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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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How To Write The Discussion Chapter
The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).
By: Jenna Crossley (PhD Cand). Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | August 2021
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve reached the discussion chapter of your thesis or dissertation and are looking for a bit of guidance. Well, you’ve come to the right place ! In this post, we’ll unpack and demystify the typical discussion chapter in straightforward, easy to understand language, with loads of examples .
Overview: Dissertation Discussion Chapter
- What (exactly) the discussion chapter is
- What to include in your discussion chapter
- How to write up your discussion chapter
- A few tips and tricks to help you along the way
What exactly is the discussion chapter?
The discussion chapter is where you interpret and explain your results within your thesis or dissertation. This contrasts with the results chapter, where you merely present and describe the analysis findings (whether qualitative or quantitative ). In the discussion chapter, you elaborate on and evaluate your research findings, and discuss the significance and implications of your results.
In this chapter, you’ll situate your research findings in terms of your research questions or hypotheses and tie them back to previous studies and literature (which you would have covered in your literature review chapter). You’ll also have a look at how relevant and/or significant your findings are to your field of research, and you’ll argue for the conclusions that you draw from your analysis. Simply put, the discussion chapter is there for you to interact with and explain your research findings in a thorough and coherent manner.
What should I include in the discussion chapter?
First things first: in some studies, the results and discussion chapter are combined into one chapter . This depends on the type of study you conducted (i.e., the nature of the study and methodology adopted), as well as the standards set by the university. So, check in with your university regarding their norms and expectations before getting started. In this post, we’ll treat the two chapters as separate, as this is most common.
Basically, your discussion chapter should analyse , explore the meaning and identify the importance of the data you presented in your results chapter. In the discussion chapter, you’ll give your results some form of meaning by evaluating and interpreting them. This will help answer your research questions, achieve your research aims and support your overall conclusion (s). Therefore, you discussion chapter should focus on findings that are directly connected to your research aims and questions. Don’t waste precious time and word count on findings that are not central to the purpose of your research project.
As this chapter is a reflection of your results chapter, it’s vital that you don’t report any new findings . In other words, you can’t present claims here if you didn’t present the relevant data in the results chapter first. So, make sure that for every discussion point you raise in this chapter, you’ve covered the respective data analysis in the results chapter. If you haven’t, you’ll need to go back and adjust your results chapter accordingly.
If you’re struggling to get started, try writing down a bullet point list everything you found in your results chapter. From this, you can make a list of everything you need to cover in your discussion chapter. Also, make sure you revisit your research questions or hypotheses and incorporate the relevant discussion to address these. This will also help you to see how you can structure your chapter logically.
Need a helping hand?
How to write the discussion chapter
Now that you’ve got a clear idea of what the discussion chapter is and what it needs to include, let’s look at how you can go about structuring this critically important chapter. Broadly speaking, there are six core components that need to be included, and these can be treated as steps in the chapter writing process.
Step 1: Restate your research problem and research questions
The first step in writing up your discussion chapter is to remind your reader of your research problem , as well as your research aim(s) and research questions . If you have hypotheses, you can also briefly mention these. This “reminder” is very important because, after reading dozens of pages, the reader may have forgotten the original point of your research or been swayed in another direction. It’s also likely that some readers skip straight to your discussion chapter from the introduction chapter , so make sure that your research aims and research questions are clear.
Step 2: Summarise your key findings
Next, you’ll want to summarise your key findings from your results chapter. This may look different for qualitative and quantitative research , where qualitative research may report on themes and relationships, whereas quantitative research may touch on correlations and causal relationships. Regardless of the methodology, in this section you need to highlight the overall key findings in relation to your research questions.
Typically, this section only requires one or two paragraphs , depending on how many research questions you have. Aim to be concise here, as you will unpack these findings in more detail later in the chapter. For now, a few lines that directly address your research questions are all that you need.
Some examples of the kind of language you’d use here include:
- The data suggest that…
- The data support/oppose the theory that…
- The analysis identifies…
These are purely examples. What you present here will be completely dependent on your original research questions, so make sure that you are led by them .
Step 3: Interpret your results
Once you’ve restated your research problem and research question(s) and briefly presented your key findings, you can unpack your findings by interpreting your results. Remember: only include what you reported in your results section – don’t introduce new information.
From a structural perspective, it can be a wise approach to follow a similar structure in this chapter as you did in your results chapter. This would help improve readability and make it easier for your reader to follow your arguments. For example, if you structured you results discussion by qualitative themes, it may make sense to do the same here.
Alternatively, you may structure this chapter by research questions, or based on an overarching theoretical framework that your study revolved around. Every study is different, so you’ll need to assess what structure works best for you.
When interpreting your results, you’ll want to assess how your findings compare to those of the existing research (from your literature review chapter). Even if your findings contrast with the existing research, you need to include these in your discussion. In fact, those contrasts are often the most interesting findings . In this case, you’d want to think about why you didn’t find what you were expecting in your data and what the significance of this contrast is.
Here are a few questions to help guide your discussion:
- How do your results relate with those of previous studies ?
- If you get results that differ from those of previous studies, why may this be the case?
- What do your results contribute to your field of research?
- What other explanations could there be for your findings?
When interpreting your findings, be careful not to draw conclusions that aren’t substantiated . Every claim you make needs to be backed up with evidence or findings from the data (and that data needs to be presented in the previous chapter – results). This can look different for different studies; qualitative data may require quotes as evidence, whereas quantitative data would use statistical methods and tests. Whatever the case, every claim you make needs to be strongly backed up.
Step 4: Acknowledge the limitations of your study
The fourth step in writing up your discussion chapter is to acknowledge the limitations of the study. These limitations can cover any part of your study , from the scope or theoretical basis to the analysis method(s) or sample. For example, you may find that you collected data from a very small sample with unique characteristics, which would mean that you are unable to generalise your results to the broader population.
For some students, discussing the limitations of their work can feel a little bit self-defeating . This is a misconception, as a core indicator of high-quality research is its ability to accurately identify its weaknesses. In other words, accurately stating the limitations of your work is a strength, not a weakness . All that said, be careful not to undermine your own research. Tell the reader what limitations exist and what improvements could be made, but also remind them of the value of your study despite its limitations.
Step 5: Make recommendations for implementation and future research
Now that you’ve unpacked your findings and acknowledge the limitations thereof, the next thing you’ll need to do is reflect on your study in terms of two factors:
- The practical application of your findings
- Suggestions for future research
The first thing to discuss is how your findings can be used in the real world – in other words, what contribution can they make to the field or industry? Where are these contributions applicable, how and why? For example, if your research is on communication in health settings, in what ways can your findings be applied to the context of a hospital or medical clinic? Make sure that you spell this out for your reader in practical terms, but also be realistic and make sure that any applications are feasible.
The next discussion point is the opportunity for future research . In other words, how can other studies build on what you’ve found and also improve the findings by overcoming some of the limitations in your study (which you discussed a little earlier). In doing this, you’ll want to investigate whether your results fit in with findings of previous research, and if not, why this may be the case. For example, are there any factors that you didn’t consider in your study? What future research can be done to remedy this? When you write up your suggestions, make sure that you don’t just say that more research is needed on the topic, also comment on how the research can build on your study.
Step 6: Provide a concluding summary
Finally, you’ve reached your final stretch. In this section, you’ll want to provide a brief recap of the key findings – in other words, the findings that directly address your research questions . Basically, your conclusion should tell the reader what your study has found, and what they need to take away from reading your report.
When writing up your concluding summary, bear in mind that some readers may skip straight to this section from the beginning of the chapter. So, make sure that this section flows well from and has a strong connection to the opening section of the chapter.
Tips and tricks for an A-grade discussion chapter
Now that you know what the discussion chapter is , what to include and exclude , and how to structure it , here are some tips and suggestions to help you craft a quality discussion chapter.
- When you write up your discussion chapter, make sure that you keep it consistent with your introduction chapter , as some readers will skip from the introduction chapter directly to the discussion chapter. Your discussion should use the same tense as your introduction, and it should also make use of the same key terms.
- Don’t make assumptions about your readers. As a writer, you have hands-on experience with the data and so it can be easy to present it in an over-simplified manner. Make sure that you spell out your findings and interpretations for the intelligent layman.
- Have a look at other theses and dissertations from your institution, especially the discussion sections. This will help you to understand the standards and conventions of your university, and you’ll also get a good idea of how others have structured their discussion chapters. You can also check out our chapter template .
- Avoid using absolute terms such as “These results prove that…”, rather make use of terms such as “suggest” or “indicate”, where you could say, “These results suggest that…” or “These results indicate…”. It is highly unlikely that a dissertation or thesis will scientifically prove something (due to a variety of resource constraints), so be humble in your language.
- Use well-structured and consistently formatted headings to ensure that your reader can easily navigate between sections, and so that your chapter flows logically and coherently.
If you have any questions or thoughts regarding this post, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, if you’re looking for one-on-one help with your discussion chapter (or thesis in general), consider booking a free consultation with one of our highly experienced Grad Coaches to discuss how we can help you.
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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Thank you this is helpful!
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This has been very helpful indeed. Thank you.
This is actually really helpful, I just stumbled upon it. Very happy that I found it, thank you.
Me too! I was kinda lost on how to approach my discussion chapter. How helpful! Thanks a lot!
This is really good and explicit. Thanks
Thank you, this blog has been such a help.
Thank you. This is very helpful.
Thanks a lot for this helpful blog. Really, it supported me in writing my discussion chapter while I was totally unaware about its structure and method of writing.
Syed Firoz Ahmad PhD, Research Scholar
I agree so much. This blog was god sent. It assisted me so much while I was totally clueless about the context and the know-how. Now I am fully aware of what I am to do and how I am to do it.
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Truly, your article was much benefited when i structured my discussion chapter.
Thank you very much!!!
This is helpful for me in writing my research discussion component. I have to copy this text on Microsoft word cause of my weakness that I cannot be able to read the text on screen a long time. So many thanks for this articles.
This was helpful
Thanks Jenna, well explained.
Thank you! This is super helpful.
Thanks very much. I have appreciated the six steps on writing the Discussion chapter which are (i) Restating the research problem and questions (ii) Summarising the key findings (iii) Interpreting the results linked to relating to previous results in positive and negative ways; explaining whay different or same and contribution to field of research and expalnation of findings (iv) Acknowledgeing limitations (v) Recommendations for implementation and future resaerch and finally (vi) Providing a conscluding summary
My two questions are: 1. On step 1 and 2 can it be the overall or you restate and sumamrise on each findings based on the reaerch question? 2. On 4 and 5 do you do the acknowlledgement , recommendations on each research finding or overall. This is not clear from your expalanattion.
This post is very useful. I’m wondering whether practical implications must be introduced in the Discussion section or in the Conclusion section?
Sigh, I never knew a 20 min video could have literally save my life like this. I found this at the right time!!!! Everything I need to know in one video thanks a mil ! OMGG and that 6 step!!!!!! was the cherry on top the cake!!!!!!!!!
This piece is very helpful on how to go about my discussion section. I can always recommend GradCoach research guides for colleagues.
Many thanks for this resource. It has been very helpful to me. I was finding it hard to even write the first sentence. Much appreciated.
Thanks so much. Very helpful to know what is included in the discussion section
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This is very helpful. Very very helpful. Thanks for sharing this online!
it is very helpfull article, and i will recommend it to my fellow students. Thank you.
Superlative! More grease to your elbows.
Powerful, thank you for sharing.
Wow! Just wow! God bless the day I stumbled upon you guys’ YouTube videos! It’s been truly life changing and anxiety about my report that is due in less than a month has subsided significantly!
Simplified explanation. Well done.
The presentation is enlightening. Thank you very much.
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How to Write a Dissertation Discussion Chapter: Guide & Examples
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Dissertation discussion section is a chapter that interprets the results obtained from research and offers an in-depth analysis of findings. In this section, students need to analyze the outcomes, evaluate their significance, and compare them to previous research. The discussion section may also explore the limitations of the study and suggest further research perspectives.
If you are stuck with your thesis or dissertation discussion chapter, you are in the right place to complete this section successfully. This article will outline our best solutions and methods on how to write the discussion of a dissertation or thesis. We also will share advanced dissertation discussion examples to help you finalize your PhD work. Feel like academic writing gives you hassles? Remember that you can always rely on academic experts qualified in your field to get professional dissertation help online .
What Is a Dissertation Discussion?
First and foremost, students need to have a clear understanding of what dissertation discussion is. This is not the same as your results section , where you share data from your research. You are going deeper into the explanation of the existing data in your thesis or dissertation discussion section. In other words, you illustrate practical implications of your research and how the data can be used, researched further, or limited. What will make your discussion section of a dissertation excellent:
- clear structure
- practical implication
- elaboration on future work on this topic.
This section should go after research methodology and before the dissertation conclusion . It should be directly relevant to questions posed in your introduction. The biggest mistake you can make is to rewrite your result chapter with other words and add some limitations and recommendation paragraphs. However, this is an entirely different type of writing you need to complete.
Purpose of a Dissertation Discussion Chapter
A dissertation discussion section is critical to explaining students’ findings and the application of data to real-life cases. As we mentioned before, this section will often be read right after the dissertation methods . It evaluates and elaborates on findings and helps to understand the importance of your performed thesis research. A dissertation discussion opens a new perspective on further research on the same field or topic. It also outlines critical data to consider in subsequent studies. In a nutshell, this is the section where you explain your work to a broad audience.
Structure of a Dissertation Discussion Section
Let’s start your writing journey of this research part with a clear delineation of what it should include and then briefly discuss each component. Here are some basic things you need to consider for an excellent discussion chapter of dissertation :
- Brief summary It does not mean copying an introduction section. However, the first few paragraphs will make an overview of your findings and topic.
- Interpretations This is a critical component of your work — elaborate on your results and explain possible ways of using them.
- Implication Research work is not just 100+ pages of text. Students should explain and illustrate how it could be used for solving practical problems.
- Constraints This is where you outline your limitations. For instance, your research was done only on students, and it may have different results with elderly people.
- Recommendations You can also define possible ways of future research on the exact topic when writing a discussion for your thesis or dissertation. Tell readers, for example, that it would be helpful to run similar research in other specific circumstances.
How to Write a Dissertation Discussion Chapter?
One of the most commonly asked questions for our experts is how to write the discussion section of a dissertation or thesis. We understand why it can be complicated to get a clear answer. Students often think that this section is similar to the result chapter and just retells it in other words. But it is not so. Let’s go through all steps to writing a discussion in a dissertation, and share our best examples from academic papers.
1. Remind Your Research Questions & Objectives
Writing the discussion chapter of a dissertation is not a big deal if you understand its aim and each component in a text structure. First of all, you need to evaluate how your results help to answer research questions you defined in the beginning. It is not about repeating the result, you did it in previous paragraphs. However, dissertation or thesis discussion should underline how your findings help to answer the research problem. Start writing from a brief intro by recalling research questions or hypotheses . Then, show how your results answer them or support a hypothesis in your work.
2. Sum Up Key Findings
Next part of your discussion for dissertation is to provide a short summary of previous data. But do not respite the same summary paragraphs from results or introduction of a dissertation . Here researchers should be more thoughtful and go deeper into the work’s aims. Try to explain in a few sentences what you get from running research. For instance, starters usually write the statement that “our data proves that…” or “survey results illustrate a clear correlation between a and b that is critical for proving our working hypothesis…”. A discussion chapter of your dissertation is not just a fixation on results but a more profound summary connected to research goals and purpose. Here is an example: Summary of Findings Example
According to the data, implementing the co-orientation theory was successful and can be used for the same circumstances in the future. As we found, most participants agreed with the importance of those theses on the five fundamental reforms. It means that the results identified a successful government work in choosing the messages to communicate about examined reforms. At the same time, the situation is not so favorable with implementing the principles of two-way symmetrical communications. According to the results, people did not feel that the government had a mutual, open, and equal dialogue with the public about the reforms.
3. Interpret the Results
The most critical part of a discussion section is to explain and enact the results you’ve got. It is the most significant part of any text. Students should be clear about what to include in these paragraphs. Here is some advice to make this elaboration structured:
- Identify correlations or patterns in the data for dissertation discussion.
- Underline how results can answer research questions or prove your hypothesis.
- Emphasize how your findings are connected to the previous topic studies.
- Point out essential statements you can use in future research.
- Evaluate the significance of your results and any unexpected data you have.
- What others can learn from your research and how this work contributes to the field.
- Consider any possible additional or unique explanation of your findings.
- Go deeper with options of how results can be applied in practice.
Writing a dissertation discussion chapter can be tough, but here is a great sample to learn from. Example of Interpretations in Disssertation Discussion
Our study underlines the importance of future research on using TikTok for political communication. As discussed above, TikTok is the most commonly used social media platform for many young voters. This means that political discussion will also move to this platform. Our research and typology of political communication content can be used in the future planning of effective political campaigns. For example, we can assume that “play videos” have enormous potential to facilitate complicated topics and provide specific agenda settings. We also identified additional affordances of TikTok used for political communication, such as built-in video editors, playlists for specific topics, a green screen for news explainers, and duets for reflection on news and discussion. It means that these features make TikTok suitable for efficient political communications.
4. Discuss How Your Findings Relate to the Literature
Here we came to the implications of your findings for the dissertation discussion. In other words, this is a few sentences on how your work is connected to other studies on the same research topic or what literature gap you are going to fill with the data and research you launched. Remember to mention how your study address the limitations you have discovered while writing a literature review . First, outline how your hypothesis relates to theories or previous works in the field. Maybe, you challenged some theories or tried to define your own. Be specific in this section. Second, define a practical implementation of your work. Maybe, it can support recommendations or change legislation. Discussion chapter of a thesis is a place where you explain your work, make it valuable, and incorporate additional meaning for some specific data. Example of Implications in Disssertation Discussion
As we pointed out in the literature review, there are few works on using TikTok affordances for political communications, and this topic can be expanded in the future. Government institutions have already understood the importance of this platform for efficient communication with younger audiences, and we will see more political projects on TikTok. That is why expanding research on using TikTok for political communication will be enormous in the following years. Our work is one of the first research on the role of emerging media in war communication and can be used as a practical guide for government's strategic planning in times of emergencies.
5. Mention Possible Limitations
It is pretty tricky to conduct research without limitations. You will always have some, which does not mean that your work is not good. When you write a discussion chapter in a thesis or dissertation, focus on what may influence your results and how changing independent variables can affect your data collection methods and final outcomes. Here are some points to consider when you structure your dissertation discussion limitation part:
- If results can change in case you change the reference group?
- What will happen with data if it changes circumstances?
- What could influence results?
Critical thinking and analysis can help you to outline possible limitations. It can be the age of the reference group, change of questionnaire in a survey, or specific use of data extraction equipment. Be transparent about what could affect your results. Example of Complications
Although this study has provided critical first insights into the effects of multimodal disinformation and rebuttals, there are some limitations. First and most importantly, the effects of multimodal disinformation and rebuttals partially depend on the topic of the message. Although fact-checkers reduce credibility of disinformation in both settings, and attitudinal congruence plays a consistent role in conditioning responses to multimodal disinformation, visuals do not have the same impact on affecting the credibility of news on school shootings and refugees.
6. Provide Recommendations for Further Research
Writing a dissertation discussion also makes a connection to possible future research. So, other scientists may complete that. While elaborating on possible implementations of your study, you may also estimate future approaches in topic research. Here are some points to consider while your discussion in thesis writing:
- Outline questions related to your topic that you did not answer in defined study or did not outline as research questions. There are other possible gaps to research.
- Suggest future research based on limitations. For example, if you define surveyed people’s age as a limitation, recommend running another survey for older or younger recipients.
Example of Recommendations
As we mentioned before, our study has some limitations, as the research was conducted based on data from United State citizens. However, for a better understanding of government communication practices, it would be productive to implement the same research in other countries. Some cultural differences can influence the communication strategies the government uses in times of emergency. Another possible way to examine this topic is to conduct research using a specific period of time. For future studies, it will be beneficial to expand the number of survey recipients.
7. Conclude Your Thesis/ Dissertation Discussion
You are almost done, the last step is to provide a brief summary of a section. It is not the same as a conclusion for whole research. However, you need to briefly outline key points from the dissertation discussion. To finalize writing the discussion section of a dissertation, go through the text and check if there is no unimportant information. Do not overload the text with relevant data you did not present in the result section. Be specific in your summary paragraphs. It is a holistic view of everything you pointed out. Provide a few sentences to systemize all you outlined in the text. Example of a Concluding Summary in a Dissertation Discussion Section
To summarize, Airbnb has expertise in communicating CSR and CSA campaigns. We defined their communication strategy about the program for Ukrainian refugees as quite successful. They applied all the principles of CSR communication best practices, used dialogic theory to engage with the public on social media, and created clear messaging on applying for the program. Airbnb examples of CSR communication can be used by other businesses to create a communication strategy for unplanned CSR campaigns. Moreover, it can be further researched how Airbnb's CSR campaign influenced the organizational reputation in the future.
Dissertation Discussion Example
If we need to share one piece of practical advice, it would be to use thesis or dissertation discussion examples when writing your own copy. StudyCrumb provides the best samples from real students' work to help you understand the stylistic and possible structure of this part. It does not mean you need to copy and paste them into your work. However, you can use a dissertation discussion example for inspiration and brainstorming ideas for breaking writing blocks. Here’s a doctoral thesis discussion chapter example.
Dissertation Discussion Writing Tips
Before reading this blog, you should already know how to write a thesis discussion. However, we would share some essential tips you need to have in mind while working on the document.
- Be consistent Your dissertation discussion chapter is a part of bigger research, and it should be in line with your whole work.
- Understand your reader You are writing an academic text that will be analyzed by professionals and experts in the same field. Be sure that you are not trying to simplify your discussion.
- Be logical Do not jump into a new line of discussion if you did not delineate it as a research question at the beginning.
- Be clear Do not include any data that was not presented in the result section.
- Consider word choice Use such terms as “our data indicate…” or “our data suggests…” instead of “the data proves.”
- Use proper format Follow the formatting rules specified by a specific paper style (e.g., APA style format , MLA format , or Chicago format ) or provided by your instructor.
Bottom Line on Writing a Dissertation Discussion Chapter
At this stage, it should not be a question for you on how to write a discussion chapter in a PhD thesis or dissertation. Let’s make it clear. It is not a result section but still a place to elaborate on data and go deeper with explanations. Dissertation discussion section includes some intro, result interpretations, limitations, and recommendations for future research. Our team encourages you to use examples before starting your own piece of writing. It will help you to realize the purpose and structure of this chapter and inspire better texts! If you have other questions regarding the PhD writing process, check our blog for more insights. From detailed instruction on how to write a dissertation or guide on formatting a dissertation appendix , we’ve got you covered.
Order dissertation discussion from our proficient writers. They will take a significant burden off of you. Instead, they will carry out high-level academic work in a short time.
FAQ About Dissertation Discussion Chapter
1. where does a discussion section go in a dissertation.
Dissertation discussion section is used to go right after the result chapter. The logic is simple — you share your data and then go to the elaboration and explanation of it. Check the sample thesis we provide to students for details on structure.
2. How long should a dissertation discussion chapter be?
It is not a surprise that dissertation discussion chapter is extremely significant for the research. Here you will go into the details of your study and interpret results to prove or not your hypothesis. It should take almost 25% of your work.
3. What tense should I use in a dissertation discussion?
Thesis or dissertation discussion used to have some rules on using tenses. You need to use the present tense when referring to established facts and use the past tense when referring to previous studies. And check your text before submission to ensure that you did not miss something.
4. What not to include in a dissertation discussion section?
The answer is easy. Discussion section of a dissertation should not include any new findings or describe some unsupported claims. Also, do not try to feel all possible gaps with one research. It may be better to outline your ideas for future studies in recommendations.
Joe Eckel is an expert on Dissertations writing. He makes sure that each student gets precious insights on composing A-grade academic writing.
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- How to Write a Discussion Section
Objectives and structure of a discussion section
Summary of the key findings, discussion of the findings and interpretations, limitations of the study, principal implications for practice, recommendations for further investigation.
- How to write a discussion section of a dissertation - general rules
Step 1: Begin translation
2. talk to a friend and translate, step 3: complete the translation, 8 useful tips on writing a strong discussion, problems to avoid.
A discussion section is an essential part of any PhD dissertation or thesis. In this chapter, students need to provide a detailed interpretation of the data they have gathered in the process of their investigation and discuss the research results, taking into account all the limitations of their study. Many students face difficulties when working on this part of their dissertation where they need to demonstrate strong analytical and critical thinking skills and to prove that their study has made a contribution to the existing research in their field. In this article, you will find some useful tips on how to write a convincing discussion section that can help you cope with this challenging task. You can also get professional assistance with writing a discussion section if you hire a writer on our website.
The aim of writing a discussion section is to interpret and evaluate the results and analyze how they help to answer the research question or prove the hypothesis. Besides, you have to justify your approach and explain how it relates to the literature review. When making argument, you should focus on explaining what the findings mean, why they matter, what they can’t tell us, and what approaches you recommend for further studies and practice.
Keep in mind that a discussion chapter is always connected to the introduction because it relates to the research question or hypothesis you formulated and the literature you reviewed. But you can’t just repeat what you have said in the first chapter of the paper. You must clearly explain how your study contributes to advance the reader’s understanding of the problem from where you left them when you reviewed the existing literature.
There are different ways to write this chapter and the structure of discussion section may vary in different fields of study but typically it includes the following elements:
- summary of the key findings;
- discussion of the findings;
- limitations and weaknesses of the study;
- principal implications for practice;
- recommendations for further investigation;
- conclusions .
You can use these elements headings for organizing content in your discussion section.
This part must be started by restating the research problem and summarizing your findings briefly. Your task here isn't to repeat the data that was already mentioned but state clear results that provide an answer to the main research question of your work. Remember this part shouldn’t be longer than just one paragraph.
Use the examples below:
- The data demonstrates us that…
- The received results confirm…
- The study shows that…
- The analysis indicates...
Of course, the received results may be obvious and understandable to you, but your main task in the results section is to explain their importance to your readers and mention how these results help to answer the research question.
Depending on the type of your research, the form of interpretations can be different, but here are some approaches you can use to interpret your data:
- Define patterns, correlations, and relationship in the received data
- Analyze if the received data meets the research expectations and supports your hypotheses
- Show how your findings are connected with previous research on this subject
- Explain any unexpected data for organizing content and evaluate their importance for your research
- Consider alternative explanations and make an argument for your own position
It’s possible to make a discussion around hypotheses, research questions, and key themes. You can use the same structure as the results section. It’s also possible to start by highlighting the most important or unexpected data you have received.
Any kind of research has its limitations. You need to acknowledge them to demonstrate the credibility of your work. Remember that limitations are not showing your mistakes but providing a clear picture of what your research can and cannot conclude.
Limitations may appear due to your research methodology, design, or other obstacles that occurred during the process of research. Your main goal here is just state limitations relevant to your research and define an impact they had on reaching the goals of your research.
For example, if you experienced some problems when gathering or analyzing your data, you have to describe them and mention their influence on your research results.
When you’ve mentioned your limitations, you have to explain why the received data is still valid and answers your research question completely.
Use these examples:
- Due to the limited generalizability, the results cannot confirm…
- The data reliability is impacted by…
- The choice of research methodology was limited by...
- The research results were limited…
In your work, you need not only give your interpretations but also relate your received data back to the previous research you have mentioned in the literature review section. Your discussion must reflect how your results fit with existing data, what new things they bring, and how they impact the current theory. We recommend asking the following questions:
- Do the results fit previous research? What can they add to this research?
- Are the received results different from other research? If yes, what’s the reason for it?
- Do the received data challenge or confirm the theory?
- Does your study have any implications for practice?
Here your main goal is to explain to your readers what your work contributed and why it has importance.
You can give recommendations for further investigation based on the discussion of your results. Sometimes these recommendations can be given in the conclusion of your research.
We suggest viewing your limitations to make direct recommendations for further research. Don’t just write that it’s possible to make more investigations but give clear and concrete recommendations on how future research can be made on those parts where your work was unable to investigate.
- Future investigations should take into consideration…
- Further research may be provided to investigate...
How to write a discussion section of a dissertation - general rules
- You can only discuss findings that are covered in your results chapter.
- Write this section using the present tense, especially when discussing the established facts.
- Be clear and concise – focus on argument that helps to answer your research question or supports the hypothesis; avoid discussing distracting issues.
- Be logical – explain the significance of your findings, following the sequence you used when describing them in the results chapter.
- Write in simple language; try to avoid overusing jargon and undefined technical language.
- Make sure you cite all sources to avoid plagiarism .
In certain languages it is possible to interpret both sides in a conversation using Google Translate. Google Translate app.
- On your Android tablet or phone launch the Translate application.
- Click on the languages displayed.
- Tap on the languages that each of you use to communicate.
- Tap Conversation.
- To translate any word spoken in any language to another language.Tap Auto.
- Stop or to start translating in one of the languages: Click Speak.
- To hear the version of the translation, again:Tap the top text box.
- To continue your conversation: Tap Auto.
To to stop translation, in the upper left Tap Back.
Maestra is a platform where you can generate automatic subtitles, voiceovers and transcriptions. You can also translate them into more than 60 languages. For your lengthy studies and dissertations, it can help you by transcribing video or audio files and translating them automatically.
- Organize your argument from general to specific. First, you should link your findings to the existing literature , then relate them to a specific theory, and finally, explain their connection to practice, if it’s appropriate. It’s important to be consistent and use the same key terms, definitions, and the style of narration which were used in your introduction.
- Restate your research problem and briefly summarize your major findings which directly answer your research questions. Don’t forget to mention the key methods you used during the investigation.
- Explain your findings and discuss their significance for your field. Integrate them with theoretical background. When interpreting data, you can use such approaches as identifying patterns, correlations, principles, and relationships between major findings; discussing whether your findings support your hypothesis; considering alternative explanations of findings. If there are some unexpected findings, analyze them and try to interpret why you believe they appeared.
- Discuss how your results fit with previous research and existing knowledge. Tell how your results relate to findings found in other studies (compare and contrast them). Your goal is to show readers what new insights your investigation has contributed.
- It’s crucial to acknowledge limitations of your research to be credible. Tell about issues and questions which were not addressed in your study. Comment if they may affect the validity of your study’s findings.
- Speak about implications of your results and explain why you think they are significant for supporting broader knowledge.
- Give recommendations for possible research based on your results. Your suggestions may be also based on certain limitations. You should be highly specific and provide concrete ideas on how future research can address certain issues your investigation was not able to cover.
There are some common mistakes you should avoid when writing this dissertation chapter.
- Never introduce and discuss new results – speak about those which were reported previously.
- Avoid speculations and conclusions which are not supported by data.
- Don’t emphasize weaknesses of your study or your failures – discuss limitations to boost credibility.
As you see writing a discussion section of a dissertation is a complex and time-consuming process that requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Not only you must present major results of your research in a convincing manner, but you must also demonstrate that your study has a real value and contributes to theory your field. You should show that your research is original and make an effort to convince the committee to approve your dissertation. You have to provide a strong argument fully supported by lots of credible data and related to existing knowledge in your subject.
Think it’s too challenging for you and are afraid to fail? Don’t worry. If you are stuck with writing a discussion section or any other dissertation chapter, talented writers from our professional dissertation writing service are ready to help you at every stage of the writing process. You can ask them write a powerful sample dissertation or any chapter of your document. We can help you edit and proofread the paper you have completed yourself as well. Don’t hesitate to contact us and get easy solutions to all your writing problems.
Frequently asked questions
What goes in the discussion chapter of a dissertation.
In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:
- Your interpretations : what do the results tell us?
- The implications : why do the results matter?
- The limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?
Frequently asked questions: Dissertation
Dissertation word counts vary widely across different fields, institutions, and levels of education:
- An undergraduate dissertation is typically 8,000–15,000 words
- A master’s dissertation is typically 12,000–50,000 words
- A PhD thesis is typically book-length: 70,000–100,000 words
However, none of these are strict guidelines – your word count may be lower or higher than the numbers stated here. Always check the guidelines provided by your university to determine how long your own dissertation should be.
A dissertation prospectus or proposal describes what or who you plan to research for your dissertation. It delves into why, when, where, and how you will do your research, as well as helps you choose a type of research to pursue. You should also determine whether you plan to pursue qualitative or quantitative methods and what your research design will look like.
It should outline all of the decisions you have taken about your project, from your dissertation topic to your hypotheses and research objectives , ready to be approved by your supervisor or committee.
Note that some departments require a defense component, where you present your prospectus to your committee orally.
A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.
Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:
- Plan to attend graduate school soon
- Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
- Are considering a career in research
- Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:
- A restatement of your research question
- A summary of your key arguments and/or results
- A short discussion of the implications of your research
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.
For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:
- Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
- Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
- Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)
Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.
While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.
All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.
A theoretical framework can sometimes be integrated into a literature review chapter , but it can also be included as its own chapter or section in your dissertation . As a rule of thumb, if your research involves dealing with a lot of complex theories, it’s a good idea to include a separate theoretical framework chapter.
A literature review and a theoretical framework are not the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work, a literature review critically evaluates existing research relating to your topic. You’ll likely need both in your dissertation .
While a theoretical framework describes the theoretical underpinnings of your work based on existing research, a conceptual framework allows you to draw your own conclusions, mapping out the variables you may use in your study and the interplay between them.
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.
Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:
- Your anticipated title
- Your abstract
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)
When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .
In most styles, the title page is used purely to provide information and doesn’t include any images. Ask your supervisor if you are allowed to include an image on the title page before doing so. If you do decide to include one, make sure to check whether you need permission from the creator of the image.
Include a note directly beneath the image acknowledging where it comes from, beginning with the word “ Note .” (italicized and followed by a period). Include a citation and copyright attribution . Don’t title, number, or label the image as a figure , since it doesn’t appear in your main text.
Definitional terms often fall into the category of common knowledge , meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be cited. This guidance can apply to your thesis or dissertation glossary as well.
However, if you’d prefer to cite your sources , you can follow guidance for citing dictionary entries in MLA or APA style for your glossary.
A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, an index is a list of the contents of your work organized by page number.
The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.
The title page of your thesis or dissertation should include your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date.
Glossaries are not mandatory, but if you use a lot of technical or field-specific terms, it may improve readability to add one to your thesis or dissertation. Your educational institution may also require them, so be sure to check their specific guidelines.
A glossary or “glossary of terms” is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. Your glossary only needs to include terms that your reader may not be familiar with, and is intended to enhance their understanding of your work.
A glossary is a collection of words pertaining to a specific topic. In your thesis or dissertation, it’s a list of all terms you used that may not immediately be obvious to your reader. In contrast, dictionaries are more general collections of words.
An abbreviation is a shortened version of an existing word, such as Dr. for Doctor. In contrast, an acronym uses the first letter of each word to create a wholly new word, such as UNESCO (an acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
As a rule of thumb, write the explanation in full the first time you use an acronym or abbreviation. You can then proceed with the shortened version. However, if the abbreviation is very common (like PC, USA, or DNA), then you can use the abbreviated version from the get-go.
Be sure to add each abbreviation in your list of abbreviations !
If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .
If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.
A list of abbreviations is a list of all the abbreviations that you used in your thesis or dissertation. It should appear at the beginning of your document, with items in alphabetical order, just after your table of contents .
Your list of tables and figures should go directly after your table of contents in your thesis or dissertation.
Lists of figures and tables are often not required, and aren’t particularly common. They specifically aren’t required for APA-Style, though you should be careful to follow their other guidelines for figures and tables .
If you have many figures and tables in your thesis or dissertation, include one may help you stay organized. Your educational institution may require them, so be sure to check their guidelines.
A list of figures and tables compiles all of the figures and tables that you used in your thesis or dissertation and displays them with the page number where they can be found.
The table of contents in a thesis or dissertation always goes between your abstract and your introduction .
You may acknowledge God in your dissertation acknowledgements , but be sure to follow academic convention by also thanking the members of academia, as well as family, colleagues, and friends who helped you.
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.
The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
Results are usually written in the past tense , because they are describing the outcome of completed actions.
The results chapter of a thesis or dissertation presents your research results concisely and objectively.
In quantitative research , for each question or hypothesis , state:
- The type of analysis used
- Relevant results in the form of descriptive and inferential statistics
- Whether or not the alternative hypothesis was supported
In qualitative research , for each question or theme, describe:
- Recurring patterns
- Significant or representative individual responses
- Relevant quotations from the data
Don’t interpret or speculate in the results chapter.
To automatically insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word, follow these steps:
- Apply heading styles throughout the document.
- In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group.
- Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents.
- Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents.
Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings. To update, simply right click and select Update Field.
All level 1 and 2 headings should be included in your table of contents . That means the titles of your chapters and the main sections within them.
The contents should also include all appendices and the lists of tables and figures, if applicable, as well as your reference list .
Do not include the acknowledgements or abstract in the table of contents.
The abstract appears on its own page in the thesis or dissertation , after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 200–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.
In a thesis or dissertation, the acknowledgements should usually be no longer than one page. There is no minimum length.
The acknowledgements are generally included at the very beginning of your thesis , directly after the title page and before the abstract .
Yes, it’s important to thank your supervisor(s) in the acknowledgements section of your thesis or dissertation .
Even if you feel your supervisor did not contribute greatly to the final product, you must acknowledge them, if only for a very brief thank you. If you do not include your supervisor, it may be seen as a snub.
In the acknowledgements of your thesis or dissertation, you should first thank those who helped you academically or professionally, such as your supervisor, funders, and other academics.
Then you can include personal thanks to friends, family members, or anyone else who supported you during the process.
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How to Write Discussion for a Dissertation and Thesis
You discuss and explore your results' prominence, meaning, and relevance in the discussion chapter. Therefore, you should concentrate on what you have found and explain and assess how your findings relate to your literature review and research questions.
You discuss and explore your results' prominence, meaning, and relevance in the discussion chapter. Therefore, you should concentrate on what you have found and explain and assess how your findings relate to your literature review and research questions. On top of that, it should support and form the foundation of your conclusion section. One may employ many ways to structure the discussion section. However, the following tips may help.
1) Focus on interpretations of your results and explicitly state what they mean.
2) State implications and elaborate on why they are critical.
3) Report limitations as they tell the readers what the results cannot suggest.
4) Suggest recommendations because they can inspire the researchers in your study area to pursue novel research.
An overlap may exist between the discussion and conclusion sections, and these two sections may form a single chapter in some thesis or dissertations. If you are unsure about the ideal study structure, consult your supervisor or investigate sample thesis or dissertations using relevant databases.
Summarize your critical findings
It would be best to begin this chapter by repeating your research problem and summarizing your crucial findings. One should note that repeating all the already reported data is inappropriate. Its usual length is not more than a paragraph. Instead, it would help if you explicitly aimed to state the overall result and readdress your primary research question. Verbs such as depict, demonstrate, suggest, state, and disclose help immensely to express your ideas.
You should state the obvious. Although what the results mean is crystal clear to you, the reader cannot comprehend the complete picture unless you utter what they may imply and what their significance is. Equally critical is to address your research question again. How you structure your interpretations will depend on the type of research, but the following usual approaches may help interpret the data:
1) Specify your data's correlations, models, and relationships so the reader can readily follow.
2) Argue if the discovered results fit your expectations or favor your research hypotheses.
3) Use previous studies and theories to put your findings in perspective.
4) Explain the unexpected results in such a way that the reader can assess their relevance.
5) Consider alternative explanations as they can reinforce your findings.
Pursuing the approach used in the results section, you can arrange your discussion by stating critical themes, hypotheses, and research questions. Underlining the most vital and unexpected results may substantially help. Please remember that you should support or refute the extant hypotheses or theories. Using expressions such as “aligning with previous research,” “contradicting the extant literature,” “in contrast to previous studies,” or “the results might suggest that” is exceedingly crucial.
How can editing and proofreading improve your thesis and dissertation discussion?
Editing and proofreading your discussion section is beyond critical . A professional editing and proofreading service with trained and experienced experts holding PhD degrees in their fields will edit your thesis or dissertation discussion with utmost care. The discussion section will be more legible and practical thanks to their vast experience.
Deliberate the implications
Presenting your interpretations is vital but not adequate. Please ensure that your results support the scholarly work you have already cited in the literature review. The discussion section should cover how your findings fit or not with actual knowledge, whether they offer new insight, and what theoretical or practical ramifications they may have. Addressing the following questions is a great asset.
1) Do your findings support or refute the extant research? What new contributions do they add to the existing knowledge?
2) Are there any substantial differences between your results and those of other studies? Suppose they are. What would be the reason?
3) Do your findings uphold or refute the extant theories?
4) What would you say about the practical implications of your results?
Therefore, you aim to depict to the reader precisely what your research has contributed and why it is relevant. This section should contain sentences such as “The data explicitly contribute to the extant knowledge,” “The results do not align with the x theory,” “The experiment offers a novel insight into the relationship between x and y,’ and “although previous results have centered on y, these results support x.”
Report the limitations
Every research has limitations, and addressing these depicts your credibility. They present an accurate picture of what one can and cannot conclude from your study.
Your research design, methodologies, or unexpected obstacles usually relate to limitations. Please ensure you report limitations directly associated with your research and assess their possible impact on the research objectives. They include issues about your sample size, problems in data collection, and confounding variables. This section contains statements such as “our data’s reliability is limited by the small sample size,” “these techniques are beyond the scope of this research,” and “limited data do not allow us to generalize the case to the entire country.”
State your recommendations
This section is about recommendations for the practical implementation of your study or further research. Sometimes, the conclusion section may cover the recommendations.
Stating that more studies should be done is not precise; one should include solid ideas for building future work. You may find expressions such as “further research should address these issues” and “future studies should concentrate more on global warming” in this part.
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This article explains how to write discussion for a dissertation and thesis. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.
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They Also Read
You have been working hard on your research paper and want to write an excellent dissertation/thesis. You have researched all the materials, and your data are perfect— all you need to do is put them together in a dissertation or thesis. But how do you manage that? While working on the research is not easy, it’s structuring a dissertation or thesis that the main issue lies with. Therefore, if you are struggling with structuring your dissertation or thesis, this article may be of help.
At the end of most undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, you are required to submit a thesis or a dissertation based on original research. The way of writing and the structure of a dissertation depends on your field of study and sometimes your program. However, it is largely divided into at least four or five chapters, including the introduction and conclusion. A dissertation is an extended usually written treatment of a subject, specifically one submitted for a doctorate. This article provides a step-by-step guide on writing and structuring a dissertation
The dissertation writing process is a lengthy, extensive and multi-faceted undertaking spanning several months (or even years). It is an exacting exercise comprising several steps, each with its own requisites that scholars need to fulfill duly. Hence, regardless of how strategic and meticulous a scholar's dissertation writing approach is, there are bound to be certain inconsistencies - grammatical errors, incoherent phrasing, inappropriate synonyms, formatting errors, etc., - even in the final draft.
It is not uncommon for individuals, academic and nonacademic to use “thesis” and “research paper” interchangeably. However, while the thesis vs. research paper puzzle might seem amusing to some, for graduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, knowing the differences between the two is crucial. Not only does a clear demarcation of the two terms help you acquire a precise approach toward writing each of them, but it also helps you keep in mind the subtle nuances that go into creating the two documents. This brief guide discusses the main difference between a thesis and a research paper.
Research methodology is about the data collection and analysis methods employed in your research. Thus, this section addresses what you performed and how you did it, letting readers assess the reliability and validity of your study and is a critical part of your thesis or dissertation.
Research methods are specific procedures for collecting and analyzing data. Therefore, your research methods form the most critical part of your research design. You must make two crucial decisions during your method planning.
The corpus research suggests that the most often used tenses in academic writing are the simple present, the simple past, and the present perfect. Then, what comes next is the future tense.
- How it works
How to Write a Dissertation Discussion Chapter – A Quick Guide with Examples
Published by Alvin Nicolas at August 12th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023
Dissertation discussion is the chapter where you explore the relevance, significance, and meanings of your findings – allowing you to showcase your talents in describing and analyzing the results of your study.
Here, you will be expected to demonstrate how your research findings answer the research questions established or test the hypothesis .
The arguments you assert in the dissertation analysis and discussions chapter lay the foundations of your conclusion . It is critically important to discuss the results in a precise manner.
To help you understand how to write a dissertation discussion chapter, here is the list of the main elements of this section so you stay on the right track when writing:
- Summary: Start by providing a summary of your key research findings
- Interpretations: What is the significance of your findings?
- Implications: Why are your findings important to academic and scientific communities, and what purpose would they serve?
- Limitations: When and where will your results have no implications?
- Future Recommendations : Advice for other researchers and scientists who explore the topic further in future.
The dissertation discussion chapter should be carefully drafted to ensure that the results mentioned in your research align with your research question, aims, and objectives.
Considering the importance of this chapter for all students working on their dissertations, we have comprehensive guidelines on how to write a dissertation discussion chapter.
The discussion and conclusion chapters often overlap. Depending on your university, you may be asked to group these two sections in one chapter – Discussion and Conclusion.
In some cases, the results and discussion are put together under the Results and Discussion chapter. Here are some dissertation examples of working out the best structure for your dissertation.
Alternatively, you can look for the required dissertation structure in your handbook or consult your supervisor.
Steps of How to Write Dissertation Discussion Chapter
1. provide a summary of your findings.
Start your discussion by summarising the key findings of your research questions. Avoid repeating the information you have already stated in the previous chapters.
You will be expected to clearly express your interpretation of results to answer the research questions established initially in one or two paragraphs.
Here are some examples of how to present the summary of your findings ;
- “The data suggests that”,
- “The results confirm that”,
- “The analysis indicates that”,
- “The research shows a relationship between”, etc.
2. Interpretations of Results
Your audience will expect you to provide meanings of the results, although they might seem obvious to you. The results and their interpretations should be linked to the research questions so the reader can understand the value your research has added to the literature.
There are many ways of interpreting the data, but your chosen approach to interpreting the data will depend on the type of research involved . Some of the most common strategies employed include;
- Describing how and why you ended up with unexpected findings and explaining their importance in detail
- Relating your findings with previous studies conducted
- Explaining your position with logical arguments when/if any alternative explanations are suggested
- An in-depth discussion around whether or not the findings answered your research questions and successfully tested the hypothesis
Examples of how you can start your interpretation in the Discussion chapter are –
- “Findings of this study contradict those of Allen et al. (2014) that”,
- “Contrary to the hypothesized association,” “Confirming the hypothesis…”,
- “The findings confirm that A is….. even though Allen et al. (2014) and Michael (2012) suggested B was …..”
3. Implications of your Study
What practical and theoretical implications will your study have for other researchers and the scientific community as a whole?
It is vital to relate your results to the knowledge in the existing literature so the readers can establish how your research will contribute to the existing data.
When thinking of the possible consequences of your findings, you should ask yourself these;
- Are your findings in line with previous studies? What contribution did your research make to them?
- Why are your results entirely different from other studies on the same topic?
- Did your findings approve or contradict existing knowledge?
- What are the practical implications of your study?
Remember that as the researcher, you should aim to let your readers know why your study will contribute to the existing literature. Possible ways of starting this particular section are;
- “The findings show that A….. whereas Lee (2017) and John (2013) suggested that B”, “The results of this study completely contradict the claims made in theories”,
- “These results are not in line with the theoretical perspectives”,
- “The statistical analysis provides a new understanding of the relationship between A and B”,
- “Future studies should take into consideration the findings of this study because”
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4. Recognise the Limitations of your Research
Almost every academic research has some limitations. Acknowledging them will only add to your credibility as a scientific researcher.
In addition to the possible human errors, it’s important to take into account other factors that might have influenced the results of your study, including but not limited to unexpected research obstacles, specific methodological choices , and the overall research design.
Avoid mentioning any limitations that may not be relevant to your research aim, but clearly state the limitations that may have affected your results.
For example, if you used a sample size that included a tiny population, you may not generalise your results.
Similarly, obstacles faced in collecting data from the participants can influence the findings of your study. Make a note of all such research limitations , but explain to the reader why your results are still authentic.
- The small sample size limited the generalisability of the results.
- The authenticity of the findings may have been influenced by….
- The obstacles in collecting data resulted in…
- It is beyond the framework of this research…
5. Provide Recommendations for Future Research
The limitations of your research work directly result in future recommendations. However, it should be noted that your recommendations for future research work should include the areas that your own work could not report so other researchers can build on them.
Sometimes the recommendations are a part of the conclusion chapter . Some examples;
- More research is needed to be performed….
The Purpose of Dissertation Discussion Chapter
Remember that the discussion section of a dissertation is the heart of your research because a) it will indicate your stance on the topic of research, and b) it answers the research questions initially established in the Introduction chapter .
Every piece of information you present here will add value to the existing literature within your field of study. How you structured your findings in the preceding chapter will help you determine the best structure for your dissertation discussion section.
For example, it might be logical to structure your analysis/discussions by theme if you chose the pattern in your findings section.
But generally, discussion based on research questions is the more widely used structure in academia because this pattern clearly indicates how you have addressed the aim of your research.
Most UK universities require the supervisor or committee members to comment on the extent to which each research question has been answered. You will be doing them a great favour if you structure your discussion so that each research question is laid out separately.
Irrespective of whether you are writing an essay, dissertation, or chapter of a dissertation , all pieces of writing should start with an introduction .
Once your readers have read through your study results, you might want to highlight the contents of the subsequent discussion as an introduction paragraph (summary of your results – as explained above).
Likewise, the discussion chapter is expected to end with a concluding paragraph – allowing you the opportunity to summarise your interpretations.
The dissertation analysis & discussion chapter is usually very long, so it will make sense to emphasise the critical points in a concluding paragraph so the reader can grasp the essential information. This will also help to make sure the reader understands your analysis.
Also Read: Research Discussion Of Findings
Presentation of graphs, tables, and figures.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, students spent days creating graphs and charts for their statistical analysis work . Thanks to technology, you can produce even more accurate graphs and figures today in a shorter period.
Using Microsoft Word, STATA, SPSS, Microsoft Excel and other statistical analysis software, we can now draw beautiful-looking figures, tables , and graphs with just a few clicks and make them appear in our document at the desired place. But there are downsides to being too dependent on technology.
Many students make the common mistake of using colours to represent variables when really they have to print their dissertation paper final copy in black and white.
Any colours on graphs and figures will eventually be viewed in the grayscale presentation. Recognizing different shades of grey on the same chart or graph can sometimes be a little confusing.
For example, green and purple appear as pretty much the same shade of grey on a line chat, meaning your chart will become unreadable to the marker.
Another trap you may fall into is the unintentional stuffing of the dissertation chapter with graphs and figures. Even though it is essential to show numbers and statistics, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with too many.
It may not be necessary to have a graph/table under each sub-heading. Only you can best judge whether or not you need to have a graph/table under a particular sub-heading as the writer.
Relating to Previous Chapters
As a student, it can be challenging to develop your own analysis and discussion of results. One of the excellent discussion chapter requirements is to showcase your ability to relate previous research to your research results.
Avoid repeating the same information over and over. Many students fall into this trap which negatively affects the mark of their overall dissertation paper .
Concise and to-the-point information will help you effectively convey your point to the readers.
Although you must demonstrate how your findings relate to previous research, it is equally important to ensure you are not simply rewriting what has already been said in the introduction and literature review chapters.
The best strategy is to use examples from previous sections to postulate an argument.
Hyperlinks are recommended to take the reader from one section to another. This is especially important for submitting electronic documents as .word or .pdf files. Hyperlinking is tedious and time-consuming, so you should allow for this in your dissertation timeline to avoid rushing in the closing stages.
Also read: How to Write the Abstract for the Dissertation.
Using Subsections and Subheadings
You might want to reflect on the structure of the discussion in your organizstion of the dissertation discussion chapter, and for that, you will need to create sub-sections.
It is essential to keep subsections to the point and as short as possible. Use a layer of subheadings if possible.
Subsection 4.1 of Chapter 4- Discussion can be further divided into sections 4.1.1 and 4.2.2. After three numerical layers (4.1.1, 4.2.2, and 4.2.3), any subheadings need not appear in the contents table.
The titles of all subsections will appear on your table of contents so choose the wordings carefully. A title too long or too short might confuse the reader. A one or two-word subheading will not give the reader enough information to understand the section.
Likewise, using a research question or long sentences in the subheading is not recommended. It might help to examine how other researchers and writers create these subheadings.
Your critical thinking skills are the crux of your dissertation discussion chapter. You will do yourself a great disservice if you fail to put the critical thinking element into the equation.
After all, this exercise aims to showcase clarity in your thoughts and arguments. Markers of the dissertation give more importance to the analysis and discussion chapter. But you could be marked negatively if this particular chapter lacks critical thinking.
Many students struggle to distinguish between fundamental descriptive analysis and critical thinking with their opinions on the research topic.
Critical thinking is a skill developed over time, and it might be daunting for you to come to terms with the idea of critical thinking and its use in your analysis. But even if you are no expert, you must try your best.
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Duplication of Content
Another critical error students make reaffirming the point the graph/chart was supposed to make. Writing out the same information as presented in the graph defeats the whole purpose of having them in the first place.
You will be expected to form your opinions and arguments based on the findings (as presented by the graphs), so keep an eye on this mistake. Finally, avoid simply inserting a graph without any explanation whatsoever.
It should be noted that there is no correct or incorrect number of charts/figures one can use in the dissertation findings and discussion chapter. A balance must be struck.
Avoid Over Interpretation
This is a major no-no when writing a dissertation discussion. Do not make an argument that isn’t backed by your collected data.
The results and interpretations that cannot be supported should not be mentioned. Your research will be deemed unauthentic and will also be questioned by your supervisor if you do so. Results should be interpreted without any bias.
How to Write the Findings of a Dissertation.
Do not Speculate
Speculation in the discussion chapter of your dissertation is discouraged. Your dissertation’s discussion is based on your collected data and how it relates to your research questions. Thus, speculating here will undoubtedly undermine your research’s credibility.
Also, try not to generalise your findings. If your research is based on a specific population, do not state that the same findings might apply in every case. As indicated previously, it is essential to acknowledge the limitations of your research.
On the other hand, if you think your discussion needs to address other populations as well, start your sentence like this ‘We speculate that..’ or ‘It is speculated that..’ This will keep you from getting into any trouble.
What are the elements of the Dissertation Discussion?
The list of the main elements of the discussion chapter are:
- Implications : Why are your findings important to academic and scientific communities, and what purpose would they serve?
- Future Recommendations: Advice for other researchers and scientists who explore the topic further in future.
What are the steps of writing a Dissertation Discussion Chapter?
- Write a summary of the findings
- Provide a summary of your findings
- Interpretations of Results
- Recognise the Limitations of your research
- Provide Recommendations for Future Research.
Can we use graphs and charts in the Dissertation Discussion Chapter?
Yes, using graphs to aid your statistical results and enhance presentation is essential, but do not overwhelm it with a lot of graphs in multiple colours.
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12 Steps to Write an Effective Discussion Chapter
November 5, 2016 by Dissertation Genius
This article gives doctoral dissertation students valuable guidance on how to go about writing their Discussion chapter. The article starts by outlining the main goals and writing approaches. Then the article explains 12 specific steps to take to write an effective discussion chapter.
Discussion Chapter: Main Goals and Writing Approaches
You should always keep in mind the main goals when writing your Discussion chapter. These include stating your interpretations, declaring your opinions, explaining the effects of your findings, and making suggestions and predictions for future research.
With the main goals mentioned, it is interesting to note how to go about writing this chapter. To do this, follow three important suggestions:
- Answer those questions posed in the introduction (central research questions)
- Show how the answers are supported by the results
- Explain how the answers fit relative to the existing body of knowledge about the subject
Keep in mind that the Discussion chapter can be considered the most important part of your dissertation. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you may need more than one writing attempt for this chapter.
The 12 Steps to an Effective Discussion Chapter
To make sure your message remains crystal-clear, the Discussion chapter should be short and sweet, but it should fully state, support, elaborate, explain, and defend your conclusions. Take great care to ensure the writing is a commentary and not simply a regurgitation of results. Side (distracting) issues should not be written about because they will cloud the essence of your message. There is no perfect dissertation, but help your reader determine what the facts are and what is speculation.
Here are 12 steps to keep in mind when writing your Discussion Chapter:
- Always try to structure your Discussion chapter from the ‘specific’ to the ‘general’: expand and transition from the narrow confines of your study to the general framework of your discipline.
- Make a consistent effort to stick with the same general tone of the introduction. This means using the same key terms, the same tense, and the same point of view as used in your introduction.
- Start by rewriting your research questions and re-stating your hypothesis (if any) that you previously posed in your introduction. Then declare the answers to your research questions – make sure to support these answers with the findings of your dissertation.
- Continue by explaining how your results relate to the expectations of your study and to literature. Clearly explain why these results are acceptable and how they consistently fit in with previously published knowledge about the subject. Be sure to use relevant citations.
- Make sure to give the proper attention for all the results relating to your research questions, this is regardless of whether or not the findings were statistically significant.
- Don’t forget to tell your audience about the patterns, principles, and key relationships shown by each of your major findings and then put them into perspective. The sequencing of this information is important: 1) state the answer, 2) show the relevant results and 3) cite the work of credible sources. When necessary, point the audience to figures and/or graphs to ‘enhance’ your argument.
- Make sure to defend your answers. Try to do so in two ways: by explaining the validity of your answer and by showing the shortcomings of others’ answers. You will make your point of view more convincing if you give both sides to the argument.
- Also make sure to identify conflicting data in your work. Make a good point of discussing and evaluating any conflicting explanations of your results. This is an effective way to win over your audience and make them sympathetic to any true knowledge your study might have to offer.
- Make sure to include a discussion of any unexpected findings. When doing this, begin with a paragraph about the finding and then describe it. Also identify potential limitations and weaknesses inherent in your study. Then comment on the importance of these limitations to the interpretation of your findings and how they may impact their validity. Do not use an apologetic tone in this section. Every study has limitations.
- Conduct a brief summary of the principal implications of your findings (do this regardless of any statistical significance). Make sure to provide 1-2 recommendations for potential research in the future.
- Show how the results of your study and their conclusions are significant and how they impact our understanding of the problem(s) that your dissertation examines.
- On a final note, discuss everything this is relevant but be brief, specific, and to the point.
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