Steps to Write an Effective Discussion Chapter
The purpose of a discussion chapter is to explain the meaning of the specific research paper’s results to the readers. It is imperative to demonstrate your opinions and interpretations, explain the insinuations from your findings, and make suggestions and predictions for potentially related research to draft a perfect dissertation and present it efficiently. While preparing your research paper, you have multiple stages to follow, such as carefully writing the hypothesis, designing the study, and collecting the data. You then have to carry out the statistical analysis and assemble the summary results into tables and graphs. After that, the discussion chapter’s primary function is to answer the questions put forward in the introduction, explain the results you presented in support of the answers, and how the findings fit in with existing knowledge on the subject matter.
There are quite a few ways that can be employed to write this section, but the main focus of your discussion should be around four major elements:
- Interpretations: what do your results mean?
- Implications: why does each of your specific results matter?
- Limitations: what factors aren’t conclusive from the results and why?
- Recommendations: what practical actions or potential scientific researches should follow?
Inevitable mistakes are frequent that people make while writing and which should be strictly avoided to present a useful discussion section:
- They merely repeat the results section, with none or little reference to their existing literature and knowledge.
- They make hypothetical or questionable conclusions that cannot be derived from the results. The presenter needs to differentiate between strong and weak results as they should not exaggerate their findings.
- They repeatedly write the already explained facts in the introduction with no linkages to the actual results.
- They focus excessively on the limitations of the research paper, making people suspect the relevance of the work. On the other hand, some presenters might also totally forget to recognize the limitations of their study.
- They present the research paper without any conclusions.
- They introduce topics that were not covered by the study’s results or findings.
It is good to avoid the mistakes mentioned above and follow the simple and essential steps to write a compelling discussion chapter. Therefore, here are the important steps to be taken into account while you prepare your Discussion Chapter:
- Make sure you structure your discussion chapter from the ‘specific’ to the ‘general.’ Expand and transition from your study’s narrow margins to your discipline’s general and broader framework to cover your findings efficiently.
- Aim to make a constant effort to follow the same tone of the dissertation introduction. This means to use the same key terms, the identical tense, and a similar point of view as brought up in your introduction.
- Firstly, start by rewriting your research questions and reaffirming your proposition, in case there are any, which you had posed previously in your introduction. Subsequently, affirm the answers to your research questions and also make sure to support these answers with the findings of your dissertation.
- Continue and explain how your results are related to the expectations of your analysis and literature. Explain with evidence why these results are adequate and how they fit in without fail with previously available knowledge about the subject. In this process, also make sure to use relevant citations.
- Make sure to give the proper attention needed for all the results relating to your research questions. And this should be regardless of whether or not the findings were statistically significant.
- Ensure your audience understands the principles, patterns, and critical relationships discovered by the primary findings and then analyze and arrange them into perspective. The sequencing of this information is also critical: 1) claim the answer, 2) confirm with the associate and validated relevant results, and 3) primarily cite the work of reliable sources. When required, point the audience to figures and graphs to boost your argument.
- Next is making sure to defend your answers. There are two ways to do this effectively: merely explaining the validity of your answer and putting out the shortcomings of others’ answers. In that way, you can make your viewpoint or opinion further compelling when you provide both sides to the argument.
- Also, make sure to recognize and deal with all the contradictory data in your work. Make sure of communicating and evaluating any inconsistent explanations in your results. This is another effective way to win over your readers by making them sympathetic to all the correct information that your study might have to offer.
- Consequently, ensure to include a discussion of any unexpected findings. While doing this, you can begin with a paragraph about the finding and then describe it. Also, try and identify the potential limitations and weaknesses that can be relevant to the studies. Add comments on the importance of the study limitations on the findings and evaluate how the comments impact the validity. Make sure not to use an apologetic tone in this section. This is because every study has a set of limitations.
- Then, conduct a summary of your findings’ principal implications and do this regardless of any statistical significance. Make sure that you provide 1 to 2 recommendations for potential research in the future.
- Always explain how the results of your study and their conclusions are significant.
- Always describe how your results can influence our understanding of the problems that your dissertation examines.
- On the final note, discuss everything relevant to your study, but be concise, specific, and always to the point.
The discussion chapter of a dissertation or research paper is one of the most important components as it provides meaning, significance, and relevance to your results. Therefore, it is also one of the most intricate parts to write and the longest. However, many students are too eager to get to the finishing line and end up writing it hastily. This rushed approach makes them miss the prospect of fully exploring their findings and setting them in the context of other researches in that field.
Therefore, while writing your dissertation’s discussion chapter, the first rule that applies is to allocate enough time to bestow upon it the credit that it deserves. The discussion chapter allows you to bring in a fresh perspective along with your findings. Thus, the best way to craft that section is by digging deep into it and providing new and creative ideas from your research towards your discussion.