Structuring your data report The expectation of many readers is that the data report section of the PhD thesis will define your work and highlight its originality and even its uniqueness. Such readers may be impressed by the depth of analysis within your literature review or the quality of your research design, but arguably, what will interest them most will be the research findings themselves and your interpretation and analysis of what you have found. Some writers consider this to be the most complex and demanding element of the PhD thesis, while others such as Dornyei (2007: 280) believe that it is relatively straightforward because there are well-established formats to guide writers. However, while there may be agreed formats in certain disciplinary areas, difficult choices may need to be made in others. There are a number of potential danger areas to consider: The quantity of data collected may cause some writers to feel that they are blocked at the very beginning of the reporting exercise. The report and accompanying analysis may fail to do justice to the quality of the data collected. If key findings are not clearly highlighted, the reader may become lost amidst all of the detail. It may be difficult to achieve a clear structure for the narrative element and coherence for both narrative and analysis. To provide a clear structure for the data report, there is sometimes an assumption that a PhD thesis should contain a ‘results’ chapter, as is often the case at Master’s level.
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- Reporting and Analysing Research Findings
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