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How to Write a Methods and Materials Section for a Lab Report


All lab reports contain a Materials and Methods section. While different departments may give you different instructions on how to structure this section of your lab report, a few things remain constant. The Materials and Methods section is used to confirm that your experiment is replicable. Do not underestimate its importance. If your experiment can not be replicated, it is not valid.

Describe the experimental design in a manner that allows the reader to replicate your experiment. This is the most important element of writing a Materials and Methods section. If the reader is unable understand and use the report, the work is good for nothing.

Follow the recommended procedure for writing a Methods and Materials section in regards to the utilization of names for animals, plants and chemicals as given by your instructor. Generally, common names of plants are only acceptable if followed by a scientific description in bracket. Chemicals are identified by using a generic name or standard, well-known abbreviations and not their trade names.

Provide a detailed description of any instruments you made during the process of executing your experiment. Diagrams of the instruments should also be included.

Describe any you made during the process of executing your experiment. Diagrams of the instruments should also be included.

Tips
  • Describe all procedures and measurements carefully. Remember that they must be explained so that exact replication is possible!
  • Most importantly, follow the model or instructions set forth by your instructor. These are meant as guidelines and modifications are to be expected based on discipline and course-level.