Confirmation Reports >> Results

The Preliminary Results and Analysis in a Confirmation Report should demonstrate not only satisfactory progress towards completing the PhD, but also the significance or originality of the contribution of the study to the field of research. The author should accurately present and synthesise the key preliminary results recorded from observations or measurements taken while following the procedures described in the Methods. More importantly, the author needs to display understanding of these results in relation to the research questions and show that they are achievable by following the methods described and within the given timeframe of the doctoral research.

This chapter may appear under different titles depending on the sub-discipline and content of the Confirmation Report. Examples include:

  • Results and Analysis (Electronic and Information Engineering)
  • Preliminary Results and Discussion (Computer Science)
  • Simulation Results (Electrical Engineering)
  • Experimental Results (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Recent Research Performance (Electronic Engineering)
  • Possible Outcome (Systems Engineering and Engineering Management)

Pre-Reading Activity 

Read the extract from a Confirmation Report and use the colour palette below to paint the sentences which answer the following questions.


  1. What was the purpose of the experiment?
  2. What variable of the procedure was applied in this experiment?
  3. Where can the key results be seen?
  4. What are the key results?
  5. What are the author’s initial observations and action taken?

Answer Key-Click on the numbers to see a brief explanation

5      Experimental Results

(1) In this section the proposed fast image interpolation via random forest (FIRF) method is assessed using twelve commonly used test images. (…) To comprehensively evaluate the proposed FIRF method, the experimental results for choosing optimal λ value for the proposed constraint, are given.

5.1 Constraint on Splits

(2) In Section III, we controlled the relative size of two child nodes by varying the λ value, as stated in Eq. (11). The *PSNR (db) of FIRF (3.1) image interpolation results with respect to different λ values are shown in Table 1 and Fig. 7. We found that when λ =0 (no constraint is applied) the average PSNR is the lowest. By increasing λ, the average PSNR grew and tended to be saturated after λ ˃ 0.4 achieving 0.2db improvement better than that for λ =0. However, a large λ value gives a tight constraint which requires longer training time. To balance the training effectiveness and the training time, we chose λ = 0.7 in our experimental work as follows.

*PSNR – peak signal-to-noise ratio Adapted from: J. J. Huang, “On Object Recognition and Quality Inspection for Video Surveillance Systems”, PhD confirmation report, Dept. of Elec. and Inf. Eng., POLYU, Hong Kong.

The main purpose of the Preliminary Results and Analysis is to demonstrate sufficient progress towards completing the doctoral research and the likely end results. Even though the research may be at an early stage, the author should show how the methodology can yield results that will answer the research questions and contribute to the field of study. This chapter provides the evidence for the Significance and Implications and also informs what further work needs to be conducted to complete the PhD research.

The Preliminary Results and Analysis may include the following items.

  • Connection of the results to the overall aim of the study.
  • Reference to methods or data analysis procedures followed to obtain results.
  • Preliminary results and/or expected results if none are available.
  • Writer’s comments and observations on the results.
  • Comparisons with other studies to place the results in the field.

Below are some questions to help decide what to include in the Preliminary Results and Analysis.

  • What were your expectations before you started your research?
  • How were the results obtained?
  • What are the most significant findings so far?
  • Have your preliminary results validated your expectations or hypothesis you wish to prove?
  • What results do you expect to obtain in your future work?

Using Figure and Tables

Tables and figures are used to report data that are too numerous or complicated to be clearly described in the text and to display trends or patterns in the data. It is important to design graphs, tables or other visuals which present essential findings in a way that is understandable. However, the author should avoid including too many figures with little text to connect and explain them. Figures are only part of the development of the chapter and should be effectively described and explained.

Since visuals are not always fully self-evident, the author needs to integrate them into the report by using clear headings (which appear above tables and below figures) and captions.

When deciding what kind of visual to use, the writer can consider the following points in the table below.

Figures (eg. graphs)


  • Trends and shape of data
  • Comparison of small amount of data aspects or variables
  • Presentation of a visual interpretation of data
  • Emphasis on relationships between data
  • Individual data values
  • Record of raw data and exact numerical values
  • Comparison of larger range of different data sets
  • Presentation of large amount of data
  • Presentation of quantitative data which needs interpreting
  • Presentation of data to support calculations

There are usually three parts to a description of a visual.

  1. A phrase to locate the results.
  2. A summary of what is shown.
  3. A statement to highlight or comment on key trends, patterns, or results shown.

Below is an example of the description of a visual in a Confirmation Report. Click on the highlighted parts to see a brief explanation.

In this study, the formation of H2O2 during sonication was evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively both in pure water and 0.05 mM DMP solution, and the results are presented in Fig. 4. The results showed that the concentration of H2O2 increased linearly with sonication time, and that the concentration increase in the 0.05 mM DMP solution was less than that in pure water, owing to the higher consumption of hydroxyl radicals (the main precursor in forming H2O2) by DMP and its intermediates.


It can be observed from Figs. 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 that the height of flame lengthens steadily when F when Re is fixed. No obvious height changes were observed in the flame base

Adapted from: J. Miao, “Combustion, Thermal and Emission Characteristics of Gas-fired Inverse Diffusion Flames Burning mixed LPG-Hydrogen Fuel”, PhD confirmation report, Dept. of Mech. Eng., POLYU, Hong Kong, 2015.

Following the first reference to a figure, the writer may refer to the same figure in brackets after any statements that describe it. Below is an example from the same Confirmation Report.

However, it should be noted that the concentration of H2O2 is replenished continuously in the US/UV process (Fig. 4) rather than one-off feed.

Adapted from: J. Miao, “Combustion, Thermal and Emission Characteristics of Gas-fired Inverse Diffusion Flames Burning mixed LPG-Hydrogen Fuel”, PhD confirmation report, Dept. of Mech. Eng., HKPOLYU, Hong Kong, 2015.

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