How to Write the Results Section of a Research Paper

Use these tips for your academic article's Research Results section and organize your findings in line with academic writing requirements

This article is part of an ongoing series on academic writing help of scholarly articles. Previous parts explored how to write an introduction for a research paper, literature review outline and format, and how to write a research methodology.

Academics and researchers publish their scholarly articles to show the results they have obtained using gathered or collected data. Research papers present the process of testing hypotheses or models and how their findings help shape or advance a particular research topic. Thus, the ‘Results’ section is essential in expressing the significance of an academic article.

The findings of your research should be included in a separate section of your academic article, as it is the only section that contains data and results.

Aspects to Consider in Writing the Results Section of a Research Paper

A good place to start for your results section, it’s to restate the aim and objective of your research paper, so that your readers can refocus on the core of your academic article. So far in your research paper, your readers covered the introduction, literature review, research methodology and now it’s the time and place to bring their attention back to the purpose. A short paragraph is sufficient to restate your paper’s purpose.

Then, it’s key to consider that this is main section of your research paper where you present and explain the data you have collected or gathered and the findings of your data analysis and interpretation.

The academic writing should be clear, impartial, and objective. Each result, which confirms or refutes your assumptions, should be noted in an unbiased manner to increase the credibility of your study.

The results section gives you the opportunity to:

  • summarize the collected data in the form of descriptive statistics and
  • report on the findings from relevant and appropriate inferential statistical analyses and interpretation that are aimed at answering your academic article’s research questions or supporting your hypotheses, and show your research significance.

For an organized Research Results section, it’s best to use sub-sections. These sub-sections or divisions can be based on:

  • Your research questions, hypotheses or models, or
  • The statistical tests you have conducted.

How to Clearly Report Your Research Findings

If you have used statistical analyses in your academic article, and found answers to your research questions, report those facts in relation to your question.

A clear, coherent presentation of your research paper’s results should exhibit logical explanations without bias.

Confirming or Rejecting Hypotheses in Your Research Results

While defining the section of your research’s outcomes area, it’s important to keep in mind that the research results do not prove or demonstrate anything.

Your research findings can only affirm/ confirm or reject the hypotheses and assumptions elaborated upon in your academic article.
In any case, your results:

  • help with the understanding of a research problem from within,
  • assist in dividing the research problem into different parts and concepts,
  • add to the exploration of an issue from various vantage points.

Summarizing Key Findings in Your Results Section

In a coherent results presentation, you should:

  • offer summarizing notes of your outcomes and
  • save the explanations of your key discoveries for your Discussion section.

For example, in your empirical analysis you notice an uncommon correlation between two variables. In the Results section, it is okay to bring up this outcome, however, posing new hypotheses for this uncommon result should be presented in the Discussion section.

Using Tables and Figures to Highlight Research Results

Any valuable academic article should focus on using tables, figures and/or graphs to:

  • provide accurate views about the research findings,
  • summarize the analysis,
  • help with the interpretation of these outcomes, and
  • offer better understanding of the overall study.

Instead of using only descriptive text for your scholarly article, consider other visual ways and representations that improve the academic writing of your research paper.

Figures, tables and graphs are useful methods for gathering a great deal of information into one place that can then be mentioned in the content of your article. If any research question or hypothesis is confirmed by your data and analysis, you can point to a table or figure that illustrates your finding.

When you present tables or figures in your results section, make sure to describe at least some of the data included in these visual representations so that readers can clearly understand how the table works and what interpretations can be concluded from them.

You can also use appendices if you have many other helpful figures or tables that cannot be fully included in the text of your academic article.

By using a helpful combination of text, figures, and tables, you, as Authors and Academics, can use this section to effectively share your studies’ findings with the scientific community.

Presenting Research Findings and Statistical Significance

A systematic description of your research results and a correct data analysis and interpretation are related to statistical significance, as they help avoid speculations or misinterpretations by readers of your academic article.

In a valuable research paper:

  • data must be directly and clearly presented,
  • statistical tests need to be used, and
  • the figures obtained and included in the study have to be explained.

Tests of statistical significance should always be presented with your results to show that your research findings objectively confirm or disprove your hypotheses.

You need to report the research results with enough details so that readers can see which statistical analyses were conducted and validated to justify or disprove your hypotheses. It is important to mention relevant research findings, including those that were are statistical insignificant, not validated within your model’s framework, and are at odds with your initial assumptions.

Even if not all of your research results are confirmed, you should not ignore them. These negative results that do not support a particular hypothesis should be noted in the results section, and then explained in the Discussion section.

Writing a Research Results section that do not address the negative results, invalidates the research paper and does not reflect appropriate academic writing.

Research Results Comparison with Similar Academic Articles

The largest part of interpreting and discussing your research findings should be reserved for the Discussion / Conclusion section.

However, there are instances when it is appropriate to compare or contrast your results with findings from previous and similar studies. For example:

  • Similar to Author [Year], one of the findings of this study is the strong relationship between…
  • While Author [Year] found an indirect relationship between, our study highlighted ….

Key Aspects for Your Research Results Section

For a good structure and organization of your research, keep in mind these aspects:

  • Start your research results section by restating the purpose of your research, so that your readers can re-focus on core of your academic article
  • Include helpful and quality tables, figures, graphs that can synthesize your research
  • Make sure you include details about your data analysis and interpretation, as well as statistical significance tests
  • Report the statistical insignificant research findings for your academic article’s credibility
  • Use the past tense when describing to your research results
  • Do not use vague terms and be as concise as possible when you are reporting your research findings
  • Conclude your section with a short paragraph that summarizes your study’s key outcomes.

Which aspects do you focus on when writing your research results section?

This blog series focuses on useful academic writing tips. Next, we examine the Discussion and Conclusion section.
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