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Report Writing
The Structure of Scientific Report


This section describes but does not explain your results; it provides the reader with a factual account of your findings (Hay, 1996). You can, however, draw attention to specific trends or data that you think are important. Your aim in your results section is to make your results as comprehensible as possible for your readers/markers (Hay, 1996).

If you are presenting statistical results, place descriptive statistics first (means and standard deviations) followed by the results of any inferential statistical tests you performed. Indicate any transformations to the data you are reporting; for example, you may report percentage correct scores rather than straight scores. Raw data and lengthy whole transcripts of qualitative data should be put in the appendices, only excerpts (descriptive statistics or illustrative highlights of lengthy qualitative data) should be included in the results section.

In the results section you will need to use both the past tense and the present tense. The past tense is used to describe results and analyses; for example,

The knowledge scores were analysed ...,
The results indicated ... .

The present tense is used with results that the reader can see such as means, tables and figures; for example,

The means show that ...
The weekly growth rate illustrated in Table 3 illustrates how ... .

Since you are presenting your results, not the figures which represent the results, you should ensure you refer explicitly to your results and not just to your data figures (graphs, tables). As you describe particular results in the text of your results section, make sure you refer to the corresponding figure in brackets after you have mentioned the results. The figures should be inserted into the text as soon as possible after you mention them. Follow this link for more information on using figures.

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