How to Write a Dissertation (2018) ~ The Findings or Results Section
John | June 5, 2012
Sometimes the findings or results section of a dissertation comes in the same chapter as the main discussion. You will need to check with your supervisor what your university department’s rules are regarding these two sections. Whatever the case, there should be two sections if they are in the same chapter; one for the findings or results and the other for the discussion of those findings or results.
In the introductory paragraph of this section you should state how you are going to present your findings or results. First of all you should present your statistics or other data concisely and use sub-headings in this chapter unless this is expressly forbidden in your university’s rules. Remember that you should put any previously published statistics and others that are not of primary importance into the Appendices section of your dissertation.
You should mention both positive and negative results, but save the interpretation of these for the next section of your dissertation. You will need to think of yourself as a barrister, presenting his/her case before a jury. What you need to do here is to present sufficient details which allow readers to make their own inferences and construct their own explanations – don’t be didactic.
Your key findings should be stated at the beginning of each paragraph in a topic sentence. You will need to describe the nature of the findings or results, but not say if they are significant or not. Allow the reader to formulate his/her own opinions regarding your findings.
Don’t worry if you think your results or findings section is short. You can make observations about your findings or results, but you shouldn’t attempt to interpret them in this section- wait for your discussion section to do this.
You want this section of your dissertation to be easy for the reader to follow, so don’t be tempted to go into a lengthy debate with yourself over an interpretation of your findings. Stick to observations only which are clear and concise. This section of your dissertation is arguably the easiest for you to write. If you have problems with this section discuss them with your tutor and if necessary a statistician in another of the university’s departments.
Tags: dissertation, How To
Category: Dissertation Writing Guide
Step 5: Writing And Presenting Your Findings
The key to successfully writing your paper is organization (writing skills help, too!). Here are some tips that may be helpful:
- You should have a clear idea of your research hypothesis by now. Make sure that this is stated clearly at the beginning of your paper (or presentation).
- Summarize the articles you have collected, identifying the main points. If you have made a photocopy of an article or book chapter, highlight the sentences or paragraphs that are most applicable to your topic.
- Start writing the sections that are clearest to you (these don’t always have to be written in order). Provide background information and then add your supporting ideas.
- Once you start writing you will be able to identify areas where you still need more information. You can then develop a new targeted search strategy to retrieve more information. Your concepts may be much narrower than at the beginning stages of your research.
- Make sure that you have the correct citations for all of your resources (don’t wait until the last minute on this one).
The format of your writing will differ depending on the expectations for the research.
It is important to provide information on where you obtained the information that was used in your research.
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Cite your references
An important part of presenting your research is to acknowledge the sources you used to gather the information. One way of organizing your references is to use bibliographic management software. This software allows you to create your own files of references and can assist you in formatting them according to the publication style you are using. Three of the most popular programs are ProCite, Reference Manager and EndNote.
Papers that are written by students for courses at MSASS must adhere to the format created by the American Psychological Association (APA). Copies of the print version of The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association are on reserve in the Harris Library.
Note: Don’t forget to spell-check and proofread your document. You need to do both. They are NOT the same thing.
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Present your research
The presentation of research can take many formats, although typically a paper or report will be written to summarize the findings. Often, in addition to a written report, the research needs to be presented to classmates, colleagues or another audience. Sometimes you want to include an audiovisual aid in your presentation. The Harris Library has an extensive video collection on a number of topics relating to social work and social welfare.
Increasingly, presentation software is being used in group settings to share the main ideas of a project. A number of websites exist that provide information on how to effectively use presentation software.
Everyone has different comfort levels in front of an audience.
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Books in the Harris Library
Nicol, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Displaying your findings: A practical guide for creating figures, posters, and presentations (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Nicol, A. A. M., & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Presenting your findings: A practical guide for creating tables (6th ed.). Washington, DC : American Psychological Association.