The lid was then raised slightly. An inoculating loop was used to transfer culture to the agar surface. The turntable was rotated 90 degrees by hand. The loop was moved lightly back and forth over the agar to spread the culture. The bacteria were then incubated at 37 C for 24 hr.
Improved Example : Same actions, but all the important information is given in a single, concise sentence. Note that superfluous detail and otherwise obvious information has been deleted while important missing information was added. Best: Here the author assumes the reader has basic knowledge of microbiological techniques and has deleted other superfluous information. The two sentences have been combined because they are related actions. Problematic example : In this example the reader will have no clue as to what the various tubes represent without having to constantly refer back to some previous point in the Methods.
Tube 4's A was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. Improved example: Notice how the substitution in red of treatment and control identifiers clarifies the passage both in the context of the paper, and if taken out of context. The A of the no-light control was measured only at Time 0 and at the end of the experiment. Function : The function of the Results section is to objectively present your key results , without interpretation, in an orderly and logical sequence using both text and illustrative materials Tables and Figures. The results section always begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed.
Summaries of the statistical analyses may appear either in the text usually parenthetically or in the relevant Tables or Figures in the legend or as footnotes to the Table or Figure. Important negative results should be reported, too.
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Authors usually write the text of the results section based upon the sequence of Tables and Figures. Style : Write the text of the Results section concisely and objectively. The passive voice will likely dominate here, but use the active voice as much as possible. Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures. Do not interpret the data here. The transition into interpretive language can be a slippery slope. Consider the following two examples:. The duration of exposure to running water had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages Fig.
The results of the germination experiment Fig. Strategy for Writing the Results Section. Frequently asked questions FAQs. What are the "results"? Those observations are then analyzed to yield an answer to the question. In general, the answer is the " key result". The above statements apply regardless of the complexity of the analysis you employ. So, in an introductory course your analysis may consist of visual inspection of figures and simple calculations of means and standard deviations; in a later course you may be expected to apply and interpret a variety of statistical tests.
You instructor will tell you the level of analysis that is expected. For example, suppose you asked the question, " Is the average height of male students the same as female students in a pool of randomly selected Biology majors? You would then calculate the descriptive statistics for those samples mean, SD, n, range, etc and plot these numbers.
In a course where statistical tests are not employed, you would visually inspect these plots. Suppose you found that male Biology majors are, on average, Differences, directionality, and magnitude : Report your results so as to provide as much information as possible to the reader about the nature of differences or relationships. For eaxmple, if you testing for differences among groups, and you find a significant difference, it is not sufficient to simply report that "groups A and B were significantly different".
How are they different? How much are they different? See also below about use of the word " significant. Organize the results section based on the sequence of Table and Figures you'll include. Prepare the Tables and Figures as soon as all the data are analyzed and arrange them in the sequence that best presents your findings in a logical way. A good strategy is to note, on a draft of each Table or Figure, the one or two key results you want to addess in the text portion of the Results.
Simple rules to follow related to Tables and Figures:. The body of the Results section is a text-based presentation of the key findings which includes references to each of the Tables and Figures. The text should guide the reader through your results stressing the key results which provide the answers to the question s investigated.
A major function of the text is to provide clarifying information. Key results depend on your questions, they might include obvious trends, important differences, similarities, correlations, maximums, minimums, etc. Some problems to avoid :. Statistical test summaries test name, p- value are usually reported parenthetically in conjunction with the biological results they support. Always report your results with parenthetical reference to the statistical conclusion that supports your finding if statistical tests are being used in your course. This parenthetical reference should include the statistical test used and the level of significance test statistic and DF are optional.
For example, if you found that the mean height of male Biology majors was significantly larger than that of female Biology majors, you might report this result in blue and your statistical conclusion shown in red as follows:. If the summary statistics are shown in a figure, the sentence above need not report them specifically, but must include a reference to the figure where they may be seen:. Note that the report of the key result shown in blue would be identical in a paper written for a course in which statistical testing is not employed - the section shown in red would simply not appear except reference to the figure.
Present the results of your experiment s in a sequence that will logically support or provide evidence against the hypothesis, or answer the question, stated in the Introduction. For example, in reporting a study of the effect of an experimental diet on the skeletal mass of the rat, consider first giving the data on skeletal mass for the rats fed the control diet and then give the data for the rats fed the experimental diet.
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Report negative results - they are important! If you did not get the anticipated results, it may mean your hypothesis was incorrect and needs to be reformulated, or perhaps you have stumbled onto something unexpected that warrants further study. Moreover, the absence of an effect may be very telling in many situations. In any case, your results may be of importance to others even though they did not support your hypothesis.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking that results contrary to what you expected are necessarily "bad data". If you carried out the work well, they are simply your results and need interpretation. Many important discoveries can be traced to "bad data". Always enter the appropriate units when reporting data or summary statistics. Function : The function of the Discussion is to interpret your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and to explain our new understanding of the problem after taking your results into consideration.
The Discussion will always connect to the Introduction by way of the question s or hypotheses you posed and the literature you cited, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the Introduction. Instead, it tells how your study has moved us forward from the place you left us at the end of the Introduction.
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