Analysis of Data What follows relates specifically to Management Research Projects within the quantitative paradigm. For Management Research Projects that are based within the qualitative paradigm the processes of data analysis and interpretation in the light of the established literature and the emergence of theoretical conclusions are combined processes. Therefore, the processes described below as falling into chapters 4 and 5 respectively will be undertaken within the same chapter/s: in other words, data and theory are handled iteratively. In a qualitative Management Research Project-Dissertation a separate conclusions chapter (which is likely to include any recommendations) will develop higher level, theoretical, findings and also deal with the issues outlined in sections 5.2, 5.5 and 5.6 below. So, in the case of quantitative Management Research Projects, Chapter 4 simply presents patterns of results and analyses them for their relevance to the research questions or hypotheses. Frequent summary tables and figures of results are essential, so that readers can easily see patterns in the mass of data presented in this chapter. This chapter should be clearly organised. The introduction of chapter 4 may be different from introductions of other chapters because it refers to the following chapter – chapter 5 will discuss the findings of chapter 4 within the context of the literature. Without this warning, an examiner may wonder why some of the implications of the results are not drawn out in chapter 4. Chapter 4 should be restricted to presentation and analysis of the collected data, without drawing general conclusions or comparing results to those of other researchers that were discussed in chapter 2. That is, although chapter 4 may contain references to the literature about methodologies, it should not contain (many!) references to other literature. If the chapter also includes references to other research, the more complete discussion of chapter 5 will be undesirably repetitive and confused. After the introduction, descriptive data about the subjects is usually provided, for example, their gender or industry in survey research, or a brief description of case study organisations in case study research. This description helps to assure the examiner that the student has a ‘good feel’ for the data. Then the data for each research question is usually presented, in the same order as they were presented in chapters 2 and 3 and will be in sections 5.2 and 5.3. In chapter 4, the data should not be merely presented and the examiner expected to analyse it. One way of ensuring adequate analysis is done by the student is to have numbers placed in brackets after some words have presented the analysis. For the same reason, test statistics, degrees of freedom or sample size (to allow the examiner to check figures in tables, if he or she wishes) and p values should be placed in brackets after their meaning has been explained in words that show the student knows what they mean. All patterns of results in chapter 4 must be supported by the evidence unearthed by the procedures described in chapter 3. That is, a reader should be able to check findings by looking at tables or figures. So each table or figure should be referred to in the body of the chapter, with the reason for its presence. Thus, a topic should be introduced in words and the main findings presented; then the table or figure referred to and evidence from it should be introduced in one or two sentences; and then the highlights of the table or figure should be discussed more fully, together with a brief description of what the reader will look for in the table or figure when he or she turns to it. In other words, a reader should not be expected to develop the links between the words in chapter 4 and a table or figure by himself or herself. Indeed, the reader should be able to grasp the meaning by reading either the words or the figures without reference to the other. When figures are used, the table of data used to construct the figure should be in an appendix. All tables and figures should have a number and title at the top and their source at the bottom. If no source is listed, the examiner will assume the researcher’s mind is the source.
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