A discussion section is an essential part of any PhD dissertation or thesis. In this chapter, students need to give a detailed interpretation of the data they have gathered in the process of their investigation and discuss the research results, taking into account all the limitations of their study. Many students face difficulties when working on this part of their dissertation where they need to demonstrate strong analytical and critical thinking skills and to prove that their study has made a contribution to the existing research in their field. In this article, you will find some useful tips on how to write a convincing discussion section that can help you cope with this challenging task. You can also get professional assistance with writing a discussion section if you hire a writer on our website.
Objectives and structure of a discussion section
The aim of writing a discussion section is to interpret and evaluate the results and analyze how they help to answer the research question or prove the hypothesis. Besides, you have to justify your approach and explain how it relates to the literature review. When making argument, you should focus on explaining what the findings mean, why they matter, what they can’t tell us, and what approaches you recommend for further studies and practice.
Keep in mind that a discussion chapter is always connected to the introduction because it relates to the research question or hypothesis you formulated and the literature you reviewed. But you can’t just repeat what you have said in the first chapter of the paper. You must clearly explain how your study contributes to advance the reader’s understanding of the problem from where you left them when you reviewed the existing literature.
There are different ways to write this chapter and the structure of discussion section may vary in different fields of study but typically it includes the following elements:
- summary of the key findings;
- discussion of the findings;
- limitations and weaknesses of the study;
- principal implications for practice;
- recommendations for further investigation;
You can use these elements headings for organizing content in your discussion section.
How to write a discussion section of a dissertation - general rules
- You can only discuss findings that are covered in your results chapter.
- Write this section using the present tense, especially when discussing the established facts.
- Be clear and concise – focus on argument that helps to answer your research question or supports the hypothesis; avoid discussing distracting issues.
- Be logical – explain the significance of your findings, following the sequence you used when describing them in the results chapter.
- Write in simple language; try to avoid overusing jargon and undefined technical language.
- Make sure you cite all sources to avoid plagiarism.
8 Useful tips on writing a strong discussion
- Organize your argument from general to specific. First, you should link your findings to the existing literature, then relate them to a specific theory, and finally, explain their connection to practice, if it’s appropriate. It’s important to be consistent and use the same key terms, definitions, and the style of narration which were used in your introduction.
- Restate your research problem and briefly summarize your major findings which directly answer your research questions. Don’t forget to mention the key methods you used during the investigation.
- Explain your findings and discuss their significance for your field. Integrate them with theoretical background. When interpreting data, you can use such approaches as identifying patterns, correlations, principles, and relationships between major findings; discussing whether your findings support your hypothesis; considering alternative explanations of findings. If there are some unexpected findings, analyze them and try to interpret why you believe they appeared.
- Discuss how your results fit with previous research and existing knowledge. Tell how your results relate to findings found in other studies (compare and contrast them). Your goal is to show readers what new insights your investigation has contributed.
- It’s crucial to acknowledge limitations of your research to be credible. Tell about issues and questions which were not addressed in your study. Comment if they may affect the validity of your study’s findings.
- Speak about implications of your results and explain why you think they are significant for supporting broader knowledge.
- Give recommendations for possible research based on your results. Your suggestions may be also based on certain limitations. You should be highly specific and provide concrete ideas on how future research can address certain issues your investigation was not able to cover.
Problems to avoid
There are some common mistakes you should avoid when writing this dissertation chapter.
- Never introduce and discuss new results – speak about those which were reported previously.
- Avoid speculations and conclusions which are not supported by data.
- Don’t emphasize weaknesses of your study or your failures – discuss limitations to boost credibility.
As you see writing a discussion section of a dissertation is a complex and time-consuming process that requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Not only you must present major results of your research in a convincing manner, but you must also demonstrate that your study has a real value and contributes to theory your field. You should show that your research is original and make an effort to convince the committee to approve your dissertation. You have to provide a strong argument fully supported by lots of credible data and related to existing knowledge in your subject. Think it’s too challenging for you and are afraid to fail? Don’t worry. If you are stuck with writing a discussion section or any other dissertation chapter, talented writers from our professional dissertation writing service are ready to help you at every stage of the writing process. You can ask them write a powerful sample dissertation or any chapter of your document. We can help you edit and proofread the paper you have completed yourself as well. Don’t hesitate to contact us and get easy solutions to all your writing problems.