5th August 2015
The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Dissertation Conclusion
After years of hard work, dedicated research and sleepless nights, you’re finally close to finishing your dissertation. You’ve reviewed the literature, gathered and analyzed data, and reflected on the results. Well done.
But what does it all mean? This is where the conclusion becomes crucial, as it allows you to summarize your work and its significance.
It’s therefore important that the conclusion to your dissertation is clear, concise and compelling. Here are a few “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind when writing your conclusion!
1. Summarize Your Argument
A good conclusion will briefly restate your hypothesis, key findings and the implications of your research. This will help the reader to follow your argument as a whole, bringing together various elements raised during the discussion.
2. Put Your Work in Context
The conclusion of your dissertation is a good place to restate the significance of your work. This might include how it contributes to existing knowledge in your field or its importance outside of academia.
3. Assess Limitations
No study is perfect, not even yours! Sorry to break the bad news!
On the plus side, you can discuss the limitations of your work at the end of your dissertation. Doing this will demonstrate your understanding of the research process. Issues you may want to consider include sample size and time constraints.
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4. Identify Implications for Future Research
Most dissertation conclusions include suggestions for how your work could inform future research. This could be a refinement of your own investigation, though it might also be a radical new idea suggested by your results!
1. Introduce New Material
Although it’s fine to offer an opinion or reflection at the end of your dissertation, introducing new arguments or evidence at this point is forbidden. If something is important enough to include in the conclusion, it should be part of the main body of your paper.
2. Write Too Much
Your conclusion should include a summary of what precedes it, but it isn’t necessary to go back over everything in depth. Try to make this chapter fairly snappy, relating what you have already read in an easily digestible way.
3. Keep Your Reader in Suspense
Unlike an episode of Game of Thrones, you can’t finish your dissertation on a cliffhanger! In your research, you will have set out to answer certain questions. Make sure that you address these explicitly in your conclusion so that nothing is overlooked.
If you follow these tips you should hopefully find writing that all–important concluding chapter a much simpler process. For more information about writing a dissertation or thesis, read our full dissertation writing guide. But if you need any more support, the experts at Proofed will be happy to look over your work!
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