How to Write Qualitative Results Section in Your Dissertation

You have completed the gargantuan task of doing research for your dissertation. Now you have to analyse data and compose the results section of your dissertation. Analysing data may seem tedious and monotonous to you and consequently leads to procrastination. This blog can provide you with useful tips to make your job of writing up qualitative data easier. 

Understand the basics of your research

Undoubtedly reporting qualitative results is much easier than writing up quantitative results as it is devoid of statistics and numerical data. Before taking the plunge, you should mull over the ways you used to conduct your qualitative research such as interviews, observations and focus groups. 

How to report interviews results?

A thematic approach is used to analyse qualitative data if it is collected by interviews. Transcribe interviews, read them thoroughly, assign codes to common phrases and jargons. For example, you interviewed young people to know the reasons for alcohol intake. Interview questions were divided into three themes: reasons for starting alcohol, reasons for continuing to liquor, and reasons for quitting drinking. Now you will explore data to decide subthemes for each section/reason/theme. 

Assume that people reported the following reasons for starting alcohol: they wanted to try something new, they started it due to peer pressure, their parents modelled drinking behaviour, and alcohol reduces stress. You have five sub themes within “Reasons for starting alcohol”. Now you have to describe findings for each sub theme that best describes your subtheme. 

For instance, several participants reported that they started alcohol due to peer pressure. One participant said: “I often had to visit on a business trip to meet my delegates to discuss marketing strategies. All my delegates were fond of drinking. It was very awkward for me to have nothing or a glass of juice. So I thought if I start drinking, I’ll be able to maintain my status with theirs.” 

How to report observation results?

You have to analyse a particular behaviour if your research revolves around observations. First you need to categorise your observations that you can use as themes in your results section, and then you will put the conversation. Here is an example of an observation from pharmacist patient consultation. 

Pharmacist: We are going to start a stop smoking clinic.

Patient: Is it over now? Can I go?

Pharmacist: No, it is a part of the interview. You can’t go away.

Patient: Okay

In the above example, the pharmacist picked up from the patient’s reaction to “stop smoking clinic” that he was receptive to advice about quitting smoking at that age. So by outlining the conversation, you can thematise the behaviour of an individual. In above case, it can be “A reluctance towards quit smoking”. 

How to report focus group results?

The data collected from a focus group is analysed the same way as the data obtained through interviews. For example, you conducted an interview of a group to know the reasons why some people join MNCs over private companies and vice versa. At the time of transcribing the collected data, you will analyse lots of reasons for each situation. So before reporting results, you will categorise two themes/sections. One will be “Why people prefer MNCs over private companies” and another will be “Why people prefer private companies over MNCs”. You will heedfully read all reasons and fit them under each section/theme. 

Remember, the key is: don't stretch it too long, keep it precise, organized and interesting.

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