I used to look at that Total number too, but I quickly realized that it is redundant since you have to look at the specific Mod RP and Vehicle RP anyway, in order to spot any penalties. That number is the same as Mod RP, but it also includes the +100 RP from the "Best squad" award, which can be safely ignored. You just need to glance at the cluster of numbers on the right representing the Total SL, Total Mod RP and Total Vehicle RP one below the other. That's usually enough Information to tell how well you did and how much you won. It also doesn't hurt to glance at the vehicle icons and progress bars on the far right, where you can tell how much of your research was utilized or wasted.
Nah, I don't believe it works that way. We have many clues suggesting that we earned some RP until the end of the battle, but we couldn't use them at the end, so they were discarded. If we didn't get them at all, they won't be listed in the results screens. Even the text there says it was earned, but couldn't be used. There are other clues that I won't bother listing, because it really doesn't matter whether the research is wasted or not earned at all. The effect is the same. The problem is that from grinding perspective you are wasting potential RP if you play spaded vehicles or completed TT. You could be spading and unlocking new vehicles at full potential instead.