How to Write a Discussion Chapter for a Dissertation
By now, you have probably got all or the majority of your research results so the next task is to incorporate them into a discussion chapter for your dissertation. In other words, it is time to discuss your results. This is another important chapter in a dissertation or thesis because it is where your results are put into context or given meaning. This is possibly the reason that a lot of students find it difficult to write a discussion chapter.
What is the purpose of a discussion chapter
- It is used to interpret data and explain results;
- It compares research material and results with other studies or research in the same field;
- It highlights any limitations in the research work;
- It assesses overall importance;
- It draws attention to any questions or areas for further research.
What should readers expect to see in a discussion chapter?
- Whether the research matches the writer’s initial aims;
- How those aims are confirmed in the paper;
- How the writer explains their results;
- Whether the research is relevant to existing theories or existing research;
- Any limitations in the research or any areas for improvement;
- How important the research is.
What type of information should a discussion chapter include?
- Your summary of any key results/findings;
- How your findings match your original aims;
- A reaffirmation of original aims;
- A description of how your research compares to other theories or existing research;
- The significance of your research;
- Your explanation of any surprising results;
- Any limitations in your research;
- Recommendations for future research.
What type of information should your discussion chapter omit?
- Any data not mentioned in the results chapter;
- Less important findings:
- Any results that do not confirm or are not directly related to your hypothesis or initial aims;
- Usually, any diagrams and/or tables should be placed in the results chapter.
How should your information be organised?
There are a number of ways to do this:
- One method is to address the hypothesis or your aims in the same order they appear in your dissertation’s introduction chapter.
- An alternative method is to begin by presenting the most important findings or results with a comment on these. Then proceed down the list to the most insignificant.
- Yet another method is to adhere to the advice provided in the second and third sections above.