The chapter most likely to provoke fear, uncertainty and doubt. The discussion section is scary because you have to make new knowledge claims of your own, not just agree or disagree with other people. Knowledge claims are like dumplings in the thesis soup or chocolate chips in the PhD cookie. They will evaluate the quality, amount and — most importantly — the believability of your knowledge claims.
If you are feeling anxious about the discussion section rest assured you are not alone. I remember struggling with this section myself and, looking back, I believe there were two sources of anxiety. The first is scholarly confidence. The Ph factor is somewhat elusive and hard to describe, but basically it means you have to make some knowledge claims.
This can feel risky because, if you have been approaching the thesis in the right spirit, you are likely to be experiencing Doubt.
The second source of anxiety is the need to think creatively. Most of the rest of the thesis asks us to think analytically; or, if you are in a practice based discipline, to make stuff; or perhaps, if you are an ethnographer, to observe the world in some way.
Creative thinking involves your imagination, which means you have to switch gears mentally.
So the problem of the discussion chapter is a problem of creative thinking and confidence, but there are some stylistic conventions and knowledge issues that complicate the task.
Every thesis needs to have discussion like elements, but they may do it in different ways. In a conventional thesis, what we call the IMRAD type introduction, methods, results, discussion and conclusion the discussion chapter appears a discrete chapter.
Before you worry about the discussion chapter too much, consider whether you need to treat the discussion as a separate section at all. You need to keep in mind that the IMRAD structure is best used to write up empirical research work the type where you collect data of some kind.
Many students try to make their research fit into the IMRAD format, when it is not appropriate to do so. Remember there are many ways to skin the discussion cat.
For example, an artist may discuss each project and what it means separately. An ethnographer might devote a chapter to each theory they have built from observation. Likewise a historian may break the thesis up into time periods and do critique and evaluation throughout the whole.
So I have diagnosed some of the problems, are there any easy solutions? Well, the best way to start in my view is just to write, but perhaps start to write without the specific purpose of the discussion chapter in mind.
Write to try and work out what you think and then re-write it later. You can use a couple of basic techniques to help you with this process: Draw up a table describing where your work is similar to others and where it differs.
Use each of these points as a prompt to write a short paragraph on why. Pretend your results are produced by a machine then describe the machine. How would the machine work?
What would it look like? What parts would it need? What might make the machine break? Another useful suggestion from Howard Becker is the null hypothesis technique; write down why the results mean nothing.
Sometimes forcing yourself to argue the reverse position can highlight the relationships or ideas worth exploring. Sometimes having an audience can help. Explain the results to a friend and record yourself, or use voice recognition software to tell your computer some of your preliminary thoughts.
Many people find talking an easier way to get ideas out. Alternatively write them in an email to someone. Explain the limitations of the work: Sometimes, like the null hypothesis, talking about the limitations can help you better define the contribution your study has made.
I hope some of these suggestions help to get you started. Do you have any more?Dissertation findings and discussion sections Depending on your preference for writing, the findings and discussion sections can be the most rewarding sections of your total dissertation.
By this point, you actually get to write about what you have done, rather than . How to write the results and discussion. Michael P. Dosch CRNA MS June Results. Be happy! You’re getting there.
Just a small amount of writing to go from this point. When writing a dissertation or thesis, the results and discussion sections can be both the most interesting as well as the most challenging sections to write. You may choose to write these sections separately, or combine them into a single chapter, depending on your university’s guidelines and.
The discussion chapter is the problem child of the thesis. The chapter most likely to provoke fear, uncertainty and doubt. Not everyone writes a chapter called “discussion”, but everyone has to do discussiony bits because, well – that’s where the creative magic of the PhD happens.
Start with a few sentences that summarize the most important results. The discussion section should be a brief essay in itself, answering the following questions and caveats: Order of Writing Your thesis is not written in the same order as it is presented in. The following gives you one idea how to proceed.
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