Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds Our next concern, our next stage in writing the article is fieldwork. And obviously, unless you’re writing a highly theoretical thesis, then fieldwork is absolutely essential to provide context for social science research. And it’s essential for one fundamental reason that the test of a PhD thesis is that it is an original contribution to knowledge. You said this is what I’ve done. And through my analysis, through my presentation, I think that I’ve contributed knowledge in this particular area. So setting up your field work then is really a vital part of your research preparations. And the first part is that there must be a clear exposition of what data was collected and how it was collected.
Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds So for example, when I use the word surveys, surveys can be personal, can be handed out by my colleagues and students. They may be online questionnaires. Of course, it might be a telephone interview, but you have to say very clearly how you’ve collected this data. Because the examiners might say there’s a flaw in this report, or there’s a flaw in this approach. And you have to justify what it is. Secondly, you now then have to justify your methodology. This is a methodology I used to collect my data and you don’t have to repeat what you’ve already said in your methodology chapter.
Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds We know what the methodology is, but you tell us how it’s worked in the context of collecting the data. And then, once you collected the data, then how are gonna to do? Well, obviously, you’re going to analyze it and so the analytic techniques you’ve mentioned in your methodology chapter, you will use to segregate, sort and interpret this data. The fourth thing is you need to present that data in its refined form as an output from your field work. And please be very careful here. Because when you present this, it has to be presented in such a way it is easy to read, that it is user friendly.
Skip to 3 minutes and 10 seconds If you go for complicated diagrams, if you go for complicated charts, if you go for too many charts which are statistical rather than graphic, you are likely to do two things. One, you’re likely to bore the reader. And secondly, much more important, you are going to interrupt the flow of that chapter. So one thing you might have to decide, and one thing you might want to talk to with your supervisor, is to report results of your work in this chapter, but put all the detailed workings, all the detailed analysis in an appendix.
Skip to 3 minutes and 51 seconds The reason for doing that is that much of this will be quantitative data, important; but if you put that in an appendix, then it allows a better continuity of reading what comes out of your field work. So, this is something I think you need to take advice on. But very often, shifting the detailed analysis into an appendix allows a much smoother flow of all things. So that is, I think, a very important chapter indeed. Now, the findings. You said these are my findings, but wait a moment, you’re not scattering seed in a field. Your findings then have to have at least three types of focuses. First of all, they have to lead to your research objectives.
Skip to 4 minutes and 47 seconds So in your earlier chapters, you said these are my research objectives. So what an external examiner or what a reviewer will do? They will go back and say these are the research objectives. Now what am I going to do? I’m going to have a look at your report. I’m going to look at your field work. I’m going to have a look at output and say, does this reflect the objectives which you have stated? Secondly, when I say has it met the objectives, and this can be broad of two types. One, it confirms existing research, or in fact, it might contradict existing research.
Skip to 5 minutes and 33 seconds And this has become very important, because if in both cases you’re contributing something new, you can contribute in a confirmatory analysis, or you might confirm a contradictory analysis. And then you come to the third point of these findings. And this, I think is a weakness in many articles. That is what is the importance of these findings? How do you interpret them? Because there’s a purpose in doing this research. And that purpose then is to set out in the objectives. And then we come to one of the most difficult questions in any form of research, So what?
Skip to 6 minutes and 18 seconds The reader, the reviewer of your paper, or maybe the external examiners of your thesis, they would say, you spend three or four years doing this research, and we know how you’ve done it, we have read the results, we have seen the analysis. So what? And this “so what” question is so important, because you say what you’ve done, what you found relates to the literature. And you have to go back to this relationship with the literature and say the findings you have are relevant to the literature in these ways. So you have to be very clear indeed in how your output matches your research objectives and links it to the questions of the literature. Conclusions.
Skip to 7 minutes and 11 seconds The conclusions are different from your output, because the conclusion say, as a result of my research, I make the following conclusions. What you don’t want to do is to go back over your study. You don’t want to, in your conclusions, repeat your methodology, or repeat your analytical methods. You need to say very clearly these are my conclusions, A B C D. How many are there? As a reviewer, I would look at your conclusions and go back to your research questions and see, has this author matched the research objectives? And you should do this. And if the answer is no. You couldn’t match all the research objectives.
Skip to 8 minutes and 5 seconds Then you have to simply say why, there’s no point in trying to hide it. If you have a research objective, which you couldn’t manage, then you have to give reasons why this wasn’t achieved. And this is not a failure of a paper. It’s really explained from field work. The second thing is to specify any new conclusions. In a separate heading, there should be limitations of the study. Doesn’t matter how well you prepare your research. You will always encounter problems in the field which you never anticipated. And ever you say, well, for example, of the thirty interviews I had scheduled, then I could only do twenty, because senior people I needed to interview were not available. That’s not your fault.
Skip to 8 minutes and 58 seconds It’s one of the things which come up out of research. But it’s quite clear that also, for example, you may find that the sample size you use could have been larger, or it could have been better focused. Now, these are limitations. Everybody has limitations in their research, so you don’t be afraid to set them out. You won’t write a huge chapter, but say these were the limitations of research. And I think the last thing you need to do in an article, and particularly in a thesis is that you say this study is a basis for future research.
Skip to 9 minutes and 41 seconds And in the future then, I am going to give a couple of examples of what may help you to define further research topics. So if you like then, any conclusions should be quite direct, be quite specific in what your thesis and your research has found. Secondly, say what limitations you experienced. And then thirdly, as a result of this research, it’s a foundation I will build on in the future. Or much more important, other researchers can use this to do the same thing.
How to publish in the top journals? (3)
In this video, you will learn the following parts: fieldwork, data description, findings, conclusions and limitations in your article.
By watching this video, what are the key points when you describe the data in your article?
If you have made notes about the sections mentioned in this video, you can also share with other learners in the comment area.
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