A Successful Dissertation Conclusions Chapter Structure

A dissertation is a long piece of work, which says a great many things, and they cannot, of course, all be kept in mind at one time. The work is all directed towards a conclusion, a final section when you, and the reader, will hopefully be on the same page, thinking that the same points have been made. The conclusion chapter, then, is essential to make sure that this is the case. How best to do that?

Summarise the Argument

The first thing to do, in the very opening of the conclusions chapter, is to summarise exactly what you have done, or, tell the reader exactly where you think you are, and where they should be: ‘so, I have demonstrated, as I intended to do, that A is in fact responsible for D, which is, further, related to P’. Let your reader follow you.

Recap the Main Points

Now, once you know where you are, summarise, very briefly, how you have arrived there. Think of it as a recap of a journey: ‘we started at A, then we saw B, then we briefly passed C’. This should remind the reader of the steps they have taken with you. Your argument happened over a large area, and your conclusion in a small, the relation of world to map, and a map makes steps easier to see.

Extrapolate Wider Concerns

Now that you are where you want to be, you can be more expansive and can hypothesise further based on your results: ‘If, as I have shown, it is the case that A is responsible for D, this possibly means that D stands in such a relation to R’.

Suggest Further Study

Then, to conclude, look at the ways in which your study has added to the field, and some of the ways that it can be used as the basis for further studies. You can use this section to identify areas that you have not had a chance to discuss, but that you think are related.

Your conclusion will be the final thing in the mind of the examiner; make sure that it does all the work that it is expected and designed to do, and make sure that it does not fall flat!

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