Structuring your Results section
The Results section of your research paper is where you report the findings of your study, derived from the methodology you used. In this section, you should report your findings in a neutral way, i.e. without bias or interpretation. The actual discussion and interpretation of your results should be confined to the Discussion. For example, you may report a significant positive correlation between two variables in your Results section, but not yet speculate about its cause or offer a hypothesis about what may be happening.
Note that the Results section should always be written in the past tense, presented clearly and concisely, and in a logical order. Consider the use of visual elements like tables and figures to help readers process your data.
Also read our blog post on how to present your results here.
The different parts of a Results section
The Results section typically includes the following parts:
- Restating the research question(s) that underpin(s) your study (optional). A few sentences can be enough for this.
- Reporting your findings in detail and in logical order (i.e. tackling each research question in turn). This can include non-textual elements, such as figures, tables and charts, to further illustrate your findings when appropriate. In many studies, findings take the form of descriptive and inferential statistics. Authors will report significant or non-significant correlations, differences, or effects. In studies involving qualitative data, authors may report interview or survey responses.
- Summarizing key findings, paving the way for the Discussion section (optional).
You may choose to break down your Results section into several subsections, each focusing on a specific research question. This makes it easier for your readers to parse findings, especially if you have a lot of data to report.