- What is a Dissertation Conclusion
- Sections of a Dissertation Conclusion
- What should be the length of your conclusion?
- Mistakes that students make while preparing their dissertation conclusion
- A recap on how to write a conclusion
By the time you are writing your dissertation conclusion, you are probably very tired, you just want to get done with your dissertation.
Completing your dissertation feels like running the last mile of your final race.
However, the conclusion does matter as it provides a summary of your research and shows your discoveries. The conclusion shows what you have learned while doing your dissertation.
In a nutshell, it is possible for the examiner to obtain a good overview of your dissertation by just briefly looking at the conclusion. The committee you will present to will mostly look at your dissertation conclusion and base any question or critique about your dissertation on the information that you have provided them within the conclusion.
To give you a simpler perspective: If your audience was to go over nothing except your conclusion, what message would you want them to go home with?
The dissertation conclusion is the last section of your thesis or dissertation with the following goals:
- to reflect on and summarize the research study
- to precisely state the answer to the research question
- Make recommendations for future research on the same
- Show the new knowledge that you have contributed
- Show the limitations of the study
- Provide a “conclusion of the conclusion“
Reflecting and summarizing the research study
The conclusion must contain a brief segment that reflects upon the significance of the research, the reason behind the methods selected for the study, and possible ways that could be implemented to counter the limitations.
At this point and time, you must show your reader how your arguments are supported by evidence or examples.
If your research question has more than one part, you will be required to include the responses for every part.
Precisely stating the answer to the main research question
Remember that your audience spent a portion of their time to read your thesis. It is important that you make sure that the audience does not end up with queries or questions in their minds. Provide a balanced answer to your research problem or question. The conclusion must tell the reader what the aim of the study was and how the aim of the study was fulfilled. Your answer must balance and be accompanied by evidence for justifying your facts.
If you have multiple objectives in your study, it is important that you list how all the objectives were met, and what it is that you did.
Making recommendations for future research on the same topic
The purpose of this section is to render your reader some advice on what you think will happen next.
Failing to include recommendations in your conclusion will result in the loss of many marks.
You may already have listed the recommendations in the discussion. However, the conclusion is a perfect place to elaborate as you consider the implications of your results for theory and practice.
- To better understand what these results imply, future research could address…
- Further research is required to determine the relationship between or the effects of…
- Based on this conclusion, financial managers should consider…
It is advisable to frame your recommendations as suggestions.
Avoid framing your recommendations as imperatives- the purpose of the research is to inform, explore, and inform, not instructing.
There are two ways of framing your recommendations.
- You can make recommendations that are specific to the evidence in your study
- You can also make recommendations for future research
It is not beneficial to make recommendations that have no obvious linkage to your conclusion.
A good recommendation links conclusion from previous, and because it is also linked to your research objectives, it completes the package.
Contributions to Knowledge
As a rule of the thumb, the contribution part of the dissertation conclusion is usually required at the Ph.D. level and is not necessary at the masters level.
Regardless, it is always important that you consult your supervisor before deciding to either exclude or include the contributions to knowledge in your dissertation conclusion.
Usually, contribution to knowledge appears in your empirical work, however, in other situations, it may be derived from the literature review.
You are expected to make an original contribution to your dissertation conclusion. This is because the contribution is significantly meant to tell your reader why your study is unique.
This section is meant to tell the reader why your research work is special.
The best way to show your contribution to knowledge is by identifying what has been done by other researchers, then illustrate how your work builds to theirs.
Specifying the gap of the research and how your dissertation has contributed to filling the gap is quintessential.
You can also choose to bring out your contributions to the knowledge by highlighting any publications that you may have contributed in the field.
Limitations of the Study
If your research is empirical, you need to talk about the limitations that you had while handling sampling, data collection, lab work, and the analysis stages too.
Always end your Limitations with a positive note.
Some professors want limitations of the study to be under the methodology section. Therefore it is always important that you consult your supervisor.
The dissertation conclusion has a conclusion too.
It is better if you only add at most two sentences to reinforce the thesis statement that was used in the introduction.
“The conclusion of the conclusion” demonstrates to the audience that you have now proved the point that was stated in the introduction. The section gives your readers a feeling of satisfaction, it is a graceful exit.
Talk about the general importance of your research topic. How is your topic important to the intellect of your readers?
Make your audience feel that the study was worth their time.
To sum up, remember that the dissertation conclusion is the last opportunity you got to tell your audience what you want them to always remember. You must be comprehensive and must include several subsections.
The length of the conclusion has a direct correlation with the length of the whole dissertation paper.
The conclusion should be about 10% of the overall word count.
However, several rules must also be put into consideration:
An empirical study often has a short conclusion of what states the major findings and recommendations.
A humanity thesis may need more space to conclude the analysis and also tying all your chapters to an overall argument.
In brief, not all your topics require a similar length of the conclusion part.
Numerical topics require a shorter conclusion than humanity topics.
Personal judgment is also necessary when considering the length of your dissertation conclusion.
“I am sticking to what I have said” mistake
the author precisely restates their thesis without moving their ideas forward. When the author can’t broaden their viewpoint, they make such a mistake.
The emotional centric mistake
This kind of conclusion is designed to appeal to their audience on grounds of emotion. It is more desirable that the conclusion is critical rather than emotional. However, if the topic requires an emotional ground, an emotional quotient can be introduced in the writing.
- The “Sherlock Holmes” mistake in a conclusion
Sometimes, students opt to write the thesis statement at the very end. Students are tempted to use this strategy as they try to create some drama.
This is not the way to go! You need to indicate the highest achievements at the beginning.
The “Grab Bag” Mistake
In this mistake, authors are sometimes tempted to include extra information because they did not find an appropriate space to paste that information in the body.
Addition of random facts in the dissertation conclusion only brings confusion to the reader.
Leaving the Question Open
The closing section should leave the audience with a feeling of completeness. This must be supported with valid evidence and any research question raised must be answered in full.
Apologizing for your stance
You will sometimes adopt a specific stance for which at no point should you apologize. Apologizing will only diminish the significance of your research.
- Do not make the section too long. A brief, clear, and informative conclusion is worthwhile. Make the length to be not more than 10% of the body.
- Answer the questions posed at the beginning of your research in a clear and concise manner.
- Follow the generally accepted structure discussed above
- Your personal opinion should not be authoritative. Rather, it should be subtle.
- Pay attention to details such as grammar, punctuation.
- Proofread your work, and give a friend to go through your work too.
- Do not include examples in the dissertation conclusion
- Do not use the first person. A conclusion is basically a statement of facts, a closing of problem statements, and a summary of your findings. Therefore, do not inject personal opinion in the dissertation conclusion.
- Do not copy content from your results section and paste it into your conclusion. You need to understand the difference between a conclusion and results. The results section states what has been found while the conclusion section uses the research findings to close down the problem statement