So, I have a list of lists and trying to write the values to a file with tab delimited;
with open('outfile.txt', 'a') as write_file:
for i in sorted_results:
You can read the file back in and inspect the resulting data.
>>> open('outfile.txt').read() 'test1\t1\ntest2\t2\n'
This shows that the tab character is indeed written to the file. If you are still in doubt use a hex editor to view the characters.