Writing a discussion for your thesis

What should you pay attention to?

Your discussion is one of the last chapters of your thesis. Here, you will interpret and explain your results. In doing so, you relate back to the previously discussed theory from your theoretical framework. What else needs to be in your discussion? Read here about what the points for attention are if you are going to write the discussion for your thesis.

Conclusion vs. discussion vs. recommendations, what about it?

In your thesis structure, the discussion is one of the last chapters. Together with the conclusion and the recommendations, it forms the end of your thesis. In some programmes, your conclusion and discussion together form one chapter. Sometimes, the discussion and recommendation sections are even combined. It is important for you to check carefully how this applies to your study program. 

In general, the following distinctions apply between your conclusion, discussion and recommendations: 

● In the conclusion, you answer the main question by answering each of the sub-questions one by one. You stay close to the facts. You answer the questions based on your found results, but do not yet provide any explanations.

● In the discussion, you go a step further by interpreting and explaining the results you found. What is a possible cause for these results? How do the results relate to the discussed theories from your theoretical framework?

● With the recommendations, which are not a compulsory component for every thesis, you make recommendations to the client or to other bodies based on the results you have found. You see this chapter often, especially with higher professional education theses, because these theses are usually written for a client. 

What should be in the discussion chapter?

If you are going to write the discussion for your research, you should include at least the following parts: 

● Start with a short summary of the main results. 

● Give an explanation for the results found. Where possible, refer to the theory you discussed in your theoretical framework, but also provide alternative explanations.

● Interpret the results, for example, by indicating how they relate to your problem statement. 

● Indicate whether your expectations have been met or not. 

● State the implications of your research. What consequences do your research findings have for practice or science? 

● Discuss possible limitations of your research (e.g. in terms of reliability, validity or generalizability). Take a critical look at your research method

● Make suggestions for further research based on your thesis findings. 


Checklist for writing the discussion for your thesis

Are you going to write the discussion for your thesis and are you wondering whether you have discussed all the necessary parts? This checklist will help you with that. If you can answer every question with 'yes,' then your discussion is complete. 

➔ Have you briefly summarized the main results? 

➔ Did you provide interpretations for the results? 

➔ Have you indicated whether your expectations have been met? 

➔ Have you stated the implications of your research findings? 

➔ Have you given any explanations for the results you found? 

➔ Have you looked critically at your research method (e.g. validity and reliability)? 

➔ Have you discussed the limitations of the study? 

➔ Have you made concrete suggestions for further research?

Do you have trouble writing the discussion for your research? We offer a structure check to help with that!

There is so much to pay attention to when writing your thesis. In terms of structure alone, there are countless points of importance. Want to make sure you didn't miss anything when writing the discussion for your research? Do you like to be confident that the common thread in your thesis is clear? Call our editors. They are happy to check your thesis for language errors, structure and/or common thread. We can help with whatever you need!