Cardiorespiratory Fitness Lab Report

Laboratory Report FormatFor some labs you may only be required to hand in specific sections (i.e. Methods or Results).
For others, a complete lab report consisting of Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion
sections will be required. These reports comprise an important part of your learning
experience (and of your grade), so an understanding of what is required is essential. If you
have not done so before, go to the library and read several original research articles about
topics in Exercise Science or related areas. Look for articles in journals such as Medicine and
Science in Sports and Exercise, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and Journal of
Applied Physiology.
This will help you to acquire a feel for the style and format of scientific papers.
Reports should be typed (double spaced, with 1 inch margins) and follow the
format described in the following sections.
Important reminders:
1. Follow as closely as possible the style and format used in professional journals.
2. The vast majority of your references should be of original research articles (not
reviews or textbooks).
3. Copying from published sources constitutes plagiarism and will expose the student to
disciplinary action by the College. Introduction and Discussion sections are places for
you to demonstrate your understanding of the topic by summarizing pertinent
information in your own words (with appropriate references to the sources of this
knowledge). They are not opportunities to copy phrases, sentences or paragraphs from
other people’s work (even if you do properly reference the source).
Examples of Sections of a research report:
Introduction – This section is used to give some background and explain the purpose of the
research. Using references to previous research, put the experiment into perspective relative
to current theory. A good introduction section will leave the reader with a clear sense of why
the experiment was done. Before writing an introduction, a bit of reading and reflecting about
the topic needs to be done.
The following are excerpts from introduction sections:
“Target RPEs obtained in this way have been shown to be accurate for regulating exercise
intensity (6, 8, 9).”
“It is possible that patients with cardiac disease may exhibit different perceptual responses
from healthy individuals. This in turn might alter the accuracy of exercise prescriptions
developed using the Three Point Method. Therefore, the current investigation was undertaken
to examine the accuracy of the Three Point Method for developing perceptually based
exercise prescriptions for patients with cardiac disease (Dunbar, Glickman-Weiss, Edwards,
Conley & Quiroz, 1996).”
“Most investigators agree that performance not-withstanding, pre-exercise ingestion of
Na+HCO3- increases blood pH and/or retards the decrease in blood pH during exercise (17).
However, of the investigations that have specifically quantified blood pH changes in response
to dietary or exercise interventions, none have measured blood pH changes during recovery.
Understanding the recovery kinetics of blood pH is essential for multiple sprint or intermittent
activities such as soccer, rugby, or hockey.” (Robergs, R.A., Hutchinson, K., Hendee, S.,
Madden, S., Siegler, J.C.)
Notice that factual statements are followed by reference numbers which indicate where
the information was obtained. Also note the style; the author is giving some background
and pointing out the knowledge gaps in the area as a lead up as to why the study was
The following example again shows how the problem is developed and current
investigation rationalized.
“Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) has become a common method of estimating body
composition. Several investigations have found less than optimal accuracy for the BIA method
(Hutcheson, Latin, Berg, & Pentice, 1988; Jackson, Pollock, Graves, & Mahar, 1988; Van Der
Kooy et al., 1992; Vasquez & Janosky, 1991; Watanabe, Nakadomo, Miyake, Tanaka, &
Maeda, 1992). Possible sources of error have been identified. These include: variations in
hydration levels (Kahled et al., 1988; Katch, 1985; Malina, 1987), arm positioning (Schell &
Gross, 1987), skin temperature (Caton, Mole, Adams, & Heustis, 1988), phase of the
menstrual cycle (Deurenberg, Weststrate, Paymans, & Van Der Kooy, 1988), inter-observer
variability (Schell & Gross, 1987) and electrode positioning (Schell & Gross, 1987). Given the
apparent technical simplicity of test administration, the finding of inter-observer variability
initially seems puzzling. We hypothesized that much of the inter-observer variability is due to
differences in electrode positioning. Although the manufacturer supplies written and pictorial
instructions for electrode placement, the authors have observed inter- and intratester variability
in electrode placement.
Using a group of 10 women as subjects, Schell and Gross (1987) reported that central
movement of electrodes by 1 cm can significantly change the measured resistance. The effect
of misplacements of electrodes does not appear to have been systematically investigated.
Therefore, the current investigation was undertaken to systematically examine the effects
various combinations of small (1 cm) changes in electrode placement on the accuracy of body
composition estimation by BIA.” (Dunbar, Melahrinides, Michielli & Kalinski, 1994).
Notice the referencing of previous work in the area and the identification of areas where
more information is needed. The reader should be left with a clear sense of why this study
was needed.
Methods – This section describes the procedures followed and equipment used. A good
methods section has enough detail to allow another investigator to duplicate your experiment.
Although it should give enough detail for replication, it should not be overly descriptive of nonessential items. Here are excerpts from a Methods section of a paper published in Research
“After being weighed, subjects were instructed to lay supine on a padded examination table
with the arms and legs abducted slightly. Arm and leg positioning was held constant for all
trials. 22 body composition measurements were then taken as follows…electrode positions
specified by the manufacturer are: wrist – superior linear border in a line bisecting the ulnar
head, hand – metacarpal-phalangeal joint of 3rd digit, ankle – superior linear border in a line
bisecting the medial malleolus, foot – metatarsal-phalangeal joint of 3rd digit. Following this trial
20 additional trials were performed wherein 1 or more electrodes was moved 1 cm from the
proper location. In 16 of these trials 1 electrode was moved proximally, distally, medially or
laterally while the other electrodes were left in the proper positions. The standard pre-trial was
always performed first and the standard post-trial last. The order of the other 20 trials was
randomized.” (Dunbar et al, 1994)
“Plyometric sessions lasted approximately 10-15 minutes and were conducted three times
per week during practice. The plyometric sessions were scheduled on alternate days from the
strength training sessions. Explosive jumping (box jumps), quickness (timed jumping, rejumping), and power endurance (skipping for height and distance) were stressed during the
plyometric workouts. Typical training sessions used either the width of the soccer field or the
18-yard box. The exercises progressively increased in quantity and intensity as the fitness
level improved throughout the season (3 to 5 sets). In addition, the jumping heights were
increased. All plyometric sessions were conducted after skill-specific soccer sessions were
Individual data on both strength and plyometric performance were recorded throughout
the experimental period. The investigator conducted all training sessions. A summary of
the training program for the EG is given in Table 4.” (Siegler et al, 2002)
One must consider the purpose of the study when writing a Methods section. Since the first
presented methods section looked at the effects of misplacement of electrodes it was critical to
establish where the electrodes were placed. In other studies such anatomical detail is often not
Here are excerpts from another study which involved the measurement of
standard respiratory/metabolic parameters such as VO2.
“During the estimation and production trials expired air was analyzed for fractional
concentrations of oxygen (Applied Electrochemistry S-3A analyzer) and carbon dioxide
(Beckman LB-2 analyzer). Inspired volume was measured with a Parkinson-Cowan Dry Gas
Meter. Gas analyzers and the flow meter were inter-faced with an Apple Microcomputer and
software (Rayfield Equipment) providing real time calculations of respiratory gas exchange
data, VO2 and VE. Heart rate during exercise was determined by a one lead electrocardiograph
with hardware transmission (Hewlett Packard model 1500B).” (Dunbar et al, 1992)
Note how the equipment is specified, but extensive details of data collection are not given.
This is because a standard technique of open circuit spirometry was used. Other scientists in
the field would be familiar with the techniques, so extensive detail was not needed.
Results – The Results section should simply present your factual findings. Interpretation and
opinions related to these findings should be included in the Discussion, not in the Results.
Notice the dry style of the following excerpt from a Results sections:
Heart rate
Intra-modal: The differences between means for heart rate are shown in Table III. Heart rate
for E1 and P1 differed by 10.4 beat * min -1 at 50% VO2MAX and 26.8 beat * min -1 at 70%
VO2max.” (Dunbar et al, 1992)
Figures and Tables
Tables and/or graphs of the data should also be included in the Results. Use accepted (e.g.,
APA) format for all tables, graphs and figures. Some examples are given on the following
Table 1. Mean± SD data for the mono-exponential slopes and half time recovery constants for
each blood acid-base parameter.
0.057± 0.01
0.040± 0.02
12.67± 3.50*
PLAC 0.080± 0.02
0.030± 0.03
9.83± 2.73*
0.050± 0.01
0.020± 0.01
15.51± 3.45*
*=significantly different from lactate (p

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