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Results & Conclusions

Your Contribution

Your Contribution You wrote your paper because you believe it constitutes a valuable contribution to scientific knowledge. The way you describe it is through a clear delineation of your hypotheses and method (the structure of your experiment and its execution, in as much detail as necessary to enable others to repeat it with the same results).
Hypotheses First, describe your assumptions and your explicit hypotheses - not how they have been evaluated. You may reference related work, but keep it to a minimum and specific (i.e. no “review of what so-and-so did” - that belongs in the Related Work section!).
Give the section a title that describes its contents. (Unless you have a brilliant title for it you should use “Hypotheses”.)
Method Isolate the key ideas
- make sure you give them all the space they need. Experimental design, experimental setup, execution of experiment.
Keep it succinct Trim off superfluous ideas. This can be painful: How can you trim off those little cool things that somehow you just know the world absolutely needs to know about? Trick: It is often a good idea to pretend you are going to write another paper, where you can put your shaved-off ideas.
Don't repeat Do not repeat things already described in other parts of your paper. This is a common difficulty. The best papers are the ones with minimal repetition. If absolutely necessary you may say, for convenience of the reader, “as described in section X, … ” and summarize this briefly. In general, each section should be read without having to jump back and forth to other sections, but also without to much repetition.
Do not cross-reference too much between sections It is a common difficulty to keep the discussion on the topic of the contribution in the Contribution section, without referencing the evaluation results. This should be avoided at all cost. The best papers are the ones where the results of the evaluation are not given away before the Results section. And each section can be read mostly without having to jump back and forth all the time.
This is your stuff Make it look as good as it can look!


Results This section proves that your idea is great
Describe the evaluation method thoroughly but succinctly Nothing is more annoying than long-winded discussion of the evaluation method. Just the facts, ma'am!
Evaluation method description: should have a one-to-one correspondence with the results section This means that any table, graph, or illustration in the results should have a directly corresponding statement/motivation/ discussion in the Evaluation section.
If you feel like you have to include tables whose existence are not discussed – and hence not justified – in the evaluation section, make sure they are either motivated by a surprise finding or else put them in a Discussion section.

Presentation Data

Be clear
Always summarize what the tables/graphs/etc. say with your own words, before drawing conclusions E.g.: Do not say “As can be seen in Graph 1, my routing algorithm works best.” Say, “As can be seen in the comparison between the three routing algorithms, A, B and C, the algorithms with partial information about network topology have an advantage in networks above a certain size (point X, Graph 1). Among these, my algorithm, C, gets the best result.”
Captions: Equally important as the graph Make sure your graph contains all the information necessary to interpret the graphics: Title, caption and legend should be written with the same care as the title of your paper and your abstract!!
Two principles The clearest presentation - make the job easy on the reader
The biggest impact - try to make the point as strongly as you possibly can.

Data Presentation for Human Consumption

Scientific papers are for people People have limited capacity processors. Make sure you direct them to the most important points through the right data/information presentation methods.
Select the right format
When not to use graphs When the graph contains too much or too little data
Common mistakes in graphs Equating two-dimensional space with one-dimensional space
Forget to indicate that an axis does not start at zero
Using pie charts for open-ended scales examples (scroll down)
9 tips to make your graphs great
(based on: source - now defunct. Alternative source)
1. decide on a clear purpose
2. convey an important message
3. draw attention to the message, not the source
4. experiment with various options and graph styles
5. use simple design for complex data
6. make the data 'speak'
7. adapt graph presentation to suit the data
8. ensure that the default visual perception process of the reader is easy and accurate
9. avoid ambiguity


Purpose Summarize what the main contribution is, with appropriate mentionings of the method, result and assumptions (and possibly motivation, if this is important)
Format Short, concise - it is different from the Abstract in that most will have read (most of) the paper when they read this section.
What to avoid Repeating verbatim something that was said earlier.
Being too wordy.
Saying something new that should have been in a prior section.
Not saying anything new (wrt the context, global conclusion, etc.).

Future Work

Purpose To help those who want to continue the work understand what you would do next
Format A few sentences on what will be the follow-up to this study. It is customary to put mentionings of future work in the Conclusions section, not to have it be a separate section.


Typical format - Restate the problem/challenge (1-2 sentences)
- Restate what you did (1 sentence)
- Draw up the main conclusion, refer to your results
- Comment on the implications
- Tell them what would be done next


Purpose To thank people, funding agencies, etc. that should be acknowledged but are not appropriate to list as co-authors.
Format Comes after Results, Conclusion.


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