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How To Write Results Section Of Research Paper

The results section of an APA format paper summarizes the data that was collected and the statistical analyses that were performed. The goal of this section is to report the results without any type of subjective interpretation.

Here's how to write a results section for an APA format psychology paper.

The Results Should Justify Your Claims

Report data in order to sufficiently justify your conclusions.

Since you'll be talking about your own interpretation of the results in the discussion section, you need to be sure that the information reported in the results section justifies your claims. As you write your discussion section, look back on your results section to ensure that all the data you need is there to fully support the conclusions you reach. 

Don't Omit Relevant Findings

Be sure to mention all relevant information. If your hypothesis expected more statistically significant results, don't omit the findings if they failed to support your predictions. 

Don't ignore negative results. Just because a result failed to support your hypothesis, it does not mean it is not important. Results that do not support your original hypothesis can be just as informative as results that do.

Even if your study did not support your hypothesis, it does not mean that the conclusions you reach are not useful.

Provide data about what you found in your results sections, then save your interpretation for what such results might mean in the discussion section. While your study might not have supported your original predictions, your finding can provide important inspiration for future explorations into a topic.

Summarize Your Results

Do not include the raw data in the results section. Remember, you are summarizing the results, not reporting them in full detail. If you choose, you can create a supplemental online archive where other researchers can access the raw data if they choose to do so.

Include Tables and Figures

Your results section should include both text and illustrations. Structure your results section around tables or figures that summarize the results of your statistical analysis. In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish this is to first create your tables and figures and then organize them in a logical way. Next, write the summary text to support your illustrative materials.

Do not include tables and figures if you are not going to talk about them in the body text of your results section.

Do not present the same data twice in your illustrative materials. If you have already presented some data in a table, do not present it again in a figure. If you have presented data in a figure, do not present it again in a table.

Report Your Statistical Findings

Always assume that your readers have a solid understanding of statistical concepts. There's no need to explain what a t-test is or how a one-way ANOVA works; just report the results.

Your responsibility is to report the results of your study, not to teach your readers how to analyze or interpret statistics.

Include Effect Sizes

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association recommends including effect sizes in your results section so that readers can appreciate the importance of your study's findings.

More Tips for Writing a Results Section

  1. The results section should be written in the past tense.
  2. Focus on being concise and objective. You will have the opportunity to give your own interpretations of the results in the discussion section.
  3. Read the for more information on how to write a results section in APA format.
  1. Visit your library and read some journal articles that are on your topic. Pay attention to how the authors present the results of their research.
  2. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for additional assistance.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the results section of your paper is all about simply providing the data from your study. This section is often the shortest part of your paper, and in most cases, the most clinical. Be sure not to include any subjective interpretation of the results. Simply relay the data in the most objective and straightforward way possible. You can then provide your own analysis of what these results mean in the discussion section of your paper.


American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2010.

Examples of results sections

An excerpt from the results section of a chemistry report

When samples of hydrolysed and unhydrolysed BSA were analysed by ascending paper chromatography, the appearance and separation of the two samples were quite different. The unhydrolysed BSA had very little colour and appeared to remain on the origin (Fig. 1, lane 7). In its hydrolysed form, however, the BSA sample separated into a number of spots which were bright pink or purple (Fig. 1, lane 8).

description but no explanation

Notice that there is no direct reference to figures but to the results themselves.

Read and compare these excerpts from the results sections of two biology reports written about the same experiment.

Example AExample B
On observation of each strain of E. Coli, it was apparent that all treatments used a deterring effect on the growth of E. Coli colonies but some treatments were more effective on particular strains than others (see Figure 1.)


E. Coli strain 1 (EC 1) tended to be the most sensitive as it produced no colonies on any of the treated plates (see Figure 1) E. Coli strains 2 and 3 (EC 2 and EC 3) tended to have an intermediate sensitivity to antibiotic treatments. EC 2 was more resilient towards the Chloramphenicol treatment, and EC 3 was more resilient towards the streptomycin treatment. Although colonies were detected on each treatment type, the average number of colonies per plate was significantly lower than that of the control plates. No colonies were detected on the combination treatment (see Figure 1). E. Coli strain 4 (EC 4) tended to be the least sensitive overall, as it produced colonies on all treatment plates, even though it was more sensitive to the individual treatments, compared to EC 2 and EC 3 (see Figure 1)…..
The following observations were made as a result of experiments conducted by Casey Hospital with respect to four types of E.Coli bacterial strains.

The graph illustrates that 5mg./ml. of Chloramphenicol stopped the growth of two strains of E. Coli; EC 1 and EC 3. It also illustrates that the 5 mg/ml of Chloramphenicol had little to no effect on the EC 2 strain of E. Coli and had a minimal effect on EC 4 strain of E. Coli as the colony sizes were near maximum of the standard result. This shows that 5 mg/ml Chloramphenicol is an effective antibiotic against EC 1 and EC 2 strains of E. Coli.


…..The main point of Figure 4 is that a combination of 5 mg/ml of Chloramphenicol and 5 mg/ml Streptomycin can effectively reduce the numbers of EC 4 colonies, compared to only one of the antibiotics being present at any one time shown in Figure 2 and 3 respectively.


In these results it has shown that the Casey Hospital should use both 5 mg/ml of Chloramphenicol plus 5 mg/ml of Streptomycin in targeting the four strains of E. Coli. Due to EC 4 having resistance to both antibiotics there is need for experimentation in finding an antibiotic which EC 4 is not resistant to.

Robinson, S., Russell, W., Skillen, J. & Trivett, N., Biology 104, University of Wollongong

Which do you think is the better example of a properly written results section?

Example A is an example from a well written results section; it uses relevant material and focuses on the results and not the Figures.

Example B is an example from a poorly written results section. It includes material which does not belong to the results section such as interpretation and discussion; it focuses on the Figures representing the results, rather than the results themselves and it does not introduce and refer to the Figures correctly. Click here to see an annotated version of example B.

An excerpt from the results section of a psychology report

General and specific knowledge scores were analysed separately by 2 (Instruction Condition) x 2 (Test Phases) ANOVAs with repeated measures on the second factor. The results for general knowledge question scores indicated there was no difference between the instructional groups, F(1,20) = 2.65, MSe = 288.82. (The .05 level of significance is used throughout this report.) The test phases main effect indicated a significant difference, F(1,20) = 11.77, MSe = 180.10, demonstrating an improvement over the two instructional phases. There was no significant interaction, F(1,20) = 0.87, MSe = 180.10. The results for specific question scores indicated there was a significant difference between the instructional conditions in the expected direction, F(1,20) = 7.06, MSe = 203.87, with the isolated-interacting elements instruction group performing at a superior level. The test phases main effect was also significant, F(1,20) = 9.50, MSe = 147.53, demonstrating an improvement over time. There was no significant interaction, F(1,20) = 2.67, MSe = 147.53.In this excerpt, details about the statistical tests undertaken and the results of these tests.

Note the use of the past tense when reporting results.

The hypotheses have been outlined in the introduction and may have been reiterated at the beginning of the results section. Here the result is reported only, not explained. Reference is, however, made to the hypothesis.

An excerpt from the Results & Discussion section of an Education report that used qualitative research methodology.

NOTE: the results and discussion sections have been merged in this report. You should seek information from your lecturers and tutors about whether this is appropriate in your discipline.

The first research question was "How do students benefit from analysing model texts?"This involved analysing classroom discourse to determine whether there was a shift from the archetypal classroom discourse of Teacher Initiation, Pupil Response, Teacher Feedback identified by Sinclair and Coulthard (Stubb 1983: 29) to students taking on the role of primary knowers.

The first teaching stage of the project focussed on identifying the schematic staging of an exposition genre and how cohesion is achieved in expositions. The initial analysis of the model text was very teacher directed.The transcript of this segment of the lesson (see Appendix C)shows that most of the input came from the teacher with the pattern of classroom talk being:

  teacher question
  student response
  teacher confirmation

For example when analysing the analytical exposition for schematic structure, one exchange was as follows:

T      Now, we’ve been talking about causes. What happens now in the very short paragraph?
S1    Effects?
T      Mmm. Now the writer starts to talk about effects. So we’ve got a second Thesis.
SS     Yeah.
T       Which is?
S1     These three.
S2     The whole thing
S3     These three events
T       So the second Thesis is the whole sentence. "These three events planted the seeds of a great change in society, and the effects of this change are being felt at all levels ... " (Appendix C: Analysis of Analytical Exposition)

The above exchanges correspond to the pattern identified by Sinclair and Coulthard as characteristic of teacher-pupil talk with the underlying exchange structure of Teacher Initiation, Pupil Response, and Teacher Feedback. This exchange structure allows the teacher to retain the conversational initiative (Stubbs 1983: 29). In the above exchange the teacher was the primary "knower" of information and her questions prompted and guided the students onto the next stage.
Restates the research question

Outlining how this research question is to be assessed (reference to previous research).

The reader is referred to an appendix to view the whole data
Discussion/ analysis of results

A data excerpt included to support discussion/ highlight point being made

Further discussion of the data.

excerpt from Woodward-Kron, R. (1994) The role of writing checklists in the teaching-learning cycle: Developing English for further study students as writers and text analysts. M.A. (TESOL) thesis. University of Technology, Sydney.


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