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Common Mistakes in Reporting Results of a Research Paper

Converted Data are the data that has been analyzed; it is usually summarized and presented in a way that the information that is only pertinent to the objectives of the study is presented. The raw data refers to the results of the individual relocate trials, the individual observations, the chart records, and any other information that comes directly from the laboratory.

Once you present the converted data, adhere presenting the same data in a different way. For example, if the data are plotted, then you don’t have to include a table of data as well. You may present a figure, such as a graph if it is appropriate. If you can present the data better by a table, then go for it and use a table. The caption with any table or a figure should include all the important information. The reader should not be forced to go into the body of the paper to find out the results of the statistical tests on the data.

Always use an appropriate number of decimal places (wherever you need decimal places) to report the mean calculations and other measured or calculated values. The number of significant figures and decimal places reflects the degree of precision of the measurement or calculation. There is never a need to qualify a measurement or any calculation as ‘approximate’ or ‘about’.

Any graphs or pictures that represent the data are called figures and are consecutively numbered. Tables are however distinguished from figures, and are consecutively numbered as well. For example, a paper that consists of two graphs, a reproduction of a chart’s segment and two tables that will have figures 1, 2, 3 and 4, and tables 1 and 2.

You are not supposed to draw any conclusions in the results section. Instead, reserve the data interpretation for the discussion part.

The significance of ‘significance’

There is a statistically significant difference when analysis yields an insignificantly low probability that the difference was due to a sampling error. If enough data are collected, and the statistical significance has not been achieved, the investigator can very well conclude that the null hypothesis is supported and there is no significance difference at all.

When there is a lack of significance difference that does not mean that the result is insignificant itself. A particular finding, for example, in fundamental mathematical ability among the racial groups there are no intrinsic differences would be a very significant finding. Significance in this particular study refers to the importance of the results.

The students tend to reject a study as inconclusive just because there was no statistically significant difference found. Such a rejection, however, suggests a misunderstanding of the scientific method itself. You can always conclude something at least from even the most poorly designed or the worst experiment that you had done. Always be preparing to interpret your findings, regardless of what you have found. The sole purpose of the experimental science is to discover the truth and not to make the data confirmed to one’s expectations.

Written and submitted by Eric Mosby on behalf of

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