10 Must-Read Tips For Writing A Dissertation Discussion Section

The discussion section of a dissertation is where you synthesize your research, and answer questions set forth in your main work. The discussion section can be one of the most challenging parts of writing your dissertation, but also one of the most interesting parts!

Here are 10 great tips on how to write a high-quality dissertation discussion.

  1. Start with an outline.
  2. Don’t expect yourself to start with nothing and then pour out a perfectly-formed piece of writing. First, make a rough outline of the material that needs to be covered in your discussion. These points can be graphical or simple notes; the goal is to provide a skeleton to fill in with polished information.

  3. Think critically.
  4. Step back and think about the big picture. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your research. Your solid understanding will enable you to communicate better with your reader.

  5. Explain your reasoning and conclusions.
  6. The discussion is your chance to “justify” your method of research, to fill in the blanks of the dissertation. Answer all the why questions.

  7. Don’t be afraid to discuss potential conflict.
  8. If you point out the potential disagreements with your conclusions and treat them with respect while explaining the reasoning behind your own conclusions, you will only strengthen your argument.

  9. Be concise.
  10. You shouldn’t have to ramble to get your point across. Figure out what you need to say (the outline will help), and then say it in as few words as necessary.

  11. Use good grammar.
  12. This one is a no-brainer. Be a stickler for perfect grammar in the form of consistent verb tense, proper punctuation, appropriate register, etc.

  13. Ask another person to read over your work and assist you with editing/proofreading.
  14. Another set of critical eyes goes a long way in helping to fix any sections that are confusing or unclear to the reader.

  15. Do not introduce new material.
  16. The discussion section is a critical synthesis of your dissertation, not a place to include new data or hypotheses.

  17. Connect to the introduction.
  18. Your discussion is not a standalone work, and it should relate to (but not repeat) the information set forth in the introduction.

  19. Tell the reader why they should care.
  20. You’ve already presented your data, so there’s no need to rehash the facts or figures. Use your discussion to put the data into context, and explain why your thesis is relevant.

Good luck and happy writing!