You may be required to write up your food science lab in a research paper format. This will give you great practice in preparing to write and publish scientific peer-reviewed articles. Here is an outline I have created for you showing the basic elements of a research paper and their purpose.


A Few Words Describing the Big Idea of your Research Project


A summary of your project, outlining what was done, why you did it and what you found. This is usually about 200-250 words


Background of the study. Here you should include a summary of related research that was previously done and gaps in the research that you would like to fill. Tell the reader what your research is adding to the body of knowledge that already exists and convince him of its importance.


A description in the past tense of the steps or procedures that you took in completing the research and gathering the data. It should be written in such a way that someone reading your study will be able to repeat it and get the same results.


A presentation of your findings in the best format for the reader to understand. It may be in tables, graphs or pictures or combination, whichever best presents the data.


An elaboration on what the results mean. In other words, so what?


A brief statement explaining whether or not the findings support your hypothesis. You can also talk about limitations in the study and suggested corrections, and what you think the next steps in the further investigation should be.


A list of all your sources. The format depends on the journal’s requirement. Here are examples using the APA citation style.

Citing from Research Journal

Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (Year Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume (Issue), Pages.

Simons, C. W., Hall, C. (2017). Consumer acceptability of gluten-free cookies containing raw, cooked and germinated pinto bean flours. Food Science and Nutrition, 6(1), 77-84.

Citing from Book

Last, F. M. (Year Published) Book. City, State: Publisher.

Potter, N. N. & Hotchkiss, J. H. (1998). Food Science. New York: NY: Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 

Citing from Book Chapter

Last, F. M. (Year Published). Title of chapter In F. M. Last Editor & F. M. Last Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter).  Publisher City, State: Publisher.

Bouchon, P. (2012). Food deep-fat frying. In J. G. Brennan & A. S. Grandison (Eds.), Food processing handbook (2nd ed, Vol. 2). (pp. 455-489). Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH

Citing Websites

Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Retrieved from URL

Rangel, G. (2015, August). From Corgis to Corn: A Brief Look at the Long History of GMO Technology.

Citing from Government Website without author

Name of Government Agency. (Year Published). Article or page title. Retrieved from URL

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Foodborne illnesses and germs. Retrieved from

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Courtney Simons
Courtney Simons
Author, Dr. Courtney Simons has a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and a Ph. D. in Cereal Science from North Dakota State University.