If a few days ago we talked about the bibliographic review and the state of the art as the fundamental theoretical part of our thesis; Today we will address the other large part that complements and constitutes our final thesis or thesis: the results. Overall, the results are the entire empirical section of our thesis in which we are going to capture the new information, which we have obtained in our research.
With regard to this, it is important to remember that one of the main characteristics of an investigation (be it undergraduate, master or doctorate) is the relevance and novelty of the results & write essay today. This implies that we have to contribute new knowledge, reach results that no one has previously achieved (or at least, not under the same methodology, theoretical framework, geographical location, study group or sample).
Therefore, the results are a fundamental section in our thesis. That is why they must be presented in a clear, structured, orderly manner, and must be interesting in content for other researchers who read it.
To do this, we will make some recommendations that, as always, you should adapt to your discipline, way of working and your research in particular.
The results are usually a large part that can be divided into different chapters or sections (depending on the length of our thesis). The general structure of the results is as follows: 1) presentation, 2) analysis and 3) discussion. This structure is based on the premise of going from the raw data to the greater complexity of the same, and finally the recognition of the limitations and the doors that the data open for future research.
The presentation of results allows us to present the information that we have collected and analyzed without too much interpretation, without relating the data to the theoretical framework or the results. This is especially so in quantitative methodology, where graphs and tables with descriptive statistics and ANOVAs predominate. The reason for this is that the evaluator or the reader can obtain the basic information about our contribution to the research topic that we are analyzing, and that we have previously contextualized and relieved its importance in the theoretical framework.
This section can be organized according to the different hypotheses or objectives that we have proposed in the methodological section, so that the results appear in the same order as the hypotheses and objectives. You can include small descriptions or footnotes in which the content of the different tables and graphs is explained.
In qualitative research, the presentation will correspond more to the fragments or verbatims that we have selected to assemble categories or illustrate the selected speeches. Thus, we would use excerpts from interviews, documents, focus groups or field notebooks that account for each of the categories, interpretive repertoires or intelligibility frames of our results.
The analysis of the results no longer consists of the mere description of the tables, graphs or fragments; but rather in the fabric that we are building by linking the previous raw results with the theories, concepts, authors, hypotheses and objectives raised in the previous chapters of our thesis.
For example, in a quantitative research, a graph of the average age at which executives reach management positions will not mean the same if we position ourselves under a gender framework as if we do so under a leadership framework. For the first, the emphasis of the analysis will make us tie the average age (previously presented as raw data) with the differences between men and women to become a leader.
For the second, we will insist on weaving the personal characteristics and the position occupied with the age that one had when reaching the position of leader.
Without being a priori one investigation better than the other, we can see how the underlying theoretical framework or the objectives will lead us to spin the results in one direction or another totally different.
The discussion of the results is the third and final stage. Although the presentation and the analyzes are usually included under the same section or chapter; the discussion is usually a separate section (which sometimes appears accompanying the conclusions).
In this, the purpose is (as its name indicates) to discuss our results, for this, we can answer the following questions:
What contribution do our results make to the bibliographic review that we presented in the first chapters?
With which authors, theories or concepts does our results align, corroborate or contradict? What limitations or to what extent can our results be applicable based on the methodology, the sample or the time we have dedicated to it?
Based on our results, what possibilities open up for further research in the future?
These, although they are not the only ones, are some of the guidelines that can help you to elaborate the discussions of your results.
The exception of qualitative methodology
In qualitative methodology, although the script that we have just explained may help you, it is true that the presentation and the analysis are usually intermixed, constituting a single general section of results (the discussions, as we have already said, would be a separate chapter or section) . Therefore, in qualitative methodology, the results would be made up of different sections (categories, themes, interpretive repertoires, speeches …).
In each of these sections, firstly, we would present the content of the section (what is this category about?) And later intersperse a fragment (of an interview, document, focus group …) with the analysis (that process of spinning in which we are alluding to concepts, theories and authors that we have explained in the bibliographic review and that help us to fulfill the general and specific objectives of our thesis). Depending on the thesis, each category would have about three or four fragments with their corresponding spinning process. And so we would proceed with each category.
In this post, we provide you with some general guidelines that can help you to present, analyze and discuss your results. A general piece of advice that can help you to familiarize yourself with this process is to consult in the institutional repository of your university other than theses of your department or school. Not so much to know the research topic (which can also be useful) but to understand the structure and organization that other people have made of their results.
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