Warren Woods Lab Report Outline This document is meant to help assist

Warren Woods Lab Report Outline
This document is meant to help assist with the transcription of your Warren Woods report. However, this document is not meant to replace the How to Write a Lab Report document under your Resources tab on Bb. This contains tips on information you should include that are some of the more common mistakes made by students in previous semesters.
Title Page and Abstract
These sections are excellently described in the How to Write a Lab Report document on Bb, as this should be your primary resource.
Introduction
Within your introduction, you should clearly define at least two major concepts that are important to our study at Warren Woods. This could include (but is not limited to):
History and background information on our study site
The competitive exclusion principle
The concept of coexistence and its relation to Warren Woods
The importance of light as a resource in old-growth forests
Additionally, you will need to clearly state your questions and hypotheses.
If you have more than one question or hypothesis, a good way to organize them would be in a numbered (e.g., (1) … (2) … etc.) format. For each question you address, you should try to include a hypothesis related to it.
Be sure to include proper in-text citations
Methods
Your method section should clearly describe what you had completed out in the field. A great way to organize it would be by exercise. Additionally, you should describe the process as to how it relates to your biological question.
For example, instead of saying “for exercise 1 we…”, you should instead say “to determine the composition of the canopy, subcanopy, and sapling trees in Warren Woods, we established 5 randomly distributed 10mx10m plots…”
After describing what you completed in the field, you should describe how you analyzed your data. You should state when you:
Calculated means and standard errors
Any specific formulas/equations you used (ex. The index of symmetry)
Any statistics that were completed
For your statistics, you should state what statistic was used and why you used it. This can be a brief statement.
For example, instead of saying “We used the Chi-square test to determine if we reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis”, you should say “We used the Chi-square test to determine if environmental heterogeneity was a mechanism of coexistence in Warren Woods.”
DO NOT include any description of your findings in this section.
Results
In your results, you should discuss all the data you have within the figures and tables of your report. To organize this section, a great way to start is by reiterating the question you address prior to mentioning the data.
Ex. “We investigated if lottery competition was occurring within Warren Woods. We found that seedlings were… (Figure 1)”
After providing a brief description of the result and referencing your figure, you can further provide details of your results. For example, after stating the abundances of your tree classes, you could state the mean density of each class as well.
It is important to remember that mean values are best presented with their respective estimate of variation. This can be done easily by using a mean standard error format.
Ex. “Mean seedling density was 10,0002000 stems per hectare.”
Additionally, you should also mention your statistical findings as well. You should do your best to describe what question you were addressing with your statistics as it relates to your biological question.
Ex. “There was a significant difference in the distribution of nearest neighbors between Beech and Maple focal trees (X2 = A, df = B, p = C)”.
Remember, when using the term “significant”, you are implying that your statistical results had a p-value < 0.05. After describing your statistical results, be sure to reference your results as well (as I have done above). To do this, you can either directly state your statistical value, degrees of freedom, and p-value, OR you can reference your table if that same information is provided within it. Ex. “There was a significant difference in the distribution of nearest neighbors between Beech and Maple focal trees (Table 2).” Remember, all you are doing is describing your results in this section. You do not need to explain what your results mean just yet. You will do this in your discussion section. Figures Be sure to have captions for all the figures you provide. Your caption should describe what your figure is telling us. Ex. The average density of tree classes in Warren Woods. Be sure to state what units your data is shown in as well. The best way to do this would be to include them on the graph’s axes titles. Figures showing averages should also have errors bars included. Be sure to state what your error bars represent. Often, the default setting is to show 1 standard deviation. However, you can format your error bars to represent your standard error values. How to do this is explained to you in the Warren Woods data analysis video. Discussion In the discussion section, you can now begin to interpret your findings. Prior to this, be sure to restate what your findings were. To help you stay organized, you can do this in the same order you did within your results section. As an example, you may have determined that there was a significant difference in the distribution of nearest neighbors between Beech and Maple focal trees. What do these findings mean (e.g., reciprocal replacement; Habitat preference; Neither?)? It is necessary to compare your findings to others. Be sure to check out the articles provided for you on Blackboard. Be sure to include proper in-text citations References Your references should be completed in the same format that you learned in Assignment 2.