Phase III: Analysis and Synthesis
There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.
Even well planned experiments sometimes produce data that are difficult to interpret. This chapter proposes a procedure for analysis where the data are first processed to obtain meaningful quantities, then arranged into a simple table to make them easy to access and handle, and finally investigated using graphical and mathematical tools. The analysis is discussed relatively briefly, partly because it draws on Chapters 7 and 8 to a great extent, and partly because our efforts in the planning and data collection phases have made the analysis much easier.
The scientific process does not end with data analysis. In many ways, the remaining part is the most important one for the development of science. In the synthesis phase, we relate our findings to the current knowledge and define our contribution to it. This is a central part of publishing our research in journals or at conferences. In a Ph.D. thesis, the synthesis is perhaps the most crucial part. This is where you demonstrate that you have made an original contribution to knowledge and explain what it consists of.