How to write the Results and Discussion

Michael P. Dosch CRNA PhD
University of Detroit Mercy - Nurse Anesthesia
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How to write the results and discussion

Michael P. Dosch CRNA PhD
May 2022


Be happy! You're getting there. Just a small amount of writing to go from this point. The results and discussion are (relatively) cut and dried. But be sure to run them by all committee members and your chair before publishing or creating the poster, to make sure you haven't overlooked anything. And make sure they are congruent with your research purpose, objectives, hypothesis, and methods.

"Who's in, who's out"

Here's a sample "Table 1":

Table 1 Characteristics of the sample

Variable Control
n = 45
Heat & moisture exchanger
n = 49
Age years1 32.7 + 3.5 36.3 + 2.7 .08
Height m1 1.72 + 0.6 1.67 + 0.8 NS
Weight kg1 76.6 + 12.8 72.3 + 16.2 NS
Gender (number of males)2 21 26 NS
ASA Physical Status3 2 + 1 2 + 1 NS
OR room temperature (C)1 21.1 + 3.6 20.6 + 2.9 NS


  1. Data is expressed as mean + one standard deviation. Probability determined using a two-tailed, unpaired Student's t test.
  2. Data is expressed as number within the sample who possess the characteristic. Probability determined using Chi square (or Fisher's Exact test for 2 x 2 tables).
  3. Data is expressed as median + one interquartile range. Probability determined using a Mann- Whitney U test.


Why is Table 1 in most studies?

Shows that demographic variables were evenly balanced in the process of random allocation of subjects to experimental and control groups.

Components of Results section

Results should answer main hypothesis or research question(s)

Tables and Graphs


Choosing figure types



Components of the Discussion section

Look back

Look forward



Here's a sample Abstract.

Is ondansetron as effective as droperidol in prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting?

Pamela J. Mencken RN BSN, Debra J. Blalock RN BSN, Wayne R. Miller PharmD, Michael P. Davis CRNA MS, Peter D. Hamm CRNA MS

The incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) remains 20 to 30% despite the availability of newer antiemetics such as ondansetron and other 5-HT3 antagonists. The cost of these drugs often results in the use of less expensive antiemetics such as droperidol. Common practice is to treat nausea and vomiting only after it has occurred. The few studies which have examined prophylaxis of PONV have had small sample sizes (Grond et al. Anesth Analg 1995; 81:603-7). The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a difference between ondansetron and droperidol in preventing PONV.

After institutional review board approval and with written informed consent, a controlled, double-blinded study was conducted with 105 male and female patients, ASA status I to III, randomly assigned into 2 groups with the aid of a computer-generated table of random numbers. All patients underwent elective intra abdominal procedures. Exclusion criteria included weight exceeding body mass index of 30 kg/m2, nasogastric tube prior to induction, history of motion sickness or postoperative nausea and vomiting, antiemetic use within 24 hours of surgery, pregnancy, and subjects with contraindications to either study drug. All patients received a standardized induction with d-tubocurarine, succinylcholine, thiopental sodium, and fentanyl (2 to 20 mcg/kg). Anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane or desflurane in oxygen. Five minutes prior to induction of general anesthesia, patients received either ondansetron 4 mg intravenously (IV), or droperidol 1.25 mg IV. Syringes of identical appearance containing either agent were prepared by the satellite pharmacist, who alone was aware of group assignment. All data was collected by the principal investigators in a blinded fashion, rating PONV using a visual analogue scale of 0 to 10.

Five patients were eliminated from the study; 1 was lost to follow up, 2 patients exceeded the surgical time limit of 4 hours, 1 patient did not receive general anesthesia, and 1 patient did not receive the general anesthesia protocol as described. The groups did not differ significantly in age, weight, height, ASA status, or doses of intraoperative drugs. Patients in the droperidol group showed a trend (P=.078) toward less PONV (0.37 ± 0.038; mean ± one standard deviation) than the ondansetron group (1.0 ± 2.362). The patients who received droperidol had a trend towards a higher incidence of post discharge antiemetic use than the patients in the ondansetron group (P=0.091). Patients in the droperidol group did not spend a longer time in PACU (87 ± 62 min) as compared to the ondansetron group (102 ± 62 min; P=.443). Pretreatment with droperidol resulted in an overall 11.8% incidence of PONV, compared to 26.5% incidence in the ondansetron group (P=.07).

In conclusion, pretreatment with droperidol reduced the incidence of PONV in this sample, and patients did not stay longer in the PACU with the droperidol treatment. Further study is needed to determine if a combination of droperidol and ondansetron would decrease PONV more effectively than either agent used alone.


Reading list

  1. Cuddy PG, Elenbaas RM, Elenbaas JK. Evaluating the medical literature Part I: Abstract, Introduction, Methods. Ann Emerg Med 1983;12:549-55.
  2. Elenbaas JK, Cuddy PG, Elenbaas RM. Evaluating the medical literature Part III: Results and discussion. Ann Emerg Med 1983;12:679-86.
  3. Eger EI. A template for writing a scientific paper. Anesth Analg 1990;70:91-6.
  4. Sessler DI, Shafer S, Writing Research Reports. Anesth Analg 2018;126:330-7.
  5. Freeman J. How to Choose the Right Chart - A Complete Chart Comparison (rev. 12/15/2021). Accessed 5/17/2022 from
  6. Johnson SH. Avoiding the "school paper style" rejection. Nurse Anesthesia 1993;4(3):130-5.
  7. Elenbaas RM, Elenbaas JK, Cuddy PG. Evaluating the medical literature Part II: Statistical analysis. Ann Emerg Med 1983;12:610-20.

Return to Anesthesia Course Notes Site at UDM.