Writing Manual

Formatting Your Lab Paper

Daria Nepriakhina by Epicantus is licensed under CC-BY 2.0.

Please use the following conventions for your reports:

  • Double space your text. This allows your TA or peer reviewer to write comments between the lines without struggling to squeeze words into the margins.
  • Use 11-12 point font.
  • Keep a 1-inch margin around all of your text. Margins make your papers easier to read and provide room for comments.
  • Use headings and subheadings. Headings and subheadings help you to organize your paper and provide clear signposts for your readers to follow.  Examples of headings are the major sections we described above (Introduction, Methods, etc.).  Long sections and those that include distinct parts should have subheadings.  For example, the Methods section of an ecology paper might have the following subheadings: Organism, Study Sites, Data Analyses.  Use a 2-point larger bold font for headings and a bold font for subheadings.
  • Don’t prepare a title page – save a tree. Simply center the title at the top the first page of your report.  Likewise, don’t bother with a special folder for the report – a single staple in the corner is sufficient.
  • Target Audience– Write for readers who are fellow Biocore students but are not in lab.
  • Spell check and proofread every paper before turning it in!


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Process of Science Companion Vol. 1 by University of Wisconsin-Madison Biocore Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.