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
For instance, you would use MANOVA when testing whether male versus female participants (independent variable) show a different determination to read a romantic novel (dependent variable) and a determination to read a crime novel (dependent variable).
When reporting the results, you first need to notice whether the so-called Box’s test and Levene’s test are significant. These tests assess two assumptions: that there is an equality of covariance matrices (Box’s test) and that there is an equality of variances for each dependent variable (Levene’s test).
Both tests need to be non-significant in order to assess whether your assumptions are met. If the tests are significant, you need to dig deeper and understand what this means. Once again, you may find it helpful to read the chapter by Andy Field on MANOVA, which can be accessed here.
Following this, you need to report your descriptive statistics, as outlined previously. Here, you are reporting the means and standard deviations for each dependent variable, separately for each group of participants. Then you need to look at the results of “multivariate analyses”.
You will notice that you are presented with four statistic values and associated F and significance values. These are labelled as Pillai’s Trace, Wilks’ Lambda, Hotelling’s Trace, and Roy’s Largest Root. These statistics test whether your independent variable has an effect on the dependent variables. The most common practice is to report only the Pillai’s Trace. You report the results in the same manner as reporting ANOVA, by noting the F value, degrees of freedom (for hypothesis and error), and significance value.
However, you also need to report the statistic value of one of the four statistics mentioned above. You can label the Pillai’s Trace statistic with V, the Wilks’ Lambda statistic with A, the Hotelling’s Trace statistic with T, and Roy’s Largest Root statistic with Θ (but you need report only one of them).
Finally, you need to look at the results of the Tests of Between-Subjects Effects (which you will see in your output). These tests tell you how your independent variable affected each dependent variable separately. You report these results in exactly the same way as in ANOVA.
Here’s how you can report all results from MANOVA:
Males were less determined to read the romantic novel (M = 4.11, SD = .58) when compared to females (M = 7.11, SD = .43). Males were also more determined to read the crime novel (M = 8.12. SD = .55) than females (M = 5.22, SD = .49). Using Pillai’s Trace, there was a significant effect of gender on the determination to read the romantic and crime novel (V = 0.32, F (4,54) = 2.56, p = .004). Separate univariate ANOVAs on the outcome variables revealed that gender had a significant effect on both the determination to read the romantic novel (F(2,27) = 9.73, p = .003) and the determination to read the crime novel (F(2,27) = 5.23, p = .038).