When it comes to your thesis or dissertation, the results section holds utmost significance as it allows you to report the primary findings of your data collection and analysis. To ensure clarity and objectivity, it is crucial to present all relevant results in a logical order, without providing subjective interpretations.
Writing a Results Section: Best Practices
To effectively communicate the outcomes of your study, follow these best practices:
- Temporal Perspective: Express your results in the past tense to accurately convey the completed nature of your research.
- Concise Reporting: While the length of the results section depends on the volume of data collected and analyzed, strive for concise and focused reporting.
- Relevance is Key: Only include results that directly address your research questions. Avoid using speculative or interpretive language, such as “appears” or “implies.”
- Supplementary Materials: If you have additional results that are relevant but not central to your discussion, consider including them in an appendix or footnotes.
- Order of Presentation: Begin by discussing the broadest results first and then delve into more specific yet still relevant findings. Think of it as guiding your readers through a shoe store, first presenting the overall category, followed by sneakers, boots, sandals, and so on.
Note: In some fields, a separate results section may not be customary. For qualitative research like ethnographies, results are often intertwined with the discussion. Always refer to your departmental guidelines for specific formatting instructions.
Reporting Quantitative Research Results
If your research involves quantitative analysis, you will likely need to work with the results of statistical tests. When structuring this section, align it with your research questions or hypotheses. For each question or hypothesis, include the following:
- Analysis Reminder: Provide a brief reminder of the type of analysis employed (e.g., two-sample t-test, simple linear regression). Detailed descriptions should be included in the methodology section.
- Succinct Summary: Offer a concise overview of each relevant result, incorporating descriptive statistics (e.g., means, standard deviations) and inferential statistics (e.g., t-scores, degrees of freedom, p-values) as necessary. Enclose numerical values in parentheses.
- Relationship to Research: Explain how each result corresponds to the research question or hypothesis. Briefly mention any unexpected results, but reserve speculation about their meaning or consequences for the discussion and conclusion sections.
Note: Reporting styles and conventions for statistics may vary depending on the analysis conducted and the style guide you follow, such as APA Style. If unsure, refer to results sections in papers from your field for guidance.
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Including Tables and Figures in Results Section of a Dissertation
In quantitative research, incorporating visual elements like graphs, charts, and tables can be helpful if they directly relate to your results. Ensure that these elements have clear and descriptive titles and labels for easy comprehension. If you wish to include additional tangential visual components, consider adding a figure and table list just after the Table of content.
- Tables present precise values, offering a concise overview of various results.
- Graphs and charts visualize trends and relationships, providing a quick snapshot of key findings.
Don’t forget to mention any tables and figures used within the text of your results section. Instead of merely restating the same numbers in the tables, summarize or elaborate on specific aspects you believe are crucial for readers to understand.
Example of How to Write the Results Section of Dissertation: Reporting Survey Results
To test the hypothesis that increased social distance from environmental problems reduces the intent to donate to environmental organizations, a two-sample t-test was conducted. Donation intention (rated on a scale from 1 to 10) served as the outcome variable, and social distance (categorized as low or high) acted as the predictor variable. Surprisingly, there seemed to be a significant mean difference in donation intention between high social distance group and low social distance group, t(98) = 12.19, p < .001. On average, the high social distance group had a donation intention 0.28 points higher than the low social distance group.
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