If you’re ready to write the last part of your dissertation, this article will help you with this task. We decided to tell you what are the main purposes of the conclusion and provide you with all dos and don’ts so that you will know what requirements this section should meet.
The Purpose of the Conclusion
Before you start writing your conclusion, let’s figure out what’s its purpose. No matter what is the topic of your dissertation, there are certain questions that you need to answer and certain types of information that you need to provide.
First of all, your conclusion must describe contributions of your study. Clearly indicate what contribution your research makes to the field of study, how it’s related to other works, and what gaps in existing knowledge it fills. We suggest writing this information in a form of a bulleted list.
After this, write a brief summary of different chapters. This is a very important part of your work in case you want to publish it in some academic journal. You cannot expect all readers to read the entire research. Even if they are interested in it, you must provide them with a brief summary so that they can decide whether your paper is useful for them.
The next thing you need to write dissertation is a section with recommendations. You need to provide your audience with instructions on how your findings can be used in practice. This section is critically important for all readers, and the committee, in particular. However, you can also be somewhat flexible here: you can select some specific and detailed recommendations or just describe possible applications of your findings in general.
Another thing to remember is that the whole research process of your subject never stops. Thus, your own study is just a step towards a better understanding of it. You need to point to future work that is necessary for this field. Don’t be afraid that the commision will think that your study is incomplete. The thing is that Ph.D. dissertations are always in a sense incomplete, because no dissertation is able to provide a complete knowledge of the subject that wouldn’t need any further development.
The Writing Process
Now that you have a necessary understanding of what your conclusion chapter should look like, you have to write it. The most important thing about the conclusion is that it must reflect your work. We suggest answering these questions:
- If your readers didn’t read other parts of your dissertation, what message would you want to deliver? What is the most important idea of your study?
- What you want them to think about after they read your study? It may be some important broad question, or you may motivate them to take some actions.
We suggest taking notes while reading your work before you get to writing the conclusion. Take notes while editing your drafts and proofreading them. The more important points of your own work you note, the clearer your understanding of the structure of the introduction.
- Draw up the structure of mini-chapters to write your conclusion according to it.
- Write the general summary of your dissertation, highlighting only the most important ideas.
- Take a look at the first draft of your conclusion. After that, ask yourself, does it reflect the general meaning of your work?
What to Avoid
There are some things that may make your conclusion really bad and so play a bad joke on the entire dissertation.
- Too short conclusion chapter. Your conclusion must be cohesive and it must reflect all important ideas of your research. Make sure that it’s informative and you don’t miss your point.
- Too long conclusion. This is another problem. This chapter should only summarize the longer work, so you have to be concise. Don’t make your readers waste their time, reading long and complicated arguments.
- Unrealistic conclusion. Even if you think that your findings can change the world, don’t try to persuade others of it. Some Ph.D. students make too ambitious claims that are not supported by real evidence. In this case, you will fail even if the rest of your work was really good.