The results section of a technical report

The Results section

This week our focus is on the Results section. This is where you communicate the values you’ve measured, the readings you’ve taken and the observations you’ve made during your experiment. In the earlier sections of your report, you will have informed the reader about why and how you did the work. This section reports what you got out of it.

Everything in the Results section is factual; these are the things that you have obtained from your experimental or modeling work. You’ll use graphs or other graphics to help the reader understand any important features or trends in your data.

This week, we’ll show you how to clearly communicate what your experiment produced.

You’ll learn how to:

  • display data effectively in graphs, tables, and figures
  • report a number of significant figures
  • write detailed descriptions that will enable the reader to understand the features in your results

What will the reader get out of this section?

Your results should be complete enough to allow the reader to understand what you obtained, without having to do the same work.

If they wanted to carry the work on, they should be able to take what you have produced and extend it.

A good description of the results will also prepare the reader for the next section - the Discussion. In the Discussion, you’ll put your results into context and use conjecture and comparison, alongside information from the Introduction to convey your understanding of the results and their meaning.

What skills will I learn this week?

You’ll learn how to produce proper engineering graphs and tables (as well as how to avoid making common mistakes).


Let’s start with what goes in the results section (and what information is better presented elsewhere).

Discussion

Why do you think the results should have their own section?

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This article is from the free online course:

Technical Report Writing for Engineers

The University of Sheffield