Guide to Writing the Results and Discussion of a Scientific Article

Guide to Writing the Results and Discussion of a Scientific Article

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Guide to Writing the Results and Discussion of a Scientific Article

A good research paper has the qualities of being a good study and having good writing ( Bordage, 2001 ). In addition, a research paper must be clear, brief, and effective in presenting information in a logically organized structure ( Sandercock, 2013 ).

The results section is a section that contains a description about the main findings of an investigation, while the discussion section interprets the results for the readers and provides the importance of the findings. This section should not repeat the results section.

Some of the common reasons why the results and discussion sections can cause reviewers to reject a manuscript (Bordage, 2001)

  • confusing tables or figures
  • Inconsistent or inaccurate data
  • Possible variables that are not reported
  • Overinterpretation/the interpretation of results

To avoid these problems, you can use an organized structure, such as outlines, bullet points, or subheadings, to write the results and discussion section. For the results, the figures and tables must be clear so that readers understand the message (Hofmann, 2013).

In the discussion section, describe your thoughts to defend your research and emphasize its importance. Use good writing, clear arguments, and logical explanations in this section to support your conclusion (Hofmann, 2013).

In this article, we provide tips and instructions for building a succinct and deeply informative discussion and results section. How To Write A Reflection Paper?

How to Organize the Results Section

Since your results follow the materials and methods section, you will need to provide information about what was found from the methods that were used, such as your research data. You can also include information about the measurement of your data, variables, treatments, and statistical analysis.

To get started, organize your research data according to its importance and in relation to the research questions. This section should focus on showing important results that support or reject your research hypothesis. Include the less important facts as supplementary material when you submit them to the journal.

The next step is to prioritize your research data based on its importance, focusing heavily on information that directly relates to your research questions using subheadings. The organization of the subheadings (subheading organization information below) for the results section generally mirrors the methods section. It must follow a logical and chronological order.

Organization of Subtitles

Subheadings within the results section will primarily detail the main findings within each major experiment. The first paragraph of the results section should be dedicated to your main findings (findings that answer the overall research question and lead to the conclusion) (Hofmann, 2013).

In the book “Writing in the Biological Sciences”, the author Angelika Hofmann recommends structuring the paragraphs of the results subsection as follows:

  • experimental purpose
  • Approach
  • Result
  • Interpretation

Each subtitle can contain a combination of ( Bahadoran, 2019; Hofmann, 2013, p.62):

  • Texts: to explain the research data.
  • Figures – to display research data and to show trends or relationships, for example, using graphs or images of gels.
  • Tables: to represent a large amount of data and an exact value

Decide the best way to present the data: in the form of text, figures or tables (Hofmann, 2013).

Data or Results?

Sometimes we get confused about how to differentiate between data and results. Data is information that was collected from your research (Bahadoran, 2019).

While the results are the texts presenting the significance of the research data (Bahadoran, 2019).

One mistake that some authors often make is to use text to direct the reader to look for a specific table or figure without further explanation. This can confuse readers when they interpret the meaning of the data in a completely different way than what the authors had in mind. Therefore, you should briefly explain your results so that your information is clear to readers.

Common Elements in Tables and Figures

Figures and tables present information about your research data in a visual way. The use of these visual illustrations is necessary so that readers can summarize, compare, and interpret large data at a glance. You can use graphs or figures to compare groups or patterns. On the other hand, tables are ideal for presenting large amounts of data and exact values.

Various elements are needed to create your figures and tables. These elements are important to order the data according to groups (or treatments). It will be easier for readers to see the similarities and differences between the groups.

When presenting your research data in the form of figures and tables, organize your data according to the steps of the investigation that will lead to a conclusion.

Common elements of the figures (Bahadoran, 2019):

  • figure number
  • figure title
  • Figure legend (for example, a brief title, experimental/statistical information, or definition of symbols)
  • Data
  • Tags

The tables in the results section can contain several elements (Bahadoran, 2019):

  • table number
  • table title
  • Row headers (for example, groups)
  • column headers
  • Data
  • Row subheadings (for example, categories or groups)
  • Column subheadings (for example, categories or variables)
  • Footnotes (for example, statistical analyses)

Tips for Writing a Results Section

  • Direct the reader to the research data and explain the meaning of the data.
  • Avoid using a boilerplate sentence structure to explain a new data set.
  • Write and highlight important findings in your results.

John Smith

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