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Discussion & Conclusions

Chapters 4 & 7

Page 145


  • Reflect on the implications of your findings for the research questions that have driven your research; in other words, how do your results illuminate your research questions?
  • If you have specified hypotheses, the discussion will address whether the hypotheses have been confirmed or not - if not, you might speculate about possible reasons for, and the implications of, their refutation
  • In Elsesser and Lever’s (2011) article, in their discussion section, they begin by discussing surprising aspects of their findings; they then discuss the ‘limitations and strengths’, and finally present the main conclusions as part of the overall discussion.


  • A conclusion is not the same as a summary:
    • However, it is useful to bring out your argument thus far, relating your findings and discussion to your research questions and hammering home to your readers the significance of what you have done
  • You :-
    • Should clarify the implications of your findings for your research questions
    • Might suggest ways in which your findings have implications for theories relating to your area of interest
    • Might suggest ways in which your findings have implications for practice in the field of business and management
  • With the benefit of hindsight you might draw attention to any limitations of your research:
    • It is probably best not to overdo this element and provide examiners with too much ammunition that might be used against you!
  • It is often valuable to propose areas of further research that are suggested by your findings:
    • But avoid engaging in speculations that take you too far away from your data, or that cannot be substantiated by the data, and introducing issues or ideas that have not previously been brought up
  • Also see - pages 145 & 149 on discussions & conclusions in writing up quantitative and qualitative research

To see video clips of students talking about their experience of reaching conclusions, click here