- Writing up the results section of your dissertation
- Table of contents
- How to Write a Thesis
- Writing your dissertation introduction, conclusion and abstract
You might have assessed whether more females than males want to read a specific romantic novel. Here, your independent variable is gender and your dependent variable is the determination to read the book. Since gender has categories male and female , this is a categorical variable. If you have assessed the determination to read the book on a scale from 1 to 10 e. Here, relationship status is your confounding variable. We will return to these examples throughout this blog post.
At this point, it is important to remember that outlining your research in this way helps you to write up your results section in the easiest way possible. For continuous variables, you are using descriptive statistics and reporting the measures of central tendency mean and measures of variability or spread standard deviation. For categorical variables, you are using frequencies statistics and reporting the number or frequency of participants per category and associated percentages.
Both these statistics require you to make a table, and in both cases you also need to comment upon the statistics. How does all of this look in practice? Recall the two examples that were outlined above. You need to make a table, as in TABLE 1 below, which identifies means and standard deviations for all these variables. When commenting upon the results, you can say:.
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Participants were on average Note that, in this example, you are concluding that participants had moderate self-esteem levels if their self-esteem was assessed on a 1 to 10 scale. Since the value of 5 falls within the middle of this range, you are concluding that the mean value of self-esteem is moderate. If the mean value was higher e. TABLE 1. Descriptive statistics for all variables used in research: M SD Height cm You can also outline descriptive statistics for specific groups.
TABLE 2. Thus, you are not reporting means and standard deviations, but frequencies and percentages. To put this another way, you are noting how many males versus females wanted to read the book and how many of them were in a relationship, as shown in TABLE 3. You can report these statistics in this way:. TABLE 3. The first of these is correlation, which you use when you want to establish if one or more continuous, independent variables relate to another continuous, dependent variable.
The first step here is to report whether your variables are normally distributed. You do this by looking at a histogram that describes your data. If the histogram has a bell-shaped curve see purple graph below , your data is normally distributed and you need to rely on a Pearson correlation analysis.
Here, you need to report the obtained r value correlation coefficient and p value which needs to be lower than.
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If you find a correlation, you need to say something like:. Histogram testing the normal distribution of data: Note also that positive correlation occurs when higher levels of one variable correlate with higher levels of another variable. Negative correlation, however, occurs when higher levels of one variable correlate with lower levels of another variable.
One final thing to note, which is important for all analyses, is that when your p value is indicated to be.
Writing up the results section of your dissertation
If your data is skewed rather than normally distributed see red graphs , then you need to rely on a Spearman correlation analysis. Here, you report the results by saying:. You also need to make a table that will summarise your main results. TABLE 4. Correlations between all variables used in research: Height cm Self-esteem Height cm 1. Correlations between all variables used in research, before and after controlling for a covariate: Control variables Height cm Self-esteem Weight kg None Height cm 1.
These are the specific points that you need to address in order to make sure that all assumptions have been met:. All of this may sound quite complex. But in reality it is not: you just need to look at your results output to note the Tolerance and VIF values, Durbin-Watson value, and the scatterplot. Once you conclude that your assumptions have been met, you write something like:. Since none of the VIF values were below 0. Durbin-Watson statistics fell within an expected range, thus indicating that the assumption of no autocorrelation of residuals has been met as well. Finally, the scatterplot of standardised residual on standardised predicted value did not funnel out or curve, and thus the assumptions of linearity and homoscedasticity have been met as well.
If your assumptions have not been met, you need to dig a bit deeper and understand what this means. A good idea would be to read the chapter on regression and especially the part about assumptions written by Andy Field. You can access his book here. This will help you understand all you need to know about the assumptions of a regression analysis, how to test them, and what to do if they have not been met.
You have entered height and weight as predictors in the model and self-esteem as a dependent variable. First, you need to report whether the model reached significance in predicting self-esteem scores. Look at the results of an ANOVA analysis in your output and note the F value, degrees of freedom for the model and for residuals, and significance level.
You need to multiply this value by to get a percentage. Thus, if your R 2 value is. This value represents the change in the outcome associated with a unit change in the predictor. Regression coefficients: You can report all these results in the following way:. For every increase in height by 1 cm, self-esteem increased by. Reporting the results of a chi-square analysis As we have seen, correlation and regression are done when all your variables are continuous. Chi-square analysis, which is what we will describe here, is done when all your variables are categorical.
Then you need to report the results of a chi-square test, by noting the Pearson chi-square value, degrees of freedom, and significance value. You can see all these in your output. You report these values by indicating the actual value and the associated significance level. Make sure to include the new points in your outline. The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue. Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question.
Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results. In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to. This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results.
If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes.
Table of contents
If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data. This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity.
At this point, you'll restate the research questions and you will discuss the results you found, explaining the direction they led you to. In other words, you'll answer those questions. In the final chapter of the dissertation, you will summarize the study and you'll briefly report the results.
How to Write a Thesis
Don't forget that you have to explain how your findings make a difference in the academic community and how they are implied in practice. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take.
Use the recommended citation style for your field of study, and make sure to include all sources you used during the research and writing stages. You'll need another timeline, but this one will be focused on the writing process. Plan how to complete your dissertation chapter by chapter. When you have attainable goals, it will be easier for you to write the project without getting overwhelmed by its length and complexity. There is no life-changing advice to give at this point. You just need to stay away from distractions, stick to your timeline, follow the outline, and complete the first draft.
You already have what it takes; now you're ready to do the real work. Now that you've completed the first draft of the paper, you can relax. Don't even think about dissertation editing as soon as you finish writing the last sentence. You need to take some time away from the project, so make sure to leave space of at least few days between the writing and editing stage.
When you come back to it, you'll be able to notice most of its flaws. There is a substantial difference between editing and proofreading : editing is focused on the essence, and proofreading is focused on the form of the paper. You need to deal with the essence first, since it would be silly to proofread the dissertation to perfection and then start getting rid of unnecessary parts and adding more details. Pay attention to the logical connection between each argument.
Are there any gaps in information? Fill them in with more details you collected through the research stage. Maybe you got carried away with the explanations at some point? Make sure to reduce the volume of those parts and clarify them as much as possible.
Writing your dissertation introduction, conclusion and abstract
Directors of Graduate Studies and other employers may be pretty sympathetic to this desire to schedule your best hours for your dissertation—after all, the dissertation is your reason for being here and should be your number one priority. So working in a consistent setting can help you not only get great work done in discrete sessions but also pull together ideas from past work and use them constructively.
So practice working elsewhere, and at other times. Being away from your favorite fountain pen is not an excuse not to write!