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Conclusion Chapter

Remember that most examiners read this chapter after the INTRODUCTION so check that your CONCLUSIONS show that the OBJECTIVES have been achieved or if it not, explain why not.  Try to use some of the same key words or phrases from the OBJECTIVES to show consistency.  It should start with the focus on your study and broaden out to discuss the implications for this research area and for future research.  The main challenge in the conclusions is to give a summary whilst avoiding too much repetition and bullet points can be very useful.  In the analysis section you may have identified areas for further research but in the conclusions you could give a little detail on the possible research methodology that could be adopted.  Hussey and Hussey (1997 p. 293) give the following suggestions on content: -

  1. Refer to the OBJECTIVES
  2. Summarise the main points from the results and show how they address your research questions
  3. Give guidance of the implications of your research - who might be affected by your findings and what might the affect be?
  4. Do not offer new opinions - these should all have been introduced in the Discussion and Analysis chapters of the dissertation. 
  5. Identify the weaknesses in your research and the limitations of your study
  6. Suggest what future research might be conducted and how your study helps
  7. In the same way that you should have spent time getting the opening of the introduction right try to get a convincing ending to the dissertation.

When considering what the implications of your research are, Greenfield (1996 p. 11) suggests the following possibilities: -

  1. You may have filled a gap in the literature.
  2. You may have produced a solution to an identified problem in the field. (Writing a new software programme might help solve a particular problem.)
  3. Your results may challenge accepted ideas in the field (some earlier statements in the literature may seem less plausible in light of your findings).
  4. Some earlier statements in the literature may seem more plausible in the light of your findings.
  5. Your work may help to clarify and specify the precise areas in which existing ideas apply and where they do not apply.
  6. Your results may suggest a synthesis of existing ideas. (A literature-based project can contribute by providing a comparison of previous research.)
  7. You may provide a new perspective on existing ideas in the field.
  8. Your results may suggest new ideas, perhaps new lines of investigation.
  9. You may have generated some new (research) questions in the field. 
  10. Your work may suggest new methods for researching your topic.