When formulating the results section, it's important to remember that the results of a study do not prove anything. Research results can only confirm or reject the research problem underpinning your study. However, the act of articulating the results helps you to understand the problem from within, to break it into pieces, and to view the research problem from various perspectives.
The page length of this section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Be concise, using non-textual elements, such as figures and tables, if appropriate, to present results more effectively. In deciding what data to describe in your results section, you must clearly distinguish material that would normally be included in a research paper from any raw data or other material that could be included as an appendix. In general, raw data should not be included in the main text of your paper unless requested to do so by your professor.
Avoid providing data that is not critical to answering the research question. The background information you described in the introduction section should provide the reader with any additional context or explanation needed to understand the results. A good rule is to always re-read the background section of your paper after you have written up your results to ensure that the reader has enough context to understand the results [and, later, how you interpreted the results in the discussion section of your paper].
Bates College;Burton, Neil et al. Doing Your Education Research Project. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2008; Results. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.
How to Write Findings
One important topic in writing papers is writing findings. It is
important to gain an understanding of how to write findings for college
papers (e.g., a psychology research paper) and theses. College papers
should be consistent with an academic writing style and academic
writing standards. Papers and theses should report findings in an
accurate, specific, precise, and informative manner.
Below are some guidelines for writing findings:
1. Describe the findings in a manner that allows the reader to
gain a clear understanding of the type of study that was involved
in the research. It should be clear to the reader whether the study was
a case study, a correlational study, or an experiment. It would be best
to state the type of study when describing the findings. For example,
if it was an experiment, a sentence could start with the words, "In the
2. If the findings are from a correlational study, the description
of the findings could involve a brief description of how the
variables were measured. For example, if the study addressed the
relationship between empathy and helping behavior, the description of
the findings could involve a description of how empathy was measured
in the study.
3. If the findings are from an experiment, the description of the
study could involve a description of the conditions in the
experiment. For example, imagine that an experiment addressed the
influence of listening to music on productivity, and there were two
conditions: experimental condition with music and control condition
without music. In this example, it would be would to describe both the
experimental condition and the control condition.
4. If the study was an experiment, it is important to mention
whether the participants were randomly assigned to conditions.
Random assignment allows us to make causal conclusions because we
can rule out explanations based on personality and individual
5. It is important to mention whether the findings are
statistically significant. If the findings are not statistically significant,
we would not conclude that there is a difference between conditions in
an experiment, or that variables are associated in a correlational
study. Generally, a finding of a study is considered statistically
significant if the chance probability is less than .05 (the p value for the
finding is indicated as less than .05).
6. Causal conclusions should not be made from correlational
findings. We cannot make causal conclusions from correlational
findings because we are not able to rule out alternative explanations.
Thus, causal language should not be used when describing
correlational findings. Words such as "effect," "cause," and
"influence" should not be used for correlational findings. However, it
would be fine to use the words "relationship," "association," and
"correlation" for correlational findings. For example, imagine that
empathy was found to be associated with helping behavior in a
correlational study. In this example, it would be acceptable to state
that empathy was found to be associated, correlated, or related to
helping behavior. In this example, it would not be acceptable to state
that empathy influenced, caused, or had an effect on helping behavior.