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Writing a masters dissertation: what to include in the results section

It's most important that you understand the nature of a dissertation. In most colleges it is regarded as a formal document and that the layout or format of the presentation of your dissertation must be within the guidelines of the institution.

The dissertation is regarded more highly than a basic template or essay. A dissertation will examine a subject in the context of the wider context. A dissertation will set out to explain how a theory or proposition works and just as importantly, why it works. However, it is fair to say that the most highly marked dissertations are ones which focus on a specific or narrow area.

Let us talk specifics

It's important to understand the various components of your Master’s dissertation. In this particular article we are talking about the results section. Here are the various items which you would be expected to cover in your results section.

  • your observation results including backup evidence with statistics, graphs and tables
  • information about the possibilities of variation to your observations
  • the positive and the negative results
  • allowing for the reader to infer conclusions from your evidence
  • always use subheadings to distinguish between the various segments in your dissertation
  • begin each paragraph with a short statement of the key result

As you would know, a Master’s dissertation is a lengthy and detailed paper. It will require a great deal of time in research, planning and writing. You will work in tandem with a member of the academic staff of your college. Following the format or guidelines for presenting your dissertation is vital. The ability to write well, to argue your case and to present the evidence to support your argument is essential. Sadly some dissertations receive a lower mark because they fail to appear in the approved formula.

Aim to present all the material in the results section as if you were a lawyer presenting a case to a jury. State the facts, state them clearly and allow the reader, or in this case the examiner, to draw their own inferences from your well written and well researched document.

Remember that any document is easier to read if it is created in sequential order with each claim or observation being well supported by evidence. Simple use of bullet points and subheadings help the eye move easily down the page. By opening each paragraph with a clear statement of fact, you allow yourself to naturally follow on with supporting material.