By the time you have figured out the results of your study, you need to discuss them with your audience. Naturally, after the results section of your dissertation comes the discussion chapter. This is one of the critical components of your dissertation, since it is in this chapter that you assign new meaning to your dissertation results.

What do you do in your discussion section?

  • Explain the meaning of your result;
  • Interpret the original data;
  • Compare your results with others;
  • Analyze the importance of your study;
  • Discuss possible limitations;
  • Identify the existing gaps and offer directions for future studies.
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What data and information should you include here?

  • Link your results to your purpose and hypotheses;
  • Explain how meaningful your results are;
  • Explain the results themselves;
  • See how your results fit in the earlier studies;
  • Identify and reinforce the significance of your study;
  • Provide recommendations to address the existing limitations.

What kind of data should you reference?

  • Your main findings;
  • Your goals, purposes, and hypotheses;
  • Your aims and expectations;
  • Earlier theories and research findings;
  • Any results that are unexpected;
  • The significance of your findings;
  • Limitations and directions for future studies.

What should you NOT include in your chapter?

  • Do not include the information which was excluded from the Results section;
  • Do not include insignificant results;
  • Do not include any results that cannot be linked to your hypotheses;
  • Do not include any graphics, tables, or diagrams.

How should your discussion be organized?

Choose any option:

  • FIRST, you can arrange your discussion around your aims and hypotheses.
  • SECOND, you can arrange the results in your discussion section by the order of their significance.
  • THIRD, you can use any recommendations provided in this chapter.

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