S2-Week 3-Class

Semester 2 (Week 3)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 20th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– The Introduction
– Abstract
– Conclusion

Previous MSc student publications

Some Measures of Academic Research

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data
Informed / contextualised
Explicit about aims

The Introduction

Pat Thomson highlights the work that the thesis should have

Warrant (setting out your stall)

The introduction has to clearly set the warrant for the thesis- the mandate or rationale for doing the research. Identify the gap in the research.

We need to understand a particular phenomenon, process or practice better…

Justify your research topic/question


Sets out specific focus for the research in the form of a thesis statement, aims and objectives.


This includes methodology and methods.

Outline and Definitions

Outline or road map
Clarification of any key definitions.
Some theses and papers use a glossary.


This is about locating the researcher in the research. This varies according to the discipline, the topic,the epistemology, etc.



Establishing boundaries around the research makes it clear what aspects of a topic and those you haven’t.

It’s about setting expectations that you meet in the thesis.


What the abstract has to do

It is a mini-statement of the thesis or paper.
It presents ALL the key aspects of the larger text
The biggest problem examiners have is the writer not providing the results of the project.

What the abstract is not

The abstract is not a trailer or a
It’s not a foreword

Abstracts – what the MSc handbook says

This will depend on the target journal paper so different rules apply!
You may be given a word limit or you may be instructed to provide a structured abstract with specific bullet points.

Issues with Abstracts

They are very short – not easy to stick to word limit
They are very short – you need to get everything in there

Abstract questions to ask

What’s the research question
How do I locate the significance of the work
What conversation am I in?
What approach have I undertaken to address the research question
What do I offer to existing research? So what…
What’s my argument?
Does my abstract make sense as a stand-alone


Future areas for further exploration
Significant / important finding and highlighting
Make sure there is no new material

Based on your own experience, what is the purpose?
What do you expect to find out from reading it?

Guidelines from Wallace and Wray
(1) a summative claim that reflects the conclusions of your findings and discussion and briefly identifies the key claims and observations from your research literature

Don’t be repetitive
Save a really good quote or fact for the end of the paper…for impact
Instead of just summing up, try going further and predict.
Or you could add personal thoughts on the subject, if you have any personal knowledge. What do you think can or should be done about something.
Consider implications.
Answer “now what?”
Consider qualifications: are there qualifications/limits to your argument.
N.B. A strong finish!


All necessary features
Research question

– tell them what you are going to tell them (research question)

– tell them

– tell them what you have just told them (restate research question)

S2-Week 2-Class

Semester 2 (Week 2)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 6th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– Interpreting Qualitative Data
– Writing and Presenting your Findings

From Analysis to Interpretation

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data?

It is useful to understand that these are separate but interconnected processes.

Recap – Quantitative Data Analysis

Bar Charts, Pie Charts
Mean, Mode, Median

Be very careful about causal versus correlation.

Recap – Qualitative Data Analysis

The analysis process begins with reading all the data at once and then dividing the data into smaller, more meaningful units.

Become familiar with the data and identifying potential themes
– reading, memoing
Examine the data in depth to provide descriptions of the setting, participant and activity (describing)
Think about granularity:
– code pieces of data and group them into themes?
– look for major themes only

Recap – suggested steps


Strategies used to interpret qualitative data

(1) Identify themes
(2) Code your data
(3) Ask key questions
(4) Do an organisational review
(5) Do concept mapping
(6) Analyse antecedents and consequences
(7) Display findings
(8) Be honest – state what’s missing

Academic Paper

5,000 to 7,000 words.

Note: Make sure you have decided on your journal by 1st May 2018.

Recap: Reliability

Reliability relates to the consistency and trustworthiness of research findings.
– applies to all stages of the research design, not just data analysis
– what checks were employed?
Finished studies: is the work replicable/reproducible by others?
‘One has to ensure the research problem, research methods and statistical analyses are in alignment.’ (Brown & Edmunds, p.13).

Strategies for Data Interpretation

Question your study
Connect findings with personal experiences
Seek advice from “critical friends” if possible
But also contextualise findings in the literature
Turn to theory as a means to: link to broader issues, move away from a purely descriptive account, and providing a rationale for your work.
Know when to offer an interpretation from the data

Note: It is rare for qualitative researchers to use all of their data for the task is to identify important themes or meanings, not necessarily inclusi

N.B. Braun & Clarke: paper on thematic analysis.
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1478-0887


Persuasiveness is strengthened when the investigator’s theoretical claims are supported with evidence from informants’ accounts, negative cases are included, and alternative interpretations considered.
(Riessman cited in Silverman)

Evaluating the credibility of research (Silverman 2006, p.276)

(1) Are the methods of research appropriate to the nature of the question being asked?
(2) Is the connection to an existing body of knowledge or theory clear?
(3) Are their clear accounts of the criteria used for the selection of cases for study, and of the data collection and analysis?
(4) Does the sensitivity of the methods match the needs of the research question?

Writing and presenting your findings

Can you present all your findings?

Do you need to present all your findings?
– if so, how will you do that in an accessible way for your reader
– if not, how will you select which findings to present

What is the purpose of the discussion?
To return to your research question:
– To what extent do your findings address the question?
– Do you have an answer for your question?

Some issues with discussions sections:
– Context: not linking back to literature

Source: patthomson.net

Note: app for transcription.