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A Guide to Writing
in the Biological Sciences
The Scientific Paper: Results
|First page||Abstract||Introduction||Methods||Results||Discussion||Literature Cited||Examples|
This section presents the results of the experiment but does not attempt to interpret their meaning. As with the Methods section, the trick to writing a good Results section is knowing what information to include or exclude. You will not present the raw data that you collected, but rather you will summarize the data with text, tables and/or figures. Use the text of the paper to state the results of your study, then refer the reader to a table or figure where they can see the data for themselves. For example you may write:
The sentence above is well written because: (i) the result of adding nitrogen is stated concisely, (ii) the word significantly is accompanied by the statistical probability level (p=0.05), (iii) the scientific name Rhizobium is italicized, and (iv) the reader is referred to a table where the data to support the statement can be found. Note that the measurement (total biomass, in this case) is mentioned. You must explicitly state the measure you are using.
Do not include the same data in both a table and a figure. It is best to present the data in a table unless there is visual information that can be gained by using a figure. For example, a figure is useful for reporting a regression analysis (line graph), or comparing the several treatment levels (bar graph with error bars). Each table and figure has several lines of text in the legend (or caption) that explain the information that is being presented; this is, they are made to stand alone. A table's legend appears above it, while the legend for a figure appears below the figure. See examples: a table and a figure.
If your table includes the results of a statistical analysis, be sure to provide the information necessary for the reader to properly evaluate the analysis (probability levels, degrees of freedom, sample size, etc.).
Additional tips on the Results section:
See examples of Results sections.
|An introduction to writing in Biology|
|Practical tips for scientific writing|
|Professors' perspectives on student writing|
|Specific Information for Writing Assignments|
|Short answers for tests|
|Summary of a scientific article|
|The poster session|
The Scientific Paper
|Examples of student papers|
References and Credits
|General Ecology||The Writing Center|