Writing a Dissertation’s Discussion Chapter

Writing a Successful Dissertation Discussion Chapter

A good dissertation discussion chapter is one of the most important parts of graduate research. Not only does it present the summary of findings but also explains how they confirm or disprove the general knowledge or theories known.

The Discussion Chapter Mission

This section has four objectives, it should:

  1. Provide an interpretation and evaluation of your results
  2. Deliver an answer your research question
  3. Justify the chosen approach and methodology
  4. Scrutinize your study

The Dissertation Discussion Structure

Being a potentially the longest chapter in your work, the discussion needs to have a clear structure, which typically follows the script:


Any dissertation discussion section represents the key findings of the research, so the general practice is to avoid any theoretical referencing unless the results prove the existing theory.

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.


The discussion section usually contains the components described below:

  1. It states the key findings or results of a study in a sentence or two.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Answers should be supported with results. Say why your answers and findings are valid and how they compare well to existing knowledge.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

What Type of Dissertation Discussion Chapter Writing do You Need?

Based on the type of your research, there are only two basic ways to present the results.

If you have contacted interviews that included numerous open-ended question, you most likely will need a qualitative dissertation discussion chapter. This type focuses on the main takeaway points from each section of the interview. The key here is to embed the quotes from the interview into your text and ideas, rather than randomly throw them in. You do not need to use all interview, but rather focus on those that represent general trend well or stood up.

On the contrary, the quantitative dissertation discussion chapter presents the numbers, percentages and other forms of statistical data. It is important to consider the department your paper will be submitted. In STEM and related disciplines, the enormous amount of data is something we expect, while arts and humanitarian subjects are not so used to it. Remember, that you have to explain why you have asked particular questions and why this information is relevant to your study.

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