Skip to Main Content
Chat now
Sgwrsiwch nawr

Finding and Managing Information for Your Dissertation: 7. Methods and data analysis

Methods and data

What methods you use to collect your data will depend on your dissertation.

You will need to state what types of method - qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods - you have used. 

You will need to explain why you chose the method involved.

Qualitative methods

Qualitative methods focuses on description of qualities rather than measurement.

For example:

  • Transcripts of interviews
  • Recordings of speeches
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Collections of field notes
  • Literary texts


 Quantitative methods

Quantitative data uses numerical data and focuses on you gathering and interpreting this numerical data.

For example:

  • questionnaires
  • surveys
  • observations


Mixed methods

Your dissertation may include a mixed method approach which combines both qualitative and quantitative methods.

For example:

  • a questionnaire might comprise some quantitative responses
    • How old are you? Tick relevant box.
    • How many hours a week do you spend in the library? Tick the relevant number of hours.
  • a questionnaire might also comprise some qualitative responses
    • Describe in your own words the main purpose you use the library.

Data analysis software

The data to be presented in your dissertation must be collected, interpreted and presented for it to have meaning. Data is the raw ingredients from which statistics are created.

Statistics are useful when you need to support an argument and can be a vital source of information for your study.

Statistical analysis can be performed on data to show relationships among the variables collected. Through secondary data analysis, many different researchers can re-use the same data set for different purposes.

There are various tools available from the University that can help you analyse what you have found.


NVivo is a qualitative data analysis tool and can be used for transcribing and analysing, for example interviews. 

You can install NVivo on your own computer from the software download page. NVivo is installed on all of our public computers in the computer rooms. You can find it in the Courseware-Mathematics and Physics folder on the start menu.


SPSS is a statistical software package which allows you to organise and analyse data-sets. SPSS includes functions allowing you to perform descriptive and inferential statistical tests. Use SPSS for data analysis purposes for quantitative research methods module. The software is available for free on all computers on campus.

Students can also download the software for use on personal computers here.

Books to help

Books in the Library

Here are some examples of books on statistics available in the library and/or online: