Writing Your Thesis Conclusion Section: Making the Last Impression Count

HomeWriting Your Thesis Conclusion Section: Making the Last Impression Count

This article describes the importance of your thesis conclusion section. It covers the details on how to write a thesis conclusion section and the final steps required after you have written this section.

What is the thesis conclusion section?

The conclusion section is the final part of your thesis/dissertation. It is a summary of the thesis, highlighting the importance of the thesis study and how it stands in the context of the field of research.

The discussion and conclusion sections are usually written as separate chapters. However, they may be written as a single section in some fields. If you are unsure which structure to use, ask your supervisor for guidance and check the requirements of your academic institution.

What should the thesis conclusion section include?

  • An explanation of how your findings have helped to solve a problem and contributed to the knowledge in your field of research (refer back to your thesis question)
  • An explanation of how your findings have contributed to a gap in knowledge (refer back to your literature review)
  • A discussion of how your findings fall within existing theories or assumptions in your field of research. Do they confirm or challenge them?
  • A discussion of the limitations of your thesis study (if already mentioned in the discussion section, highlight only the important limitations in the conclusion section)
  • Recommendations for practical applications of your findings and future investigations (if already mentioned in the discussion section, highlight only the key recommendations in the conclusion section)

End your conclusion with something memorable, such as a question, warning, or call to action.

We cannot afford further devastating and unnecessary deaths. The training of first responders on how to deal with a nuclear accident should be implemented immediately.

What should I avoid in the conclusion section of my thesis?

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of your conclusion by treating it as an afterthought. It is a crucial section of your thesis study that incorporates the key results into a final takeaway message that the reader will remember.
  • Don’t exaggerate the contributions of your research. Be realistic, and link your contribution back to existing literature.
  • Don’t include new data, interpretations, or arguments.
  • Don’t restate the results. Instead, incorporate the key findings into a final takeaway message for the reader.
  • Avoid phrases like “To conclude…” or “In conclusion….” if the conclusion section is a chapter that is separate from the discussion. Your reader knows which section they are looking over.

Writing a great thesis conclusion section

The thesis conclusion section must be able to stand alone as a separate entity from the other sections of your study. When writing your thesis conclusion, consider what you would like the reader to remember if this was the only section of your thesis they read. Thesis examiners often look at the abstract, introduction, and conclusion sections to gain an overall impression of your thesis study before delving into the other sections.

A great thesis conclusion section leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the main argument or discovery that resulted from your thesis study. It reminds them why you chose your particular approach, what you expected to find, and whether the findings met your expectations.

It is essential to highlight the relevance of your thesis study in the conclusion section so that the readers will be engaged and perhaps consider taking up one of your recommendations or collaborating with you on further research in your field of study.

The Sciences domain usually includes quantitative research, while the Humanities and Social Sciences(HSS) domain usually includes qualitative research. Therefore , the structure of the conclusion section is slightly different for each area.

Steps to writing a thesis conclusion section in the Sciences domain

  • Restate and answer your thesis question

By evaluating the response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, we demonstrated that there was an insufficient number of adequately trained first responders.

  • Summarize your findings.

This study demonstrates that ABC affects DEF but raises fundamental questions about the role of GHI.

  • Explain or suggest the reasons for your thesis findings.

The significant relationship observed between ABC and JKL (p < 0.001) could be due to the synergistic effect of MNO on JKL.

  • Explain the contributions of your study to the field.

This is the first report of Species X in Central Africa. Prior to this, Species X has only been observed in Northern Africa.

  • Explain the limitations of your study.

Because the response rate to our questionnaire was only 19%, the significance of our findings may not be generalizable to the general population.

  • Mention recommendations for practical applications and further research.

Further large-scale studies are suggested to confirm the association between ABC and JKL.

Steps to writing a thesis conclusion section in the HSS domain

  • Restate the study purpose and findings.

This research aimed to…

  • Summarize the relationship with previous research.

These findings concurred with those of...

  • Discuss the limitations of your study/anticipation of criticism.

I have only addressed the role of…

It must be stressed that I deliberately did not…

  • Discuss problems that occurred when performing your research.

We were unable to e-mail the questionnaire to all of the selected participants because some of the addresses no longer existed.

  • Mention the implications of your findings.

Our findings suggest that ABC may be a vital contributor to DEF.

  • Make recommendations according to your study findings.

Future research into ABC is essential to confirm…

  • Mention the contribution of your research to the field of study.

These findings provide an alternative theory to that proposed by…

  • Give an autobiographical reflection.

While undertaking this research, I gained valuable insight into…

This thesis study has prompted me to…

Study limitations

If you didn’t mention the limitations of your study in the discussion section, they must be included in the conclusion section. When discussing your study limitations, first identify them, then explain their impact on your study, and finally suggest how they could be addressed in future investigations. These three steps will help you to demonstrate the weaknesses of your study without undermining the value and integrity of your research.

Examples of study limitations: sample size, differences in methods used for data collection or analysis, study type (e.g., retrospective vs. prospective), inclusion/exclusion criteria of the study population, and effects of confounders

Example study limitation statement: This was a single-institution study, and the results may not be generalizable to populations in rural areas…

Recommendations arising from your study findings

If you didn’t mention recommendations arising from your study findings in the discussion section of your thesis study, they must be included in the conclusion section. Don’t exaggerate the contributions or significance of your findings.

Recommendations should consider the relevance of your findings for further investigations or how your findings could be extended to other academic or real-world settings and practices. This could include:

  • Addressing questions related to your study that remain unanswered

Because the cause of the association remains unelucidated, this should be the topic of future studies

  • Suggesting a logical progression of your research using concrete ideas

Building on our findings that the number of staff trained to respond to a nuclear accident was inadequate, we suggest developing and rolling out a compulsory training program for all first responders.

  • Suggesting future work based on the study limitations that you have identified

Future studies using a larger sample size from multiple sites are recommended to confirm the generalizability of our findings

 

Final steps after completing your thesis conclusion

  1. Write your thesis abstract. This is the ideal time to do so because you have just summarized the key points of your research in the conclusion section, so the information will be fresh in your mind.
  2. Complete and format the reference list.
  3. Add an acknowledgments section thanking those who helped you (e.g., your supervisor, co-supervisors, and academic and support staff). Also, mention all organizations that provided funding for your thesis study and include the grant number, if applicable.
  4. Add any appendices.
  5. Add a list of abbreviations.
  6. Some institutions may require a list of figures and tables. Add this in if required.
  7. Create the table of contents.
  8. Create the title page. Check with your institution what elements are required and how the title page should be formatted.
  9. Some institutions require a declaration by the candidate stating that the work is original and that all sources have been cited. Check with your institution for specific requirements.
  10. Consider adding a dedication statement. For example, you may want to thank your spouse for their support.
  11. Proofread and edit your thesis. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, visit Enago Thesis Editing for more information.

A thesis is the most important document you will write during your academic studies. For professional thesis editing and thesis proofreading services, visit Enago Thesis Editing for more information.

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