Drawing Conclusions and Reporting the Results

Reporting the Results of the Study

Reporting results of a science experiment
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After researchers have collected data in their psychology experiment, it is now time to analyze the data, draw conclusions, and report the results. Using statistical analysis, researchers can carefully examine the information they have gathered in order to determine if the results of their experiment support their original hypothesis.

Based on these observations, researchers must then determine what the results mean.

In some cases, an experiment will support a hypothesis, but in other cases, it will fail to support the hypothesis. Just because the results did not support the hypothesis does not mean that the research was worthless. Even results that do not show a relationship between two or more variables can provide valuable information.

After conclusions have been drawn, the next step is to share the results with the rest of the scientific community. This is an important part of the process because it contributes to the overall knowledge base and can help other scientists find new research avenues to explore.

Examining Data and Drawing Conclusions in a Study

Once a researcher has designed the study and collected the data, it is time to examine this information and draw conclusions about what has been found. Using statistics, researchers can summarize the data, analyze the results, and draw conclusions based on this evidence.

So how does a researcher decide what the results of a study mean? Not only can statistical analysis support (or refute) the researcher’s hypothesis; it can also be used to determine if the findings are statistically significant.

When results are said to be statistically significant, it means that it is unlikely that these results are due to chance.

Reporting the Results of a Study

The final step in a psychology study is to report the findings. This is often done by writing up a description of the study and publishing the article in an academic or professional journal. The results of psychological studies can be seen in peer-reviewed journals such as Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and many others.

The structure of a journal article follows a specified format that has been outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA). In these articles, researchers:

  • Provide a brief history and background on previous research,
  • Present their hypothesis,
  • Identify who participated in the study and how they were selected,
  • Provide operational definitions for each variable,
  • Describe the measures and procedures that were used to collect data,
  • Explain how information collected was analyzed, and
  • Discuss what the results mean.

Why is such a detailed record of a psychological study so important? By clearly explaining the steps and procedures used throughout the study, other researchers can then replicate the results. The editorial process employed by academic and professional journals ensures that each article that is submitted undergoes a thorough peer review, which helps ensure that the study is scientifically sound.

Once published, the study becomes another piece of the existing puzzle of our knowledge base on that topic.

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