## STEP SEVEN

### Data analysis techniques

In STAGE NINE: Data analysis, we discuss the data you will have collected during STAGE EIGHT: Data collection. However, before you collect your data, having followed the research strategy you set out in this STAGE SIX, it is useful to think about the data analysis techniques you may apply to your data when it is collected.

We highlight the words in principle and may because the most appropriate statistical test to run on your data not only depend on your research questions/hypotheses and research design, but also the nature of your data. As you should have identified in STEP THREE: Research methods, and in the article, Types of variables, in the Fundamentals part of Lærd Dissertation, (a) not all data is the same, and (b) not all variables are measured in the same way (i.e., variables can be dichotomous, ordinal or continuous). In addition, not all data is normal, nor is the data when comparing groups necessarily equal, terms we explain in the Data Analysis section in the Fundamentals part of Lærd Dissertation. As a result, you might think that running a particular statistical test is correct at this point of setting your research strategy (e.g., a statistical test called a dependent t-test), based on the research questions/hypotheses you have set, but when you collect your data (i.e., during STAGE EIGHT: Data collection), the data may fail certain assumptions that are important to such a statistical test (i.e., normality and homogeneity of variance). As a result, you have to run another statistical test (e.g., a Wilcoxon signed-rank test instead of a dependent t-test).

At this stage in the dissertation process, it is important, or at the very least, useful to think about the data analysis techniques you may apply to your data when it is collected. We suggest that you do this for two reasons:

• REASON A
Supervisors sometimes expect you to know what statistical analysis you will perform at this stage of the dissertation process

This is not always the case, but if you have had to write a Dissertation Proposal or Ethics Proposal, there is sometimes an expectation that you explain the type of data analysis that you plan to carry out. An understanding of the data analysis that you will carry out on your data can also be an expected component of the Research Strategy chapter of your dissertation write-up (i.e., usually Chapter Three: Research Strategy). Therefore, it is a good time to think about the data analysis process if you plan to start writing up this chapter at this stage.

• REASON B
It takes time to get your head around data analysis