You are writing the thesis or you are in the early stages and are wondering: “What is my result?” Although you have a specific research question, do you not know exactly what a result might look like? I would like to explain in more detail three possible ways of finding the results of a thesis.

Hypotheses

Theses are not subject to any special rules and are therefore also vaguely defined. In science, however, the hypothesis is used, which is more specific ly defined and establishes a connection between at least two variables. Examples are:

  • Agile companies generate more revenue than traditional companies.
  • Scrum can achieve faster work results than Kanban.
  • Employees on agile teams demand less salary than employees in classic teams.

You will notice that I have always put 2 variables in context. You can derothe hypotheses in your thesis in the following ways:

  • Formulate hypotheses at the beginning of a thesis
  • Derive hypotheses from literature analysis

Hypotheses have the advantage that they are easy to derive and even easier to evaluate by academic methods. In doing so, you collect specific data on the selected hypothesis. The result of a thesis is always the valid hypotheses. I would like to give two examples of this.

Reading tip: Difference in qualitative and quantitative research

Example 1: Quantitative thesis

In the first example, let’s take a thesis with a literature analysis and a classic online survey, which you evaluate statistically. You have 10 questions that ask a project manager about the importance of online tools.

Now it’s very simple: take your hypotheses and break them down into variables. You ask for these variables individually and check afterwards in a correlation analysis whether they are true or not. The advantage is that you support each hypothesis with concrete figures. Two examples can be found below:

  • Hypothesis 1: Younger managers are better trained in the use of agile methods.
  • Question 1.1: How old is your current leader (19 – 35, 35 – 45, 45 to 67)?
  • Question 1.2: How do you rate your manager’s knowledge of agile methods (scale 1-5)?
  • Correlation: Check if all participants who have indicated to have a leader under 35 years also indicate that this know-how has agility
  • (at least 4).
  • Hypothesis 2: Videoconferencing is a purposeful task package for virtual project teams.
  • Question 2.1: What virtual tools do you use when handing over large task packages?
  • Question 2.2: How satisfied are you with these tools?
  • Correlation: See if participants who chose videoconferencing in question 1 have also rated them well in question 2.

Reading tip: Survey

Example 2: Qualitative thesis

If you carry out a qualitative check of the hypotheses, then it is also quite simple. Simply take your hypotheses as questions and ask the expert for an assessment. The advantage of this methodology is that you examine each hypothesis in more depth. Always ask: Agree to this hypothesis and justify your answer.

Reading tip: Expert interviews

Recommendations

Recommendations for action are advice derived from the data of the thesis. These are usually aimed at practitioners and are intended to help with everyday life in companies. The advantage is that these help especially with questions about: “What have you found in your thesis?”as well as a compact overview for practitioners.

I very often give recommendations for action in my studies and papers. I note, however, that this procedure is also very controversial. On the one hand, some are completely convinced and others academics are not. The reason is that recommendations for action are often vague. I therefore recommend that you discuss this with their supervisors.

Ideally, you can simply derive recommendations for action from your confirmed hypotheses. For example, if two variables are correct, then you have a recommendation for action. If, for example, you have found out that participants like to use scrum teams for projects with a volume of 5 million euros or more, you can derive a recommendation for action from this. This is the simple case. I would like to give another example of recommendations for action without hypotheses.

Example: Derivation of recommendations for action at the end of the work

Suppose you write a thesis on the impact of agility on project success. You have read literature and talked to 5 experts as to whether the findings from the literature can also be used in everyday project life. Now you need to turn the results into concrete recommendations for action.

First, see if statements from the practice partners can be converted directly into tips. For example, one expert says: “For remote projects, we always use scrum because control is only possible anyway.” From this, an initial recommendation for action can be derived.

Continue to see if certain variables can be drawn from your interview questions. For example, if you have asked for stumbling blocks or obstacles in projects, they usually follow recommendations for action or if something has been denied by the majority of participants, this has the potential for a recommendation to avoid something. Examples of such statements are:

  • We mostly use Kanban in operation because scrum is too extensive for us (best practice).
  • We often have longer conversations via e-mail and there is often a lot of controversy (stumbling block).

Tip: If you have started your work, I recommend working with hypotheses and deriving the recommendations for action from them. Otherwise, they flatten individual statements, which is countervailable.

Frameworks

Creating a framework is primarily for visually presenting complex issues. So it is a kind of orientation, for example, in organizational development. The conception of a framework is a research method and is called reference modeling.

Typically, you take existing hypotheses or data from which you build a framework. This also visualizes the facts again and is particularly worthwhile in difficult-to-add situations. Examples of well-known agile frameworks include:

Tip: Frameworks don’t always have to be pure images. Text constructs such as Porters Five Forces or the SWOT analysis.

Example: My agile framework

In my study on agility, I examined how to increase agility in a classic SME. More information about the specific content of the framework can be found in the article on Roundtable 2.

Important: Always limit that your reference model is always only a prefabricated solution scheme for a possible situation in reality and is therefore not always fully valid in practice.

In order to design a reference model, the practical problem is primarily covered, a frame of reference is formed and the problem solution is then presented. In my model, the practical problem is the research question: how can agility be increased in an SME?

As a frame of reference, I have taken a fictitious SME. Last but not least, I have implemented the participants’ recommendations for action in the framework. Examples are: central services with little agility and small agile units (start-ups).

Agile organization
A company as a molecule. Participants use the metaphor from physics to form a model for evolutionary companies (Lindner and Leyh 2019)

Conclusion

What result you ultimately want to draw in your work is up to you and depends on the research question. In most cases, I recommend relying on hypotheses or, if possible, on recommendations for action (necessarily ask the supervisor beforehand), as this is valuable for practice and you can use them, for example. enclose an application or can publish it to me on my blog.

If there are any questions, please feel free to call me. Simply look for a free appointment in the booking system. I take a few hours each month to help students.

Image source: Pixabay

Lindner, D., & Leyh, C. (2018). Organizations in Transformation: Agility as Consequence or Prerequisite of Digitization? BT – Business Information Systems. In W. Abramowicz & A. Paschke (Eds.) (pp. 86-101). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Gibt es noch Fragen?

Falls es noch Fragen gibt, habe ich zwei Tipps. Ich habe meine Erfahrung aus 5 Jahren in der Betreuung von Abschlussarbeiten im Buch: "Empfehlungen für die Bachelor- und Masterarbeit" zusammengefasst. Dieses gibt es bei Springer und Amazon seit August 2020. Das Buch ist ein offzielles Fachbuch in kann damit zitiert werden. Weiterhin können Sie mich gerne mal anrufen. Hierzu einfach im Buchungssystem nach einen freien Termin schauen. Ich nehme mir jeden Monat einige Stunden Zeit um Studenten zu helfen.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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