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Dissertations - Skills Guide: Results

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Results

What is it?

The purpose of a results section is to clearly present your findings. In most dissertations the results section will include facts, tables, figures, transcript summaries and descriptions of the most important or noteworthy findings (Rudestam and Newton, 2014), but not why the results are important. This advice may differ for some qualitative studies, as they can be discussed as the results are announced. 

 

How do I do it?

Firstly, describe the structure of the results chapter. Then describe your sample, or the characteristics of the object of study. Next, organise your results into a logical order for example: examination of the research question, then examination of any additional questions created from earlier analysis (this may be in themes if you are delivering qualitative results).

 

Only use tables for large amounts of information that can fit in a small space, otherwise create a graph or add it to your appendix. If you are describing small amounts of data you can use a sentence. The APA publication manual (2001) suggested following these rules:

  • 3 or fewer numbers, use a sentence,
  • 4 to 20 numbers, use a table,
  • more than 20 numbers, use a graph or figure. 

 

What you are expected to include in your results can vary depending on the topic you have undertaken, or the data you have collected. Your supervisors may be able to help you understand the approach you might take. 

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