Summary

In a short report, the results are essentially presented in tables, graphs, histograms or gels. These graphics are accompanied by legends which describe the experimental conditions under which used the results are obtained. Any written general summary of the results should be used to begin the discussion section as it will form the basis for drawing conclusions.

The main problems students have with the results section in a short report are:
  • how to group the data appropriately;
  • how to present the data visually to show the results.

It should be possible for the reader to look at the graph and/ or table and instantly get a 'feel' for the results. In other words, the reader should not have to do any 'mental arithmetic' to appreciate the significance of the trends.

CONTENT AND STRUCTURE

It is common practice to display your results in the form of a table or figure. Tables are a means of presenting information accurately and concisely, while figures (graphs) can efficiently illustrate trends and comparisons. However, you also have to use language to give your table a title. Figures may be diagrams, graphs, photographs, etc. Note that we usually use the term 'figure' rather than 'graph' in titles and in the text when we are discussing the data.

Your results section provides information to answer the following question:

What did you find? (your actual results).

Your results section usually has two main stages :

Stage 1

State the title for a table. (place legend under title)

Table 1. Demographic characteristics of study participants.

Stage 2

Present the table.

or

Stage 1

Present a figure.

Stage 2

State the title for the figure. (place legend under title)

Figure 1. Cholesterol Concentration of subjects on a High Cholesterol Diet.

Tables should be:

  • clearly presented
  • clearly numbered
  • clearly titled
  • easily interpreted

Figures should be

  • clearly presented
  • clearly numbered
  • clearly titled
  • clearly interpreted
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