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 question (or questions 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 question, 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:

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