ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


The data analysis process

The data analysis process involves three steps: (STEP ONE) select the correct statistical tests to run on your data; (STEP TWO) prepare and analyse the data you have collected using a relevant statistics package; and (STEP THREE) interpret the findings properly so that you can write up your results (i.e., usually in Chapter Four: Results). The basic idea behind each of these steps is relatively straightforward, but the act of analysing your data (i.e., by selecting statistical tests, preparing your data and analysing it, and interpreting the findings from these tests) can be time consuming and challenging. We have tried to make this process as easy as possible by providing comprehensive, step-by-step guides in the Data Analysis part of Lærd Dissertation, but you should leave time at least one week to analyse your data.

Select the correct statistical tests to run on your data

It is common that dissertation students collect good data, but then report the wrong findings because of selecting the incorrect statistical tests to run in the first place. Selecting the correct statistical tests to perform on the data that you have collected will depend on (a) the research questions/hypotheses you have set, together with the research design you have adopted, and (b) the type and nature of your data:

To select the correct statistical tests to run on the data in your dissertation, we have created a Statistical Test Selector to help guide you through the various options.

Prepare and analyse your data using a relevant statistics package

The preparation and analysis of your data is actually a much more practical step than many students realise. Most of the time required to get the results that you will present in your write up (i.e., usually in Chapter Four: Results) comes from knowing (a) how to enter data into a statistics package (e.g., SPSS) so that it can be analysed correctly, and (b) what buttons to press in the statistics package to correctly run the statistical tests you need:

Interpret the findings properly

SPSS produces many tables of output for the typical tests you will run. In addition, SPSS has many new methods of presenting data using its Model viewer. You need to know which of these tables is important for your analysis and what the different figures/numbers mean. Interpreting these findings properly and communicating your results is one of the most important aspects of your dissertation. In the Data Analysis section, we show you how to understand these tables of output, what part of this output you need to look at, and how to write up the results in an appropriate format (i.e., so that you can answer you research hypotheses).

1 2 3