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Writing up your dissertation

Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives. Next, you report the results of your research. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions.

Dissertations

In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined. For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts.

Full versions of your data such as interview transcripts can be included as an appendix. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. The discussion should reference other scholarly work to show how your results fit with existing knowledge.

Writing up your dissertation

You can also make recommendations for future research or practical action. The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument. In some academic conventions, the conclusion refers to a short section that comes before the discussion: first you directly state your overall conclusions, then you discuss and interpret their meaning.

In other contexts, however, the conclusion refers to the final chapter, where you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it.

Five Simple Tips to Break Your Dissertation up into Manageable Parts - Bitesize Bio

This type of conclusion often also includes recommendations for research or practice. What have you added to what was already known?


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You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography. Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list. To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use the Scribbr Citation Generator. Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question.

Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures can be added as appendices.

Main components of a master’s thesis or dissertation

Making sure all the sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading.