In line with this question, I would like help with writing a results section in a Computer Science paper. There are many useful suggestions online [1 , 2], but I am confused about one of the key points in these links:

avoid interpreting the results rather than just reporting them. Just present and report the observations and measurements, factually and informatively, without discussion.

What is difference between interpreting and reporting?

  • The question is too vague. "avoid interpreting the results" is poor advice. Tell the reader why they need the results. Commented Oct 19, 2014 at 22:59
  • @AnonymousPhysicist this part usually goes in the introduction. It's not "why they need the result", it's "why is this paper important".
    – Gimelist
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 4:41
  • I would agree with @AnonymousPhysicist that "avoiding interpreting" is bad advice but my field is business, not science (and interpreting is common and expected). Can you tell us your area of study?
    – earthling
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 8:18
  • Question is very broad/vague...
    – Flyto
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:38
  • I have edited to focus on the answerable section, which the accepted answer also focuses on, and voted to reopen.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Any skeleton/guideline to follow?

Actually the links you provided are excellent and give a good basis to start with. There's not much to add to it. Reporting styles of results sometimes differ from field to field so I think it's best to examine the style used by some of the papers that you cite that are similar to yours.

How do you make the difference between interpreting and reporting?

This is usually the hardest part. A good way to start is to simple make a bullet point list of observations only. For example:

  • This is a green apple.
  • Each apple weighs 50 g.
  • Each box of apples weighs 2 kg.
  • There are 20 boxes.

This is going to be a boring, unexciting list. But this is exactly how it is supposed to be. Once you got the list, you can create a nice paragraph from it. Notice how tempting it is to just make the short calculation noting how many apples there are, but no! This is an interpretation and not merely an observation.

There are, however, some "obvious" one-word interpretation that sometimes can go to the results section. For example, you may point out that the apple is a Granny Smith cultivar. Or you may note that a 2 kg box is a standard size box. These immediate interpretations should be obvious to the reader, so he will not have to ask "why" when reading. The reason for putting these in the "Results" section instead of the "Discussion" section is that they may distract from the main point you are trying to convey in the full interpretation of the data.

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