[10th Grade Biology] Need help with Lab Report Discussion

You almost always have to repeat a little bit from the results to the discussion.

In a "real" research article, the "results" are ideally just a description of your data (results = 'facts'). The point of the discussion is to "think out loud" about what your results/facts might mean. Do your results provide evidence for a new idea? Do your results refute an old idea? Do your results support an old idea? Basically, you take your results and you try to see if they reveal something interesting.

The problem with "Lab reports" in high school and college is that you're just repeating things that other people have already done, so the discussion almost always feels fake/contrived.

The trick is to pretend you've discovered something new (even though you probably haven't) and write from that perspective.

For example, Imagine you did an experiment. You took 40 seeds. seeds were treated identically (water, temp, duration of incubation, etc.) except 20 seeds were exposed to constant sunlight and 20 seeds were kept in constant darkness. 95% of the dark seeds germinated after 2 days. 25% of the sunlight-exposed seeds germinated after 2 days. Those are results.

After some statistical analysis, you might be able to conclude that sunlight has a negative effect on seed germination. This conclusion probably belongs in the discussion (but in my opinion it might also be okay to have it in the results and then repeated in the discussion).

The discussion might then also extend the conclusion by saying something like:

  • Given our data (see results), it seems that sunlight inhibits germination of these seeds.
  • We know from other studies [refs] that seeds grow into taller plants when they are surrounded by nutrients found in soil. Under these circumstances, the seeds would be in constant darkness.
  • In contrast, seeds placed on top of soil do not grow as tall [refs if you have 'em]. These types of seeds would be exposed to some amount of sunlight.
  • The explanation for this difference in growth is that seeds placed on top of soil are only partly in contact with the soil and are unable to make full use of the surrounding nutrients.
  • Our results (sunlight inhibition of germination) provide an evolutionary mechanism to prevent seed germination unless the seed is deeply embedded in soil.
  • That is, it seems evolutionarily advantageous to have sunlight inhibit seed germination.
  • This type of inhibition would provide a simple, yet effective mechanism for preventing seeds from committing to a energetically costly developmental change (germination) when they are not situated in an environment (deep soil) that is optimized for the transition to a growing plant."

This is speculation, but it's reasonable speculation and it belongs in the discussion.

/r/HomeworkHelp Thread