Show your trump card: writing results in life science | Sunday Observer

Show your trump card: writing results in life science

26 September, 2021

The result section of a paper is the main interest of readers as it provides novel and hitherto unknown facts to the scientific literature. Readers are always keen to read your results. Results are the driving force behind scientific expression. Presenting your results with honestly is always necessary in scientific writing although your findings are not very promising.

In addition, presenting your results in scientific communications with honesty gives you a strong self-satisfaction about you. Publishing forged results to become famous or increase the length or content of your CV is not acceptable. The findings of the experiments described in the methods are presented in the results section of a manuscript in a clear and easy-to-understand manner with statistical analysis.

The results can be presented more efficiently with the help of clear images and tables in the results section. Results section of a scientific communication summarises the results of methods you used in a manuscript clearly and concisely without using interpretations. Results section is not the place to describe your methods or experimental details.

Core findings

In other words, results section displays your core findings of your investigations in a logical sequence or aspect without bias, allowing readers for late clarifications or evaluations in the discussion section. A main goal of a result section is to break-down your findings in to clear sentences that show its significance to the problem you researched. Results section also provides a strong support to your hypothesis.

Avoid discussing or interpreting your results in this section. Avoid presenting the same data or repeating the same information more than once. Also, avoid presenting tables with blurred images and data. Blurred images and data give the reader a negative view of the status of your article. This section includes both results and data that are displayed in text, figures, tables or charts. Results are written in the text data, the most crucial part of results, are expressed in tables or figures with a dynamic interplay.

Tables are used to summarise a large amount of data and to organise and display data clearly than text or paragraphs. In addition, tables help to facilitate calculations. On the contrary, figures or charts are used to express data which are not presentable in the form a text of table, allowing readers to understand information straightforwardly and quickly. A summary on what is appearing in tables and figures without reiteration of all numbers is recommended in a text of the results and discussion section.

A well written scientific communication comprises results of each method described in methods describing the results of both experimental and control groups. Authors are highly advisable to avoid inappropriate results but without disregarding valid anomalies, that challenge your research hypothesis or do not give a support the available science literature.

I have come across some famous writers on scientific writings advise to report everything in scientific communications including negative results. However, in my opinion, reporting negative results or negative findings can is not straightforward and will give a hard time to researchers to think about current scientific theories or findings. In addition, it prevents the replication of your study, which can directly affect your investigation’s citations. Importantly, citing un-published data also not recommended by high impact journals unless there is a strong support to the hypothesis being investigate.

Highlighting the statistical significance is always important in the results section. However, authors should clearly understand the difference between statistical and biological significance of your results. Statical analysis is an analytical way to predict or express the validity of your data. Biological significance tells how your findings are truly meaningful to a basic scientific phenomenon.

Scientific communications

In scientific communications, different ways have been used to display results: (A) chronological order, (B) general to specific, (C) most to least important, and (D) grouping results by topics.

Unless mentioned in journal guidelines, authors are free to select an ideal pattern in a logical way. Among these, chronological order is commonly used and straightforward and results are expressed parallelly to followed methods in a manuscript. General to specific ways is frequently used in manuscripts describing clinical results. Most to least important or significance is used when authors to illustrate something significant immediately. Grouping results by topics are frequently seen in scientific communications that describe comparison of assays, analytical methods and diagnostic methods.

As not all results are equally important a scientific communication, authors should highlight important results and de-emphasise less important ones in a way that readers can distinguish. To highlight important results, authors can always start paragraphs by including most important results. Paragraphs should be free of repetitions and free from lengthy sentences. References rarely seen in the results section.

Uploading additional results or data as a supplementary file will help you to keep your results section neat and brief. The present tense is commonly used in the results section except in some hypothesis testing studies where past tense is used. Notably it has been reported to use straightforward terms such as show, demonstrate, indicate, Ilustre, highlight, signify, state, observe, confirm, etc when showing results. It is advisable to use the term “significance” only to state statistical significance.

I have seen the term “reveal” in a number of life science related articles. But, some famous scientific writers advise not to use this term as it indicates something comes due to magic.. Moreover, avoid using emotive words such as unfortunately, remarkably, interestingly and critically in results to describe your results. Also, avoid using negative sentences. For example, the sentence ‘patients without kidney disease were not included’ can be simplified by removing negative terms ‘without and not’: Patients with kidney diseases were included. A write-up describing tips for writing a successful discussion will be available next week.