How to Write the Conclusion Chapter of a Dissertation or Thesis

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How to Write the Conclusion Chapter of a Dissertation or Thesis

So you have finished the bulk of your dissertation or thesis project.  Congratulations! Now all you have to do is write the conclusion of your paper and you will be done.  What kind of things should you keep in mind while writing the conclusion chapter of a report or thesis?

There are several goals that the conclusion of a college report should try to achieve.  The first is to talk about whether or not the research project that you undertook achieved its aims.  Remind the reader of the goal of the report, which you laid out at the beginning of the document paper.  Review the steps which you took throughout the research process, as well as any kind of problems you ran into, issues that affected the course of the research or ways in which the research process turned.  Finally, explain the results that were received from the research.  Was the research successful?  What were your main findings and how do they affect your current views?  Try to put the findings that you have made in the greater context and show how the research that you engaged in during your project relates to issues in the greater world.

Next, continue to relate the results of your dissertation project to the real world by talking about any recommendations that you can make based on what you have learned.  Do the results of your research suggest a particular course of action that specific people should take?  If so, are the people aware of the results of your research, and if not are you going to take steps to make them so?  What kind of further research are you going to suggest that could continue to broaden our collective understanding of the research topic you have chosen?  Give the reader a sense of what the future could be like in terms of researching your topic, and present some beginning ideas for what the next step could be, if you have any.

Also, make any observations that you can at this point about the research process itself.  Which aspects of your research methodology bore the most fruit?  What gave you the most accurate results?  If you had to start over from scratch knowing what you do now, what kind of advice would you give your former self to decide on how to structure your research process and what to do?  What parts of your research would you devote further time or resources to, given the chance?  Are there specific areas in which you yourself intend to undergo further explorations of the topic and further study?  If so, what are they and how would your new research methods compare to your old research methods?  

Finally, the conclusion of a college report should close your thesis paper by summarizing everything that has come before, explaining in simple terms the way in which the project ended, relating it to the greater environment of the world at large, and leaving the reader with the ability to draw his or her own conclusions from what you have described.  



Viewpoint #2

Most dissertations are expected to have certain chapters, or sections, included as part of the work.  Dissertation chapters often include an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.  While a report, in itself, is a difficult paper to write, many learners have particular difficulty with their document conclusion.

Just like any conclusion, a dissertation conclusion should draw the report to a logical and definite end.  Dissertation conclusions come before such report components as the appendices and the bibliography.  Dissertation conclusions also summarize what has been presented in the report and might also make recommendations for future study.

A dissertation conclusion is a well-written and well-presented chapter which is intended to combine and summarize each of the previous dissertation chapters.  Although it is by no means the longest chapter of the report, the report conclusion is often considered the most important.  Without the report conclusion, the thesis is merely a compilation of previous research and current study results on a particular topic.  

Some universities and educational institutions consider the discussion and the conclusion one combined chapter.  This means that the report conclusion is even more important than in a project that contains a separate discussion chapter.  The dissertation conclusion in such a format has to not only summarize the background, previous research, and results of the report, but it must also determine the importance of the information presented within the document and discuss its relevance for the future of the topic.

The dissertation conclusion, like the report introduction, gives the writer an opportunity to present information in a more free-form manner than at other times during the course.  Although the literature review, research study, and research results chapters can be rather dry and dull, the writer can use the report conclusion to demonstrate his or her critical thinking and creative writing skills.  

Although dissertation conclusions are the chapter where students should draw conclusions based on the research he or she has conducted, it is not the venue to introduce new facts or to spend a lot of time going over facts that have already been presented.  Some mention of the facts contained within the report might be necessary to clarify a point, but the conclusion should not be heavy on facts.  

Above all, a dissertation conclusion should present answers based on the information presented within the project itself.  If the research conducted as part of the report leads to an inconclusive result, the conclusion should be used to discuss that fact.

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