Considerations for Your Implications

Posted October 11, 2017

In the discussion section of your dissertation, you will be asked to write about the implications of your results. While many students will often just descriptively repeat the results, chairs are looking for the larger picture when it comes to your findings. As such, this is where your implications come in.

The most important questions to ask yourself when looking at your findings are: why is this important? How do my findings apply to the real world? What are some things that could potentially happen because of this new information? These are the roots of your implications. By discussing the importance of your findings within a real-world context, instead of a theoretical or gap in the literature context, you are demonstrating the social significance of your study. This is what chairs are looking for.

Implications not only detail the social significance of your study, but provide realistic methods for addressing the problem you presented within the first chapter of your dissertation. Even if you failed to solve your problem, which often happens, you are still able to talk about why your findings matter in the larger realm of interest on the issue you addressed. If you believed that your findings would turn out one way, and previous researchers also believed the same notion, yet your findings turned out entirely different, you have essentially created an entirely new avenue for future researchers to explore. Implications also act as a roadmap of sorts for individuals interested in public policy decisions, who will often apply your findings and why they are important to whatever cause in which they are interested.

It should be noted that your implications are not the same thing as your recommendations for future practice or future research, which will be covered in later blogs. While those sections deal with the shortcomings of your study, implications are based solely on the strengths of your study: what you found, why it is important, and how it can be applied within a real-world setting.

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