Writing a Dissertation’s Discussion Chapter
The discussion chapter in a dissertation allows the writer to state their own opinions and interpretations on the paper’s topic, to explain the findings in terms of their implications, and to suggest or recommend further study.
Generally, the discussion section answers any questions posed in the introductory chapter, explains how the findings support these answers, and how the provided answers fit with what is already known on the subject matter or topic.
A discussion chapter should be kept brief. Essentially, this section provides commentary rather than reiterating any results or findings.
A discussion section usually contains the components described below:
- It states the key findings or results of a study in a sentence or two.
- A discussion section should mention the methods used, and address any potential limitations or shortcomings. If or when necessary, answers should be defended by explaining why the writer’s answer is correct and other answers are unsatisfactory. An explanation is only convincing when each side of the argument is examined.
- Any possible weaknesses should be identified in this chapter. Additionally, a commentary should be included on how important these are to the way the writer has interpreted any findings and how these interpretations might impact the validity of the results. Do not be apologetic when discussing possible weaknesses and limitations.
- Answers should be supported with results. Say why your answers and findings are valid and how they compare well to existing knowledge.
- Mention any findings that are unexpected. Begin your paragraph by making reference to what was unexpectedly found and then go on to describe this finding.
- Offer an explanation as to why the findings and conclusions of your research are significant and how they affect existing understanding or knowledge on the subject matter.
Two (and no more) recommendations for future research are sufficient. You should not suggest any work that could have been undertaken in the current study because this might indicate your research and your interpretation of any findings is inadequate.