Writing the Findings

Wall climb

Success is perseverance. One step at a time. Never giving up. Whatever cliche gets you by.  The most productive people I know are the ones who keep going.

Mini pep talk completed, now back to the how part of this blog. Once you pass your proposal defense, you’ll conduct your research. Since this step is very specific to the individual project, I will defer to your adviser on the specifics of doing the analysis.  My general advice is to set and meet your deadlines, be organized, and don’t cut corners.

I will also stick to an overview for how to write the Findings/Results section.

Five Tips for Writing the Findings/Results
1. Organize this part according to your research questions and methodology, incorporating appropriate terminology.
2. Start with an introductory paragraph setting up the section.
3.  Use headers and subheads to guide the readers.
4. Your voice and words should lead the way, not your examples.  Avoid the “river of tangents” in which you get so far from your RQs that readers forget the topic.
5. Be specific in your examples, while focusing on relevant detail.


The Sandwich Approach to Writing Your Findings sandwich

Textual analysis is not summary or synthesis of a text. The difference is in how you write-up your findings section. While there are many different ways to do this (your methodology determines your structure), here is a general guide for structuring the findings for discourse, framing, and narrative analysis.  “Bread” refers to your words. Just like a sandwich, you need your words to structure your findings and guide the reader. Examples are your “fixings.”  Meat, cheese, and veggies are great, but without the bread, it’s a big mess and not a sandwich.  Introduce examples as relevant, not as a way to fill space on the page.


Overall paragraph reminding us what you did and what you’ve identified. You should identify your discourses/frames here.

Discourse/Frame #1

  1. State it and define it (the “bread”)
  2. Give relevant examples (your “fixings”)
  3. End the section with your words (the “bread”).

Discourse/Frame #2

  1. State it and define it (the “bread”)
  2. Give relevant examples (your “fixings”)
  3. End the section with your words (the “bread”).

Discourse/Frame #3

  1. State it and define it (the “bread”)
  2. Give relevant examples (your “fixings”)
  3. End the section with your words (the “bread”).


How to give examples without oversummarizing:

  • Use the sandwich approach so you have a clear purpose for each example. Otherwise, your summary can get away from you.
    • Weak example from the show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: In the episode “Bite Me,” the CSIs investigate the death of a woman who was found dead on the stairs.  They go to the scene and find a bloody paper towel in the garbage.  They check the bedrooms.  Then they begin conducting interviews. . . . . .
    • An improved example from CSI:

                   Adultery Leads to Murder
                  CSI storylines convey that cheating on one’s spouse can increase one’s chance of                     victimization. In the episode “Bite Me,” infidelity leads to a woman’s murder after                  her stepdaughter, Susan, discovers her affair. When CSIs interview Susan, she                        confesses, explaining her actions with “She was going to leave [her father],” as a                   CSI flashback shows the girl finding her stepmother in bed with another man.                         Another episode conveys a similar message. NEXT EXAMPLE HERE.  Overall, CSI                  narratives repeatedly connect infidelity to murder.

  • With fiction, introduce characters as needed and in the most succinct way possible.
    • Weak example from the show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Sara Sidle is an investigator. She was in love with Gil Grissom, but hid it from him. Later, they start dating and move in together. . . .
    • An improved example: CSI Sara Sidle interviewed the suspect.
    • In other words, what do we need to know to understand the example? Only give details as relevant to the examples needed to support the discourse/frame.
  • Use direct quotations when it is relevant.
  • Write out your examples and then see where you can cut them down.


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