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Report Writing
The Structure of Scientific Report


The purpose of this section is to precisely describe method and materials used to conduct your experiment with enough detail so someone else could repeat the same procedure. You also need to explain and sometimes justify why you chose a particular method (Hay, 1996). Finally, it is important to add any extra information or observations, such as changes to the method generated via the results of a pilot test or changes caused by some accident.

The method section should be written in paragraph form with as little repetition as possible. This section will often be broken down into subsections such as participants, materials and procedure. (linked to new window) The subsections you use will depend on what is useful to help describe and explain your experiment.

In the method section of the report you should use the past tense since you are describing what you did; for example,

A dilution series was performed…,
The participants were instructed to ... .

Furthermore, as the focus in this section is on what was done rather than who did it, the passive voice is used as it aims to foreground the action, rather than the doer of the action; for example,

The elaiosomes were removed …

as opposed to

We removed the elaiosomes … .


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