How to Write a Dissertation Methodology Chapter

This is a general guide on how to conduct and write the discussion chapter of your dissertation. You are also advised to check the course or program information and materials provided by teaching staff, including your project supervisor, for subject-specific guidance.

Writing your dissertation discussion

A dissertation discussion chapter is a section in your dissertation paper that includes an interpretation and an explanation of your results and their significance and implications. This chapter helps to answer your research questions and hypotheses. In addition, it is essential to discuss the relevance of these findings to your field of research and create an argument as you conclude your analysis.

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How to Write the Discussion Chapter in a Dissertation

Your discussion chapter should be clear for the reader to understand easily. It should also be rigorous such that all findings should be thoroughly discussed. A discussion chapter is a section that reflects your results chapter. Therefore, ensure that your discussion does not present new findings or claims. Instead, present relevant data and one that is evident in your results section.

There are six primary steps in creating your discussion chapter:

  1. Restate your research problem and questions
  2. Summarise your key findings
  3. Interpret your results
  4. Recognise the limitations of your research
  5. Provide suggestions for future research and execution
  6. Provide a concluding summary
  7. Restate your research problem and questions

It is vital to restate your research aims and problems to remind your reader of the main purpose of your research. This part is important because after going through dozens of pages, readers may find it hard to remember the aims of your study. In addition, most readers skip from your introduction to the discussion part to collect relevant information and the conclusion of your analysis. Therefore, while writing your discussion chapter, ensure that you clearly and precisely state your research problems and research questions.

  1. Summarise your key findings

After clarifying your research questions and research statements are, summarise your key findings from your results section. Qualitative and quantitative research methodologies may have different ways of presenting findings from your results chapter. Qualitative research will discuss themes and relationships, while quantitative analysis will focus on correlations and causal relationships. Regardless of these research methodologies, this section of your dissertation should highlight key findings concerning your research findings. In addition, this section of your dissertation should not be too long, depending on your research questions. This section should be brief and concise such that the reader can gather all the information of your dissertation in this single chapter.

  1. Interpret your results

After you have summarised your findings, you can now interpret your results. It is vital to keep in mind that you can only present evident findings in your results section and that you cannot present new findings. To make it easy for the reader to follow your ideas, the format of your discussion chapter should be the same as that of your findings chapter. If you employed qualitative approaches to format your results section, it’s good to do the same in your discussion part. While interpreting your results, it is important to evaluate the relationship between your findings and those of other existing research materials.

In some cases, your findings may contrast with other existing research, which may raise questions for many students. However, contrasting findings are what make your discussion interesting. Lastly, ensure that your argument is backed up with evidence or findings from your results section.

  1. Recognise the limitations of your research

When writing your discussion chapter, ensure that you recognise the limitations of your study. These limitations can be from anywhere in your research. These limitations state what you missed in your research or what made your study not achieve its intended goal. The quality of research work is identified in its ability to identify its weaknesses. Therefore, stating the limitations of your research work is a strength and not a defect. While displaying the limitations of your study, be careful not to undermine your research work. Instead, state the limitations in your research work and suggest improvements that could be made to make your research work and others successful. Most importantly, despite these limitations, remind your readers of the value of your research work.

  1. Provide suggestions for future research and execution

The fifth step of writing your dissertation chapter is by reflecting on the implementation and execution of your results and suggesting future research. Single research work cannot entirely cover every problem; therefore, your discussion should suggest future research.

First, you need to discuss how your findings can be used in real life. This section should state the contributions of your results to a specific field or industry. It is also crucial to discuss where, how and why these contributions are applicable.

The second step is creating a discussion on future opportunities for research. This section will discuss how other studies can help build on what you’ve found and overcome the limitations you had in your findings to create a better research outcome. This section of your dissertation proposal should be clear and concise to help readers and future researchers find gaps that need to be filled through research.

  1. Provide a concluding summary

A concluding paragraph at the end of your discussion provides a brief recap of your key findings. These findings should directly address your research questions. Your concluding section should briefly state your study’s results and what information a reader should take from your report. While writing your conclusion, note that most readers may skip your body to the discussion or concluding paragraphs. As a result, make sure this section is well-versed with a summary of your body’s important points and a concise overview of your findings.