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Chap10 - 10 Presenting and Analysing your Data As you...

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10 Presenting and Analysing your Data As you follow the objectives you will start to gather data (e.g. data from simula- tions, data from interviews, or data from literature analyses). The collected data needs to be properly presented to the reader. In Sects. 10.1 and 10.2 we briefly describe techniques and guidelines for how to present both non-numerical and numerical data. Once the data has been presented, it can be analysed. Briefly, to analyse the data means that you evaluate the data against the objectives of your project. Guidelines for how to analyse your data are described in Sect. 10.3. The outcome of the analysis represents your results (or findings). Section 10.4 discusses the nature of a good result, and the evaluation of a hypothesis in light of the data obtained. 10.1 Presenting Non-Numerical Data In this section, we present guidelines for presenting non-numerical data such as: Data from a literature analysis Data from interviews Data from questionnaires Data from implementations 10.1.1 Presenting Data from a Literature Analysis When you present what you have found in your literature analysis, the most impor- tant thing to keep in mind is its purpose in your project. This purpose must always be at the forefront when you decide how to structure your presentation. For example, if you are using a literature analysis as your method for identifying differences between two software engineering methods (for simplicity, we just call them 73 M. Berndtsson et al. (eds.), Planning and Implementing your Computing Project - with Success! © Springer 2008
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74 10 Presenting and Analysing your Data method X and method Y), you can structure the presentation of the literature analysis in a number of different ways. Here follows two examples: 1. You can begin with a detailed description of method X, including quotes and excerpts from the literature you used. You should report any inconsistencies in the literature, for example, if some authors claim that method X is not suitable for a given type of system, whereas other authors claim the opposite. You should report the arguments that were used by each author to support his or her claims. The description of method X can be followed by a detailed description of method Y, using the same technique. You can then report what is said in other literature that has compared the two methods, if such literature exists. 2. You can begin by reporting what is said in the literature about desirable proper- ties of software engineering methods. Again, you should report any differences or contradictions in the views of different authors, and state the arguments they are using to support their views. After this you can give detailed descriptions of the methods X and Y , which are to be compared in your study. The final part of your literature study can be to compare methods X and Y on the basis of the properties identified earlier. You should then report which of these properties are present in each method, and to what degree.
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