It is your job at this point to make one last push to the finish to create a cohesive and organised final chapter.
If your concluding chapter is unstructured or some sort of ill-disciplined rambling, the person marking your work might be left with the impression that you lacked the appropriate skills for writing or that you lost interest in your own work.
To avoid these pitfalls, you will need to know what is expected of you and what you need to include in your successful dissertation conclusion chapter.
There are three parts at a minimum that need to exist within your dissertation conclusion. These include: Research objectives — a summary of your findings and the resulting conclusions Recommendations Contributions to knowledge You may also wish to consider a section on self-reflection, i. This adds something a little different to your chapter and allows you to demonstrate how this dissertation has affected you as an academic. Furthermore, just like any other chapter in your dissertation, your conclusion must begin with an introduction usually very short at about a paragraph in length.
Research objectives The research objectives section only asks you to answer two questions. These are: 1. As a result of the completion of the literature review , along with the empirical research that you completed, what did you find out in relation to your personal research objectives? What conclusions have you come to?
A common mistake by students when addressing these questions is to again go into the analysis of the data collection and findings. This is not necessary, as the reader has likely just finished reading your discussion chapter and does not need to go through it all again. This section is not about persuading, you are simply informing the reader of the summary of your findings. Recommendations The purpose of a recommendations section is to offer the reader some advice on what you think should happen next.
Failing to include such information can result in the loss of marks. Including these recommendations as implicit suggestions within other parts of the brief e.
There are two types of recommendations you can make. The first is to make a recommendation that is specific to the evidence of your study, the second is to make recommendations for future research. While certain recommendations will be specific to your data , there are always a few that seem to appear consistently throughout student work. These tend to include things like a larger sample size, different context, increased longitudinal time frame, etc. If you get to this point and feel you need to add words to your dissertation, this is an easy place to do so — just be cautious that making recommendations that have little or no obvious link to the research conclusions are not beneficial.
A good recommendations section will link to previous conclusions, and since this section was ultimately linked to your research aims and objectives, the recommendations section then completes the package. Ultimately, in this section, the focus is to demonstrate how your research has enhanced existing knowledge. Your main contribution to knowledge likely exists within your empirical work though in a few select cases it might be drawn from the literature review.
Implicit in this section is the notion that you are required to make an original contribution to research, and you are, in fact, telling the reader what makes your research study unique.
In order to achieve this, you need to explicitly tell the reader what makes your research special. Many students fall into a trap: they think they have to read everything that was ever written regarding the dissertation question they are about to elaborate. How much time do you plan to spend in the research stage? Make a timeline and stay committed to it. The point of the research stage is to show you have read around the topic and you understand the previous research that has been conducted, but you've also understood its limitations.
Find the right places to look for sources The Internet is a good starting place during the research stage. However, you have to realize that not everything you read on the Internet is absolutely true. Double-check the information you find and make sure it comes from a trustworthy resource.
Use Google Scholar to locate reliable academic sources. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but it can take you to some great publication if you check out the list of references on the pages of your interest.
Librarians are really helpful at this point of the project development. Don't avoid the actual library and ask the librarian to provide you with some interesting publications. Organize your resources You have to take notes; otherwise you'll end up seriously confused and you won't know where you located a certain important argument that you plan to use. Use Evernote , Penzu , or another online tool to write down notes about your impressions, as well as the sources you plan to reference.
Step 3: Write a mind-blowing dissertation Now, you're left with the most important stage of the dissertation writing process: composing the actual project, which will be the final product of all your efforts. It's surprising to see that many students have some level of confidence during the previous two stages of the process, but they crack when they realize they don't really know how to write a dissertation.
Remember: you already did a great job up to this point, so you have to proceed. Everything is easier when you have a plan. Make an outline You already have the dissertation proposal, which is a preliminary outline for the actual dissertation. However, you still need a more detailed outline for the large project. Did the research stage lead you in an unexpected direction? Make sure to include the new points in your outline. This is a basic outline that will make it easier for you to write the dissertation: Introduction The first chapter should include a background of the problem, and a statement of the issue.
Then, you'll clarify the purpose of the study, as well as the research question. Next, you'll need to provide clear definitions of the terms related to the project. You will also expose your assumptions and expectations of the final results.
Literature Review In this chapter of the dissertation, you will review the research process and the most important acknowledgements you've come down to. Methodology This part of the dissertation is focused on the way you located the resources and the methods of implementation of the results.
If you're writing a qualitative dissertation, you will expose the research questions, setting, participants, data collection, and data analysis processes. If, on the other hand, you're writing a quantitative dissertation, you will focus this chapter on the research questions and hypotheses, information about the population and sample, instrumentation, collection of data, and analysis of data.
Findings This is the most important stage in the whole process of dissertation writing, since it showcases your intellectual capacity. You need to ensure that all the content you want to include has been allocated a place. As you go, you can slot in ideas, references, quotes, clarifications, and conclusions as they occur to you, to make sure they are not forgotten. Take feedback from others at this stage, before you begin to fill in the detail.
Filling in the detail It can be a good idea to put the word limit to the back of your mind at this point, and concentrate on getting everything recorded in a document. You can always edit upwards or downwards later as necessary. Writing as you go along It is likely, and advisable, that you will not wait until the end of your research before starting to write it up. You may be required to produce one or more chapters for assessment part way through your research.
The process described above can be used for any individual chapter you are working on. It is important to be prepared to critique and revise your own work several times. Even the early chapters submitted for assessment, and passing that assessment, may need to be revised later on.
This is not a failure, but a positive sign of increased experience and skill. Developing an argument An important aspect running through your dissertation will be your argument for: why this specific topic is worth researching; why this is a good way to research it; why this method of analysis is appropriate; and why your interpretations and conclusions are reasonable. You will refer to the work of others as you make your argument.
This may involve critiquing the work of established leaders in the field. Agree with, accede to, defend, or confirm a particular point of view.
Propose a new point of view. Concede that an existing point of view has certain merits but that it needs to be qualified in certain important respects. Reformulate an existing point of view or statement of it, such that the new version makes a better explanation.
Develop an existing point of view, perhaps by utilising it on larger or more complex datasets, or apply a theory to a new context Adapted from Taylor It is important that you are assertive about what you are arguing, but it is unlikely that, in a dissertation project, you will be able to be definitive in closing an established academic debate.
You should be open about where the gaps are in your research, and cautious about over-stating what you have found. Aim to be modest but realistic in relating your own research to the broader context. Improving the structure and content Once you have the dissertation in draft form it becomes easier to see where you can improve it. To make it easier to read you can use clear signposting at the beginning of chapters, and write links between sections to show how they relate to each other.
Another technique to improve academic writing style is to ensure that each individual paragraph justifies its inclusion. More ideas will be presented in the Study Guide The art of editing. You may choose to review your draft from the standpoint of a dissertation examiner, which might involve preparing a list of questions that you want to see answered, then reading through your dissertation scribbling comments, suggestions, criticisms, and ideas in the margin.
Allow at least two weeks for professional language editing. Ways to avoid being caught out inadvertently include: Never copy and paste from a journal article. Always summarise it in your own words, which also helps to make sure that you have understood it. If, for the sake of time, you want to copy and paste specific sentences which sum up the argument particularly well, always put them in quotation marks in your summary, with the source, so that you will remember that they are direct quotes and need to be acknowledged as such.
See our page: Academic Referencing for more information. Conclusion 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. Our eBooks are ideal for students at all stages of education, school, college and university. They are full of easy-to-follow practical information that will help you to learn more effectively and get better grades.
For example, dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies. Give yourself permission to write the junkiest dissertation ever floated past an unwitting committee. You should be open about where the gaps are in your research, and cautious about over-stating what you have found. Formatting and Templates If your university has a required format for a dissertation, and particularly if they supply a template, then use it!
Is this article helpful? Sternberg, David.
Under each sub-heading, list the main content that needs to be included, creating sub-sub-headings if needed. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should take. Plan a structure that will enable you to present your argument effectively.
If you notice that you're struggling through the stages of editing and proofreading, you should know you're not the only one with such problem. She does, however, explain how starting with fifteen minutes of work each day might lead to a habit of work that will lead to the successful completion of a dissertation. Making sense of the quotation within the context of your argument.
As you edit and rewrite your dissertation you will probably gain and lose references that you had in earlier versions. You can make it sound smart later.