The Discussion: Digging Deep


This blog is partially a guide to the Discussion chapter of the dissertation, but mostly it’s an exhortation to keep up your momentum for the final chapter and not rest easy because you are near the end or you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly, these things may be true, and there is reason to be heartened. However, there is a tendency to rush through the Discussion chapter and inadequately develop your interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations. Avoid the tendency to rush the Discussion; your interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are important because your entire study has been leading to them. Rushing through the Discussion can also be counterproductive because it can lead to false starts, incomplete drafts, and insufficient conclusions, all of which will require additional time to address. You’ve worked hard on your study. You now owe it to yourself and to your study to give the Discussion the in-depth attention and treatment it deserves. So, dig deep for this final, crucial leg of your study.

Broadly speaking, the Discussion includes interpreting your findings in relation to previous research so you can make conclusions and recommendations based on the interpretations. All the previous parts of the study—Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results—may seem like a lot of work just to make some conclusions and recommendations. However, if you have followed the standards of scholarly research, you can make conclusions and recommendations with confidence and certainty. And that’s what studies are all about: generating knowledge, making claims and conclusions, and forwarding practical recommendations based on rigorous methods grounded in previous research and current need.

Be sure to search our website for blogs and resources on the specific components and expectations of the Discussion chapter. Familiarize yourself with what the Discussion entails and requires. Review the Discussions of approved dissertations from your school, and always be sure to adhere to the specifics of your school’s template if your school has one. And, above all, do not simply copy and paste material from your Results chapter thinking it will work as-is for the Discussion. For now, though, I exhort you to breathe, take a little break, and then refocus your efforts and dig deep for the final, crucial leg of your journey.

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