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How long did it take to get your Dissertation results back?

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Lecturers - How long on average does it take you to mark a dissertation?

how long to get dissertation results

Pretty much that, I have a masters dissertation I’ll be submitting end of month. I had my old head of school (top 10 uni) glance over it and they seemed pleased with what I had done, but I know they hadn’t meticulously read it and I’m not sure how much I can trust their judgement. So I started to wonder how closely markers read dissertations, so I can kind of gauge how accurate her judgement is.

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Depends - but most departments will double mark (i.e. 2 people will mark it separately) and then the two markers will have to agree. If their individual marks differ, then the two need to agree on how to reconcile the difference - and then justify it. How long it takes to mark a dissertation depends (esp. on the length, discipline, topic, how familiar the marker is with the material), but a 10,000-word dissertation might take 30-45 mins. Having said that, it's rare that a thorough read changes the impression of a dissertation by much - it's usually pretty clear which grading band a work falls into after a quick read (at least in my field). It the work is on the boundary of two classes though, it could take more thought.

At least an hour and a half, if I supervised it and am fairly familiar with the content. More if I'm blind marking or if it raises concerns or questions. Probably 3 hours max.

Would I catch every reference error? No and I don't care much. Will I pick up on inconsistencies , sloppy argument, methods issues ? Absolutely. The hour is because I'm experienced and a very quick reader.

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How long does it take to receive the result after submitting the amendment (post viva)?

Hi, I did my viva in July, 2015, and was given major amendment to do. In the viva, the examiners said they gave me this result was based on their thinking of I may have new things to do after this viva ( Though, this point did not persuade me). But I did the amendment and submitted my thesis last month. Now it has been 4 weeks since I submitted it, I did not hear anything from the university, and started feeling very odd. Could anyone share the experience of how long did it take you to receive your PhD result after submitting your thesis? Should I email the university regarding this? Cheers Jerry

I think it took me 3 days to get the corrections approved by the internal (I doubt he bothered to check them). Then it took another few days to get confirmation from the school that the corrections were approved and then it was another 6 weeks til the exam board met and confirmed the result and then I got my certificate after graduation. I would email the university or examiner that is approving them and ask for an update. Check in your school handbook whether you are allowed to contact the examiner first though.

It varies a lot, depending on the examiners and the particular university procedures. I heard after 2 months, via a note from my supervisor saying that the examiners had decided to pass me without any further corrections. The formal confirmation and report took another couple of weeks to arrive.

Thank you, TreefLife and Gwen86 for sharing your experience. I emailed the research office in my uni. The answer is that they contacted the examiner last week and hope to hear from them during the next two weeks. This means that my thesis was kept by the uni for four weeks without sending to the examiners or making me aware of this. The whole PhD experience to me is just odd- seems no regulation. After I submitting my amendment to the uni, none of my supervisors/advisors have been in contact with me. I just do not understand this, either. Stressful indeed. anyone got the same situation before?

Hi, guys I think it is best for me to update my PhD result status, which may sounds funny. But, no I have not received any result, and it has been 11 weeks from the date I submitted to the research office. I have contacted another twice, the reply are the same formate: for example, you will hear the result on the 23th of Febuary, then when the time reached the 23th of February, no result. Then I contacted the research office again, the reply is the same, you will hear the result, for example on the 10th of March, then on the 10th of March, nothing received. Are there any other PhD students having/have had similar experience like this? or could offer some suggestion for this situation?

I was given major corrections - resubmitted last November and didn't get the result until February I'm a solid 3 month wait. I have now been given minor revisions (the saga never ends!!) Good luck to you - I hope you get your result soon as I know how agonising the wait can be. You put your life on hold as you can't be sure when that result is going to come through. Let me know how you get on! :)

i contacted the research office last week, 3 months plus one week since I submitted the amendment - no result. The staff told me that the internal examiner still has not get back to her. I then asked how about the external examiner, the staff told me that the external examiner has accelerated my amendment, which is a good news. Now only wait for the internal examiner. to be honest, I am confused, why the internal would like to delay me. my university chit of degree committee emailed me before that after submitting my amendment there is only two possible result : pass and be awarded to the degree; not pass and not be warded the degree. There is not minor correction.

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Just got my dissertation grade back and I am gutted :-(

Icanonlytry · 28/01/2012 15:56


msrisotto · 28/01/2012 16:01

Can you investigate it and dispute it? If it is so out of character, it is worth looking into.

Mytholmroyd · 28/01/2012 16:03


LineRunner · 28/01/2012 16:08


Icanonlytry · 28/01/2012 16:40

LineRunner · 28/01/2012 17:02

Mytholmroyd · 28/01/2012 23:46

There should be separate reports from each of your markers and then an agreed feedback sheet to you. I would ask to see them (they cannot be witheld if you ask) as it might throw up discrepancies, or suggest, as Linerunner says that one of them hasnt read it properly. Normally UG dissertations are not marked externally as a matter of course but you can ask for it to go to a third internal marker as far as I know - most departments would do this. However, it would be better for you if you can put forward some reasons why you believe it deserved more than a 2:2 rather than just complaining. TBH if I marked a dissertation at 56% it would be quite poor and I would need to provide significant reasons why it was marked so low. I know its hard doing this with an infant - I've been there and you have my sympathies - but after three years you cant throw it away. Ask for an extension and then as Linerunner says, ask on here - its surprising how varied the knowledge is!

Icanonlytry · 29/01/2012 10:27


Mytholmroyd · 29/01/2012 23:23

campergirls · 29/01/2012 23:32

I am a lecturer (not in your field) and I agree with Mytholmroyd, it sounds like there is a big mismatch between the comments and the grade. In my field, a 56 for a dissertation would have comments that were more along the lines of 'your literature review demonstrated some familiarity with the field but the range of sources cited was too narrow and lacked engagement with theoretical perspectives' etc. I would get hold of a copy of the assessment criteria, map the comments against them, and query this. IME most students get their best mark for their dissertation, and it is very unusual for the mark to fall this far below their average. If it's not that an error has been made in marking it, then you might well have grounds for complaint about the adequacy of your supervision.

ReduceRecycleRegift · 29/01/2012 23:37

when I was choosing my title my supervisor said that certain types of dissertations cannot be marked high because the marking criteria was biased to other types so you could do a flawless lit based dissertation but never get a first in it because the criteria is aimed more at lab/field/survey based ones does that ring any bells?

Icanonlytry · 29/01/2012 23:59

Fraktal · 30/01/2012 09:20

I imagine that leadership doesn't need to be you leading but also being led, if that helps? The reflective account do you have notes of things you've done? As its reflective it can be based in the past and ML would be an understandable reason for it to be a fairly long time ago.

tabulahrasa · 30/01/2012 09:33


Charlotteperkins · 30/01/2012 17:37

There are quite a few books on reflective writing, if that helps.

ElaineC77 · 30/05/2014 20:14

I have just received my UG dissertation result and I am devastated. The feedback has not been issued yet but I got 58% and this is 20% lower than my marks for the rest of the year. In the days leading upto the deadline I had a massive dispute with the old programme leader regarding the supervision and I feel really sabotaged... Surely I can't have got 20% less in this assignment than every other assignment this year! I was predicted a first class degree and now it's down the drain.....

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Need Dissertation Results Help? Here Is How the Gurus Will Help

When you are preparing the dissertation, it is a sign that you are now coming towards the end of your education at that level of study. It is an important paper that determines if you are allowed to graduate or not. Therefore, you need to take the task as a priority. You are likely to feel dejected if you are not allowed to graduate because your dissertation does not meet the standards of your school.

Every section of the dissertation is crucial and should be handled properly. This includes the results section. It is the part that presents your findings on the research you carried out. In most cases, it has figures. The results should be presented in such a way that the readers can comprehend what you are out to communicate.

In most cases, the students do not have the expertise as to how they should present that information to the professors. Some decide to ask their friends for help. However, that rarely goes well as most of your classmates may not have the expertise required for such tasks either. Therefore, you may be forced to seek a professional writing agency to assist. Here, you are also likely to encounter agencies that do not have the writers who are competent enough for the caliber of paper you need. At such a point you are likely to become confused as to what you need to do. Is there any hope for those who need help writing results section dissertation? Fortunately, our company stands out in this regard. Whenever you want your work to be easier as far as the dissertation is concerned, place your order here.

What Are the Results of a Dissertation?

When you write a dissertation , you are out to find out something. You cannot just come of nowhere and that you found out something without going out to do research. The results are composed of the data that you obtain in the field or from the secondary sources. The source of the data differs depending on the specific topic that you are dealing with. The results can be obtained by observing how the given phenomenon operates, conducting surveys and doing interviews if the research involves humans

When you conduct qualitative research, the results that you obtain are also qualitative. In this case, your sole intention is to get more understanding of the various opinions, justifications and the motive behind the behavior of a phenomenon. In this case, figures are not used.

With quantitative research, the student is out to allocate a figure to a given phenomenon. These are the most common results in dissertations. Therefore, numerical data is used. Various methods can be used to collect the data such as conducting online polls, interviewing those involved face-to-face or through the telephone.

Tips on How to Present the Results Appropriately

The result section is the most important part of the document since it displays what you have obtained in your research. At this point, you still do not need to do any analysis. First, you need to organize your data properly. It is important to choose the part of the result that has a significant contribution to the subject of discussion. Therefore, you first need to sort the data.

Do not overwhelm the readers either. However, that does not mean that you should leave out any information. Just make the section easy to read and understand. Given that humans are visual beings, it is proper if you present the results in tables and graphs for easier comprehension of the intended message. All the tables and graphs should be properly labeled so that any reader can clearly understand the information being passed across.

Tables are nice because they organize the information in rows and columns that the readers can easily follow and understand the variation in the phenomenon under study. Where possible, you can also use pictures. Graphs are also important where there is a need to show trends. Each figure used should come with a proper description of what it contains.

Things to Avoid in the Results Section

At this point, you do not need to interpret the results you have. That should be left for the discussion part. However, you are allowed to give a comparison with the results obtained for the research of a similar nature conducted previously.

There are also those who do not include the results that pass a contrary message as to what was intended by the research. That is unprofessional. Include such results and give the reasons for the deviation in the discussion section. If anything, the negative results give you an opportunity to write a more engaging discussion section.

Some students also include raw data without consulting the professor. That is inappropriate. It is recommended that you should sort the information obtained from the field before you write it in the dissertation. That does not mean that you should include any information that is not factual just because you need something that favors your point of view. You should always ensure that the data that you include is as factual as possible.

Common Challenges that Students Face with Such Tasks

For those who are expected to write the results section for the first time, they do not have the experience as to how they should organize the information they have. As a result, they may come up with content that looks haphazard. The first remedy for such a problem is to seek clarification from your professor as to what you should do. They are more experienced and understand what you need in such situations. There are your classmates who also understand the concepts better and can explain to you what you need to know. Moreover, there are also samples of similar researches that you can look at. Go to the library and search for them. However, you should use the information that you obtain online cautiously since you cannot be sure about the reliability of their dissertation results section.

Time constraints also affect most students. Given the details that you are expected to include here, you may have to spend much time in this section. There are cases where you can even take several days just sorting the results you have. At the same time, you may have other assignments that you are expected to complete within a short time. There are also many students who have to work as they study. That means that attending to the needs of the dissertation become hard. If you write the paper in a hurry, you are likely to miss much relevant information. An improperly prepared or an incomplete paper means that you cannot get a high grade. Therefore, you may have to look for professional help when you are unsure of the paper quality that you can generate.

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how long to get dissertation results

How long should it take to publish your dissertation?

how long to get dissertation results

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Publishing your dissertation is an integral part of building an academic career. There are, however, several ways to do so, and each should be evaluated in terms of your short- and long-term goals and the time you have available.

Let’s imagine

Let’s imagine that you have taken a smooth, predictable path through graduate school: you did the coursework, had your proposal accepted, conducted your research, wrote up your findings and defended them.

Along the way, you’ve presented your research on panels at academic conferences , held court among your colleagues at workshops in your department, and received feedback from your dissertation committee.

You’ve even demonstrated your unique contribution to the field in some of the many job talks you’ve been invited to at universities where you have applied for a teaching position.

You are frantically packing to leave for your new position at a vibrant institution in an eclectic town where  you’ve always want to live. Stop. Don’t hide your dissertation papers too far down in the boxes: it’s not over yet. You need to publish your dissertation to make it work for you.

When does the clock start?

The clock for measuring how long it takes to publish your dissertation could theoretically start ticking from the moment you submit your dissertation proposal , but that would be too intimidating, too disheartening. Moving from proposal to defence takes, on average, two years alone. Instead, let’s start the clock once you have submitted your thesis and successfully completed a final oral examination in your defence.

Depending on whether you choose to publish segments of your dissertation as journal articles or believe the main part of your work warrants a book, it could take anywhere from six to twelve months and up to three years or more.

Here are some steps to consider along the way:

Step 1: Take a break

Amount of time: 2-4 weeks.

At some point, you probably had to put the blinders on and just forge ahead with your dissertation. Then, there was the exhausting push to the end. Now, consider stepping away from it for at least a month. If you can, find a tropical island or an anonymous big city, turn off your smartphone and relax. Once the champagne bubbles begin to settle, you’ve caught up with good friends you might have neglected, and returned all your books to the library, take a deep breath and begin again.

Step 2: Decide which format

Amount of time: 2 weeks.

There are several criteria to help you decide   the journal article(s) route or the academic book route. (A lesser travelled path is to publish your work as a book for general audiences, but this tends to be more of a mid-career accomplishment.)

To accurately estimate the length of time it will take, you need to consider what format you are aiming for and which publisher is most appealing. Do your research:

Speak to dissertation committee professors, peers and colleagues about the various options.

You may have previously contacted editors at academic conferences – dig out your notes to refresh yourself on advice or feedback they may have offered.

Step 3: Find the right publisher

If, indeed, you did halt your reading while writing your thesis, start again now. Read a few books or articles in your field, or at least in the topic area where you think you might publish. Identify which journals or publishing houses are hosting this work.

Go through your thesis literature review with a fine-tooth comb and make a list of journals and books where your peers have published. Add this information to make a hit list. (You may be delighted to know that this will likely be the last time you look at this section of your dissertation because it will be eliminated when you revise the manuscript, whether it’s for an article or a book.)

Find the publisher’s website and read what they have to say to prospective authors and how they describe their submission policies and procedures. This may give you a good sense of a specific timeline between submission and publication.

Step 4: Revise your thesis

Amount of time: 1-6 months.

Dissertation writing and writing for a journal article or a book is radically different .

You will need to write, review, write, and review some more. If you find you are too close to your work, consider joining a writing support group, which many universities offer, or find a professional workshop .

If you are aiming for a book, there are many tips on how to reshape a thesis for this mode. You will be dropping your literature review and your methodology section for certain, and you will need to change your tone and language to appeal to a broader audience.

If a journal article or set of articles is your goal, most of your effort will need to be on isolating particular topics that can stand alone and then writing to match the style of the journal you are targeting.

Step 5: Submit

Amount of time: 1 week.

Make sure you abide by the guidelines included on the publisher’s website. Dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s” – there’s nothing quite like being an editor and having a manuscript come across your desk with typos.

Remember, too; it is considered unethical to submit the same work to multiple publishers simultaneously.

Step 6: Wait

Amount of time: 4-6 weeks if you are extraordinarily lucky, or 4-8 months on average

The time spent on this step differs if you go through peer review or straight to open access. Open access, by its very nature, is faster. And the peer critique and feedback follows publication.

However, for the traditional peer review process, the time between submission and acceptance can be drawn out. Your manuscript needs to go via the editor to an editorial board that is allocated to a group of reviewers. From there, the editor relies on reviewers, who do this work voluntarily, to meet their commitments in a timely fashion. Next comes a report back to the editor, who feeds back to you along with reviewer reports.

Having a book published will typically take even longer.

Step 7: Revise and resubmit

Amount of time: 1 week – 1 month; 3 – 6 months for a book.

Once your reviews come back, it is, naturally, up to you to see how much time you can allocate. You are likely to be teaching, so you will have to organise your time efficiently. Or, perhaps you are spending more time developing a decent work-life balance and having personal or family commitments you enjoy. Whatever it takes, though, once you have reviews in hand, make a plan and get it done.

If you are working on a journal article, you could take anywhere from a week to a month or two to respond to feedback. A book, of course, may take longer. And there may be a few rounds of editing, rewriting and proofing. Resubmit and go to Step 8.

If your first submission is rejected, you can now revise and send it to the next journal or book publisher on your list. It is probably worth your while to review the comments and integrate them into your next draft. Resubmit and go to Step 5.

At this stage, you are probably on your own in terms of the writing process, hopefully just tweaking and polishing. However, a return to a writing group or professional coach might help. Your publisher might also have resources to recommend.

Step 8: Resubmit and wait to publish

Amount of time: 4-6 weeks if you are extraordinarily lucky, or 12-18 months on average.

Resubmit. And wait some more. Until your editor tells you it’s ready to go. Some journals will publish within three months; others have been known to take up to three years. For a book , two years between acceptance and publication is not unusual.

Keep in mind you will probably be involved in proofing the galleys before the final print production stage so keep time aside for that. Then… breathe.

Step 9: Celebrate

Amount of time: 1 night.

Bring out the bubbles again. Rest. Start again.

Key Takeaways

There is no easy answer to – How long it will take? There is so much variability across journals, across fields, and within the book publishing industry.

The short answer is: Work hard, work efficiently, and be patient. 

If you are asking if it’s worth it, the short answer is: Yes. If you want to develop credibility among your colleagues, accelerate your career trajectory, and develop relationships with others in your field, you must get your work into the professional space. And publishing is a crucial way of doing so.

Are you looking for a publishing partner to get you started? Click 👉 here to get in touch , we’d love to see how we can help. 

© Pixabay 2021 / image: Pexels

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How to survive marking dissertations

About a decade ago I clearly remember a colleague and I negotiating marks for a dissertation. And he browbeat me into awarding a higher mark (and therefore degree classification) than I felt was deserved. It's stuck with me – I can even remember the student's name. I should have stuck to my guns and agreed to put it to a third marker.

The whole business of dissertation marking is a fascinating and all too human process. On the face of it, awarding marks should be a predominantly objective procedure. There are assessment and grade criteria, specific headings that students know they need to deliver against – are the aims and objectives clear and tracked through? Does the literature review provide good coverage of existing sources relevant to the dissertation topic? Are the adopted methods explained, appropriate and justified? Does it read well and look 'the biz'?

So in the next few weeks colleagues – including myself – will be hit by a tidal wave of incoming final year undergraduate dissertations. Often these are worth two module credits and can disproportionately weigh in the balance when it comes to determining a final degree award. Typically dissertations are blind double marked. So that each marker judges the work independently and only then discusses with a colleague, the definitive mark to be awarded. At this point there are three outcomes – first, markers are of one mind and agree; second, they pace around like fencers, land a few good arguments and, again, reach a settlement. Third, they disagree so dramatically about the quality of the work and its mark that it must go to a third marker.

How do such divisions arise? There are various reasons: the dissertation adviser will likely have formed a working relationship with the student, and it may be difficult to disentangle things like effort from achievement. Related to this is the fact that where a second marker criticises a submission, the adviser/first marker may not only feel (partly) responsible, but can become defensive as they blur boundaries between marking student work and being drawn in to assessing their own inputs and advice. The key point here is to stick to the evidence and, in particular, to focus on major points such as good literature coverage but very limited primary research; clear articulation and delivery of aims and objectives.

Then there is 'power play'. In my experience the vast majority of cases of mark negotiation are cordial, professional and straightforward. But occasionally you find yourself discussing with a colleague who is determined to 'have their way'. Equally – with substantial numbers of dissertations to assess - you may find yourself uncomfortably at the edge of your known world in terms of expertise. This in turn may lead to overly lenient or punitive marking.

So what to do?

Try to start marking as soon as the dissertations are distributed for marking and – just like student dissertation writers – do a little and often. Personally – whether as a marker or external examiner – I can't cope with more than about four dissertations a day. Beyond which it's hard to know which way is up.

Over about 18 years I have learned that it takes me about 1.5 hours to read a dissertation and write up a report on it. I (and colleagues) use a template with headings such as 'abstract', 'literature review', 'methodology', 'findings and discussion', 'conclusions' (and recommendations where relevant), quality of bibliography and appendices and so on. This helps to ensure that negotiations review the same aspects and sections.

Try to hone in on key points – see the wood for the trees; don't get fixated on every jot and tittle. Is it a good read? Is it professionally turned out? Does it do what it says on the tin – title matches aims and objectives, that then inform methods, that deliver persuasive findings and lead up to reasoned conclusions, that link back to starting objectives?

Remember it's the piece of work you are marking, not the student overall; nor the fact that they worked very hard at it or are delightful. What you see is what they get.

Be clear about whether or not you are allowed to give an agreed mark to the student prior to exam board consideration. At my institution we are not allowed to do this; so we email qualitative feedback that gives a clear nod as to how the wind is blowing. Here's an extract from 2011: "Overall this is an excellent piece of research. Very well done…A beautifully and meticulously presented piece of work that demonstrated an excellent level of endeavour and research. Strengths of your work aside from the clear and methodical layout include…Areas that could be improved…" So, what was the mark? You guessed - a first class 70%+ piece of work.

Double markers should try to agree a mark otherwise it creates more work for another colleague as third marker. But if it does go to a third person, be clear about the procedure – is their decision 'final'? Do the disagreeing colleagues mutually agree a third marker? Or is it the module/course leader that does this? There also needs to be a written trail so that, for example, an external examiner can see how two staff diverged, and how the third decided on the given mark.

Colleagues may like to read my article : Shall we dance? The importance of staff-student relationships to undergraduate dissertation preparation in the journal Active Learning in Higher Education Volume 12 Issue 2, July 2011.

James Derounian is a principal lecturer in community development and local governance and National Teaching Fellow, University of Gloucestershire

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Writing your Dissertation:  Results and Discussion

When writing a dissertation or thesis, the results and discussion sections can be both the most interesting as well as the most challenging sections to write.

You may choose to write these sections separately, or combine them into a single chapter, depending on your university’s guidelines and your own preferences.

There are advantages to both approaches.

Writing the results and discussion as separate sections allows you to focus first on what results you obtained and set out clearly what happened in your experiments and/or investigations without worrying about their implications.This can focus your mind on what the results actually show and help you to sort them in your head.

However, many people find it easier to combine the results with their implications as the two are closely connected.

Check your university’s requirements carefully before combining the results and discussions sections as some specify that they must be kept separate.

Results Section

The Results section should set out your key experimental results, including any statistical analysis and whether or not the results of these are significant.

You should cover any literature supporting your interpretation of significance. It does not have to include everything you did, particularly for a doctorate dissertation. However, for an undergraduate or master's thesis, you will probably find that you need to include most of your work.

You should write your results section in the past tense: you are describing what you have done in the past.

Every result included MUST have a method set out in the methods section. Check back to make sure that you have included all the relevant methods.

Conversely, every method should also have some results given so, if you choose to exclude certain experiments from the results, make sure that you remove mention of the method as well.

If you are unsure whether to include certain results, go back to your research questions and decide whether the results are relevant to them. It doesn’t matter whether they are supportive or not, it’s about relevance. If they are relevant, you should include them.

Having decided what to include, next decide what order to use. You could choose chronological, which should follow the methods, or in order from most to least important in the answering of your research questions, or by research question and/or hypothesis.

You also need to consider how best to present your results: tables, figures, graphs, or text. Try to use a variety of different methods of presentation, and consider your reader: 20 pages of dense tables are hard to understand, as are five pages of graphs, but a single table and well-chosen graph that illustrate your overall findings will make things much clearer.

Make sure that each table and figure has a number and a title. Number tables and figures in separate lists, but consecutively by the order in which you mention them in the text. If you have more than about two or three, it’s often helpful to provide lists of tables and figures alongside the table of contents at the start of your dissertation.

Summarise your results in the text, drawing on the figures and tables to illustrate your points.

The text and figures should be complementary, not repeat the same information. You should refer to every table or figure in the text. Any that you don’t feel the need to refer to can safely be moved to an appendix, or even removed.

Make sure that you including information about the size and direction of any changes, including percentage change if appropriate. Statistical tests should include details of p values or confidence intervals and limits.

While you don’t need to include all your primary evidence in this section, you should as a matter of good practice make it available in an appendix, to which you should refer at the relevant point.

For example:

Details of all the interview participants can be found in Appendix A, with transcripts of each interview in Appendix B.

You will, almost inevitably, find that you need to include some slight discussion of your results during this section. This discussion should evaluate the quality of the results and their reliability, but not stray too far into discussion of how far your results support your hypothesis and/or answer your research questions, as that is for the discussion section.

See our pages: Analysing Qualitative Data and Simple Statistical Analysis for more information on analysing your results.

Discussion Section

This section has four purposes, it should:

The discussion section therefore needs to review your findings in the context of the literature and the existing knowledge about the subject.

You also need to demonstrate that you understand the limitations of your research and the implications of your findings for policy and practice. This section should be written in the present tense.

The Discussion section needs to follow from your results and relate back to your literature review . Make sure that everything you discuss is covered in the results section.

Some universities require a separate section on recommendations for policy and practice and/or for future research, while others allow you to include this in your discussion, so check the guidelines carefully.

Starting the Task

Most people are likely to write this section best by preparing an outline, setting out the broad thrust of the argument, and how your results support it.

You may find techniques like mind mapping are helpful in making a first outline; check out our page: Creative Thinking for some ideas about how to think through your ideas. You should start by referring back to your research questions, discuss your results, then set them into the context of the literature, and then into broader theory.

This is likely to be one of the longest sections of your dissertation, and it’s a good idea to break it down into chunks with sub-headings to help your reader to navigate through the detail.

Fleshing Out the Detail

Once you have your outline in front of you, you can start to map out how your results fit into the outline.

This will help you to see whether your results are over-focused in one area, which is why writing up your research as you go along can be a helpful process. For each theme or area, you should discuss how the results help to answer your research question, and whether the results are consistent with your expectations and the literature.

The Importance of Understanding Differences

If your results are controversial and/or unexpected, you should set them fully in context and explain why you think that you obtained them.

Your explanations may include issues such as a non-representative sample for convenience purposes, a response rate skewed towards those with a particular experience, or your own involvement as a participant for sociological research.

You do not need to be apologetic about these, because you made a choice about them, which you should have justified in the methodology section. However, you do need to evaluate your own results against others’ findings, especially if they are different. A full understanding of the limitations of your research is part of a good discussion section.

At this stage, you may want to revisit your literature review, unless you submitted it as a separate submission earlier, and revise it to draw out those studies which have proven more relevant.

Conclude by summarising the implications of your findings in brief, and explain why they are important for researchers and in practice, and provide some suggestions for further work.

You may also wish to make some recommendations for practice. As before, this may be a separate section, or included in your discussion.

The results and discussion, including conclusion and recommendations, are probably the most substantial sections of your dissertation. Once completed, you can begin to relax slightly: you are on to the last stages of writing!

Continue to: Dissertation: Conclusion and Extras Writing your Methodology

See also: Writing a Literature Review Writing a Research Proposal Academic Referencing What Is the Importance of Using a Plagiarism Checker to Check Your Thesis?


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