Define a research problem. A pilot study or feasibility study can be done before the actual research process. Research questions should be developed keeping in mind time constraints—can these be answered by only one study or several studies? Qualitative research starts an investigation with a concept.
Quantitative research approaches use the hypothesis as the frame for the methodology. Here, you will have an appropriate framework and variables considered. In both approaches, the main research question is the basis for the hypotheses and objectives of the research.
4 Tips for Writing Your Dissertation’s Discussion Chapter
Hypotheses can be developed from the research questions. Designing a hypothesis is supported by a good research question and will influence the type of research design for the study. The development of the research objective can be done after the development of the research questions or hypothesis. This should be applied all throughout your paper.
See Citations and References — The APA Style Guide for a guide to acknowledging the works of other authors when incorporating their ideas into your writing. The Literature Review. In this chapter and in the succeeding chapters of your thesis or dissertation , you need to write an introductory paragraph or paragraphs that show the following:.
The second part is the Body.
Dissertation findings and discussion sections | Oxbridge Essays
The following are some elements that can be included in the second part of the Literature Review chapter. Discuss with your adviser to finalize the sections and sub-headings. The last part is the Chapter Summary.
Summarize the important aspects of the existing body of literature. Assess the current state of the literature reviewed. It should be well-developed in order to obtain all the information required to answer your research questions, test a theory or explain a situation relevant to the main aim of the research. Start this chapter with a short introduction to your research design. In this section, the research questions, hypotheses and objectives must be presented. An overview of the research approach, and the techniques and measurements that will be used to analyze data are also included in the introduction.
The next part of this chapter, or the Body, consists of some or all sections shown below. Each section should be described and explained in detail. Discuss with your adviser for additional sections and sub-headings for each section or a more appropriate structure. The last section is the Chapter Summary. The Final Chapters of your Thesis. At this stage, you have already collected as much data as you can and are ready to process and analyze such a huge amount of information.
However, expect a lot of changes in your process, methods and chapters. These changes can come from your research adviser, too. The first step you need to do is to revisit the first three chapters of your thesis. Here, you would need to make the necessary corrections to some of the sections presented during the proposal stage. For example, you might have to fine-tune your research questions and objectives based on the data you have gathered or what you have found during the research process.
The Scope and Limitations of the Study section in Chapter 1 would now have to be included in Chapter 3. Another section, Organization of the Study, must be added in Chapter 1. Check the figure below for the main parts of a thesis. Variations from the general format can be decided with your adviser. Figure 1: Main parts of a thesis or dissertation. If this chapter is generally brief, presenting the results, and explaining and interpreting them can be combined in one chapter. Otherwise, the Results and Discussion section should be in separate or defined sections or chapters.
If they do not have any reference to literature, acknowledge it and just link it accordingly to its appropriate conclusion. When writing your analyses, avoid jargons and terms that are unfamiliar to your readers. Keep it as simple as possible to make it more comprehensive to your readers.
Understand that your dissertation analysis chapter is going to be the foundation in which you will draw your conclusions from. Remember to include only data that is actually relevant to your dissertations to keep your paper focused and coherent. The present of data that is immaterial to your study will only confuse your readers and affect your conclusions negatively.
The methods you will use have to be appropriate to the data you will use and the purpose of your dissertation. The point is to let your readers know that these methods serve a purpose and are not just randomly selected. Collect relevant statistical data. From this information, you will be able to draw conclusions that are not yet manifest in the data you currently have. As equally important as your quantitative data is your qualitative work.
Instead of statistical findings, you will be able to derive a deeper, transferable knowledge from your qualitative data. The common perception is that data will speak for itself but this is wrong. Every data has to be analyzed so it will serve its purpose of answering the question you presented in your abstract and introduction.
Remember to be transparent and present both strengths and weaknesses to your dissertation while writing analysis. Your knowledge about creating charts, graphs, and diagrams can be quite helpful in presenting your analyses particularly if you introduced a pretty large number of data. With these visual aids, it will be easier for your readers to understand your findings. For other data that is relevant but does not necessarily have to be included in your main dissertation, you can include it in your appendices so your readers can look into it.
When writing dissertations, avoid being verbose and repetitive and, instead, be concise and to the point. Once you have your examples firmly selected for each subsection, you want to ensure that you are including enough information. You must set up the examples you have chosen in a clear and coherent way. Students often make the mistake of including quotations without any other information. Usually this means writing about the example both before and after. This was a focal point for 7 of my 12 participants, and examples of their responses included: [insert example] by participant 3 and [insert example] by participant 9.
The reoccurring focus by participants on the need for more teachers demonstrates [insert critical thought here]. By embedding your examples in the context, you are essentially highlighting to the reader what you want them to remember. Aside from determining what to include, the presentation of such data is also essential. Participants, when speaking in an interview might not do so in a linear way. Instead they might jump from one thought to another and might go off topic here and there. So the quotes need to be paired down to incorporate enough information for the reader to be able to understand, while removing the excess.
Finding this balance can be challenging. You have likely worked with the data for a long time and so it might make sense to you. Try to see your writing through the eyes of someone else, which should help you write more clearly. Something to consider first with numeric data is that presentation style depends what department you are submitting to. In the hard sciences, there is likely an expectation of heavy numeric input and corresponding statistics to accompany the findings.
In the arts and humanities, however, such a detailed analysis might not be as common. Therefore as you write out your quantitative findings, take your audience into consideration. Just like with the qualitative data, you must ensure that your data is appropriately organised. Again, you've likely used a software program to run your statistical analysis, and you have an outline and subheadings where you can focus your findings. There are many software programs available and it is important that you have used one that is most relevant to your field of study.
For some, Microsoft Excel may be sufficient for basic analysis.
Getting on with the writing
Whatever program you have used, make sure that you document what you have done and the variables that have affected your analysis. One common mistake found in student writing is the presentation of the statistical analysis. During your analysis of the data, you are likely to have run multiple different analyses from regressions to correlations. Often, we see students presenting multiple different statistical analyses without any real understanding of what the tests mean. Presentation of quantitative data is more than just about numbers and tables.
You could also explain how they relate to the research question. However, depending on how you have organised your work, this might end up in the discussion section. Students who are not confident with statistical analysis often have a tendency to revert back to their secondary school mathematics skills. They commonly document the mean, median, and mode for all of their results. Now, these three outcomes can be important. But having a good understanding of why you are proceeding with this strategy of analysis is going to be essential in a primarily quantitative study.
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That noted, there are different expectations for an undergraduate dissertation and a PhD thesis, so knowing what these expectations are can be really helpful before you begin. Depending on the presentation of your dissertation, you may be required to print out a final copy for the marker s. In many cases, this final copy must be printed in black and white. This means that any figures or graphs that you create must be readable in a black and white or greyscale format.
This can be challenging because there are only so many distinct shades of grey. In a pie chart, you might show one section as purple and the other as green. Yet when printed, both the purple and the green translate to approximately the same shade of grey, making your graph suddenly unreadable. Another common error is overwhelming the reader with graphs and tables. Let's think about your outline and subheadings. If you're including a table under each subheadings, it needs to be relevant to the information that is being discussed in that chapter.
There is no correct or incorrect number of graphs that should exist within the section, but you should use your judgement about what looks appropriate. The final mistake we see is the duplication of writing or absence of writing when presenting a graph. Some students will present their findings in a graph or table and then write out this information again below the graph. This defeats the entire purpose of using the graph in the first place.
So avoid this at all times. Conversely, other students sometimes include a graph or figure but nothing else. Doing this denies the reader of context or purpose of said graph or figure. At some point, a balance needs to be struck where the reader has the information they require to really understand the point being made within the section. The structure of your discussion chapter is really going to depend on what you are trying to do and how you have structured your findings.
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If you chose to structure your findings by theme, it might make sense to continue this into the analysis chapter. Other people might structure it according to the research questions. This clearly indicates to the reader how you have addressed your study.
12 Steps to Write an Effective Discussion Chapter
Marking a dissertation usually requires the marker to comment on the extent to which the research questions have been addressed. So by structuring a dissertation that lays out each research question for the marker, you are making their job easier. Needless to say, this a great thing. Like any other chapter in your thesis, an introduction is an essential component of your discussion. By this point, the reader has gone through your findings and is now looking for your interpretation. Therefore, at the end of your discussion introduction you should highlight the content that each of the subsections will cover.
A conclusion to your discussion section or a chapter summary is also going to be beneficial. The length of the analysis chapter is usually quite long, so a wrap up of the key points at the end can help the reader digest your work. It can also help ensure that the reader actually understands the points you are trying to highlight within your project.
Without any critical thinking, you are really doing yourself a disservice. It will affect the mark that you obtain on your overall dissertation. This is why the analysis chapter is usually weighted quite heavily on the marking rubric. We tell students about critical thinking and the importance of it on a daily basis. And yet, there does seem to be a general confusion about what critical thinking entails, i. Critical thinking asks you to provide your own opinion on your topic, which can be daunting at first. For much of your academic career, you've likely been asked to use research to justify a position that has already been set.