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Writing The Discussion Section Of A Dissertation In 4 Steps


As the title suggests, the aim is to guide you in writing the discussion section of a thesis. This section seeks to analyze the research findings and put them in the overall context of the study. It also points out at the limitations of your study and how they affect the validity of your study. To better discuss your findings, you should always refer back to the literature review and compare your findings with other research work in the same field.

To better present your points, this sections should be kept short and repetition should be avoided. Below I have outlined four steps to writing a fulfilling discussion.

  1. Organize your information
  2. Now that you know the information required in this section, the next course of action is to determine how to arrange it. There are two different but related ways of achieving this:

    • State the significant findings of your research and describe the theory they support. If by any chance the results differ from your expectations, then again the reason for this should be outlined.
    • Acknowledge and construe the hypothesis and aims of the research as indicated in the introduction chapter.
  3. Use the right style
  4. When writing this section you should put emphasis on the verb tense also. This serves to differentiate principles and other accepted facts with your work and that of other individuals. You should use the past tense when referring to your own study and the present tense when referencing scientific principles known facts. However, do not confine the verb tense to this section only but rather make sure the tense corresponds with the rest of the dissertation.

  5. Consider the information to include or exclude
  6. The information to include in your essay will largely depend on the context of your research. However, in general the following should make the cut;

    • A response to your aims
    • A summary of the study results
    • Description of the unexpected results
    • Significance of the study
    • Limitations of the study

    You should also run the rule of thumb on your data and information and omit the unnecessary pieces. Usually, the following are excluded;

    • Insignificant and unsupported results
    • Tables and diagrams
  7. Make a concluding statement
  8. Lastly, you should offer a concluding statement to your discussion. Do not end the section with the study limitations. This should be brief and straight to the point.

The discussion section represents the important part of a dissertation and getting it right shines a light on the whole document.

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