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How to Write a Dissertation Results Chapter

What is a Dissertation Results Chapter?

One of the key things to understand about the results chapter of the dissertation is that you are not presenting all of your data. Rather, what you are trying to do is to organise and present the data in a certain way for the reader to understand. These are two distinct steps. Most dissertations will probably collect way more results than are possible to (or even relevant) to show. Hence you need to work out what the key results are. So, seeing as the actual analysis of data takes place prior to the written thesis, you need to tell the reader what you have done by reporting on the analysis process. One, very common way to do this would be to go back and work out your results according to the research questions. There are other ways of organising the data depending on the kind of research paradigm at play. If for example you conducted a survey you would present the data according to the questions that you asked. Essentially, you need to think about how to organise the data so that your reader can process them in clear and digestible chunks. Perhaps you might arrange the data chronologically, in the order that the results emerged. If you are looking at your results thematically, however, you may decide to present the source data by theme.

In the results section of a dissertation we want to convey our data in the most accessible form, making them easier for the reader to understand. This means that the results can potentially be a highly visual chapter of your work. This is an important concern. You need to think about interesting ways of presenting this data so that your reader can process it visually as well as through the mediation you give in the text. So, you might want to present data in boxes with narrative profiles of your participants, tables with themes, descriptions, diagrams, graphs, images, or whatever else might service your objectives. You want to think creatively about how best to present the data so it is clear, comprehensible and engaging. There are many different ways to present data in interesting and creative ways. Search and read through other dissertations and published papers to find good examples. Remember, your tables and figures should be understandable without reading the rest of the thesis. If you were to present the table or the graph in isolation, the reader should be able to understand what the question was and what the result is.

Prose Style

The results need to be written in a particular way. At this stage your focus should be descriptive, on describing your main findings. Your objective is to show the results of your analysis. Here you absolutely must employ precise language. How much attention you pay to precision and accuracy is what will give your reader confidence in your results.

Structure

In terms of structure for this chapter, start with a paragraph and not with a visual representation of the data. Make sure you show relevant tables and figures after they are mentioned in the text. At the beginning of the results section, explain any missing data or problems with collecting the data, then explain the main result and address your hypothesis. After that, explain all other trends in the data which might be interesting to the reader.

To recap, the dissertation results section describes the findings of the research, any problems you encountered with the data, the main result of the research, as well as any other interesting trends you identified in the data. The results chapter should only contain the outcomes of the experiment. Do not write your interpretation of the data in this section. Interpretation of the meaning of the results is addressed in the discussion chapter.

Struggling with a Dissertation Results Chapter? 

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