The results section of the research paper is where you report the findings of your study based on the methodology you applied to gather information. The results section should simply state the findings of the research arranged in a logical sequence without bias or interpretation. The results section should always be written in the past tense. A section describing results is particularly necessary if your paper includes data generated from your own research. The results of a study do not prove anything. Findings can only confirm or reject the hypothesis supporting your study. The page length of the results section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Be concise, using non-textual elements appropriately, such as figures and tables, to present results more effectively. In general, summarized raw data should not be included in the main text of your paper unless requested to do so by your professor. In general, the content of your results section should include the following elements:

  • An introductory context for understanding the results by restating the research problem supporting your study.
    It should be short but clearly represented without wordiness.
  • No discussions should be included here.
    Use Tables and Figures to organize all the data systematically: Tables to show exact values; Figures to show trends or relationship effects.
  • Figures and Tables should be easy to understand without the reader having to refer to the text.
  • Do not include both a Table and a Figure showing the same information.
  • Textual representation mentioning the key findings must be provided with each table and figure using different tenses while giving different information in the result section. e.g. i) Something has been done during the study- past tense ii) Something in the paper itself (figure, Table)- present tense.

Mistakes while writing a results section

  • Raw Data: Occasionally an author will for some reason include all his/her raw data. This is not just unnecessary – it’s mind-numbing. The author should present only the key results, meaning those results that bear on the question or problem being addressed.
  • Redundancy: Authors will often present their results in a table, then re-state everything in the text. This is redundant. The text should be used to clarify figures and tables- not rehash them.
    Discussion and interpretation: Authors frequently combine the results and discussion sections or include interpretation in the results section.
  • No figures or tables: Every results section should have at least one table. No matter what discipline the author is writing in, he/she should have data to present. A notable exception is some mathematics or computer science papers.
  • Methods/Materials reported: Often, an author will write something like this in the results section. The author must report only results in the results section-no new methods or materials at all.

When writing the results section, avoid doing the following

  • Discussing or interpreting the results.
  • Reporting background information or attempting to explain the findings.
  • Ignoring negative results.
  • Including raw data or intermediate calculations.
  • Be as factual and concise as possible in reporting the findings.
  • Presenting the same data or repeating the same information more than once.
  • Confusing figures with tables.

Don’t attempt to claim more for your results than what they can really support. Present only conclusions that can be supported with data, information, or observations gathered during the research.

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