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- How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples
How to Write a Results Section | Tips & Examples
Published on August 30, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on November 11, 2022.
A results section is where you report the main findings of the data collection and analysis you conducted for your thesis or dissertation . You should report all relevant results concisely and objectively, in a logical order. Don’t include subjective interpretations of why you found these results or what they mean—any evaluation should be saved for the discussion section .
Table of contents
How to write a results section, reporting quantitative research results, reporting qualitative research results, results vs. discussion vs. conclusion, checklist: research results, frequently asked questions about results sections.
When conducting research, it’s important to report the results of your study prior to discussing your interpretations of it. This gives your reader a clear idea of exactly what you found and keeps the data itself separate from your subjective analysis.
Here are a few best practices:
- Your results should always be written in the past tense.
- While the length of this section depends on how much data you collected and analyzed, it should be written as concisely as possible.
- Only include results that are directly relevant to answering your research questions . Avoid speculative or interpretative words like “appears” or “implies.”
- If you have other results you’d like to include, consider adding them to an appendix or footnotes.
- Always start out with your broadest results first, and then flow into your more granular (but still relevant) ones. Think of it like a shoe store: first discuss the shoes as a whole, then the sneakers, boots, sandals, etc.
If you conducted quantitative research , you’ll likely be working with the results of some sort of statistical analysis .
Your results section should report the results of any statistical tests you used to compare groups or assess relationships between variables . It should also state whether or not each hypothesis was supported.
The most logical way to structure quantitative results is to frame them around your research questions or hypotheses. For each question or hypothesis, share:
- A reminder of the type of analysis you used (e.g., a two-sample t test or simple linear regression ). A more detailed description of your analysis should go in your methodology section.
- A concise summary of each relevant result, both positive and negative. This can include any relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., means and standard deviations ) as well as inferential statistics (e.g., t scores, degrees of freedom , and p values ). Remember, these numbers are often placed in parentheses.
- A brief statement of how each result relates to the question, or whether the hypothesis was supported. You can briefly mention any results that didn’t fit with your expectations and assumptions, but save any speculation on their meaning or consequences for your discussion and conclusion.
A note on tables and figures
In quantitative research, it’s often helpful to include visual elements such as graphs, charts, and tables , but only if they are directly relevant to your results. Give these elements clear, descriptive titles and labels so that your reader can easily understand what is being shown. If you want to include any other visual elements that are more tangential in nature, consider adding a figure and table list .
As a rule of thumb:
- Tables are used to communicate exact values, giving a concise overview of various results
- Graphs and charts are used to visualize trends and relationships, giving an at-a-glance illustration of key findings
Don’t forget to also mention any tables and figures you used within the text of your results section. Summarize or elaborate on specific aspects you think your reader should know about rather than merely restating the same numbers already shown.
Figure 1: Intention to donate to environmental organizations based on social distance from impact of environmental damage.
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In qualitative research , your results might not all be directly related to specific hypotheses. In this case, you can structure your results section around key themes or topics that emerged from your analysis of the data.
For each theme, start with general observations about what the data showed. You can mention:
- Recurring points of agreement or disagreement
- Patterns and trends
- Particularly significant snippets from individual responses
Next, clarify and support these points with direct quotations. Be sure to report any relevant demographic information about participants. Further information (such as full transcripts , if appropriate) can be included in an appendix .
“I think that in role-playing games, there’s more attention to character design, to world design, because the whole story is important and more attention is paid to certain game elements […] so that perhaps you do need bigger teams of creative experts than in an average shooter or something.”
Responses suggest that video game consumers consider some types of games to have more artistic potential than others.
Your results section should objectively report your findings, presenting only brief observations in relation to each question, hypothesis, or theme.
It should not speculate about the meaning of the results or attempt to answer your main research question . Detailed interpretation of your results is more suitable for your discussion section , while synthesis of your results into an overall answer to your main research question is best left for your conclusion .
I have completed my data collection and analyzed the results.
I have included all results that are relevant to my research questions.
I have concisely and objectively reported each result, including relevant descriptive statistics and inferential statistics .
I have stated whether each hypothesis was supported or refuted.
I have used tables and figures to illustrate my results where appropriate.
All tables and figures are correctly labelled and referred to in the text.
There is no subjective interpretation or speculation on the meaning of the results.
You've finished writing up your results! Use the other checklists to further improve your thesis.
The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.
In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:
- The type of analysis used
- Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
- Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported
In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:
- Recurring patterns
- Significant or representative individual responses
- Relevant quotations from the data
Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.
Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
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How To Write The Results/Findings Chapter
For qualitative studies (dissertations & theses).
By: Jenna Crossley (PhD Cand). Expert Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2021
So, you’ve collected and analysed your qualitative data, and it’s time to write up your results chapter – exciting! But where do you start? In this post, we’ll guide you through the qualitative results chapter (also called the findings chapter), step by step.
Overview: Qualitative Results Chapter
- What (exactly) the qualitative results chapter is
- What to include in your results chapter
- How to write up your results chapter
- A few tips and tricks to help you along the way
What exactly is the results chapter?
The results chapter in a dissertation or thesis (or any formal academic research piece) is where you objectively and neutrally present the findings of your qualitative analysis (or analyses if you used multiple qualitative analysis methods ). This chapter can sometimes be combined with the discussion chapter (where you interpret the data and discuss its meaning), depending on your university’s preference. We’ll treat the two chapters as separate, as that’s the most common approach.
In contrast to a quantitative results chapter that presents numbers and statistics, a qualitative results chapter presents data primarily in the form of words . But this doesn’t mean that a qualitative study can’t have quantitative elements – you could, for example, present the number of times a theme or topic pops up in your data, depending on the analysis method(s) you adopt.
Adding a quantitative element to your study can add some rigour, which strengthens your results by providing more evidence for your claims. This is particularly common when using qualitative content analysis. Keep in mind though that qualitative research aims to achieve depth, richness and identify nuances , so don’t get tunnel vision by focusing on the numbers. They’re just cream on top in a qualitative analysis.
So, to recap, the results chapter is where you objectively present the findings of your analysis, without interpreting them (you’ll save that for the discussion chapter). With that out the way, let’s take a look at what you should include in your results chapter.
What should you include in the results chapter?
As we’ve mentioned, your qualitative results chapter should purely present and describe your results , not interpret them in relation to the existing literature or your research questions. Any speculations or discussion about the implications of your findings should be reserved for your discussion chapter.
In your results chapter, you’ll want to talk about your analysis findings and whether or not they support your hypotheses (if you have any). Naturally, the exact contents of your results chapter will depend on which qualitative analysis method (or methods) you use. For example, if you were to use thematic analysis, you’d detail the themes identified in your analysis, using extracts from the transcripts or text to support your claims.
While you do need to present your analysis findings in some detail, you should avoid dumping large amounts of raw data in this chapter. Instead, focus on presenting the key findings and using a handful of select quotes or text extracts to support each finding . The reams of data and analysis can be relegated to your appendices.
While it’s tempting to include every last detail you found in your qualitative analysis, it is important to make sure that you report only that which is relevant to your research aims, objectives and research questions . Always keep these three components, as well as your hypotheses (if you have any) front of mind when writing the chapter and use them as a filter to decide what’s relevant and what’s not.
Need a helping hand?
How do I write the results chapter?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to look at how to structure your chapter. Broadly speaking, the results chapter needs to contain three core components – the introduction, the body and the concluding summary. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Section 1: Introduction
The first step is to craft a brief introduction to the chapter. This intro is vital as it provides some context for your findings. In your introduction, you should begin by reiterating your problem statement and research questions and highlight the purpose of your research . Make sure that you spell this out for the reader so that the rest of your chapter is well contextualised.
The next step is to briefly outline the structure of your results chapter. In other words, explain what’s included in the chapter and what the reader can expect. In the results chapter, you want to tell a story that is coherent, flows logically, and is easy to follow , so make sure that you plan your structure out well and convey that structure (at a high level), so that your reader is well oriented.
The introduction section shouldn’t be lengthy. Two or three short paragraphs should be more than adequate. It is merely an introduction and overview, not a summary of the chapter.
Pro Tip – To help you structure your chapter, it can be useful to set up an initial draft with (sub)section headings so that you’re able to easily (re)arrange parts of your chapter. This will also help your reader to follow your results and give your chapter some coherence. Be sure to use level-based heading styles (e.g. Heading 1, 2, 3 styles) to help the reader differentiate between levels visually. You can find these options in Word (example below).
Section 2: Body
Before we get started on what to include in the body of your chapter, it’s vital to remember that a results section should be completely objective and descriptive, not interpretive . So, be careful not to use words such as, “suggests” or “implies”, as these usually accompany some form of interpretation – that’s reserved for your discussion chapter.
The structure of your body section is very important , so make sure that you plan it out well. When planning out your qualitative results chapter, create sections and subsections so that you can maintain the flow of the story you’re trying to tell. Be sure to systematically and consistently describe each portion of results. Try to adopt a standardised structure for each portion so that you achieve a high level of consistency throughout the chapter.
For qualitative studies, results chapters tend to be structured according to themes , which makes it easier for readers to follow. However, keep in mind that not all results chapters have to be structured in this manner. For example, if you’re conducting a longitudinal study, you may want to structure your chapter chronologically. Similarly, if you’re using a theoretical framework, you might structure this chapter according to that. The exact structure of your chapter will depend on the nature of your study , especially your research questions.
As you work through the body of your chapter, make sure that you use quotes to substantiate every one of your claims . You can present these quotes in italics to differentiate them from your own words. A general rule of thumb is to use at least two pieces of evidence per claim, and these should be linked directly to your data. Also, remember that you need to include all relevant results , not just the ones that support your assumptions or initial leanings.
In addition to including quotes, you can also link your claims to the data by using appendices , which you should reference throughout your text. When you reference, make sure that you include both the name/number of the appendix , as well as the line(s) from which you drew your data.
As referencing styles can vary greatly, be sure to look up the appendix referencing conventions of your university’s prescribed style (e.g. APA, Harvard, etc) and keep this consistent throughout your chapter.
Section 3: Concluding summary
The concluding summary is very important because it summarises your key findings and lays the foundation for the discussion chapter . Keep in mind that some readers may skip directly to this section (from the introduction section), so make sure that it can be read and understood well in isolation.
In this section, you need to remind the reader of the key findings. That is, the results that directly relate to your research questions and that you will build upon in your discussion chapter. Remember, your reader has digested a lot of information in this chapter, so you need to use this section to remind them of the most important takeaways.
Importantly, the concluding summary should not present any new information and should only describe what you’ve already presented in your chapter. Keep it concise – you’re not summarising the whole chapter, just the essentials.
Tips and tricks for an A-grade results chapter
Now that you’ve got a clear picture of what the qualitative results chapter is all about, here are some quick tips and reminders to help you craft a high-quality chapter:
- Your results chapter should be written in the past tense . You’ve done the work already, so you want to tell the reader what you found , not what you are currently finding .
- Make sure that you review your work multiple times and check that every claim is adequately backed up by evidence . Aim for at least two examples per claim, and make use of an appendix to reference these.
- When writing up your results, make sure that you stick to only what is relevant . Don’t waste time on data that are not relevant to your research objectives and research questions.
- Use headings and subheadings to create an intuitive, easy to follow piece of writing. Make use of Microsoft Word’s “heading styles” and be sure to use them consistently.
- When referring to numerical data, tables and figures can provide a useful visual aid. When using these, make sure that they can be read and understood independent of your body text (i.e. that they can stand-alone). To this end, use clear, concise labels for each of your tables or figures and make use of colours to code indicate differences or hierarchy.
- Similarly, when you’re writing up your chapter, it can be useful to highlight topics and themes in different colours . This can help you to differentiate between your data if you get a bit overwhelmed and will also help you to ensure that your results flow logically and coherently.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help. If you’d like 1-on-1 help with your results chapter (or any chapter of your dissertation or thesis), check out our private dissertation coaching service here or book a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you.
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This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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This was extremely helpful. Thanks a lot guys
Hi, thanks for the great research support platform created by the gradcoach team!
I wanted to ask- While “suggests” or “implies” are interpretive terms, what terms could we use for the results chapter? Could you share some examples of descriptive terms?
I found this article very useful. Thank you very much for the outstanding work you are doing.
What if i have 3 different interviewees answering the same interview questions? Should i then present the results in form of the table with the division on the 3 perspectives or rather give a results in form of the text and highlight who said what?
I think this tabular representation of results is a great idea. I am doing it too along with the text. Thanks
That was helpful was struggling to separate the discussion from the findings
this was very useful, Thank you.
Very helpful, I am confident to write my results chapter now.
It is so helpful! It is a good job. Thank you very much!
Very useful, well explained. Many thanks.
Hello, I appreciate the way you provided a supportive comments about qualitative results presenting tips
I loved this! It explains everything needed, and it has helped me better organize my thoughts. What words should I not use while writing my results section, other than subjective ones.
Thanks a lot, it is really helpful
Thank you so much dear, i really appropriate your nice explanations about this.
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Are You Struggling to Write the Dissertation Results? We Can Help!
What’s the point of a dissertation? You conducted your research and you’re confident that your findings can help humanity solve some issues. But you have to present those findings, so your readers will be aware that your discussion is based on facts.
The Results is one of the most confusing dissertation chapters for the reader. It contains tables and figures, which can be challenging to understand. That’s why you have a responsibility to provide all details in the dissertation results chapter, but present them in the most digestible format possible. That’s not easy at all.
The dissertation results and discussion can often get PhD candidates struggling. They don’t see the best way to present the findings, so they turn to professional agencies.
There’s no need to worry. We’ll give you a few tips on how to write a results section, and we’ll present the final solution: what can you do if you can’t complete this chapter?
How to Make the Results Chapter Dissertation Fit In
The dissertation results and analysis comes after the dissertation methodology chapter. In the previous sections of the projects, you covered these stages:
- You explained the issue and the importance of this research
- You provided a literature review , which listed resources with brief explanations in context
- You elaborated on the research methods that you used to come to efficient results
Now, you have to present those results.
If this is the first time for you to write a project of this scale, you’re probably wondering: what goes in results findings section of a dissertation? The answer is processed data .
When writing results for dissertation, PhD candidates often make the mistake of including all raw data that they found. If you don’t categorize this data in a digestible way, you’ll only confuse the reader. Not everything that you found is relevant to answering the research question. Only include the findings that support or defy your hypothesis without getting off the logical flow.
This chapter has to fit in, so it must follow the flow that you set with the introduction, literature review, and methodology. If you struggle with that, maybe it’s best to buy dissertation online .
Tips: How to Make Writing the Findings Chapter of a Dissertation Easier
Our professional writers share a few important tips that help with writing the results section of a research paper:
- Use Past Tense
You’re the one who did the research at a point back in time. Your findings were valid there, and you witnessed them. If you read through the studies that you used during the research process, you’ll notice that the authors used past tense when writing results section dissertation. That’s a standard that all PhD writers follow.
- Filter the Results by Relevance
You don’t have to include all findings in your results section of research paper. If some of them were irrelevant, don’t mention them.
- Use Research Questions
To clarify the relevance of your results, organize them by research questions. Set separate research questions, and then present the data that helps you answer them. It’s okay to include subheadings within the dissertation results. In fact, it’s the recommended thing to do.
- Don’t Start Explaining
You have a separate chapter for that: the dissertation discussion chapter .
What to Do If You Can’t Write the Dissertation Results Section
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There’s no point in giving up. You came too far to do that. You only need to surpass the difficulties, and you’ll be ready to carry on with the work on this project. You can safely rely on the best dissertation help service .
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The following examples are acceptable ways of formatting your thesis and chapters when including one or more publications.
All theses with publications must have the following:
- Preface – noting collaborations, and contributions to authorship
- Table of contents
- List of tables, figures & illustrations
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Main text examples
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Literature review
- Chapter 3: Methods
- Chapter 4: Paper 1 & general discussion
- Chapter 5: Paper 2
- Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter – results
- Chapter 7 : Regular thesis chapter/general discussion tying in published and unpublished work
- Chapter 8: Conclusion
- Appendices - May include CD, DVD or other material, also reviews & methods papers
- Chapter 2: Methods
- Chapter 3: Paper 1
- Chapter 4: Regular thesis chapter
- Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter, final preliminary study
- Chapter 7: General discussion
- Chapter 5: Regular thesis chapter
- Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter
- Chapter 7: Regular thesis chapter, final preliminary study
- Chapter 8: General discussion
- Chapter 4: Paper 2 - e.g. data paper, including meta analyses
- Chapter 5: Paper 3
- Chapter 6: Paper 4
- Chapter 7: Paper 5
- Chapter 3: Major paper
- Chapter 4: Normal thesis chapter, final preliminary study
- Chapter 5: General discussion
- Introduction – including specific aims and hypotheses
- Introduction – including specific aims, hypotheses
- Methods – results (including validation, preliminary) not included in the paper
- Results (including validation, preliminary) not included in paper
- Discussion – expansion of paper discussion, further method development
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How do I write the results chapter? Step 1 – Revisit your research questions. The first step in writing your results chapter is to revisit your research... Step 2 – Craft an overview introduction. As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, you should start your... Step 3 – Present the ...
The results chapter in a dissertation or thesis (or any formal academic research piece) is where you objectively and neutrally present the findings of your qualitative analysis (or analyses if you used multiple qualitative analysis methods ).
Dissertation-Service.org has helped hundreds of PhD candidates to present the dissertation findings. We guarantee to offer custom-tailored and contextualized dissertation results help. If you order this individual chapter, it will fit with the remaining parts of your paper.
Chapter 1: Introduction; Chapter 2: Literature review; Chapter 3: Methods; Chapter 4: Paper 1 & general discussion; Chapter 5: Paper 2; Chapter 6: Regular thesis chapter – results; Chapter 7: Regular thesis chapter/general discussion tying in published and unpublished work; Chapter 8: Conclusion