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Report Writing
The Structure of Scientific Report

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

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

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

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.
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:


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
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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