Research Results Section — Structuring Your Dissertation

Time to read: 5 Minutes
Research-results-Definition

The research results section covers the main findings derived from the methods applied in conducting the study. This section is particularly important in studies that deal with data that you generated from your own research. This guide will look at the research results chapter in detail.

Research Results – In a Nutshell

  • The results chapter comes before the discussion and after the methodology.
  • You shouldn’t include any interpretations of the results in this section.
  • This chapter should be written in the past tense.

Definition: Research results

The research results section describes the data that was collected. This is in contrast to the methods section, which explains how you gathered data for the research. It includes summaries of the results of statistical analyses that were used to evaluate relationships between variables. You also need to provide answers to the hypotheses or questions that were investigated in the study.1

When is a research results section required?

The research results section is required in almost all dissertations. You should include it when you report qualitative and quantitative research results. This chapter comes just before the discussion and dissertation conclusion. It is placed right after the methodology part of your academic paper. The length of the research results will vary depending on the amount and type of data you need to report. 2

The research results section should include the following information:

  • An introduction that restates the research problem.
  • A summary of the main findings in logical order.
  • Illustration of the key findings using non-textual elements like charts and tables.
  • A summary of the most relevant observations in textual form.

In the text, you can refer to non-textual elements using numbers. For example, you can refer to chart 1 or table 1.

Quantitative research results

Quantitative research involves collecting and organizing numerical data. An example of quantitative research is an analysis of how the average temperatures have changed globally. In the research results section, you will have to report the results of the statistical tests that were used to assess relationships between variables in the study. The report should also state whether the findings support the hypotheses.

A logical way of structuring the research results section is to center the findings around the research question. You should give the reader a simple reminder of the type of analysis you used, as well as a summary of the relevant results. To summarize the results, you can use relevant descriptive statistics or inferential statistics. You also need to state how each result is related to the research question and mention whether the hypothesis was supported.

Adding tables and figures

Non-textual elements like tables and figures can be quite important when writing the research results section of quantitative studies. You should only include tables and figures if they are directly relevant to your study results. If you want to present a concise overview of various results, you should use tables to show the exact values. On the other hand, you can visualize trends and relationships using graphs and charts.

Non-textual elements must be labelled clearly. You can use these labels when referring to particular tables or charts. You should either place the tables in the text of the results section or include them at the back of the paper. You should never do both.2

Qualitative research results

The results in qualitative studies may not be directly related to specific hypotheses in the study. For this reason, you can structure the results section based on key themes in the dissertation. Once you identify a topic, you should note the general observation from the data collected.
Then you can mention any points of agreement or disagreement, as well as patterns observed in the data. For each theme, you also need to mention significant responses from participants in the study. You should mention any relevant demographic information about the participants in this section.

Qualitative studies aim at collecting data using open-ended and conversational communication:

Example

The researcher may interview respondents or use questionnaires to understand the experiences or sentiments of the people.3

Research results – Discussion vs. Conclusion

The research results section only states the findings you got based on the methodology used in the study. It shouldn’t offer any interpretation of the findings and should be free of bias.

On the other hand, the discussion section interprets the findings. In the discussion, you also need to explain the significance of the findings with regard to the information that is already known about the study topic:

Example:

Any new understanding or insight obtained from the findings must be covered in the discussion. In other words, the discussion explains how the study has moved the reader’s understanding of the research problem.4

The conclusion is the final part of your dissertation. It should explain to the reader why the study should matter to them. It also needs to highlight key points in the analysis or findings. You can also use the conclusion to introduce new ways of thinking about the research problem.5

Research results: Checklist

Create a checklist for everything that needs to be included in the research results section of a dissertation.2

  • This chapter should be written in the past tense.
  • It should be written concisely, and you shouldn’t repeat any information.
  • You shouldn’t include any interpretations or speculations in the research results chapter.
  • This chapter is essential in qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • When you include tables and other non-textual elements, you should label them clearly.
  • You must state whether each hypothesis was supported or refused.

FAQs

When interpreting the findings of your study, you should determine whether they confirm or reject the findings of previous studies in your literature review.

You should write this chapter in the past tense.

This section needs to be organized logically. A good rule to follow is to provide the research results alongside the research question.

Many people make the mistake of interpreting the findings in the results section. Another common issue is repeating the same information more than once.2

Sources

1 Enago Academy. “Importance of the Results Section in Academic Papers.” Grammarly. January 22, 2021. https://www.enago.com/academy/importance-of-results-section-in-academic-papers/.

2 Sacred Heart University. “Organizing Academic Research Papers: 7. The Results.” Accessed January 4, 2023. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185931.

3 Dr. McLeod, Saul. “What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative research?”
Simply Psychology. 2019. https://www.simplypsychology.org/qualitative-quantitative.html.

4 Sacred Heart University. “Organizing Academic Research Papers: 8. The Discussion.” Accessed January 4, 2023. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185933.

5 Sacred Heart University. “Organizing Academic Research Papers: 9. The Conclusion.” Accessed January 4, 2023. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185935.