Dissertation Data Analysis
Data analysis is a separate chapter of your dissertation project in which you analyze the data retrieved from your experiment or research. If you use quantitative methods of analysis, then you will need to present numerical data. If you have undertaken a qualitative project, then you will need to share the codes and themes derived from the original study. The major part of your data analysis chapter will include the original data you have obtained in the process of carrying out your study. You may need to share large volumes of data with your audience. You will need to do it in ways that are clear and understood by the reader.
At the same time, even if you have conducted a qualitative study, it does not mean that you do not need to be attentive or thorough. Your task is to present and explain everything, without omitting a single detail. If you fail to structure your data analysis section appropriately, it will never lead you to the desired result. Just imagine how frustrated your readers will be if you cannot present a clear argument and use your data to support it. The whole task becomes even more daunting when you have a quantitative study. Particularly when you use sophisticated mathematical models to test your hypotheses, you already know that you will need to go an extra mile to design your data analysis section. You will have to decide how much detail you want to include in the body of your dissertation and how much of it will become an Appendix.
Quantitative Data Analysis Techniques
Speaking of quantitative data analysis techniques, you will certainly need to use graphic illustrations in the form of charts, graphs, diagrams, and so on. They can make the whole text easier for understanding and reading. However, you will need to achieve the right balance of text and graphics. Make sure that your data analysis section is not overloaded with unnecessary information that may bore your readers. Moreover, if you fail to consider the needs and academic level of your target audience, you will not be able to produce a great piece of dissertation writing.
It is quite possible that your dissertation project will rely on qualitative analyses. Contemporary researchers enjoy the benefits of qualitative designs. They use new qualitative instruments such as narrative interviews and focus groups to gather and process primary data. However, while quantitative studies require extensive use of graphs and tables, qualitative data must be appropriately presented according to the themes and codes that were identified while analyzing it.
In any case, quantitative and qualitative data must be analyzed according to the goals and questions posed by the researcher. For example, you have three research questions that need to be answered as part of your study. You will gather data to address each of these questions, and these clusters of data will be processed and analyzed separately from each other. This way you will give your reader a sense of logic and understanding. You will be able to tie your research analysis to the design and methods of your study. You will be able to provide a compelling argument and prove that you have answered each and every question in your study. For example, if it is a quantitative study, you will need to include the results of your calculations. If it is a qualitative study, then you will have to provide evidence from interviews or quote your field notes. The exact structure of the data analysis section will vary, depending on your design and method.
Do not make a mistake and do not turn your dissertation into a thorough analysis of qualitative interviews or responses. It is not a fiction story. It is not a documentary review of your respondents' lives. Everything should be reasonable and balanced. Your task is to highlight the key aspects of research and include the most salient and outstanding data. Be very selective. Imagine what your readers will like or dislike. Consider your target audience, the level of their development and literacy, their professional qualifications and knowledge of the subject.
You do not need to include all calculations and all interview transcripts. Just make sure that you summarize the most important results and analyze them meticulously. Do not include too many appendices. Their number should not exceed 20-22 for the whole dissertation. If you are writing your project for a commercial enterprise or a company, you may also include some useful company data. These are just some of the basic conventions you may follow when crafting your data analysis section.