In the analysis session you present the findings from your primary research, which was designed to help you test out solutions from the Literature Review and apply them to your organization’s specific problem. Begin with a brief (short paragraph) introducing the section. The introduction should not repeat what is included in the methodology section; nevertheless, it should prepare the readers for the discussion to come. Depending upon what you included in the methodology section, you might want to tell your readers:
What audience you surveyed/interviewed, etc.
How the survey was distributed
How many people responded
Whether there were any important limitations to your survey (note them here)
What demographics took the survey
In the introduction to this section, you should also explain the purpose of your choice of research tool. For example, if you conducted a survey:
Example with no explanation of survey’s purpose:
A fifteen-question questionnaire was distributed to twenty-five students at Ivy Tech State College on March 9, 2000.
Example with explanation of survey’s purpose:
For the last two semesters, students at Ivy Tech State College have complained about the textbook rental service. In order to determine what types of changes students wanted, we constructed a questionnaire and sent it to twenty-five students from seven different majors.
The Analysis section is usually between 3-4 pages, long, including 3-8 charts or relevant images. After the brief introduction to the section described above, you will need to logically present your primary research findings. As you do so:
Imitate the “we sought, we found, this means” pattern. Remember, the audience won’t see your survey or interview guide or observation form–so you need to tell them what you sought to learn before you tell them what you found. Then, you’ll also need to explain the significance of each finding.
“In order to find out… We learned…. These results mean/suggest…
We sought to discover… We found…. This is important because….
Questions 1-3 sought to learn…. An analysis of the respondents’ answers showed that… This suggests that [organization] ought to….”
Following this pattern will help your readers visualize the connections that you saw between your data (what you found) and your interpretation (what it means).
Focus on meaningful findings and explain what the numbers mean. Make your findings explicit by summarizing the responses and emphasizing important facts that are the result of your careful analysis.
In discussing responses to specific questions and use numbers selectively. Prepare readers for the numbers you cite, rather than overwhelming readers with a series of unorganized and uninterpreted figures. Impose some order by briefly and simply summarizing the responses, focusing on significant findings and essential facts.
Poor example: Question 2 asked respondents: “How long have you lived in the Hillcrest subdivision?” Twenty‑seven percent said they lived in Hillcrest for more than five years; 17% indicated they were residents there for at least three years; 34% said they lived in Hillcrest for less than one year.
Better example: Question 2 asked respondents how long they had lived in the Hillcrest subdivision. A clear majority of the respondents (78%) have lived in the Hillcrest subdivision for more than one year. This is significant because….
Include charts and graphs that provide visual data to back up your most important findings, and connect the analysis to the relevant graphs. Obey the principle of independent redundancy (the charts should understandable without the text; the text should be understandable without the charts; they should specifically reference one another).
Clearly identify each element of the graphs with titles and labels.
Figure 1.1 shows this correlation….
Follow APA style rules for writing numbers
Spell out numbers under 10.
Use figures (14, 233) to express numbers 10 and above.
Use figures to express numbers under 10 that are grouped for comparison with figures 10 and above.
(The results showed that 2 out of 20 recipients….)
Use figures and the percentage sign to represent percentages .
(A significant majority, 62%, said they would….)
Exception: Use the word percentage when a number is not given.
(…found that 18% of rats
…determined the percentage of rats)
Dates, ages, and money are represented by figures.
(…2 weeks ago
She was a 2-year 0ld.
The workers were paid $5. each.)
Common fractions are written out.
(One fifth of the respondents….)
Regardless of the rules above, numbers that begin sentences must be written out, but the APA guidelines ask you to avoid beginning sentences with numbers.
Follow an Organizational Pattern
Decide upon an organizational strategy for the Analysis section and follow it consistently.
The “Finding” approach: Pull out the most relevant findings (implications found through analysis) and discuss the analysis by finding.
Finding #1: Employee retention is clearly a problem at IBS.
The first question on the survey confirmed that low employee retention is indeed a serious problem within the organization. When asked…, nearly 48% said….
Finding #2: Inadequate compensation is not a factor in employee turnover.
Of the 81% of respondents who left the company within the first year of employment, only 26% said they would return to work if the offer was extended. This low figure is especially telling since 90% of respondents felt that they were fairly paid for their work (see figure 1.1). If pay is not an issue, then what is driving employees away from this organization?
The “Purpose of the Question” approach.
The first three questions in the survey were designed to develop a demographic profile of the respondents. We asked questions about…. The respondents said…. These demographics suggest that….
Questions four and five were designed to identify the congregation’s view on preferable parking solutions. In question four the survey proposed five solutions to parking problems, including the use of a shuttle bus, carpooling, parking in other lots and walking, parking control, and holding additional church services. Question five went further, and asked whether they would be willing to participate in the solutions if implemented. An overwhelming majority (96%) agreed that they would participate in one or more of the solutions. The most popular….
Other approaches are fine—Select one and use it consistently.
Summarizing your research processes. (This was covered in methodology.)
Including charts or graphs that are peripheral to your key findings.
Using raw numbers. Instead, always use percentages.
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