Four Great Tips on How to Write the Discussion Chapter for a Dissertation
Even though the majority of people write a discussion chapter to include in their theses or dissertations, a lot of them overlook a number of critical aspects. A discussion chapter is the section where you bring your entire paper together, so it is essential to keep the following points in mind:
- Make Sure the Structure is Clear
Firstly, a discussion chapter should be separated into a number of sections, where you go from very specific findings or results to the implications of these. While much depends on your chosen topic, you may want to consider using this structure:
- Sum-up your main findings (provided you are writing the discussion and results sections separately).
- Explain how your findings relate to or are relevant to the literature you reviewed.
- Describe how your initial hypothesis is affected by this.
- Explain what everything means in practical terms.
- Use of Tense
When it comes to discussing what it was you found or what results you obtained, you should be consistent in the way you use the present and past tense. Furthermore, the context of what you are saying will influence which tense you use. If you are describing the meaning of specific results in practical terms or are referring to particular data, it is best to use the present tense. For example:
As Figure 1 shows, when there is an increase in light, there is decrease in speed. These results show that productivity is improved with coffee intake.
However, you should use the past tense to sum-up some particular results or when describing something that has already happened. For example:
Road traffic accidents reduced considerably in number between the years 2014 and 2016.
At times both tenses are needed. For example:
As figure 1 shows, road traffic accidents reduced in number between the years 2014 and 2016. The statistics imply that speed camera technology decrease the number of road accident fatalities.
- Your Findings/Results Will Need to be Evaluated
Instead of just describing what you found or the results you obtained, consider their meaning. Think about any patterns or relationships that are evident in the results and what these imply. Additionally, you should question how these relate to any theories you used in the research work you did.
Furthermore, it is important that you discuss your results objectively. If you did not find what you had expected to find, say so in your discussion chapter. You should not shy away from recognizing any anomalies, inconsistencies or any other types of limitations.
- Refer Back to Your Hypothesis and Review of Literature
The practice of referring back to earlier sections of a paper is a way of giving context to a discussion section. If, for instance, you mention a particular theory in the review of literature section e.g. that speed camera technology has no effect on road accident fatalities, you can then relate your results or findings to this theory.
This same principle applies to a paper's hypothesis e.g. have your forecasts or predictions been proved or disproved by your results? This is a way of giving a coherent feeling to a paper.
Discussion Chapter Writing Without Stress
Interpreting the findings in the discussion chapter is a particularly important step of dissertation writing. As such, following the common discussion chapter structure, you need to present your findings, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. If you do not know how to write a discussion in a thesis, you are free to search for an example of a discussion chapter available online. In general, the information presented in this chapter needs to be based on the results of the data analysis. In other words, look at the conclusions and recommendations since they should be directly related to the data that was analyzed. In a professional dissertation, the author can make conclusions and recommendations based only on the variables that have empirical data to support.
Key Peculiarities of Discussion Dissertation Chapter Writing
The discussion chapter may be also defined as a summary of findings. The essential purpose of this chapter is to highlight the main statistical findings and interpret them. As such, when writing a discussion chapter dissertation, feel free to restate the purpose of the study. Then, you need to explain how the main findings are related to the overall purpose of the study. In addition, feel free to mention about some other substantial findings. An important way to present your findings is to present the important data giving a brief commentary for each. All the results of data analysis should be supported with the reasonable explanations.
Keep in mind that your discussion chapter should not include any numbers. Instead, you have to explain the results found to the audience, which is not competent in your topic.