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Dissertation Survival Guide: Methodology & Data Analysis
Guidance on how to complete your Dissertation/Final Year Project and make the most of Library and IT Services and Resources
Writing a dissertation usually involves doing some original research. This may use qualitative methods such as interviews, or quantitative methods such as surveys. What method is most suitable for you will depend on what you need to find out.
We have lots of books (print and online) on research methods, so don’t just stick to the items on your reading lists. See below for some selected titles that are available from the library. You could also talk to your supervisor or academic skills tutors about suitable methodology in your subject area.
Design your research tools
Next, you need to design your research tools before collecting your data.
Try searching Summon for topics such as "qualitative research methods", "quantitative research methods", "survey design", and more for ideas of how you could collect data for your research. Or, see some recommended books below.
If you plan to use a survey to collect data for your dissertation, all staff and students have access to Qualtrics, an online survey service. When accessing Qualtrics for the first time, select "No, I don't have a preexisting account here". You can then create an account using your University of Huddersfield email address.
Recommended books on research methodology
Start analysing your results
So, you have your data, but what does it mean? This is where you put YOUR data into the context of the literature you’ve already found. There are various tools available from the University that can help you analyse what you have found.
There are three software packages available to download for home use from the link above:
- Nvivo: qualitative data analysis tool. Used for transcribing and analysing interviews and other qualitative data.
- SPSS and Minitab, both statistical analysis packages that are most helpful for analysing quantitative data.
For help, either in a group or one-to-one training, contact the Digital Skills team.
If you've used a qualitative method such as interviewing, you will need to transcribe these to analyse them. Manually transcribing interviews can be a long and laborious process. There are three tools available to you as Huddersfield students that can help speed up the process.
Remember, they are not perfect and the accuracy will depend on the quality of your audio recordings. Recent feedback from students suggests that they are between 85% - 95% accurate so some editing will be required. Unfortunately no automatic transcription tool is 100% accurate.
Available as part of your Office 365 package, Word Online's transcribe feature converts speech (recorded directly in Word or from an uploaded audio file) to a text transcript. After your conversation, interview, or meeting, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the timestamped audio and edit the transcription to make corrections. You can save the full transcript as a Word document or insert snippets of it into existing documents.
This tool can be accessed online with your University email account. There is also an app available for apple and android devices. Transcripts can be downloaded as a text file and opened in Word. The standard account allows for up to 600 minutes a month of transcription for free.
This is also available as part of your Office 365 package. You can upload as many videos as you like. Captions can be automatically created, edited within Streams and then downloaded as a transcript and opened in Word. Stream is idea for producing transcripts of video recordings.