In this blog post, you’ll learn exactly how to write the last chapter of your doctoral dissertation. In particular, you will get oriented with the overall goals of the conclusion chapter. Then, you’ll be taught on how to go about writing the chapter itself. Finally, you will be given guidance on what things to avoid in the ever-important final chapter of your dissertation. Before going into how to actually write the conclusion chapter of your dissertation, it’s important to review its purpose. Regardless of what discipline you are in, there are certain messages you always want your readers to absorb after reading your conclusion chapter. Summarize the main points of your various chapters – Especially if you aim to get your work published, your conclusion should always strive to be an ‘executive summary’ of your work. Not every reader will be interested in reading your entire work. This way, you will have this chapter ready to give them a brief (yet comprehensive) overview of the dissertation.

Recommendations – You should always include at least a paragraph on the practical implications resulting from your findings. This is extremely valuable for yourself, the committee, and the general reader. You can be rather flexible with your recommendations as long as they are relevant and derived from the findings of your dissertation research. For example, you can list highly-specific recommendations and steps to be followed or you can list more general recommendations guiding the reader towards certain ideas and principles to follow. Future Work – No matter how much you have done with your dissertation research, it will never truly be finished. There will always be lingering question marks and open ends. Now that you have a good grasp of what the general outline should be of your conclusion, it is important to look at how to actually write it. The most important principle to keep in mind while writing your dissertation conclusion is reflection. If readers were to go over nothing in your work except your conclusion, what message(s) would you want to leave them with?

What would your ‘take-home’ message be to your audience? What idea, question, call-to-action, etc., would you want them to have as they finish reading your work and walk away? These are what you must constantly ask yourself while you are writing your dissertation conclusion. Usually, you should start writing your conclusion by first taking notes, and you should do this while proofreading the initial draft of your work. This will pave the way and give you the structure you need for your dissertation conclusion. After you do this, simply copy & paste these mini chapter summaries and combine them into your conclusion. Now you have the ‘raw material’ and with this, you can start to modify and weave together the main ideas of your general summary. After that, simply add the sections on practical implications, contributions, and future work/research. As a final step, re-read the draft of your conclusion and ask yourself, “Does my conclusion really grasp the essence of my work? In general, there are three main pitfalls you should always avoid when writing the conclusion for your dissertation.

Protracted and Rambling Conclusion – A long and protracted conclusion is when you repeat yourself unnecessarily (without adding anything to what you are mentioning) about points you already mentioned in your previous chapters before the conclusion. Short Conclusion – This is actually an improvement to a long and rambling conclusion, which wastes valuable time on the part of your audience. However, a conclusion that is too short also rambles about facts without coming to a logical conclusion, and does all this using less words and missing vital points/arguments. Implausible Conclusion – Often times, doctoral students can come to wild conclusions that boggle the mind. They make claims that have absolutely no logical link to the evidence in their research, or that link is very weak. For example, many PhD students (in their very limited small-scale study) make wild assertions that the results of their study should be adopted by public policy-makers, governmental officials, and the like. If you make a list of unsubstantiated claims, you will be wasting a lot of hard work for nothing. Simply stay humble and avoid doing this!

College Exam PreparationLaptop or Notepad? How to Take Notes That Work for You. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. 0 of 8192 characters usedPost CommentNo HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. When I have an exam, I like to plan something exciting afterwards. If I fail I will not be happy and soI would not have a lot of fun afterwards, but when I feel like I succeeded, then I can go on with the beautiful rest of my day. To get into “writing mode” I like to listen to calming music like this one before entering the classroom. You are so right, JGoul. Every year I have some excellent writers who just get too stressed out about exams and stay up all night or are unable to concentrate because they are worrying about not doing it perfectly. One of my best students almost dropped my class last year because of stress. We worked out a plan for her and I just saw her recently and she’s doing much better this year. Having had babies, been in several job and taken care of Alzheimer’s in-laws, I can testify to the fact that no exam is worth too much stress! There are plenty of life events ahead which will test you too. So learning to forgive yourself for mistakes is a very important skill. The tip about relaxing during the exam was great.

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