Skeletal Muscle – Lab Report

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PC1001 PP2101 SP1 2017
GENERIC GUIDE TO PREPARATION OF PRACTICAL REPORTS Writing practical reports is a skill in itself and is an important part of the practical component of this course.

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Practical reports provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding of the concepts behind
the data and also provide practice in organising, analysing and communicating results.
The following guidelines are provided to help you with the preparation of such a report. A practical report
does not have to be lengthy; however, it must follow a specific format and it must be written in grammatically
correct English, using full sentences. Specific instructions with regards to the requirements for each practical
report will be provided during each practical session. The report is comprised of the following sections:
Materials and Methods
Discussion (Questions)
The front page of the practical report should include the student’s name and student number, subject code,
title of practical report, date of practical session attended and group number (if appropriate).
The individual sections should be clearly titled. The report should flow logically and the reader should not
have to search through to find relevant material. The Methods, Results and Discussion sections should be
written in the past tense and all of the report should be written in the third person. For example, the
statement “my blood pressure is…” would be written as “The blood pressure of Subject A was…” etc. Notes
and abbreviations (unless defined) are not acceptable in a practical report.
Report writing guidelines and sample practical report
The following section contains specific instructions on what material to include in each section of the report.
To help you further, we have also included a brief sample practical report, contained within the boxed
sections below. Please note: students will be expected to write up full practical reports for each practical
session unless otherwise instructed.
Background information to help you understand the sample practical (not part of the report)

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This practical class investigates one of the factors that regulate breathing. In particular, we are looking at the
effects of changing the levels of inspired CO2 on respiration rate. Subjects are connected to a respiratory
measurement device called a spirometer, and breathe from a gas reservoir. The experimenter gradually
increases the level of CO2 in the reservoir over time. Respiration rate and % CO2 levels are continuously
recorded on a computer.
Following the experiment, students analyse the data and produce a table of respiratory rate versus % CO2 in
the inspired air.
CO2 respiration rate
(%) (breaths / min)
0.03 12 0.5 13 1 14 1.5 16 2 18 3 24
This should be clear, concise and descriptive. It should not be copied from the practical manual.
Clearly, state the purpose of the practical, not the learning objectives. Be specific about the aim(s) of
the practical and/or the hypotheses to be tested. If a number of hypotheses are being tested, you could
list them under appropriate subheadings.
This section should cover what you investigated and why. It is important to set the scene for the reader
and provide a context for the practical. Briefly, describe the relevant theoretical background (with
reference to journal articles or text books) including information that is required for the interpretation
of the Results and Discussion. This should encompass the major points that will be addressed in the
experimental work and provide sufficient information to explain why the particular experimental
procedure was performed. Try not to be too general – give only the relevant physiological theory. It is
often best to write this section last.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of increasing CO2 in inspired air on respiration rate in
human subjects.
The effect of inspired carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on respiratory rate.

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Materials and Methods
This section should contain sufficient information to enable someone else to repeat the experiment. It
is acceptable to refer to the practical manual e.g. “The experiment was followed according to the James
Cook University PC1001/PP2101 Laboratory Notes 2017 in regards to section entitled ‘Respiratory
Function” but any changes in procedure or equipment must be noted.
The Results section will be a mixture of text and figures/tables. The results should be described but not
interpreted. This means you should describe what happened but not why. Do not include what you
predicted to find or were supposed to find in this section. The data you obtained should be
summarized into tables or figures, anything that is not a table is referred to as a figure e.g. maps,
graphs, traces etc. You should include a brief description of all figures and tables; refer to them by
number in the description of the results.
Tables and Figures
It is important that the rate and depth of breathing can be regulated in response to the
changing requirements of the body. The rate of respiration is controlled by the respiratory
centres found within the medulla and pons in the brain. Nerve pathways from the respiratory
centres innervate the respiratory muscles in the chest to change the rate and depth of
The activity of the inspiratory centres is influenced by higher brain centres, which enables
voluntary control of breathing, and also by responses to stimuli such as pain and emotional
changes (Marieb, 2001). Other factors that influence the respiratory centre are the levels of
chemicals such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen ions in arterial blood. The levels of
these chemicals are monitored by central chemoreceptors located in the medulla and
peripheral chemoreceptors within the carotid and aortic bodies in the neck. The most
important chemical stimulus for respiration is believed to be arterial 2CO P
(Marieb, 2001).
This practical will explore this relationship by investigating the effect of varying levels of CO2
in inspired air on respiration rate.
Material and Methods (in text)
The experiment was followed according to the James Cook University PC1002 Human Anatomy
and Physiology II Practical Manual 2003 in regards to section entitled ‘Respiratory Function’.

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Label all figures and tables clearly with a figure/table number and title. The title should provide a
complete description of the relevant table or figure. Titles for tables go above the table, while titles for
figures go below the figure. Tables and figures should be presented in the body of the text as soon as
possible after they are mentioned. Any raw data should be placed in an appendix. Where appropriate,
lines connecting plotted points must be a curve or “line of best fit”. Every column/row or axis must have
a label including correct units and legends should be included, when necessary. In short, tables and
figures must be self-explanatory. Data should not usually be presented in more than one way i.e. do
not present a graph and a table showing the same information.
An example of a table
An example of a figure
Over the course of the experiment, the level of CO2 in the inspired air increased from 0.03% to
3%. As the CO2 levels in inspired air increased, respiration rate also increased from an initial
value of 12 breaths per minute up to 24 breaths per minute when CO2 reached 3% (see Table
1). Table 1: Relationship between %CO2 of inspired air and respiration rate
% CO2 Respiration Rate (breaths/min) 0.03 12 0.5 13 1 14
1.5 16 2 18 3 24
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
% of CO2 in inspired air
re sp
ir at
io n
ra te
(b re
at hs
/m in
Figure 1: Effect of increasing % CO2 of inspired air on respiration rate Over the course of the experiment, the level of CO2 in the inspired air increased from 0.03% to
3%. As the CO2 levels in inspired air increased, respiration rate also increased from an initial
value of 12 breaths per minute up to 24 breaths per minute when CO2 reached 3% (see Figure
Note the “description”
of the data
Note WHERE the “titles” are placed

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(Please note that you would not normally present data as a table and a figure. I have only done this so
you can see an example of each.)
Calculations are often required. This is so you can demonstrate your ability to use experimental data to
obtain a result. When calculations are required, they should be clearly set out with units shown
throughout and referred to within the body of the text. The answers should be given to an appropriate
number of significant figures, with the appropriate units.
• Summary of overall findings, in sentence form
• Paragraph related to each table/figure
o Sentence of overall findings
o More sentences with key details
• number, title and label all tables and figures correctly and clearly (remember units)
• all tables and figures must be referred to in the text
• provide requested calculations
This section is for the interpretation and explanation of the experimental results. It is your opportunity
to show that you understand the theoretical concepts behind the practical. Relate what your
experimental results indicate, with reference to textbooks/references and the information that you
have outlined in the introduction. Make any comparisons between results here. You should attempt to
explain all of the main results, including those which may not have been as expected. There may be
discussion points in the practical manual that suggest particular aspects of your experiments that you
should consider. In addition, issues such as the accuracy of your results and errors that may have
affected your data should be discussed where appropriate.

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Instructions will be given as to whether specific questions need to be answered and included in your
report. If required, number these clearly. In some cases, questions are suggested as points to be
discussed in the Discussion only. These should be discussed within the text of the discussion. If the
questions are an integral part of the report, be sure to answer them all or marks cannot be awarded.
This should consist of a clear statement of the conclusions reached based on information already
reported and should not be longer than a few sentences. State what is known for certain as a result of
the practical and justify the statement. The conclusion should relate back to the Aim. There should be
NO NEW INFORMATION. Be specific about what the practical demonstrated.
Your statements must be supported either by your own data or published material. Where you are
suggesting or hypothesising a link/explanation, this should be clear to the reader. Recognition of
previously published work must always be made in order not to infringe copyright law. You can
reference information in the text in two ways: by paraphrasing the information or using a direct quote.
An increase in the level of CO2 in the inspired air caused a large increase in respiration rate (Figure 1).
Increasing inspired CO2 will result in an increase in arterial 2CO P
. Normally 2CO P
in arterial blood is
maintained at 40mmHg by homeostatic mechanisms (Marieb, 2001). However rising levels will increase
the pH of the cerebrospinal fluid, stimulating the central chemoreceptors in the medulla. Peripheral
chemoreceptors are also stimulated by rising arterial 2CO P
(Marieb, 2001). Chemoreceptors trigger the
medullary respiratory centres, which in turn stimulate respiratory muscles to increase ventilation. An
increase in ventilation (hyperventilation) has the result of flushing CO2 out of the blood and decreasing
blood pH thereby returning levels to within the normal range. Thus, the results of this study show that the
CO2 level of inspired air is an important chemical stimulus for respiration rate.
The level of CO2 in inspired air is a potent stimulus for altering the rate of respiration. There is a direct
relationship between the level of CO2 and the respiratory rate, as the percentage of CO2 increases, so
does the respiration rate.

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In scientific writing, direct quotes are almost never used and should not appear in laboratory reports.
Paraphrase the information you wish to convey, to clearly demonstrate your understanding of the
Referencing should be done in-text, this means there should be reference point (author and date, or
number) at the appropriate point in the text, which refers reader to the full citation placed in the
Reference section.
There are several different formatting standards for references, and you will find different JCU subjects,
colleges and even staff members request various styles. In addition, individual journals have their own
variations. As long as you are consistent, you will not lose any marks. For further information on
referencing styles see the JCU library webpage:, here you will
find examples of the major styles used, and video clips with inbuilt quiz check to show you how to do
referencing. There are dedicated library staff available to help students with referencing and also drop
in and online tutorials available. In your later years when reference lists become long and complex, you
may learn automated reference building tools such as Endnote.
The most likely sources you will reference are books, journals and websites and some examples are
given below, based on the APA style, for these sources.
Moffett, D.F., Stacia, B. and Shauf, C.L. (1993). Human Physiology: Foundations and Frontiers, Mosby
(2nd edition).
Chapter from Book
Fontana, A & Frey, J. (1994). Interviewing: The art of Science. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook
of qualitative research. (pp.361-376). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Mateika, J.H. & Ellythy, M. (2003). “Chemoreflex control of ventilation is altered during wakefulness in
humans with OSA”, Respir.Physiol.&Neurobiol.,138(1):45-57
Practical Manual
Physiology and Pharmacology Discipline (2012). Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 (PC1002) Practical
Note Book, pages 3-6. Printed by James Cook University.
Web sites
Do not reference websites that don’t contain peer-reviewed material. Only articles from online
scientific journals should be used in preparing your practical reports.

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If you wish to reference scientific journal articles that have been published online, but the article has
also been published in hard copy, then referencing is the same as for print journals with a note that it
was retrieved electronically.
Mateika, J.H. & Ellythy, M. (2003). “Chemoreflex control of ventilation is altered during wakefulness in
humans with OSA”, Respir. Physiol. & Neurobiol., 138(1):45-57 [Electronic version]
For an electronic journal, formatting is the same as for print journals with the addition of the date the
article was retrieved and the URL.
Internet-published articles (i.e. those not published in electronic journals) are referenced the same as
unpublished printed material, with the addition of the URL and date accessed.
Seiler, S. (1997). “Ventilatory physiology and endurance. Does lung function limit how fast we can go?”
[Online] [2004, November 17]
Before including a website as a source of information it is wise to evaluate whether the information is
accurate and unbiased. The JCU Library web page has a number of checklists to use when considering
the validity of web information. See “Internet Resource Evaluation” at
Do not include references that have not been cited in the report.
Other Resources
The Writing Centre at the University of North Carolina has a very wide range of handouts relating to all aspects
of writing: , including lab reports:
LabWrite is an online tool to help you write a lab report. It has a self-guided mode and an interactive mode.
You can try it out at:, keep in mind though, that some of our formatting requirements for this subject are a little different, e.g., figures/tables to be kept in the Results section, and
Aims to be stated separately from the Introduction.

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� START WITH A PLAN � Correct format/overall presentation – written in scientific style. � Avoid using direct quotes. � Avoid spelling errors. � AIM
o Not learning objective – practical objectives. o Be specific. o Make sure to include all of them.
� INTRODUCTION o Stay on topic. o Don’t be too general, but also, don’t be too specific – some things are best left for the
discussion. – The heading of the prac will usually give you a clue to what is relevant.
o Don’t go too long – 1 page is generally enough. � RESULTS
o Describe key results – summarise all findings in tables/figures. o All tables and figures to be presented in the results section – If it is integral to your report it
goes in RESULTS not appendix. Present them in a logical sequence, so that they tell the “story” of your data.
o All tables and figures described within the text and correctly labelled. o Calculations included, where required. Don’t forget units.
� DISCUSSION o Answer all questions fully, but not necessarily in question & answer format. o Show your depth of understanding of the concepts. Expand on information provided in the
INTRODUCTION; explain how your results relate to the concepts.
� CONCLUSION o Relate back to AIM and INTRODUCTION. o Not in the first person. o Not about the equipment/learning objectives. o Directly state what the results illustrate about the concepts being investigated.
� REFERENCES o All in-text references included. o Make sure in-text referencing is properly formatted. o Do not include references not cited in-text. o Formatted correctly as per style chosen / requested.
� APPENDICES o Raw data only. o Calculations, only if instructed. o Other information that would make the report complete, but that would disrupt the flow if
included elsewhere.

PC1001 PP2101 SP1 2017
Report Writing Checklist

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