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Writing the discussion chapter of a dissertation

01 Jun 2018

After crafting your hypothesis carefully and collecting data for your study, you must conduct statistical analysis and write results section of dissertation, summarizing it into graphs and tables. There is a specific chapter that is dedicated to explaining the meaning of your findings. This is none other than discussion section of dissertation examples.

Even though this section is found at the end of a paper, you must consider it from moment you begin your study. It always connects to introduction since it contains answers to the research questions and hypotheses highlighted in your literature review.  However, this doesn’t mean that you have to repeat introduction.

Writing a great discussion entails giving the readers an understanding of development of research problem. So, you must demonstrate your critical thinking skills concerning the main issues and come up with constructive measures for those problems. Solutions must be based on logical syntheses of results. Here are some general rules of thumb you can infer from an excellent dissertation discussion example.

  • Make your point as precise as possible
  • Do not use jargon
  • Employ a logic and systematic flow of ideas to interpret findings
  • Follow the same sequence as you described data in results chapter
  • Use present tense for general facts and cite relevant works in past tense
  • Organize section with subheadings to improve readability
  • Interpret your discoveries
  • Give answers to research questions
  • Support your approach
  • Introduce meanings and possible implications or improvements in future studies
  • Present significance of your study and how it contributes to filling the existing gaps
  • Reveal new insights which haven’t been revealed in literature review 
  • Engage the reader in critical thinking using evidence-based interpretations

Avoid these mistakes

  1. Verbosity and over-interpretation

Some students fall into a trap of inflating meanings and interpretations of the study. Take caution not to go overboard. Your interpretation must stay within the confines of the data you gathered in the study. Beyond that is unnecessary.

Obviously, you want your study to be used for years to come. You might be tempted to inflate significance of your study. But reading such unwarranted inflation can be annoying. You need to be a little humble if you don’t want readers to get bored.

  1. Unsolicited speculation

You are allowed to speculate in the discussion chapter but only a little. Stay focused on data you’ve gathered as well as devices you’ve employed. If your book is about HIV/AIDS patients, avoid speculating how your discovery can help other patients say the epileptics.

If you must speculate, make sure that you identify that using the phrase “We speculate that…”

  1. Tangential issues

Adding tangential ideas into discussion chapter of a dissertation is likely to confuse the audience. A good idea is to concentrate on hypothesis and results.

The structure and organization

As you organize your discussion, there are various sequential points you should bear in mind. Take your discussion part as an inverted pyramid. Start with general points to more specific insights.

Link inferences to literature review and then to theory before you suggest practical applications. Don’t forget to use the same terminologies and tense as in research problem part of the paper. You may restate research problems briefly and give solutions, following sequence the problems came in.


Just before you conclude, highlight potential limitations but do not repeat this in the concluding chapter. Note how weaknesses could affect the credibility of your findings. At no point should you use an apologetic tone. Be self-critical and brutally honest.

Finally, end with a precise summary of the implications without considering the relevance. Give your personal opinions in your discussion dissertation example and convince the reader why your conclusion is vital.

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