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How to Write a Results Section

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The results section of an APA format paper summarizes the data that was collected and the statistical analyses that were performed. The goal of this section is to report the results without any type of subjective interpretation.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Variable

Here's How:

  1. Report data in order to sufficiently justify your conclusions. Since you'll be talking about your own interpretation of the results in the discussion section, you need to be sure that the information reported in the results section justifies your claims.

  2. Be sure to mention all relevant information. If your hypothesis expected more statistically significant results, don't omit the findings if they failed to support your predictions.

  3. Do not include the raw data in the results section. Remember, you are summarizing the results, not reporting them in full detail. If you choose, you can create a supplemental online archive where other researchers can access the raw data if they choose to do so.

  4. Your results section should include both text and illustrations. Structure your results section around tables or figures that summarize the results of your statistical analysis. In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish this is to first create your tables and figures and then organize them in a logical way. Next, write the summary text to support your illustrative materials.

  5. Do not include tables and figures if you are not going to talk about them in the body text of your results section.

  6. Always assume that your readers have a solid understanding of statistical concepts. There's no need to explain what a t-test is or how a one-way ANOVA works; just report the results.

  7. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association recommends including effect sizes in your results section so that readers can appreciate the importance of your study's findings.

  8. The results section should be written in the past tense.

  9. Focus on being concise and objective. You will have the opportunity to give your own interpretations of the results in the discussion section.

  10. Do not present the same data twice in your illustrative materials. If you have already presented some data in a table, do not present it again in a figure. If you have presented data in a figure, do not present it again in a table.

  11. Don't ignore negative results. Just because a result failed to support your hypothesis, it does not mean it is not important. Results that do not support your original hypothesis can be just as informative as results that do.

Tips:

  1. Read the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for more information on how to write a results section in APA format.
  2. Visit your library and read some journal articles that are on your topic. Pay attention to how the authors present the results of their research.
  3. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for additional assistance.

    References

    American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association.

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