A dissertation is one of the most important elements in a student's academic life. It is a structured, authentic, and lengthy piece of writing which tends to develop a logical argument about the selected research topic. A dissertation contributes majorly to the final assessment of a master's degree program. It is an extensive and complex piece of write-up necessary for the successful completion of a post-graduation discipline. Writing a dissertation helps a student to expand his subject knowledge, rational skills, critical thinking skills, and reasoning skills.
The discussion section of a dissertation is the part where a student relates the findings of his research with the framework built in all the previous chapters of the dissertation. It is considered as the most meaningful chapter of a dissertation project. It is this section that answers the research question raised at the beginning of the dissertation paper. Discussion lays down the foundation for the presentation of the overall conclusion of a dissertation. If an alternate or unexpected result has ascended, you can offer explanations for the same in this part of the dissertation. The limitations of your dissertation research are also included in the discussion section only.
Students often get confused between the terms ‘discussion’ and ‘conclusion’ while writing their dissertation. Tough the two concepts have some similarities but are fairly different from each other and have different purposes to serve in a dissertation. The discussion is a detailed presentation of the findings of a dissertation. It provides relevant evidence to back up the arguments made in the entire document.
It explains the findings, interprets them in reference to the previous research work conducted in the same study area, and also provides recommendations for future research. The conclusion, however, is the section that briefly mentions the key points of your dissertation. It can be seen as the summary of your dissertation discussion and informs the examiner or readers about the relevance of your dissertation research.
A student should focus on the main goals of his dissertation while writing the discussion chapter. He should necessarily include the interpretations, opinions, explanation of findings, suggestions and predictions for future researches in this unit of the dissertation. There are four bits of advice that a student should keep in mind while writing the discussions chapter of his dissertation
Keep in mind that the structure of the discussion chapter of a dissertation depends on what the topic of your dissertation is and how you plan to structure your findings in the paper.
To develop a crystal clear discussion chapter a student should follow the KISS rule, i.e. Keep It Short and Simple, in his writing pattern. Discussions should fully explain, state, support, elaborate, and defend the conclusions made. Make sure that the discussion chapter is written in the commentary style and is not just a spit out of the results derived from the research. Maintain the essence of your message and help the reader to determine what are the facts and what is speculation. Here are a few steps a student can follow while writing an effective dissertation
Always start your discussions chapter by recapitulating the dissertation problem followed by coherently summarizing the key findings. Do not spew out all the data collected. Use a clear statement to answer the main hypothesis or research question posed by the dissertation. Use only one paragraph to briefly shed light on the findings.
After mentioning the findings, it is time to state the significance of the derived results. The meaning of the results might be clear to you because you've conducted the research but you will need to present it in front of the readers to state its relevance to the posed research questions. The research type will determine the form of interpretation you should ideally use in your dissertation paper. Here are a few approaches that can help you to interpret the collected data
It is important for a student to relate his findings and results to the studies and journals mentioned in the literature review along with providing his own views on the same. The discussion section should showcase how the current findings fit in with the previous research works, what new insight do they offer, and what consequences do they have for theory or practice. The ultimate aim is to determine how your dissertation research has contributed to the field and why that contribution should matter.
Even the most extensively conducted research has some limitations and it is essential for a student to highlight those limitations in his dissertation study to build the credibility of the paper. Limitations are not the errors in your dissertation, but are a way to provide a practical and accurate picture of what can or cannot be inferred from your dissertation study. Limitations can arise because of many reasons like an issue with overall research design, inaccurate methodological choices, or unanticipated obstacles that emerged during the research process.
A student should only mention relevant and logical limitations in his paper and carefully evaluate what impact they had on the overall research process of the dissertation. Make sure that after providing the limitations, you should always reiterate why the results of your dissertation are still valid for answering the main research question.
Now add in the details about the practical and relevant implementation of your derived results in the discussion chapter. These recommendations basically arise from the limitations mentioned earlier in the same section. Do not just say that more studies can be done in the area without giving concrete ideas for future work.
Discussion is the most critical section of a dissertation that greatly impacts the grades of an individual. Therefore, the chapter should be produced with the utmost care and hard work to get the right outcome.
Here are a few tips you can use to write your discussion chapter efficiently
Once you’re through with writing your discussion chapter, you should mention the key conclusions of your research in a summarized manner. The conclusions should be numbered consecutively. Students should be aware of the fact that if the examiner feels that their discussion section is not written appropriately, he can reject the entire dissertation paper. Thus, in order to avoid producing a completely vague and non-relevant piece of text, you should prepare an outline in the beginning about what you want to add in the discussion chapter of your dissertation. An outline will ensure that you do not go wildly off the topic.
Do not repeat the same content in your conclusion chapter. Once you're through with writing the discussion chapter of your dissertation, you can begin to relax slightly as the toughest part is now over. At the end get another set of eyes to review the written text for you so that any grammatical or structural errors can come into the light. Seek the help of your mentor if necessary as relevant expertise is very essential for writing this chapter. Remember that you are taking the reader on a journey, so make sure they stay on the path and arrive at the final location with you!
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