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Module 9: Developing Your Analysis and Discussion


Analysis and Discussion

This is the section where you actually present research-based concepts in an organized fashion and use specific studies to support these ideas. Remember that this section has NOTHING to do with your personal ideas. You need to save your personal ideas for the Conclusions and Recommendations section.

The Analysis and Discussion section begins by identifying the research theme (or themes in your masters paper) that you will be exploring.  You will use the opening paragraph to provide the framework for the rest of this section. Having identified your research theme, you will then define the subheadings. This shouldn't be done in a boring bulleted list. This organization can be defined through the prose of your review.
 Here is an example of how this opening paragraph for a Full Masters Literature Review might be written:
Teachers’ beliefs regarding technology integration into the 21st century classroom play a role in learning. Technology can only be embraced as an effective learning tool when teachers believe that what they are being asked to do will work, and that it is the best solution to an identifiable educational problem (Ertmer, Addison, Lane, Ross, & Woods, 1999). There are three specific areas that will be reviewed within the role of teacher belief systems in technology integration. These areas are common teacher beliefs regarding technology integration, teacher goals and knowledge concerning technology integration and supporting teachers as they integrate technology into the 21st century classroom. 
Tour a Sample Lit Review: It is difficult to describe how to write the Methodology or Analysis and Discussion sections without examples, so here is a narration of a single literature review as well as some other examples you will want to read to "get the idea" of how to write these beasts.

Other examples will be included after this narration:

A fine example of this organization is the article, The Effect of Instructor-created Video Programs to Teach Students with Disabilities: A Literature Review by Linda Mechling (2005) Journal of Special Education Technologies 20(2) 25 - 36.  Open the article in another window and review it while you read this narration.

This is a comprehensive review about using video programs. Notice how this begins with an opening paragraph that sets the stage. It talks about the research and development since the early 1980s. It then supports the importance of the topic by showing research-based advantages to the method. This is followed in the 5th paragraph where Mechling explains the purpose and scope of the review. It also explains how the review will be structured.

The Introduction is followed by the Method (Methodology) where it explains the method for finding the studies and the criteria that were used to filter the research. You will noticed that the explanation of databases is not as extensive as we expect for this project, the critera are quite specific.

The results section is similar to our Analysis and Discussion. It begins by specifically explaining the grouping of the studies. It does a wonderful job of creating the framework of the upcoming contents for the reader. Your section doesn't need to be quite so statistically-oriented, but please note how it prepares the reader for the research that will be presented.

Each of the sections described in the Analysis and Discussion are subheaded and discussed as independent entities. The Video Feedback section is concept-driven. This begins with the video feedback concept and supports that with Dowrick's work. it then explains a variety of studies where the value of video feedback was explored in various fashions. Notice how the studies are not the emphasis of the section the effects of video feedback are central to what is being shared. The final paragraph combines and summarizes what was found in the studies. Please NOTE: the final two sentences are transitional sentences that lead to the next section, Video Modeling.

This process of exploring each of the sections described in the opening paragraphs continues throughout the review. The Discussion section (p. 32) is close to the section that we would call the Conclusions and Recommendation section. The author reviews each of the sections and provides commentary on the effectiveness of the approach. This is also the place where the author can compare and contrast the various outcomes (i.e., Paragraph 3 on p. 33.)

The Recommendations for future research do a decent job of relating this technology to the future potential of Virtual Reality. Unfortunately, it doesn't do a very good job of discussing how these results might change policy and pedagogy for teaching disabled learners in the future. There are, however, a few sentences addressing these areas in the final sentences of the review.

The Summary at the end is not necessary if you have written your conclusions well. This section is well-written and much of it could be used as organizational material for the conclusions section in one of our papers.

This review is a fine example of the simple format of a literature review. It doesn't involve teaching readers the fundamentals of a topic as much as providing an organized review of the research in the field. 


Other Examples:

Module 8: Describing Your Methodology

You have prepared your readers for your review in the Introduction by telling them what you are reviewing, why it is important and how you have constrained your research to limit it to a manageable size. You have identified your research questions to tantalize your readers.

NOW it is time to get down to writing the bulk of your paper which includes the Methodology and Analysis and Discussion. The Methodology tells you how you found the research and the following section actually presents the review. Writing your Analysis and Discussion will be discussed in the next module.

Methodology
While the Methodology that you will write for this review is not always included in the typical published journal reviews that you have been reading in your research, it is something that you will use to validate your research. The importance of the methodology is that it allows you to demonstrate your search's thoroughness to your readers so that they can personally decide how comprehensive your searches might be. If your readers feel that you have approached your research properly, then they will continue to read your Analysis and Discussion of the literature collection. You might say that your Methodology section provides the credibility which is the foundation of your whole review.

You will need to explain the search methods you used to find your resources. That isn't too difficult, but then you need to describe how you decided what to include. Once your search yielded a huge list of possible resources, you need to specify the orderly process you used to make the best selection of your bountiful harvest.

You will also have to explain how you ultimately selected your resources. Your criteria for selection might include indicators like date (5 years or less if possible), reputable journal, frequently-cited author, quality of research, large enough sample size, methodology, quality of the research, etc.

So what are the topics that need to be covered in the Methodology? It's simply a matter of explaining the process:
  1. You begin by explaining how you gathered your resources. Which specific search engines did you use and what terms/phrases did you use for your search?
  2. You were presented with hundreds or thousands of resources. You didn't have time to review all of the abstracts and resources. You had to decide which abstracts to review. You needed to make decisions about which sources to analyze. Explain your strategy for deciding which sources "made the first cut."
  3. Once you decided which sources to trust, what procedures did you use to analyze the sources to identify if they are reliable enough to consider them for your review.
  4. When you have winnowed your collection of reliable resources, explain the criteria that you used to decide which resources will be relevant to your review.

Examples of Methodologies

Module 7: Using APA to Write a Lit Review and How to Write the Introduction



You know what to write, now you need to explore how to write it. This module will provide some guidance on how to write a literature review. It will discuss the content and the writing techniques that you should use to create a successful review.  (NOTE: This video talks about "research questions" - in our class we are discussing "research themes."  We try to answer Research Questions.  Research Themes are used to organize discussions about what is being research in specific fields.
Writing Using APA Format
You may be tired of reading about writing in APA format.  You have a whole book filled with that information, don't you?  Here are 3 great videos that you should spend less than half an hour watching. The first two are PowerPoint-based tours through the APA rules. Not exciting but informative. The third video adds to the discussion with graphic examples.  Enjoy.
  • APA 6th Edition Part 1 introduces some writing strategies for research papers and explains APA formatting and citing. (Note: They suggest using "Running Headers" in the paper, but we don't do that at UNI.) (8 minutes)
  • APA 6th Edition Part 2 explains how to format your reference list (9 minutes).
  • Write in APA Format describes GREAT writing strategies and when and how sources are used (5 minutes).
  • Dos and Don'ts of Writing a Literature Review Wiki  Read through this wiki once now, and then once before you begin writing your paper. It's interesting how many of the tips will stick with you and shout out when you are writing.
    Writing an Introduction
    Creating a Research Table to Summarize the Literature
    • Read Chapter 7 in the Galvan book.  (You may have already read Chapter 7)
    • Creating a research table is not part of your assignment but you will remember how well it organized and summarized the research when you read the research reviews at the end of the Galvan book. If you include it in your 10-page paper, it will not have to count as part of the page count.  Some of you are concerned that you will not be able to cover your content in 10 pages so don't worry about this uber-organizer as causing you problems.
    Writing a Paragraph