Writing the Dissertation Discussion Section – Steps & Tips
Published byat February 1st, 2023 , Revised On March 8, 2023
You delve into the significance, importance, and relevance of the result in the discussion section. It should mostly be devoted to summarising and analysing your results, illustrating how they relate to your paper, dissertation, or literature review, and providing proof in support of your main thesis. It shouldn’t have its own results page.
There are various approaches to writing this section, but you should centre your work on the following crucial ideas:
- A summary of your main outcomes
- What do your findings indicate?
- Why do your outcomes matter?
- What are your results not able to tell us?
- Routes for additional research or analysis
Although your discussion and conclusion parts frequently overlap, these are typically independent portions. These two sections, though, are occasionally mixed.
Consult example dissertations in your subject or the policies of your department if you’re unclear about the best practices in your field.
Important article: Writing a Dissertation or Research Proposal
Do’s and Don’ts for your Discussion Section
When writing the discussion section of your paper, there are a few faults you should try to avoid.
- Only the information that has already been reported in your results section should be discussed.
- Don’t overstate your case: Avoid making assumptions about your data that aren’t directly supported by them.
- The explanation of your limitations should not highlight your flaws or failures, but rather work to increase your credibility.
Summarise your Findings
Reiterate your research question at the beginning of this section and succinctly summarise your key findings. Instead of simply restating all the information you have already provided, strive to provide a concise description of the principal findings that specifically respond to your main research question. This should be just one paragraph.
Many students find it challenging to understand the differences between a discussion section and a results section. The key is to present your results in your results sections and analyse them subjectively in your discussion parts. In order to keep your paper sharp, try not to combine components of these two sections.
Also read: A Thesis or Dissertation Preface
Interpret your Findings
Even if the relevance of your findings may seem obvious to you, it’s crucial to explain it to your reader by demonstrating how they directly address your research topic.
Depending on the nature of the research, your interpretations will take many forms, however, the following are some common methods:
- Finding links, patterns, and correlations in the data
- Evaluating if the outcomes were in line with your predictions or proved your theories
- Setting your results in the context of existing research and thinking
- describing ad hoc findings and assessing their significance
- Taking into account potential counterarguments and presenting your case
Using the same format as the result section, you might arrange your discussion around important themes, theories, or research topics.
A complete guide to understand: What is a Glossary in a Dissertation or Thesis?
Highlight the Implications
Be sure to link your findings to the academic works you reviewed in the literature review in addition to providing your personal opinions. The discussion should demonstrate how your results fit with our current understanding, what fresh insights they add, and what implications they have for theory or practice.
Think about the following:
- Do your findings confirm or refute preexisting theories? What fresh knowledge do they add if they confirm preexisting theories? Why, in your opinion, do you think that they contradict accepted theories?
- Are there any real-world repercussions?
The reader should be made aware of the precise contribution that your research has made and why they should care.
Recognize the Limitations
Even the most thorough research has certain flaws. It’s crucial to acknowledge these in order to establish your trustworthiness. Limitations aim to accurately depict what can and cannot be inferred from your study rather than simply listing your mistakes.
Limitations may result from the general research design, particular methodological decisions, or unexpected challenges that surfaced throughout the research process.
Here are a few typical scenarios:
- Explain how generalizability is restricted if your sample size was small or restricted to a certain set of people.
- If you ran across issues when collecting or processing the data, describe how they affected the outcomes.
- Accept the impact these may have had if there are any confounding factors that you were unable to control.
- You can restate why the data are still reliable for addressing your research topic after pointing out the limitations.
Only include limits that are specifically related to your research’s goals. Afterwards, discuss how big of an impact they made on reaching your research’s objectives.
Important article: Writing a Literature Review – Step-by-Step Guide
You can offer suggestions for real-world applications or additional studies based on the discussion of your findings.
The constraints can immediately result in recommendations for additional research. Don’t just say that additional research should be done, provide specific suggestions for how future work can expand on the subjects that your current study was unable to cover.
Complete dissertation guide: How to write a dissertation
Some useful tips:
- Because some readers will skip the introductory chapter and go straight to the discussion part, be sure to maintain consistency between the two chapters when writing your discussion chapter. The tense and essential terms you used in your introduction should be used in your discussion as well.
- Since you have firsthand knowledge of the information, it can be simplified to how you portray it. Make sure to clearly explain your conclusions and results to the reader.
- Examine other theses and dissertations, paying close attention to the discussion portions. This will give you a better understanding of the requirements and customs of your university and give you a good sense of how other people have organised their discussion chapters.
- To make sure that your reader can simply move between sections and to guarantee that your chapter flows logically and coherently, use well-structured and regularly formatted headings.
- Be humble in your wording because it is exceedingly improbable that a dissertation or thesis will scientifically establish anything (due to a number of resource limitations).
- Use phrases like “suggest” or “indicate” instead of using absolutes like “These results prove that…” You may say, “These results imply that…” or “These results indicate…
Frequently Asked Questions
You examine the significance and applicability of your research findings in the debate, highlighting how they align with previous findings and theoretical frameworks
Without speculating as to how you came to these conclusions, the results chapter or section simply and impartially summarises what you discovered. The discussion interprets the results’ significance, places them in perspective, and justifies their importance.
Results and conversation are sometimes integrated in qualitative research. However, it’s seen to be crucial in quantitative research to keep your interpretation of the data separate from the objective findings.
The discussion section of a thesis or dissertation entails a thorough examination of the findings, an in-depth discussion of their significance, and a citation of pertinent sources to provide context.
The conclusion is more succinct and all-inclusive; it provides a succinct response to your primary research question and offers suggestions based on your overall results.