WRITING CHAPTER 4: THE RESULTS OF YOUR RESEARCH STUDY

Our consultants can provide the organization necessary to provide readers with a coherent flow of information.

The purpose of this chapter is to summarize the collected data and the statistical treatment, and/or mechanics, of analysis. The first paragraph should briefly restate the problem, taken from Chapter 1. Explain the object of each experiment, question, or objective, point out salient results, and present those results by table, figure, or other form of summarized data. Select tables and figures carefully. Some studies are easier to defend if all the raw data is in this chapter; some are better if the bulk of the raw data is in an appendix.

In a quantitative study, the results usually begin with a description of the sample (e.g., sample size, description of participants who were excluded and why, handling of missing data). Next, descriptive statistics (e.g., frequencies/percentages for categorical variables, means, standard deviations, and ranges for continuously measured variables) are presented. Normality of continuously measured variables is usually presented. Address each hypothesis in turn, presenting a description of the analysis that was computed to address each hypothesis and the results of that analysis. State whether the null hypothesis was rejected.

Do not repeat in tedious prose what it is obvious for a knowledgeable peer to see at a glance.  The dissertation advisor usually has an opinion about the level of detail needed in this chapter.  Table titles and figure captions should be understandable without reading the chapter text. Note all relevant results, even those that were contrary to the alternative hypotheses, or those that tend to distract from clear determinations.

Make statements of the results without any implication, speculation, assessment, evaluation, or interpretation. Sometimes the results and discussion are combined into one chapter, but in general, keep the results, and the conclusions and discussion separate.

In a qualitative study, the results often include many quotes from participants who were interviewed.

Source: Barbara von Diether, EdD

2 thoughts on “WRITING CHAPTER 4: THE RESULTS OF YOUR RESEARCH STUDY

  • June 14, 2017 at 2:16 am
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    Dear consultants,

    Now that I have started collecting qualitative data (semi-structured interviews, partly based on photographs, partly on topics) I find that my Original Research Questions do not fit to the full the findings. Or, to put it in other words: Are my research questions still the right ones?
    I look forward to your replying.

    Reply
    • June 14, 2017 at 8:31 am
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      I think the most important thing to say here is: “You need to discuss this with your committee — and committees may well differ.” If I were on your committee (and I do serve on many committees for qualitative work) I would say that research questions always evolve as the study progresses. This is certainly true in qualitative research, perhaps not quite as true in quantitative research. You should regard your original questions as nothing more than a point of departure, not as an iron-clad contract. In fact, I would go further and say that you don’t make a final decision about what your study is all about until you publish it — and you may still be revising your ideas for several years after that!

      However, mine may be an iconoclastic position — it is based solely on my personal experience (50 years of doing and supervising interview research) — the bottom line is, “You have to do whatever your committee tells you to do.”

      Rick Oaks
      DissertationWriting.com
      Mixed Methods Research, Questionnaire Design, Education, Psychology, Sociology
      http://bit.ly/2lZsFb8

      Reply

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