Presenting Findings In A Research Paper

When formulating the results section, it's important to remember that the results of a study do not prove anything. Research results can only confirm or reject the research problem underpinning your study. However, the act of articulating the results helps you to understand the problem from within, to break it into pieces, and to view the research problem from various perspectives.

The page length of this section is set by the amount and types of data to be reported. Be concise, using non-textual elements, such as figures and tables, if appropriate, to present results more effectively. In deciding what data to describe in your results section, you must clearly distinguish material that would normally be included in a research paper from any raw data or other material that could be included as an appendix. In general, raw data should not be included in the main text of your paper unless requested to do so by your professor.

Avoid providing data that is not critical to answering the research question. The background information you described in the introduction section should provide the reader with any additional context or explanation needed to understand the results. A good rule is to always re-read the background section of your paper after you have written up your results to ensure that the reader has enough context to understand the results [and, later, how you interpreted the results in the discussion section of your paper].


Bates College;Burton, Neil et al. Doing Your Education Research Project. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2008; Results. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College.

Step 5: Writing And Presenting Your Findings

The key to successfully writing your paper is organization (writing skills help, too!). Here are some tips that may be helpful:

  • You should have a clear idea of your research hypothesis by now. Make sure that this is stated clearly at the beginning of your paper (or presentation).
  • Summarize the articles you have collected, identifying the main points. If you have made a photocopy of an article or book chapter, highlight the sentences or paragraphs that are most applicable to your topic.
  • Start writing the sections that are clearest to you (these don’t always have to be written in order). Provide background information and then add your supporting ideas.
  • Once you start writing you will be able to identify areas where you still need more information. You can then develop a new targeted search strategy to retrieve more information. Your concepts may be much narrower than at the beginning stages of your research.
  • Make sure that you have the correct citations for all of your resources (don’t wait until the last minute on this one).

The format of your writing will differ depending on the expectations for the research.

It is important to provide information on where you obtained the information that was used in your research.

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Cite your references

An important part of presenting your research is to acknowledge the sources you used to gather the information. One way of organizing your references is to use bibliographic management software. This software allows you to create your own files of references and can assist you in formatting them according to the publication style you are using. Three of the most popular programs are ProCite, Reference Manager and EndNote.

Papers that are written by students for courses at MSASS must adhere to the format created by the American Psychological Association (APA). Copies of the print version of The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association are on reserve in the Harris Library.

Note: Don’t forget to spell-check and proofread your document. You need to do both. They are NOT the same thing.

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Present your research

The presentation of research can take many formats, although typically a paper or report will be written to summarize the findings. Often, in addition to a written report, the research needs to be presented to classmates, colleagues or another audience. Sometimes you want to include an audiovisual aid in your presentation. The Harris Library has an extensive video collection on a number of topics relating to social work and social welfare.

Increasingly, presentation software is being used in group settings to share the main ideas of a project. A number of websites exist that provide information on how to effectively use presentation software.

Everyone has different comfort levels in front of an audience.

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Books in the Harris Library

Nicol, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Displaying your findings: A practical guide for creating figures, posters, and presentations (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Nicol, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Presenting your findings: A practical guide for creating tables (6th ed.). Washington, DC : American Psychological Association.

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