The discussion format for dissertation works represents one of the most crucial elements of the paper. The best research in the world superbly conducted will be rendered meaningless and inconsequential by a weak discussion section. This happens because the dissertation discussion section exists to knit all of the opposing elements of the research together into a cohesive whole. Research rarely follows a straight trajectory; disparate elements appear and many contradict each other. Dissertation discussions demonstrate the student’s ability to determine the value of the research relative to the objective of the thesis, as well as to compare and contrast the results and explain some of the discrepancies. If you are preparing to write your dissertation discussion section, consider some of the following format guidelines:
- Begin the discussion section with one element of the research and link it to another area of research conducted earlier that it clarifies, supports, or discredits. If your research offers a new perspective on older research, discuss it here also. Dissertation discussions are the tool by which the student locates his or her research in the global field; therefore, a dissertation discussion format must assert its place immediately.
- Once you have located the results in their proper research context, immediately discuss the global implications of your results. Discussion format for dissertations functions best when it reads as a standalone essay that outlines the global implications of your research.
- Next, link your specific results to the research problem articulated in the introduction. Include their relevance to studies that have been conducted in other areas of the world with similar research problems.
- Use the discussion section of your dissertation to convince the reader of the soundness of your conclusions. Do not leave it until the conclusion section to achieve this. If you have not demonstrated sufficient logic in the discussion section, the conclusion section will fail.
- Focus your discussion section by continually referring back to the research problem and identifying how it has changed as a result of your research. Confront any discrepancies or surprises that the research revealed and identify what bearing they have on the problem.