In a short report, you are not required to write a full introduction; in fact there is not enough room to do so. It is also unnecessary to include the title 'Introduction'. All you need to write is a brief description of the purpose of the study. One to three lines is normally enough.

Content and Structure

Typically, your short introduction will provide information ordered in the following stages:

Stage 1 Background information on why you are undertaking the experiment Anecdotal evidence suggests that aspartame (an artificial sweetener) causes insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Since insulin resistance can be caused by chronic hyperinsulinemia, ......
Stage 2 Statement of the aim of the experiment the current study measured the effect of aspartame on insulin secretion.

Study Design

This is an optional part of your report and not every experiment will require you to report on the study design. If you do need to write an overview of the study design, it can go in the aim, legend or as a separate section. However, it can save space and enhance the readers understanding of the experiment, if it is presented early on i.e. at the end of the aim or in a separate section after the aim.

Typically, the information in the study design should tell the reader:

  1. Information about sample and sampling (size, characteristics etc. of sample, randomness of sampling etc.).
  2. General information about how the experiment was carried out and the conditions under which the data were collected. This information should not be repeated in other parts of the report that deal with methodology.

The study design must be clear and accurate.

Example Text:

Study Design

Subjects were picked in an age range 49-58 years (n=8, 6 male and 2 female) and randomly allocated to either a high cholesterol diet (foods suggested included meat, dairy products, offal) or a low cholesterol diet (mainly plant derived foods) to be consumed over a 12 week period. Subjects were tested for blood cholesterol concentration prior to beginning their diets and then at Week 6 and Week 12. This information tells the reader about the sample (size, sex, age range) and sampling (subjects chosen in certain age range, random allocation to high or low cholesterol diet). This information tells the reader the overall methodology of the experiment (its duration and when cholesterol measurements were taken).

You have now reached the end of the Introduction section.

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Glossary: aim, sample, randomness.