Writing the Results Section of a Research Grounded Paper
Timothy G. Weih, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa, USA
Research grounded papers in education are typically divided into main sections (sometimes these are also called chapters) that are further divided into subsections. Each main section usually begins on a new page. In the paper these sections are typically titled the Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, Discussion, and References. The main sections are further divided (with the exception of the Reference section) into subsections that help the reader to follow sequential information contained within each main section. The structure of the paper represents sequential steps of how everything was conducted for the research study or project. The writing is technical, formal, or informational writing in which you are seeking to explain your topic and what you did for the sake of the reader. Most technical papers in education follow the writing style and format of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA).
Research grounded papers include the reporting of past research findings that are directly related to the main topic and subtopics of the paper.
The purpose of the Results section in a research grounded paper is to report to the reader a summary of the data that was collected from the study. If that paper is about a project, the Results section is the part of the paper where the actual project is inserted.
Format of the Paper
The format of the paper is typically size 12, Times New Roman font, with 1.5 inch left margin, and all the others an inch. This will allow room for binding the completed paper if that is needed. The writing throughout the entire paper should all be evenly double-spaced text, and follow APA for all headings within the paper.
What to Include in the Results Section
Restate the study purpose and questions and explain for the sake of the reader how this section is organized, i.e., guide them through it by writing a brief organizational summary. If the paper is about a project, explain what this section contains. This introductory paragraph can be written after this section is completed, and it does not have a heading.
Report on the Data
The perspective of the writing in the results section of a research grounded paper is much like that of a news reporter conveying investigated information to the viewer or reader. If the paper is about a research study, the results, or findings, are summarized, and the main, overarching findings are reported, and examples are presented from the data. Just like how a news reporter gives a summary of what happened, and then gives the evidence that backs up the summary, i.e., evidential data. This is a similar pattern within the Results section-summarize, insert evidence. Tables and figures are also frequently used as tools to convey the results (see the APA manual for the style and formatting of tables and figures).
If the paper is about a project, the actual project is inserted, along with sufficient description, labeling, and explanation so that the reader or viewer has information about what everything is.
Write in a non evaluative style, meaning, you are not inserting any of your personal
opinions, thoughts, or feelings in this section of the paper.
• Follow APA for headings for this section and the subheadings within it.
• Do not reveal any biases, predetermined expectations, or implications.
• Write using "newspaper language" meaning, use language that an eighth grader would understand.
• Use as few trade terms as possible, meaning words that only professional educators would know, and if you have to use a trade term, do so in an appositive.
• Use past tense.
• Use short, direct, and simple sentences.
• Use active rather than passive voice, and avoid using: I, me, we, you, our- as much as possible (see APA for Passive Voice).
• Do not use "this author" or refer to yourself in third person.
• Use only a quotation from a text if you absolutely have to.
• Make sure you are writing in an expository style, this is not a personal narrative.
Follow the APA manual for all of the writing style, grammar, and formatting in the paper. When you have a draft completed, read it at least several times for revisions and edits. Make sure all the citations have corresponding, complete references in the Reference section of the paper.
About Author / Additional Info:
Timothy G. Weih is an associate professor of education at the University of Northern Iowa, USA, and teaches qualitative research methodology.