Dissertation & Thesis Guides

How to Write a Results Section for a Dissertation or Research Paper: Guide & Examples

Dissertation Results
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A results section is a crucial part of a research paper or dissertation, where you analyze your major findings. This section goes beyond simply presenting study outcomes. You should also include a comprehensive statistical analysis and interpret the collected data in detail.

Without dissertation research results, it is impossible to imagine a scientific work. Your task here is to present your study findings. What are qualitative or quantitative indicators? How to use tables and diagrams? How to describe data? Our article answers all these questions and many more. So, read further to discover how to analyze and describe your research indexes or contact or professionals for dissertation help from StudyCrumb.

What Is a Results Section of Dissertation?

The results section of a dissertation is a data statement from your research. Here you should present the main findings of your study to your readers. This section aims to show information objectively, systematically, concisely. It is allowed using text supplemented with illustrations.  In general, this section's length is not limited but should include all necessary data. Interpretations or conclusions should not be included in this section. Therefore, in theory, this is one of your shortest sections. But it can also be one of the most challenging sections. 

The introduction presents a research topic and answers the question "why?". The Methods section explains the data collection process and answers "how?". Meanwhile, the result section shows actual data gained from experiments and tells "what?" Thus, this part plays a critical role in highlighting study's relevance. This chapter gives reader study relevance with novelty. So, you should figure out how to write it correctly.

Here are main tasks that you should keep in mind while writing:

  • Results answer the question "What was found in your research?"
  • Results contain only your study's outcome. They do not include comments or interpretations.
  • Results must always be presented accurately & objectively.
  • Tables & figures are used to draw readers' attention. But the same data should never be presented in the form of a table and a figure. Don't repeat anything from a table also in text.

Dissertation: Results vs Discussion vs Conclusion

Results and discussion sections of a dissertation are often confused among researchers. Sometimes both these parts are mixed up with a conclusion for thesis. Figured out what is covered in each of these important chapters. Your readers should see that you notice how different they are. A clear understanding of differences will help you write your dissertation more effectively.

5 differences between Results VS Discussion VS Conclusion:

Results chapter

Discussion and Conclusion

answers the question "What?" regarding your research

answer the question "So what?" regarding your research

describes experiments carried out before writing article

summarize and interpret significance of leading research findings

states results, but does not interpret them

interpret results but does not re-state them

includes only those data that will be relevant to Discussion and Conclusion

do not present new results, so do not make statements that your outcomes cannot support

uses simple past tense

use both past and present tense as needed

includes non-textual elements such as tables, pictures, and photographs

only text, although you can also link to non-text elements

Wanna figure out the actual difference between discussion vs conclusion? Check out our helpful articles about Dissertation Discussion or Dissertation Conclusion.

Present Your Findings When Writing Results Section of Dissertation

Now it's time to understand how to arrange the results section of the dissertation. First, present most general findings, then narrow it down to a more specific one. Describe both qualitative & quantitative results. For example, imagine you are comparing the behavior of hamsters and mice. First, say a few words about the behavioral type of mammals that you studied. Then, mention rodents in general. At end, describe specific species of animals you carried out an experiment on.

Qualitative Results Section in Dissertation

In your dissertation results section, qualitative data may not be directly related to specific sub-questions or hypotheses. You can structure this chapter around main issues that arise when analyzing data. For each question, make a general observation of what data show. For example, you may recall recurring agreements or differences, patterns, trends. Personal answers are the basis of your research. Clarify and support these views with direct quotes. Add more information to the thesis appendix if it's needed.

Quantitative Results Section in a Dissertation

The easiest way to write a quantitative dissertation results section is to build it around a sub-question or hypothesis of your research. For each subquery, provide relevant results and include statistical analysis. Then briefly evaluate importance & reliability. Notice how each result relates to the problem or whether it supports the hypothesis. Focus on key trends, differences, and relationships between data. But don't speculate about their meaning or consequences. This should be put in the discussion vs conclusion section. Suppose your results are not directly related to answering your questions. Maybe there is additional information that helps readers understand how you collect data. In that case, you can include them in the appendix. It is often helpful to include visual elements such as graphs, charts, and tables. But only if they accurately support your results and add value.

Tables and Figures in Results Section in Dissertation

We recommend you use tables or figures in the dissertation results section correctly. Such interpretation can effectively present complex data concisely and visually. It allows readers to quickly gain a statistical overview. On the contrary, poorly designed graphs can confuse readers. That will reduce the effectiveness of your article. 

Here are our recommendations that help you understand how to use tables and figures:

  1. Make sure tables and figures are self-explanatory. Sometimes, your readers may look at tables and figures before reading the entire text. So they should make sense as separate elements.
  2. Do not repeat the content of tables and figures in text. Text can be used to highlight key points from tables and figures. But do not repeat every element.
  3. Make sure that values ​​or information in tables and text are consistent. Make sure that abbreviations, group names, interpretations are the same as in text.
  4. Use clear, informative titles for tables and figures. Do not leave any table or figure without a title or legend. Otherwise, readers will not be able to understand data's meaning. Also, make sure column names, labels, figures are understandable.
  5. Check accuracy of data presented in tables and figures. Always double-check tables and figures to make sure numbers converge.
  6. Tables should not contain redundant information. Make sure tables in the article are not too crowded. If you need to provide extensive data, use Appendixes.
  7. Make sure images are clear. Make sure images and all parts of drawings are precise. Lettering should be in a standard font and legible against the background of the picture.
  8. Ask for permission to use illustrations. If you use illustrations, be sure to ask copyright holders and indicate them.

Tips on How to Write a Results Section

We have prepared several tips on how to write the results section of the dissertation!  Present data collected during study objectively, logically, and concisely. Highlight most important results and organize them into specific sections. It is an excellent way to show that you have covered all the descriptive information you need. Correct usage of visual elements effectively helps your readers with understanding.

So, follow main 3 rules for writing this part:

  1. State only actual results. Leave explanations and comments for Discussion.
  2. Use text, tables, and pictures to orderly highlight key results.
  3. Make sure that contents of tables and figures are not repeated in text.

In case you have questions about a conceptual framework in research, you will find a blog dedicated to this issue in our database.

What to Avoid When Writing the Results Section of a Dissertation

Here we will discuss how NOT to write the results section of a dissertation. Or simply, what points to avoid:

  • Do not make your research too complicated. Your paper, tables, and graphs should be clearly marked and follow order. So that they can exist independently without further explanation.
  • Do not include raw data. Remember, you are summarizing relevant results, not reporting them in detail. This chapter should briefly summarize your findings. Avoid complete introduction to each number and calculation.
  • Do not contradict errors or false results. Explain these errors and contradictions in conclusions. This often happens when different research methods have been used.
  • Do not write a conclusion or discussion. Instead, this part should contain summaries of findings.
  • Do not tend to include explanations and inferences from results. Such an approach can make this chapter subjective, unclear, and confusing to the reader.
  • Do not forget about novelty. Its lack is one of the main reasons for the paper's rejection.

Dissertation Results Section Example

Let's take a look at some good results section of dissertation examples. Remember that this part shows fundamental research you've done in detail. So, it has to be clear and concise, as you can see in the sample.

Final Thoughts on Writing Results Section of Dissertation

When writing a results section of a dissertation, highlight your achievements by data. The main chapter's task is to convince the reader of conclusions' validity of your research. You should not overload text with too detailed information. Never use words whose meanings you do not understand. Also, oversimplification may seem unconvincing for readers. But on the other hand, writing this part can even be fun. You can directly see your study results, which you'll interpret later. So keep going, and we wish you courage!

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Article posted on:Jul 29, 2022
Article updated on:Nov 29, 2023


Leave your comment here:
9/29/2022 11:27 AM
Hello. I've just started writing a dissertation results section, and it's a literal nightmare. How do I overcome the challenges of writing the results and discussion in the research paper?
9/29/2022 11:45 AM
Hello Heather,

Our advice would be to clearly understand the difference between the result section and other chapters of a dissertation. Don't try to persuade the reader, and leave interpretation to the discussion section. Moreover, you should try to write a bullet outline to help yourself.

In the results section you should cover suggestions and plans for further research in the topic. Remain objective and just relay the facts. Also, don't use first person.

Good luck!
10/6/2022 2:03 PM
Hello! How would I write the findings/results section for a purely secondary research-based dissertation? Does it differ from primary research?
10/6/2022 2:12 PM
Hello Aaron,

How you structure the findings/results section of your dissertation will depend on the conventions of your field. We suggest that you choose one or two dissertations (preferably from your institution or program) that follow your methodology. Go through them and note the content and what's not discussed and what order it is presented in. This will provide you with an idea of what you can expect. Make your draft and discuss it with your committee or advisor and get their feedback on what should be modified, expanded upon and what should be left out.