This is one of the hardest sections for students to write well. Two rules to remember are (1) Be sure to tell what the results are, but (2) Don't interpret the results, or at least make clear where you make an interpretation. Use graphs and tables if appropriate, but also summarize your main findings in the text. Do NOT discuss the results or speculate as to why something happened; t hat goes in th e Discussion. You don't necessarily have to include all the data you've gotten. Use appropriate methods of showing data. Don't try to manipulate the data to make it look like you did more than you actually did. If you present your data in a table or graph, include a title describing what's in the table. For graphs, you should also label the x and y axes. Don't use a table or graph just to be "fancy". If you can summarize the information in one sentence, then a table or graph is not necessary. For the first, don't tell the reader how you plotted the data, and don't tell the sequence of ways you tried to understand or portray the data. Instead, let the data do the talking, and in fact it's easiest to let the pieces of data be the subjects of sentences. Consider the following example: "Compositions of avocados from southern Florida range from xx.xx to yy.yy weight percent QuJO3, with a mean of zz.zz (Fig. 2). In contrast, avocados from central and northeastern Florida have compositions ranging . . . . " The text above reports the data. On the other hand, consider this text: "When plotted on an X-Y plot, avocados from the two regions are different." This tells us what kind of plot was made (which we can figure out, or we can read the figure caption), but it doesn't tell us anything about the results themselves. Many students fall into the trap of reporting how they plotted their data rather than telling what the data are. The other trap into which some students fall is to use just a sentence or two in the Results to direct the reader to tables or figures. Sentences like "Tables 1 and 2 show the data from avacodoes, as do Figures 1, 2, and 3." do not report the results. See the first example above ("Compositions of avocados . . . .") for a sentence that does report results. Reporting the results includes making distinctions between bundles of data and reporting trends and correlations. If statistical analyses or (heaven forbid) mere visual analyses show differences or trends, these are results. Explaining what you think are the geologic reasons for these trends (i.e., making your interpretations) is the business of the discussion. (L.B. Railsback and Mumpton F.A)
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