The results section of a research paper describes to the reader the outcome and findings of the research project. Using some simple techniques in the preparation of this section produces a clear and comprehensible presentation of your research.
Organize the layout of the results section in the same way you structured the hypotheses or research questions in the introduction section of your research project. This will make it easier for the readers to follow your results.
Start by describing the statistical test or tests used to compare the different conditions or test your hypotheses. Be clear on what hypothesis or question is being compared with each statistical test as well as how you are defining the groups being compared within the test.
Use descriptive statistics to describe the overall characteristics of the groups being compared or sample tested with the inferential statistic.
State the statistical results in the acceptable format for your discipline. The American Psychological Association (APA) is a very common format for research results; you should familiarize yourself with whichever format is appropriate and follow the guidelines rigorously.
End each statistical test with a sentence or two indicating what that particular statistical result says about the hypothesis or question. Was your hypothesis supported by the statistical result?
Use tables and figures sparingly. Tables and figures should help the reader visualize the important results, but not carry the bulk of the work in the presentation of your findings. Tables and figures are helpful to summarize a large amount of data that is essential for the reader to see but for which it would be too difficult to include each number in the narrative format of the results section.
Rewrite and revise until you have every test necessary to test your hypotheses and the reader can easily determine what the results indicate in terms of your hypotheses or questions.
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- Try starting this section by creating an outline of each hypothesis or research question followed by each statistical test you will use for it.
- Where relevant, state the effect size of the particular statistical test.
- Only include statistical tests that are relevant to your particular hypotheses or research questions. Excessive irrelevant statistical tests detract from the big picture and make it difficult for the reader to follow.
- Do not include specific calculations used to determine the statistic.
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