20.109(F12): Results and Discussion sections

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20.109(F12): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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General guidelines

Please see the wiki page that is here. This page includes some explanation of the format for these sections, some writing tips, and an explanation of our evaluations.

General requirements


  • These sections must be written by you, and thus should not be written with your lab partner, though we encourage you to discuss your results with each other.
  • These sections should not be based on previous versions of this teaching module--which differ in critical ways so you wouldn't want to use them anyway!


General format requirements are:

  • 12 pt font
  • double spaced text
  • 1” margins

Specific requirements


You are welcome to add more figures than those listed here. These are what we consider minimally necessary.

figures & legends

Your figures should be appended to the end of your article. Do not waste time trying to fit the figures into the text of your report. If the figure files are large, they can be collected and sent together, as a document that is separate from the text of the article.

  • Figure 1: Starting conditions for Bacterial Photography System. This figure will have at least 2 panels, namely the "light" petri dish and the "dark" petri dish and, if it looked OK, the photograph you took at the start of the module, as well as the b-gal data you measured for the original system
  • Figure 2: Results for mutant. This figure will include several panels, including but not limited to your sequence alignments, your Western results (if they worked well), and your β-gal data

Please remember to carefully craft the figure legends...this will often be carefully examined by readers and editors as they decide whether or not to read the rest of your article!


  • Please keep this section between one and two pages, double spaced.
  • Begin this section with a short review/overview.
  • In paragraph form, describe each figure and the observations you made.
  • Divide your results section into subsections to help the reader parse the information.
  • As much as possible, reserve conclusions about your data for the discussion section. Clearly an exception to this will be which of your library candidates you chose to pursue, as this information is critical for the next steps in the experiments.


Please keep this section between two and three pages, double spaced.

You should include but are not limited to

  • a short sentence overview/review to begin this section
  • conclusions you can draw from your work, including any uncertainties
  • other data (published or personal communications) that support or contradict your conclusions
  • limitations of your work, e.g. what kinds of experiments/controls/samples would have been great to include
  • next experiments you would like to try to extend your findings and strengthen your conclusions