are the required sections, in order: Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion, followed by a

  10. Biology Lab Reports: Scholarly vs. Popular

    ... articles that have been written by experts for other experts to pass the highest academic standards for scientific research. The following

  11. Scientific writing and lab reports

    Information on how to structure and format a lab report, also known as a scientific report.

  12. appendix v: writing a lab report

    Lab reports, like journal articles, communicate your work to others and help you to organize and analyze your data. Scientific journal articles have a

  13. Writing Lab Reports

    Though this format is very similar to scientific research papers, an appropriate length for a lab report should not exceed five pages. Your report will be

  14. Writing the Science Lab Report or Research Paper

    The scientific lab report, or research paper, is the cornerstone of professional discussion in the sciences. Professional journals and college departments use