Key aspects when writing and reading the results
The process of reporting the results of experiments should serve three functions:
- Communicate useful information to an identifiable audience for a specific purpose
- Develop a logical description of the research
- Provide a historic record of findings
The framework of the report should be composed of the key research questions and hypotheses. These serve as an outline for organizing the rationale of the study and discussion of the results.
What should be in the report?
- A summary of the research, describing the research problem, questions and hypothesis, outline of the procedure, main results and major conclusion.
- Theoretical background, explain how the existing literature supports the research hypothesis.
- A description of the research procedure, including the number of participant’s and their socio-demographic characteristics, the materials used, and a description of the experimental design.
- A description of the results, explaining what statistical tests were used and why, and what was the outcome of the statistical analysis in terms of the hypotheses under test. It is necessary to specify the level of significance used and significant values should be accompanied by the magnitude of the obtained value of the test, degrees of freedom, probability level, and the direction of the effect. Whenever possible, a graphical representation of the most important results should be included to facilitate their interpretation.
- Discussion of the results, alternative explanations and possible limitations.
- Main conclusions and recommendations.
What should NOT be in the report?
- Complex statistical analysis, without clear justification
- Generalization of the results to the larger population, particularly if sample representativeness was not ensured
- Participants identification