General Report Guidelines

Style requirements

  • Use 1.5 line spacing and point 11 Arial font.
  • Set left and right margins 3.5 cm (1.5 in); top and bottom margins 2.5 cm (1 in).
  • Number pages and include your name in the header or footer of every page.
  • Figures and tables may be included in line with the text as long as they are set apart (with margins or borders). Or you can place them at the end of the report.
  • Please use regular recycled paper, and if possible, print on both sides.
  • Do not include a title page; the title and author(s) of the paper should be at the top of the first page.

Writing Resources


A Short Guide to Writing About Biology, any Edition. Jan A. Pechenik.

Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences. Victoria E. McMillan.

Both books are available in the University of Regina Bookstore.


Hamilton College
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Journal-Style Scientific Writing

General writing resources

U of R Student Success Center Writing Resources

Using charts

Do I need a chart and what type should I use?

General Pointers

Keep in mind that your audience is your peers - not your lab instructor. Assume that the person reading this report has the same background as you but has not conducted this particular study. For example, your peers should know how to use pipetters.

It is important to present material in an orderly fashion – make sure you know what belongs in each section.

All references to your study are in past tense. When referring to previously published studies or generally accepted knowledge use present tense.

Writing clearly and succinctly is very important. Avoid repeating yourself unless it is absolutely required for clarity. Say exactly what you mean, no more, no less. Avoid using adverbs and adjectives that do not add meaning.

Be precise: close, very similar, very different, etc. have no meaning in science. A statement of significant findings must be supported by a statistical test.

If possible, have your paper peer-reviewed and read your peers’ papers as well. We learn more about writing when we read the work of others because it is easier to 'see' problems. You do not have to incorporate every suggestion but keep an open mind to your reviewer's comments.

While I do not have time to review your full report ahead of time, you can definitely bring me what you are having problems with and I will try and give you some pointers.

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