Chapter 5: Writing the Results Section

Results Goal 2: Occupying the Niche

Another goal of the Results section is to introduce new information about the niche (the specialty area or territory that you established in the Introduction and that you are now returning to in the Results section). This new knowledge represents information that was previously insufficient or lacking in the research area. Authors accomplish Goal 2 by presenting the results of their research in explicit and informative ways. Relevant supporting evidence for your findings may also be presented. Results from your study may be presented in the text or in graphical or pictorial form in charts, tables, equations, images, and/or diagrams that act as visual aids. Presenting the study’s results in multiple formats may help your readers understand your study’s findings in multiple ways (e.g., visual, spatial, textual).

It is important to clarify that for this goal, you are simply presenting the results as information rather than writing your beliefs, interpretations, or evaluations of them. You should not comment on or discuss the findings as you work to accomplish Goal 2. All evaluative comments occur either later in the Results section (if Results and Discussion sections are combined) or in the Discussion section.

Goal 2, Occupying the Niche, is the place for you to introduce your readers to the new knowledge that has been gained from your research. Since you have already established a gap in the introduction, you will use this opportunity to progress from pointing out a gap to filling that gap. There are several strategies you can use to help you successfully achieve this goal.

Strategies for Results Communicative Goal 2: Occupying the Niche

  • Reporting specific results 
  • Indicating alternative presentation of results

We’ll now discuss each of these and provide some examples from published research.

Results Goal 2 Strategy: Reporting Specific Results

Reporting specific results is a strategy used to introduce the quantitative or qualitative results of your study. Employing this strategy well also includes making connections between the results and your original goals, research questions, and/or hypotheses as written about in your Introduction. You can report specific results in narrative form (i.e., in sentences within paragraphs), in numerical form (e.g., tables and equations), or in graphic form (e.g., figures).

Here are two examples taken from published research articles:


  • The emission spectra of the ZnO NCs displayed the characteristic green emission (?max ~520 nm). [1]
  • Concurrently, a significant increase in crop phytotoxicity was observed for both glyphosate- susceptible maize and soybean plants at 72 and 192 HAT. [2]


Although these examples are both relatively short, the decision about how much detail to provide can depend on a number of factors including common practices within an individual writer, journal, or discipline.

Some common sentence starters that can be used with this strategy include, but are not limited to, the following, as noted in the Academic Phrasebank website:

  • The first set of questions aimed to …
  • To compare the difference between …
  • The purpose of Experiment 3 was to …
  • Simple statistical analysis was used to …
  • The next question asked the informants …
  • To assess X, the Y questionnaire was used

Results Goal 2 Strategy: Indicating an Alternative Presentation of Results

Indicating an alternative presentation of results allows a writer to point out and/or summarize the results in a more visual form. When you use this strategy, you’ll refer to the visuals to help guide the reader to a more complex view of the results. This strategy encourages a better understanding of the results as they are presented in alternative form as a supplement to the report itself, which relies on text (words, phrases, sentences, etc.).

Here are two examples taken from published research articles:


  • Similarly, Figure 5B represents the log10 of the ratio between the gene expression levels at T2idl, T4idl, or T6idl and the expression of the genes at T0idl. [3]
  • Figure 3 illustrates the Hybrid tom and hen turkey growth performance during the one-year monitoring period.[4]


Indicating an alternative presentation of results provides a means for authors to showcase their findings outside of the written content of the article. By including additional forms of the findings, you are adding to the specificity and level of detail of the results, which helps readers more accurately comprehend your findings.

The Academic Phrasebank website provides a list of sentence starters that would indicate the use of this strategy. Here are a few examples:

  • Table 1 shows/compares/presents/provides …
    • an overview of …
    • the experimental data on X.
    • the summary statistics for …
  • Figure 1 illustrates/presents/compares/summarizes …
    • some of the main characteristics of …
    • the difference in the two groups of …
    • the results of …

Key Takeaways

Although this goal has only two strategies, they are both very important. This is where you finally get to show the world what you found through your study, so be sure to employ these two strategies in an effort to construe your findings as clearly as possible:

  • Reporting specific results and/or
  • Indicating alternative presentation of results.

  1. Rossini, J. E., Huss, A. S., Bohnsack, J. N., Blank, D. A., Mann, K. R., & Gladfelter, W. L. (2011). Binding and static quenching behavior of a terthiophene carboxylate on monodispersed zinc oxide nanocrystals. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C115(1), 11-17.
  2. Zelaya, I. A., Anderson, J. A., Owen, M. D., & Landes, R. D. (2011). Evaluation of spectrophotometric and HPLC methods for shikimic acid determination in plants: models in glyphosate-resistant and-susceptible crops. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry59(6), 2202-2212.
  3. Keech, O., Pesquet, E., Gutierrez, L., Ahad, A., Bellini, C., Smith, S. M., & Gardeström, P. (2010). Leaf senescence is accompanied by an early disruption of the microtubule network in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology, 154(4), 1710-1720.
  4. Li, H., Xin, H., Burns, R. T., Jacobson, L. D., Noll, S., Hoff, S. J., Harmon, J. D., Koziel, J. A., & Hetchler, B. P. (2011). Air emissions from tom and hen turkey houses in the US Midwest. Transactions of the ASABE54(1), 305-314.


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