How to Write an APA Results Section

Student writing a results section
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The results section of an APA format paper summarizes the data that was collected and the statistical analyses that were performed. The goal of this section is to report the results without any type of subjective interpretation.

Here's how to write a results section for an APA format psychology paper.

The Results Should Justify Your Claims

Report data in order to sufficiently justify your conclusions.

Since you'll be talking about your own interpretation of the results in the discussion section, you need to be sure that the information reported in the results section justifies your claims. As you write your discussion section, look back on your results section to ensure that all the data you need is there to fully support the conclusions you reach. 

Don't Omit Relevant Findings

Be sure to mention all relevant information. If your hypothesis expected more statistically significant results, don't omit the findings if they failed to support your predictions. 

Don't ignore negative results. Just because a result failed to support your hypothesis, it does not mean it is not important. Results that do not support your original hypothesis can be just as informative as results that do.

Even if your study did not support you hypothesis, it does not mean that the conclusions you reach are not useful.

Provide data about what your found in your results sections, then save your interpretation for what such results might mean in the discussion section. While your study might not have supported your original predictions, your finding can provide important inspiration for future explorations into a topic.

Summarize Your Results

Do not include the raw data in the results section. Remember, you are summarizing the results, not reporting them in full detail. If you choose, you can create a supplemental online archive where other researchers can access the raw data if they choose to do so.

Include Tables and Figures

Your results section should include both text and illustrations. Structure your results section around tables or figures that summarize the results of your statistical analysis. In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish this is to first create your tables and figures and then organize them in a logical way. Next, write the summary text to support your illustrative materials.

Do not include tables and figures if you are not going to talk about them in the body text of your results section.

Do not present the same data twice in your illustrative materials. If you have already presented some data in a table, do not present it again in a figure. If you have presented data in a figure, do not present it again in a table.

Report Your Statistical Findings

Always assume that your readers have a solid understanding of statistical concepts. There's no need to explain what a t-test is or how a one-way ANOVA works; just report the results. Your responsibility is to report the results of your study, not to teach your readers how to analyze or interpret statistics.

Include Effect Sizes

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association recommends including effect sizes in your results section so that readers can appreciate the importance of your study's findings.

More Tips for Writing a Results Section

  1. The results section should be written in the past tense.
  2. Focus on being concise and objective. You will have the opportunity to give your own interpretations of the results in the discussion section.
  3. Read the for more information on how to write a results section in APA format.
  4. Visit your library and read some journal articles that are on your topic. Pay attention to how the authors present the results of their research.
  5. If possible, take your paper to your school's writing lab for additional assistance.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the results section of your paper is all about simply providing the data from your study. This section is often the shortest part of your paper, and in most cases, the most clinical. Be sure not to include any subjective interpretation of the results. Simply relay the data in the most objective and straightforward way possible. You can then provide your own analysis of what these results mean in the discussion section of your paper.

Sources:

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2010.

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