· Preliminary analysis – at time of collection
· Data management system
· Data cleanup/preparation for analysis
· Importance of memoing/journaling
· Keeping track of what you’re doing
· Writing as you go
· Start from ‘factual’ data – demographics, context, etc. Record info/patterns.
· Start with description, one aspect at a time. Make notes.
· After description, compare differences based on demographics, context, etc. Record both significant and non-significant associations.
· Ask questions of your data – who, why, what, when etc. Then ask more questions – does it make a difference if…? What data can you find to give an answer? Record the questions you ask, and the results you find (or don’t find).
· Check answers/ideas against other data – are they supported? Check negative cases/outliers. Record verifying strategies.
· As you ask questions and seek answers, your theory/thesis will build.
· Go back to your substantive and theoretical literature for more inspiration.
· Read the methodological literature for additional ideas on ways of working with your data/analysis strategies
· Write as you go!
· Use headings, document map, outline view.
· Figure out where you want to take the reader, then write to lead the reader through a logical pathway to your conclusion. Avoid a design which creates repetition. Make sure each step builds on the previous ones and doesn’t assume later knowledge.
· If it helps, think of the dissertation as writing the story of your research project. A story builds towards a climax (the thesis you are arguing).
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