The Implication of Implications


So, you have made it to the Discussion section of your dissertation. Great! Now, there are certain components of the Discussion that are fairly standard that you will need to cover. Here we will focus on the Implications section and explain what this section is intended to accomplish.

In a way, all the work and research that you have done comes down to the implications or significance of your findings. You have conducted an extensive research project; the results must mean something or be significant to someone. That is where your implications come in.

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Implications are typically two-pronged: implications for research or theory and implications for practice. If you tested a theory in your study, then you want to discuss the theoretical implications of your study. If your study supported the theory you tested, a theoretical implication would be that the theory is suitable for explaining and understanding the phenomenon you investigated. Or, the theory may be suitable for studying the specific population you studied. If researchers have not applied the theory to the population or setting you studied, a theoretical implication might be that your study may serve as a basis for modifying the theory. Theories may be partially supported as well, suggesting further study of the theory is needed or that modifications to it are necessary.

Implications for practice involve discussing what your findings might mean for individuals who work in your field of study. Think about what people do in your field. What might your findings mean for them and the work they do? How can your findings potentially affect practice? Implications for practice also involve discussing how information from your study might be delivered to practitioners. Consequently, it is appropriate to discuss methods of delivering your findings to practitioners. Of course, your area of practice may in part determine your methods of disseminating knowledge. Typical examples of knowledge dissemination include professional development, training sessions, interventions, and seminars.

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Implications, like recommendations for further study, are some of the most important end components of your study. When you interpret your findings, you discuss what your findings mean. In the implications section, you should discuss what your findings mean to the field and to other researchers. You also need to discuss what your findings mean for the people who work in your field of study.