Master’s Dissertations – The Analysis Chapter
Master’s Dissertations – The Analysis Chapter. A structure for the presentation and analysis of results will be offered. This blog is in two parts, because the methods may be different:
- Questionnaires and Interviews and then
- Case Studies.
Here is a short video clip on the subject.
Questionnaires and Interviews
A five-step process is suggested for the structure of the analysis chapter:
- An overall statement of results
- State the individual results
- Comment on the data
- Analyse the data
- Discuss the results
This provides a rigid structure for the presentation of results ensuring that everything is covered.
1. Overall Statement of Results
Who was approached, how were they approached, how many questionnaires were issued or interviews arranged. How many questionnaires returned, or how many interviews actually took place. This reminds the reader of the research methods selected, and introduces the results as a whole before going into the detailed results.
2. State the Individual results
Remind the reader the reason for each question first, and then state the question results. This may require a tabulation of questionnaire results, or verbatim statements from interviews. At this point, a table or chart may be sufficient.
3. Comment on the Data
This allows for an opportunity to comment back to the literature review. Is this result expected? Or is it an anomaly. By careful here to do this without any analysis or discussion, as analysis is the next step, and discussion should take place in the discussion chapter.
4. Analyse the Data
Primary and Secondary analysis is required from questionnaires. Primary analysis is the breakdown into percentages of answers, or a table or graph of each question. A secondary analysis compares questions with each other. In this analysis example the following 3 questions are asked:
- Male of Female
- Age Range
- Frequency of smoking
A secondary analysis will look at how many female people smoke in each age range. This will not be apparent with the primary analysis, but will provides insightful pointers for later discussion.
5. Discuss the results
Or rather don’t discuss the results, but collect a list of points that need to be discussed in the discussion chapter.
Analysis of Case Studies
Case studies are often used by students and represent secondary data (it was not collected by the student as primary data, but the student has found a collection of other people’s data).
Case studies may be presented in a separate chapter, and analysed in the following chapter.
Again, I’m offering a five-step structure for the presentation of case study analsyis:
- Put the full case study into the appendix, especially if it is large
- Introduce the case study with some background information to set the scene.
- Precis the case study in your own words. Make it clear that the full case study is in the appendix. This offers you an opportunity for re-ordering or re-structuring the information in the case study. This is useful if you are comparing case studies.
- In the Analysis Chapter, comment on the Case Study with reference to the Literature Review. Comment on the theories that were used (or not) and if they were successful (or not). Repeat for each case study.
- Compare the case studies with each other stating the similarities and differences between them, leading to pointers for later discussion.
The Analysis Chapter of the Master’s Dissertation should start with a statement of results, and include an analysis of results. I recommend saving the discussion of results for the discussion chapter.