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How to do Data Analysis for Your Research Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to do Data Analysis for Your Research Paper

A final year research paper is divided into several parts and subparts. Within the academic environment norms, a final year research paper has its pre-textual, textual, and post-textual parts.

The pre-textual parts refer to all the parts that precede the research itself, such as the cover, summary, and acknowledgment. The textual parts are what we can call the work itself. It is where the topic to be studied is introduced. The work’s development is also part of the textual elements: data collection, dialogue with the selected bibliography. The presentation of the analysis, discussion of what was done during the research, and the conclusions about the study.

These last two elements, the discussion and the conclusion, are usually the most feared by the students finishing their research paper. It is in these two parts that students need to review the research path. Also, the contributions that research can make to the area in which it is inserted.

Although it is laborious and causes a lot of insecurity, it is impossible to escape the discussion of the analyzed data. The work is incomplete, and an examining board can’t approve it without discussion. After all, it is in the discussion where the most relevant information on the research is.

This article will take questions about what the research paper discussion is and give tips on how to do it.

The Structure of a Research Paper

As we mentioned earlier, a research paper consists of several parts. In the textual elements section, these parts are complementary. They function as a structure, where one gives support to the other, and together they form a unit.

Thus, it is impossible to talk about data collection without making a clear statement about the methodology chosen to do it. On the other hand, you cannot start analyzing without collected data. Likewise, the introduction to the theme is fundamental because it situates the reader on the work’s objective and on what has already been done by other researchers in this field.

Briefly, the structure of research development is composed of:

  • Delimitation of the Theme;
  • Research Problem ;
  • Hypotheses ;
  • Justification;
  • Theoretical Reference;
  • Methodology;
  • Data collect;
  • Results or data presentation;
  • Discussion;

After all, what does a Discussion consist of?

As we can see, the discussion is one of the parts that most compose writing the development of the paper. However, it is the most important part of scientific work. It is there that the researcher will analyze the data obtained through the collection from the bibliography that was chosen.

That is, the researcher will show his / her ability to interpret data and contextualize it from the selected literature. For that, it is necessary not only a thorough knowledge of the subject but the ability to carry out correlations and syntheses. It is also in the discussion that the hypotheses previously raised in the study will be put to the test the evidence found.

Writing a Discussion is, therefore, not a simple job. Therefore, it is recommended that the student set aside more time on his / her schedule to write it without haste or pressure.

A very important point is: the discussion is not the same as the Conclusion! Although they are final elements of research, they are two different stages of the work. The Conclusion consists of a synthesis of the study carried out, its paths, the presentation of its implications, and suggestions for future studies on the theme. Therefore, they cannot be confused as one!

Therefore, in the discussion, the researcher must:

  • Analyze and interpret research results;
  • Analyze the results from the selected theoretical foundation;
  • Compare the initial hypotheses with the presented results.

How to Write a Good Research Discussion

Although it is a complex part, writing a good discussion is not an impossible task. Here, we have highlighted some tips to facilitate the development of your ideas and the text’s fluidity. Check them out below:

Organize your text structure

Before writing your discussion, it is important to think about how you will structure your text. The discussion can be done in a single text or divided into sub-topics (highly recommended when discussing several results).

To think about the structure of the text is to organize it. It is a simple task, and it can help you a lot when writing your research. Having a pre-defined structure keeps you in an argumentative line, which makes you lose yourself less. Therefore, you save time and effort.

But it is worth mentioning that, when conducting a Discussion on sub-topics, it is important to write an introductory paragraph. In it, the researcher must present why the fragmented structure was chosen.

Maintain the order in which results are presented

Another very important point for structuring your discussion is to maintain internal order. Try to use the same order used in the presentation of the results. In this way, the reading of the work is facilitated.

But be careful not to repeat information already presented in the results section. When referring to important data in the discussion, mention it and indicate where it can be found in the Results section. Repetition hinders the fluidity of the text and has a great impact on reading. The use of tables, graphs, and other types of illustrations is very useful for this and makes the text easier to read.

Write clearly and objectively

As we have already pointed out, the discussion is the most important part of a research paper. It is the moment where the student relations and syntheses between the results and his theoretical framework. With complex content, it can easily become a complicated text to be written and read.

In addition to a basic organization, clear and objective writing is essential for this text to become understandable. Give preference to short sentences and do not introduce concepts that were not previously explained in work.

Proofread for spelling errors and check for consistency and cohesion after writing. This ensures that readers can easily understand the text.

Do not overlook the deficiencies of the research

After interpreting and analyzing the results, the researcher needs to comment on the data collection methodology. Point out the shortcomings or problems that the chosen method may have presented while conducting the research.

Making these notes is to be aware of the research’s limitations instead of omitting them and hoping that they will not be noticed. Likewise, the positive aspects of the chosen methodology and what attitudes were taken to neutralize the research’s limitations must be commented on.

In this way, the research’s credibility is greater, and its relevance in the area of knowledge.

Compare your results

Comparisons with the literature are most welcome in a Research Discussion text. Within your theoretical framework, look for studies that demonstrate similar or different results to those you found.

So, bring this information to your discussion. Show how the results were found to agree with the studies already carried out when they are similar. In this sense, it is possible to use these studies’ arguments to support their analysis and discussion.

On the other hand, when they are different, it is also possible to establish relationships between the two studies’ variables to explain the results. In both cases, bringing similar studies and relating them to your research brings more quality and relevance to your discussion. Thus, it will give more strength to the acceptance or refutation of the hypotheses raised.