Chapter 5: Writing the Results Section

Results Goal 1: Approaching the Niche

The first goal in the Results section is called Approaching the Niche. The major aim is to show a progression from all the other preceding parts (i.e., Introduction and Methods) to the Results, or findings. The progression here carries a lot of meaning. It means that your findings are valid in that they have a logical connection to general information from the field. It means that the findings are connected with your methods and that your methods were valid. This connection is often made by repeating relevant information to give a preview of your results. The connection of your results to the field is also important because it reiterates and further validates the information and processes/procedures that you wrote about in the Methods section. So, as you are writing this part of the research report, you’ll be considering what you’ve already written about in the literature review in the Introduction (specifically, the niche) while also emphasizing  the choices you made regarding methodology. The similarity in the names of the goals in the Introduction section and the Results section is no coincidence. It is very important that you avoid simply reporting the results without linking them to the niche that you established at the very beginning of the paper.

Goal 1, Approaching the Niche, means that you articulate the progression from the start of your manuscript up to this point. In other words, you need to show how the gap is being filled with your results. This is not a place to dump your findings into the paper; on the contrary, you need to demonstrate the connection between the general information from the field to the specific methods you chose and finally here, to the results. This is often accomplished by re-emphasizing some particular aspects of what you wrote in both the Introduction and the Methods sections. There are several strategies you can use to help you successfully achieve this goal in a detailed manner.

Strategies for Results Communicative Goal 1: Approaching the Niche

  • Providing general information 
  • Restating study specifics 
  • Justifying study specifics
We’ll now discuss each of these and provide some examples from published research.

Results Goal 1 Strategy: Providing General Information

Providing general information is a strategy used to show the reader your thinking about how the results may be understood or confused. This is your opportunity to reiterate any information that the reader may have forgotten (or may not have read at all). This is how you link the information back to your Introduction, where you justified the need for the study in the first place. In other words, you can use this strategy to provide context for the study and the results inside a specific “territory” (knowledge space). You may refer back to methods, techniques, processes, or practices used in your field. This strategy thus allows you to orient your readers in a way that makes it easier for them to navigate your results. You do this by indicating the order of information you are presenting as results or by highlighting noteworthy aspects on which they should focus.

Here are two examples taken from published research articles:


  • Monitoring results are presented by station in the following section. The monitoring data are divided into pre-, during-, and post-construction periods. These periods were determined by observation and are somewhat arbitrary, as construction projects are a continuum with no distinct breaks.[1]
  • This section presents results for our various test corpora and classifiers. We will first verify Wagner et al.’s (2007) finding that combining features of different methods helps. [2]


It might be helpful to think of this strategy like road signs when you are driving. The signs along the way help you determine where you are going, and likewise, this strategy helps your reader to know your intentions about organizing the Results section.

Results Goal 1 Strategy: Restating Study Specifics

Restating study specifics is a common strategy that you can use to restate various characteristics of your methodology, such as the overall approach, research questions, and/or hypotheses. The purpose of restating study specifics is to connect them to the respective results. Don’t forget, the reader needs to be able to understand the results, and reminding the reader briefly of how those results were obtained can be a good strategy to accomplish this goal. Sometimes this strategy is accomplished by pointing to visual representations of procedures or approaches (for example, graphs or tables).

Here are two examples taken from published research articles:


  • We hypothesized that JM6 acts as a prodrug and would be metabolized under acidic conditions in the gut to slowly release Ro 61-8048 and thereby provide long-lasting inhibition of KMO (Figures 2A and 2B). To investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of JM6, we treated wild-type (WT) mice with a single high dose of JM6 (300 mg/kg p.o.) and measured JM6 and Ro 61-8048 in plasma, brain, muscle, and liver by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) 5 hr after administration.[3]
  • In Table 2, we test for the effects of culture on individual preferences for redistribution and explore the effects of traditional economic determinants of preferences . A one unit increase in the mean preference for redistribution in the individual’s country of birth, calculated on a 1 to 5 scale, is associated with a 0.36 unit increase in the individual’s own preference for redistribution (column 1). This effect is highly statistically significant (t=4.08).[4]


So, restating the study specifics helps the reader to situate your findings within the larger “territory” or body of literature that is already available. It also clarifies the connections between the motivations, methods, and results.

Results Goal 1 Strategy: Justifying Study Specifics

Justifying study specifics is the final strategy that provides the reader with an understanding of how you have progressed from the literature to the justification of the study, to the research questions, to the methods, and now, finally, to your results. You can provide justifications for study-related choices as a way of increasing the credibility of your results. If you remember back to the Methods section, authors try to anticipate criticism with the purpose of making the methods credible. In the Results section, criticism is also anticipated; thus, providing sound reasoning or rationale for certain study choices and reiterating the importance of decisions made along the way is like answering questions from your readers before they are asked.

Below are a few examples excerpted from published reports of research with the relevant language bolded to illustrate how the words/phrases work to implement the strategy, which then works to accomplish the goal:


  • This flow was chosen because it has a streamwise component, in the x-direction, that varies over the cross section but does not provide flow in the y- or z-directions.[5]
  • Previous studies results showed that 25.0 mu M NAA was the lowest concentration among the three auxins tested that resulted in 100% rooting. Thus, 25.0 __mu__M NAA was selected as the most effective treatment and used in all further experiments.[6]


The use of this strategy is key because of the connection it provides from the beginning of your manuscript to the point where you realize the main objective: the Results! If a reader has indeed read all of your report up to this point, then they have probably forgotten some important information that they might need to fully understand your findings. On the other hand, some readers only skim research articles, and so they may arrive at the Results section with only a vague understanding of what you set out to accomplish. So, employing this strategy is a way to guide your reader to a better comprehension of the study from an overarching perspective.

Key Takeaways

In order to accomplish the communicative goal of approaching the niche in your Results section, you’ll need to employ these techniques:

  • Providing general information and/or
  • Restating study specifics
  • Justifying study specifics

  1. Line, D. E., Shaffer, M. B., & Blackwell, J. D. (2011). Sediment export from a highway construction site in central North Carolina. Transactions of the ASABE54(1), 105-111.
  2. Wagner, J., Foster, J., & van Genabith, J. (2009). Judging grammaticality: Experiments in sentence classification. Calico Journal, 26(3), 474-490.
  3. Zwilling, D., Huang, S. Y., Sathyasaikumar, K. V., Notarangelo, F. M., Guidetti, P., Wu, H. Q., ... & Muchowski, P. J. (2011). Kynurenine 3-monooxygenase inhibition in blood ameliorates neurodegeneration. Cell145(6), 863-874.
  4. Luttmer, E. F., & Singhal, M. (2011). Culture, context, and the taste for redistribution. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy3(1), 157-79.
  5. Cierpka, C., Rossi, M., Segura, R., & Kähler, C. J. (2010). On the calibration of astigmatism particle tracking velocimetry for microflows. Measurement Science and Technology22(1), 015401.
  6. Bag, N., & Palni, M. (2010). A two-step procedure for in vitro rooting of micropropagated tea [Camellia sinensis L.(O) Kuntze] microshoots. The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology85(3), 197-204.


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Preparing to Publish by Sarah Huffman; Elena Cotos; and Kimberly Becker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.