Quick quiz! Let’s imagine you are reading the results section of a manuscript. Which of these is the most useful/interesting/compelling/informative?:
- Figure 2 shows the relationship between infection and lifespan.
- Our experiment on the relationship between infection and lifespan found unambiguous results (Figure 2).
- Including infection treatment as a predictor improved model fit for lifespan (stats, Figure 2).
- Infected hosts lived, on average, half as long as uninfected hosts (20 days vs. 40 days; stats, Figure 2).
I think we’d mostly agree that option 4 is the most informative and interesting by a long shot. It focuses on the biological results, which, as ecologists, are usually our primary interest – presumably you did the experiment because you wanted to know whether and how infection impacted reproduction, not because you just really like making figures or doing stats!