If you are feeling anxious about the discussion section rest assured you are not alone. Essentially the discussion chapter tells your reader what your findings might mean, how valuable they are and why.
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. I hope some of these suggestions help to get you started. Do you have any more?
The Dead Hand of the Thesis Genre? Ambivalence: can it help with your PhD? Love the Thesis whisperer and want it to continue?
Interesting and excellent read! A long and thorough discussion with my Professor made me realize I did present some new elements, but it took a while before I really believed him. In stead of writing one discussion chapter, each chapter in which I present my results or approach contains a discussion.
This had the advantage that when writing the chapter, you are better able to consider the differences with other findings and you have the best knowledge of your own findings. The conclusions then summarized the most important elements of these discussions. The null hypotheses was also mentioned by my professor, in an other form. He asked me if I could falsify my own conclusions with the same data, but with other approaches or models, and how I would actually do so.
It really helped me in writing the discussion. I remember being very jealous of them when i was writing one. Each aspect of my methodology has implications for utopianism and utopian scholarship, so I discuss that in each chapter.
The last was a hard sell. How does it add to existing scholarship?
If I were to write a sequel to this thesis, what might come next? Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the post! Any suggestions would help! Radhika: I know exactly what you mean. The most traumatic example was a poorly-theorized section of my prospectus. I ended up spending the whole summer researching, taking notes, and thinking about the new material my prof required me to read, then the entire fall semester figuring out what it meant for my thesis.
But now that I look back at my original material, I absolutely cringe. The new research may have added months to my work, but it also improved it dramatically. I still cringe at the fear of a negative reception from my committee, but at least I know they criticize in order to help.
The thing is, he has always ended up liking the result.
I still have trouble pitching ideas to my colleagues until they have made it into writing. I guess we learn to think through writing. Being so close to finishing makes it worse!
I had my soups shoot down entire chapters in the past but then I had enough time or so it felt to fix things and not take things too personally or, you know, panic! My last meeting had them telling me to switch around my entire chapter structure. However NOW the bother is that all the chapters refer back to each other so even a little change e. This is all really useful as I write my findings chapters as it reminds me of what needs to be in the discussion chapter.
Thank you so much. I was very stuck on what to do with my discussion since my paper is qualitative with no research at all and I need to make the discussion and limitations discrete sections.
Thank you very much for this. Thank Inger, this is brilliant. I have several stand-alone chapters with analysis and discussion in each, and was wondering if I needed an overall thesis discussion chapter. Thanks everyone! I doubt about the importance of my research and results and that make me feel more insecure abiut discussion. It is good to read that this chapter is complicated for someonle else than me! Thank you for the posting.
I am starting the Ph. D discussion chapter in January but I was confused about how to begin. Thank you. Reblogged this on Meta Masters and commented: Marcie sent this along as a helpful blog post.
This may be another blog to follow. Reason being that while sure, you have those cards selling at low prices, they can afford to spend more in popularizing the product. I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the good information you may have here on this post.
I will be coming again to your weblog for more soon. Its like you read myy thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot about this, suuch as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you can do with a few percent to pressure the mewsage home a little bit, but othber than that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. If you desire to increase your experience simply keep visiting this website and be updated with the most recent news posted here.
Reading this put me at ease instantly! Thank you! It was definitely the confidence thing I was worrying about and the creative writing is definitely accurate.
Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your agfiliate lijk to your host? I wish my web ite loaded up as fat as yours lol.
My last blog wordpress was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers? This post is very helpful. After reading this post i gathered some confidence and started off.
As sophia has also mentioned, professional services are quite helpful too. My supervisor had adviced the same. Reblogged this on 3lifex. Excellent, what a website it is!
This weblog provides useful information to us, keep it up. Thanks, this has really resolve some of the difficulties am experiencing as I write my discussion chapter and dealing with a large quantity of data. I appreciate your great article. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.