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When three or more authors are involved, the Latin et al. (et alia) meaning "and others" may be used. A paper by Smith, Lynch, Merrill, and Beam published in 1989 would be cited in the text as: Smith et al. The lab report or the scientific paper is the vehicle of persuasion; when it is published, it is available to other scientists for review. If the results stand up to criticism, they become part of the accepted body of scientific knowledge unless later disproved.

Scientific research is a group activity. Individual scientists perform experiments to test hypotheses about biological phenomena. After experiments are completed and duplicated, researchers attempt to persuade others to accept or reject their hypotheses by presenting the data and their interpretations.

Numbers should be written as numerals when they are greater than ten or when they are associated with measurements; for example, 6 mm or 2 g but two explanations of six factors.

Abbreviations of units are used without a following period. Be aware that the word data is plural while datum is singular. This affects the choice of a correct verb. The word species is used both as a singular and as a plural.

Every sentence must have a subject and a verb. Avoid using the first person, I or we, in writing. Keep your writing impersonal, in the third person. Instead of saying, "We weighed the frogs and put them in a glass jar write, "The frogs were weighed and put in a glass jar." Avoid the use of slang and the overuse.

See appendix B for graphing instructions. This section of your report should concentrate on general trends and differences and not on trivial details. Many authors organize and write the results section before the rest of the report.

What knowledge already exists about this subject? The answer to this question must review the literature, showing the historical development of an idea and including the confirmations, conflicts, and gaps in existing knowledge.