So I have diagnosed some of the problems, are there any easy solutions? Well, the best way to start in my view is just to write, but perhaps start to write without the specific purpose of the discussion chapter in mind. Write to try and work out what you think and then re-write it later.
I hope some of these suggestions help to get you started. Do you have any more? The Dead Hand of the Thesis Genre? Interesting and excellent read! A long and thorough discussion with my Professor made me realize I did present some new elements, but it took a while before I really believed him. In stead of writing one discussion chapter, each chapter in which I present my results or approach contains a discussion.
This had the advantage that when writing the chapter, you are better able to consider the differences with other findings and you have the best knowledge of your own findings. The conclusions then summarized the most important elements of these discussions. The null hypotheses was also mentioned by my professor, in an other form.
He asked me if I could falsify my own conclusions with the same data, but with other approaches or models, and how I would actually do so. It really helped me in writing the discussion. I remember being very jealous of them when i was writing one. Each aspect of my methodology has implications for utopianism and utopian scholarship, so I discuss that in each chapter. The last was a hard sell. How does it add to existing scholarship? If I were to write a sequel to this thesis, what might come next?
Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the post! Any suggestions would help! I know exactly what you mean. The most traumatic example was a poorly-theorized section of my prospectus. I ended up spending the whole summer researching, taking notes, and thinking about the new material my prof required me to read, then the entire fall semester figuring out what it meant for my thesis. But now that I look back at my original material, I absolutely cringe.
The new research may have added months to my work, but it also improved it dramatically. I still cringe at the fear of a negative reception from my committee, but at least I know they criticize in order to help.
The thing is, he has always ended up liking the result. I still have trouble pitching ideas to my colleagues until they have made it into writing. I guess we learn to think through writing. Being so close to finishing makes it worse! I had my soups shoot down entire chapters in the past but then I had enough time or so it felt to fix things and not take things too personally or, you know, panic! My last meeting had them telling me to switch around my entire chapter structure.
However NOW the bother is that all the chapters refer back to each other so even a little change e. This is all really useful as I write my findings chapters as it reminds me of what needs to be in the discussion chapter. Thank you so much. I was very stuck on what to do with my discussion since my paper is qualitative with no research at all and I need to make the discussion and limitations discrete sections.
Thank you very much for this. Thank Inger, this is brilliant. I have several stand-alone chapters with analysis and discussion in each, and was wondering if I needed an overall thesis discussion chapter. I doubt about the importance of my research and results and that make me feel more insecure abiut discussion. It is good to read that this chapter is complicated for someonle else than me!
Thank you for the posting. This is really going to depend on the type of project you have created. For example, if you have completed a qualitative research project, you might have identified some key themes within the software program you used to organise your data. In this case, highlighting these themes in your findings chapter may be the most appropriate way to proceed.
Not only are you using information that you have already documented, you are telling a story in each of your sections which can be useful in qualitative research. But what if you undertook a more quantitative type study? You might be better off structuring your findings chapter in relation to your research questions or your hypotheses.
This assumes, of course, that you have more than one research question or hypothesis. Otherwise you would end up just having one really long section. Subheadings are ultimately going to be your friend throughout your dissertation writing. Not only do they organise your information into logical pieces, they give the reader guidelines for where your research might be going. This is also a break for the reader. Looking at pages and pages of text without any breaks can be daunting and overwhelming for a reader.
When writing your introduction, be clear, organised and methodical. Tell the reader what they need to know and try to organise the information in a way that makes the most sense to you and your project. If in doubt, discuss this with your supervisor before you start writing.
If you have conducted things like interviews or observations, you are likely to have transcripts that encompass pages and pages of work. Putting this all together cohesively within one chapter can be particularly challenging. This is true for two reasons. Secondly, unlike quantitative data, it can often be difficult to represent qualitative data through figures and tables, so condensing the information into a visual representation is simply not possible.
As a writer, it is important to address both these challenges. When considering how to present your qualitative data, it may be helpful to begin with the initial outline you have created and the one described above.
Within each of your subsections, you are going to have themes or headings that represent impactful talking points that you want to focus on. If you have used multiple different instruments to collect data e. This is so that you can demonstrate to more well-rounded perspective of the points you are trying to make. Once you have your examples firmly selected for each subsection, you want to ensure that you are including enough information. You must set up the examples you have chosen in a clear and coherent way.
Students often make the mistake of including quotations without any other information. Usually this means writing about the example both before and after. This was a focal point for 7 of my 12 participants, and examples of their responses included: The reoccurring focus by participants on the need for more teachers demonstrates [insert critical thought here].
By embedding your examples in the context, you are essentially highlighting to the reader what you want them to remember. Aside from determining what to include, the presentation of such data is also essential. Participants, when speaking in an interview might not do so in a linear way. Instead they might jump from one thought to another and might go off topic here and there. So the quotes need to be paired down to incorporate enough information for the reader to be able to understand, while removing the excess.
Finding this balance can be challenging. You have likely worked with the data for a long time and so it might make sense to you. Try to see your writing through the eyes of someone else, which should help you write more clearly. Something to consider first with numeric data is that presentation style depends what department you are submitting to. In the hard sciences, there is likely an expectation of heavy numeric input and corresponding statistics to accompany the findings.
In the arts and humanities, however, such a detailed analysis might not be as common. Therefore as you write out your quantitative findings, take your audience into consideration. Just like with the qualitative data, you must ensure that your data is appropriately organised. There are many software programs available and it is important that you have used one that is most relevant to your field of study.
For some, Microsoft Excel may be sufficient for basic analysis. Whatever program you have used, make sure that you document what you have done and the variables that have affected your analysis. One common mistake found in student writing is the presentation of the statistical analysis. During your analysis of the data , you are likely to have run multiple different analyses from regressions to correlations. Often, we see students presenting multiple different statistical analyses without any real understanding of what the tests mean.
Presentation of quantitative data is more than just about numbers and tables. You could also explain how they relate to the research question. However, depending on how you have organised your work, this might end up in the discussion section. Students who are not confident with statistical analysis often have a tendency to revert back to their secondary school mathematics skills.
They commonly document the mean, median, and mode for all of their results. Now, these three outcomes can be important. But having a good understanding of why you are proceeding with this strategy of analysis is going to be essential in a primarily quantitative study. That noted, there are different expectations for an undergraduate dissertation and a PhD thesis, so knowing what these expectations are can be really helpful before you begin.
Depending on the presentation of your dissertation, you may be required to print out a final copy for the marker s. In many cases, this final copy must be printed in black and white. This means that any figures or graphs that you create must be readable in a black and white or greyscale format. This can be challenging because there are only so many distinct shades of grey.
In a pie chart, you might show one section as purple and the other as green. Yet when printed, both the purple and the green translate to approximately the same shade of grey, making your graph suddenly unreadable.
Another common error is overwhelming the reader with graphs and tables. There is no correct or incorrect number of graphs that should exist within the section, but you should use your judgement about what looks appropriate. Each university has its specific criteria, and even each teacher asks for particular requirements.
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The discussion section is the most important part of your dissertation, and you'll need to make sure you have all the vital ingredients of a great discussion. 1. The check-list below includes a list of the important things you should include in your discussion.
When writing a dissertation or thesis, the results and discussion sections can be both the most interesting as well as the most challenging sections to write. You may choose to write these sections separately, or combine them into a single chapter, depending on your university’s guidelines and your own preferences.
Dissertation findings and discussion sections Depending on your preference for writing, the findings and discussion sections can be the most rewarding sections of your total dissertation. By this point, you actually get to write about what you have done, rather than what others have said about your subject area. You can even seek help from your friends when writing a dissertation discussion. Ask around in your circle whether any of your friend has attempted any dissertation, and if can offer any help. You can ask them for dissertation discussion examples that’ll help you draft your own discussion.
This page sets out general advice on issues connected with writing a dissertation, also known as a thesis. The following pages set out in more detail how to approach each section of your dissertation, including the Literature Review, Methodology, Results and Discussion. The post was a useful starting point, but unfortunately not enough to actually help one of my students, Wendy, write her discussion chapters. Like many thesis writers, Wendy has had a long slog with this project and is having trouble seeing the wood for the trees.