How to write “DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS”
OR KISS YOUR THESIS AND SAY GOODBYE!
This might be the longest status I ever uploaded.. and if you feel that you dont have time to read it… U will never learn ! Cayolah cakap den.
1. Chapter 4 has always been dedicated for the findings. In this chapter, you need to present your findings in a systematic manner, sometimes using tables to ensure that your readers understand your explanation. This is even more crucial for the examiners. What you need to do is to state what have been discovered and you make a superficial conclusion based on those findings.
2. But what about Chapter 5 which is the Discussion of Findings? This chapter calls for the strength and ability to discuss. What are we supposed to discuss then? Everything from the findings, of course! Remember in our everyday lives, every problem needs to be discussed. The same applies here.
Those who can discuss are regarded as the learned and the experts. Prior to discussion, every aspect of the issue is dwelled upon in great depth. That explains why the wise is often called for discussion or discourse while the young ones; the less matured ones are left out!
3. Naturally, after having put together all your findings, you should have a better grip of your study and you would have the calibre to discuss your findings in greater detail. The discussion chapter is definitely not a mere summary of your findings!
Upon embarking on your postgraduate journey, you‟ve been told over and over again that your study should contribute to the field of knowledge. Ring a bell? It has been mentioned too many times by your supervisor.
4. So when do you actually write and put forth your contribution to knowledge? Is it in:
Chapter 1 ? Here you are simply your introduction
Chapter 2 ? Literature review is simply a review
Chapter 3 ? Your methodology, definitely not here
Chapter 4 ? Findings, nope. Not here as well
There you have it. Discussion is in Chapter 5. The space is allocated for you to discuss the “greatness”, the “differences”, the “significance” of your findings that will contribute to the body of knowledge in your particular field. This is what the examiners are looking for in your study which will distinct yours from the previous studies! Got it?
5. In Chapter 5 of the discussion of findings you will need to demonstrate your knowledge in your particular field, surely you now have a greater knowledge of your area since you are already in your 3rd or 4th year of your study. You are expected to translate the figures and data into explanations that readers can understand and at the same time you need to highlight the important and key findings in order to contribute to the body of knowledge.
6. Discuss you findings by adding new perspectives and ideas from different angles. Give fresh ideas that are added something to previous findings. You can even rebut previous researches using your new findings. Chapter 5 is like the extra time given to the football players after the 90th minute of the game. If you fail to score, it will be a sudden death, you can just kiss your thesis and say goodbye!
7. In the discussion chapter, you need to be proud of your findings. That is not to say that you are being cocky about the whole idea but you carefully present your ideas without bragging about your research. You will justify how your findings are now advocating the existing research and that your findings are illustrating the theory crystal clear for others to understand in greater detail.
8. Start of your Chapter 5 with an opening remark – a summary of the whole research findings. This will lead to the research questions posed in Chapter 1 and also address the research objectives. Highlight the important findings as mentioned in Chapter 4.
9. The significant findings from your research deserve to be discussed and elaborated further in the subsequent paragraphs in Chapter 5. You will need to explain more how these findings can contribute to the body of knowledge especially to your discipline. Thus, do not embarrass yourself by repeating these phrases over and over again:
a. This finding is parallel with Author A‟s findings (2007)…
b. This finding is supported by the research by Author B (2001) and Author B (2008)…
c. The present finding supports the discovery by BB (2003)…
You‟ll be the laughing stock if you continue using these phrases because they fail to contribute to the body of knowledge. Without a doubt, your study can be similar or even add on to the existing knowledge or theory but it is still imperative that you expand the discussion and elaborate the aspects that are dissimilar to the previous studies. These aspects will strengthen the theory that you are leaning on and contribute to the expansion of knowledge in your particular field.
10. For those who are still lost, let‟s have a close look at the following simple example:
A previous study found that trees in the desert die due to condition of barren land. Your present study also discovered that the trees die in the desert but not only because of the barren land but also due to dehydration. The discussion on dehydration proves that trees do not only die because of barren land but also due to shortage of water from the soil. New aspects related to dehydration must be addressed as a contribution to solidify your theory of dying trees in the desert. Now, that is how a Chapter 5 should be discussed.
11. These types of discussion will give the much needed boost to your study. Therefore, discuss in depth and comprehensively because a detailed discussion will ease your justification for the implication of research findings which will be chapter 6 – Implications & Future Research. Because your study is supposed to contribute to the body of knowledge, you need to discuss how your findings are doing just that! Let me try to illustrate further. Maybe you can start off like this:
“This study indicated that the 3D animation is only effective in increasing the score for the high achievers but not for the low achievers in schools. This study differs from Simon’s (2009) research that reveals that although 3D animation is used to determine the students’ achievement, the differences of the students background was not a factor.
The differences in these findings show that high achievers are able to extract the information in the science classes via the use of 3D as compared to the low achievers who have inadequate current knowledge. The present study confirms the constructivist theory that emphasizes on the need for teachers to take into account their students’ prior knowledge before deciding on the appropriate teaching pedagogy”
12. The above discussion demonstrates how more in depth your study is as compared to the previous ones. Your finding is also more comprehensive, you appear to have a smart discussion and clearly you have indicated the need for vast knowledge in students‟ background as part of the contributing factor to the understanding of the 3D animation in line with the constructivist theory.
13. What happens then when your study shows that the finding is not significant? Not as significant as you expected it to be? Well, it still deserves a discussion as it adds on to the body of knowledge of your particular field. Surely there is a reason why it is found to be not significant. This is the area where you will need to put your critical thinking to the test. For what it‟s worth, the time and sweat that you have put in the past 3 or 4 years. You‟ll never know, perhaps it is this discovery which is not significant that will become a major breakthrough in your area. That, coupled with your justifications of the possibilities of why such phenomenon is not significant.
14. Another example:
“The different mean score of the comprehension of acid-based topic control group using the traditional method is not significantly different from the experimental group that is using the 3D animation. After 2 weeks of study, the similar level of comprehension of the acid-based topic for both the control group and the experimental group demonstrated that there was no real need for an in depth understanding of the subject matter. The finding suggests that the 3D animation did not give any optimum impact in the understanding of the concepts, especially when it is applied in such a short duration of time.”
Notice how the so-called not significant finding is contributing to the body of knowledge? It reaches a point where other researchers are getting new information – the use of 3D animation is not effective within a short period of time and the effects cannot be seen in the teaching of basic concepts in science. This is the very aspect that you need to discuss.
Stop being the copycat who only imitates what others have done in the past. Abstain yourself from merely summarizing the Discussion of Finding, just like what you found in other theses. Be sure to discuss in depth so that your implication for further research will be solid too!
15. Let me try to clarify a few more aspects on Discussion of Findings. While you are working on your literature review, you are still a novice, given the fact that you are still new and inexperienced in your own area. Nonetheless, after the vigorous and critical discussion, covering all aspects of the area you would have gotten a deeper understanding of what you are researching. After completing the data collection and harvesting the results from your study, you are now the proud owner of your research! From a humble beginning, you have expanded your knowledge to a wider perspective. Bye-bye novice, welcome amateur!
16. How do you organize your findings? Your findings are the answer to your research questions. If you have 10 research questions or 10 hypotheses, you need to organize your findings according to the order based on your research questions. You may begin by giving a descriptive analysis of your data followed by the rest of the findings according to the numbering of the research questions.
17. My piece of advice:
Do not report beyond the strength of your statistical analysis.
Do not report every single output from your SPSS. Pick and choose only the relevant ones. If you strongly feel like having them, well just chuck everything under your appendix.
The duration of exposure to fertilizer X had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages (Figure X). Seeds exposed to fertilizer X treatment had the highest cumulative germination (84%), 1.25 times than the seeds that were exposed to fertilizer Y.
Enough! Do not exaggerate your interpretation beyond the descriptive information that you have obtained.
Table X shows that the strong correlation (relationship) between IQ and Performance at r = 0.70, and the coefficient of r2 = 0.49. This indicates that 49% of the variance in Performance can be explained by the variance in IQ.
18. Be mindful that no matter how significant the r and r2 are, the correlation only refers to the variance between both variables and not the correlation between the cause and effects, that is one variable that is explained by the other variables.
After obtaining the findings, report them in the chapter for discussion. You are now leaping from the status of an amateur to an expert! You need to expand the discussion now to logical reasoning. Clarify why the IQ and performance phenomenon is showing a correlation or a strong relationship based on the theoretical framework of your study. If your framework is clear and is discussed carefully in your literature review, everything will fall into place, you will find no trouble at all to discuss what was expected from your findings.
19. The discussion at this juncture is no longer based on the sequence of your research question but rather an overall discourse. Although you are making only a correlation, nonetheless the other findings would be supporting the value of the correlation that you have obtained to open up doors for further clarification of what you have discovered.
For example, in a separate analysis using ANOVA 2×2, you realize that there are only differences between male and female with high IQ. However, no differences are detected between them when discussing the group with low IQ. So, here‟s a chance for you to present your discussion to be believable, digestible and incredible for the readers!
20. In other words, you need to demonstrate what you know in relation to the research. Highlight the contribution of your present research to the existing body of knowledge. Try reading the examples I have written earlier. Simply put, with your findings and data collection, you are entitled to be called an expert! Do you know that viva is actually your platform to endorse your expertise? So, discuss like an expert and be confident like an expert:
– provide some prior knowledge to your area of study in your introduction
– reinforce the findings that have contributed to common knowledge. Failure to do so will send you to your death row in research.
21. Do not despair if your data did not yield any significant findings. Reinforce the uniqueness of your data in comparison with previous studies that may have used similar analysis and methods. At least discuss the variables that are surely different from earlier researches and how these variables have contributed to the uniqueness of your data collection although it is nothing new.
Merge the data that are not significant with the highlighted ones so that it can become, at the end of the day, a meaningful story rather than isolating each one of them separately.
22. Discuss till your heart contends! Go on and tell the world what you have discovered, be it new or different without feeling any inferiority complex or feeling guilty for no logical reason!
If you feel that there is something amiss in your findings as compared to previous researches, don‟t worry. You can still discuss using a new and fresh approach that you have come to understand from your literature review. This will enable you to write something new fresh from the oven!
Remember, those numbers and figures are meaningless including the results that show significant findings (p< 0.05) if you do not interpret and combine every detail into a meaningful discussion.
23. Discuss coherently and cohesively so that your expertise can stand out and your discussion can be well recognized. By showing the relationship between all your findings with your framework, you are in the best position to contribute to the body of knowledge. The term „negative findings‟ should not exist if you have carried out the study carefully. So go ahead and report the findings and stop being embarrassed about it.
24. Previous research can be used to support and assist us in giving the clarification to our data collection. Be careful if you tend to repeat the same phrases. If you experience signs of boredom and loss of interest, then imagine the mass readers. It goes without saying that you need to buck up!
Stop writing like the other postgraduate are writing.
“These findings are supported by Ali‟s work (2008)”, because this kind of statement displays your weakness in doing research so much so that you need other support from other researches.
25. Try writing it in this manner:
The findings suggest that there exists ….. is able to expand further the idea in relation to the present study as proposed by Ali (2007) and Robert (2009). This means that Ali‟s work (2007) and Robert‟s (2009) have strong foundations and your finding has added on for further elaboration.
The data interpretation has to be referred to and justified based on the conceptual framework and supported by the theory. This finding confirms the significant relationship between X and Y as illustrated by Figure XX of the conceptual framework. The correlation value (r= .70) is an indicator that….this correlation strengthens the theory of multimedia by Mayers (2003) because…
If you take a closer look, your discussion will enable you to show off your research talent .Your contribution will definitely add on to knowledge.
OT – Think different !
Discussion of findings …. Kenapa jatuhkan maruah kajian anda sendiri ?
Saya percaya tidak ramai yang boleh jelaskan senario berikut… so bacalah dgn sabar dan fokus utk mendapat maksud tersirat dan tersurat wpun anda dari pelbagai bidang kajian. Kalau anda anggap post ini panjang… anda kurang perseverance…
Sebagaimana LR, penulisan FINDINGS dan DISCUSSION juga perlu diketahui asasnya. Semasa anda menulis LR, anda masih seorang novice, kerana pengalaman anda masih baru dan ciput, walaupun dalam aspek kajian anda sendiri.. dan dalam proses meneroka dan memahami.
Namun selepas anda mengupas secara krtitikal, dan merangkumi pelbagai aspek…. Anda sepatutnya telah mempunyai pengetahuan yang mendalam dalam “apa yang anda kaji”. Setelah menjalankan operasi mengumpul data dan mendapat hasilnya, anda telahpun “memiliki” satu kajian anda sendiri. Memiliki bermakna andalah yang tahu selok belok kajian anda.
Dari pengetahuan yang ciput, kini bekembang dengan data yang anda perolehi dan makluman yang lebih mendalam. Anda telah mula meninggalkan status novice kepada amateur.
Bagaimana anda menyusun findings anda? Findings adalah jawapan kepada persoalan kajian. Jika anda ada 10 persoalan kajian dan / atau 10 hipotesis, anda perlu menyusunnya mengikut persoalan kajian anda. Anda boleh bermula dengan memberikan descriptive of your data…. diikuti dengan dapatan mengikut persoalan kajian. Mulakan dengan teks diikuti dengan jadual bagi memudahkan pembaca meneliti dapatan anda.
(i) jangan melaporkan dapatan melangkaui had sempadan yang diukur oleh kekuatan analisis statistic anda.
(ii) jangan laporkan SEMUA output SPSS anda….. ambil yang relevan dengan persoalan kajian sahaja. Jika anda perlu laporkan juga…. Letakkan output asal SPSS dibahagian apendiks.
Contoh 1: The duration of exposure to fertilizer X had a pronounced effect on cumulative seed germination percentages (Figure 2). Seeds exposed to fertilizer X treatment had the highest cumulative germination (84%), 1.25 times that the seeds that exposed to fertilizer Y. Ini sahaja…. jangan memandai2 nak interpret apa2 melebihi maklumat diskriptif yang anda perolehi…..
Contoh 2: Table X shows that the strong correlation (relationship) between IQ and Performance at r = 0.70, and the coefficient of r2 = 0.49. This indicates that 49% of the variance in Performance can be explained by the variance in IQ.
Ingat… sebesar mana sekalipun nilai r dan r2…. korelasi ini hanya merujuk kepada hubungan variance kedua2 variables bukannnya hubungan kesan dan akibat, iaitu satu variable mempengaruhi variable yang satu lagi…
Discussion of findings:
Kemudian setelah ada findings…. anda berubah status dari amateur anda kepada expert. Anda perlu kembangkan dapatan anda berdasarkan logical reasoning anda. Jelaskan mengapa fenomena IQ dan Performance ini menunjukkan korelasi atau perhubungan yang kuat berdasarkan theoretical framework kajian anda. Jika framework anda JELAS dan dibincangkan dengan baik dalam LR, maka mudah bagi anda membincangkan apa yang anda jangka dari dapatan kajian anda.
Perbincangan ini bukan lagi berdasarkan urutan persoalan kajian tetapi lebih menyeluruh. Walaupun anda hanya membuat korelasi, namun dapatan2 yang lain patut menyokong nilai korelasi yang anda perolehi, bagi membuka peluang untuk anda membuat penjelasan yang mendalam apa yang anda telah perolehi.
Contohnya, dalam analisis yang lain (ANOVA 2 x 2), anda dapati hanya kumpulan lelaki dengan IQ tinggi berbeza dengan kumpulan perempuan dengan IQ tinggi tapi tidak dengan kumpulan IQ rendah, maka anda jelaskan juga kaitannya dengan korelasi yang anda perolehi, sehingga dapatan kajian anda “benar-benar menyengat” dan memberikan sesuatu kepada pengetahuan sedia ada. Dalam erti kata lain, anda perlu mendemonstrasi apa yang anda tahu berkaitan kajian ini dan tonjolkan sumbangannya kepada pengetahuan sedia ada.
Maka semasa membuat perbincangan dapatan kajian… berbincanglah dengan yakin sebagaimana seorang pakar…… dengan:
(i) berikan sedikit maklumat dalam pendahuluan pengetahuan sedia ada berkaitan kajian anda
(ii) reinforce dapatan anda yang telah menyumbang sesuatu knowledge dalam bidang yang sama…. GAGAL melakukan ini, sama seperti anda GAGAL membuat kajian yang contribute to knowledge..
(iii) gabungkan dapatan2 anda yang tidak berapa “menjadi” dan “yang menjadi” sehingga dapat memberikan “satu jalan cerita” yang lebih bermakna dari hanya membincangkan satu persatu secara terasing.
(iv) bincanglah sedalam2 dan semahu2nya jika dapatan anda memang menunjukkan sesuatu yang baru dan berbeza tanpa rasa malu2 atau bersalah takut itu dan ini yang ntah apa2….
(v) sekiranya dapatan anda “semacam” sahaja dengan dapatan2 kajian lepas, anda masih boleh bincangkan dengan mengambil pengetahuan terkini yang anda tahu dari LR anda utk mengupas secara yang lebih segar….. dengan menambah penjelasan2 dan PEMAHAMAN YANG BARU yang tiada dalam kajian2 lepas.
(vi) ingat….. angka2 yang anda dapat tidak akan memberi apa2 makna, termasuklah keputusan yang signifikan (< 0.05) kalau anda tak interpret dan gabungkan kesemuanya untuk memberi makna yang lebih mendalam…..
(vii) bincanglah secara koherens dan bersepadu, supaya tertonjol kepakaran anda dan perbincangan anda akan lebih dihargai….dengan menunjukkan perkaitan antara semua dapatan sehingga konseptual framework anda betul2 memberikan makna dalam menyumbang kepada sesuatu yang baru.
(viii) jgn asyik mengulangi apa yang anda dah tulis dalam bab dapatan dalam bab perbincangan…… boring bro.. boring bro… bayangkan pembaca yang lain…. itu tandanya anda gagal membuat perbincangan yang mantap dan baik…..
Oleh itu jangan malukan diri anda dengan asyik-asyik menulis seperti berikut yang hanya menunjukkan dapatan kajian anda pun lapok… kerana menyokong kajian lama… samalah spt “cip dalam kajian ini mempunyai ciri yang menyokong cip oleh AA (2000)….” Sedang cip tahun 2000 tak sama dgn tahun 2014…. dah guna duo core bro !
Lain-lain ayat klise adalah spt…
Dapatan kajian ini selari dengan dapatan AA (2007)…..Dapatan ini disokong oleh dapatan kajian oleh AA (2009) dan BB(2008)…. Dapatan kajian ini mengukuhkan lagi dapatan kajian BB (2003)…
Anda akan kelihatan seperti badut jika asyik2 mengulangi paragraph spt di atas sebab itu tidak menunjukkan dapatan kajian anda menyumbang apa2 yang baru kepada pengetahuan dalam bidang kajian !!
Jangan ler tulis cam yang selalu ditulis dalam tesis pelajar seperti: “Dapatan kajian ini disokong oleh kajian Ali (2008)…..” kerana pernyataan ini menunjukkan lemahnya dapatan anda kerana perlu disokong oleh kajian yang dah lama…. Jika perlupun tulislah macam… ”Dapatan kajian ini telah dapat mengembangkan lagi idea berkaitan dengan….. seperti mana yang telah dikemukan oleh Ali (2007) dan Robert (2009)…..”. Ini bermakna dapatan Ali (2007) dan Robert (2009) adalah asas dan dapatan anda telah menambah dan kembangkan lagi dapatan tersebut…….
Intepretasi data perlu merujuk kepada memperkukuh dan menjustifykan kerangka konseptual anda serta disokong oleh teori….. “Dapatan ini mengesahkan hubungan antara X dan Y seperti dalam Rajah XX kerangka konseptual kajian. Nilai korelasi yang tinggi (r = 0.70) ini adalah satu indikator bahawa…… spt …. Hubungan ini menguatkan lagi teori multimedia oleh Mayer (2003) kerana ……
Perhatikan bahawa perbincangan anda menunjukkan kepakaran anda mengolah dapatan anda sehingga terserlah sumbangan kajian anda samada menguatkan teori…. menambah knowledge…..memberi petunjuk baru…. dll…