How to write a dissertation conclusion

how-to-write-a-dissertation-conclusion
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The first and the last impressions count! We all know that. To finish your thesis brilliantly, you need to know very well  how to write a dissertation conclusion and what it takes to leave your reader with the amazing impression of your Ph.D. thesis that you aim.   Similar to the dissertation abstract, think of your thesis conclusion as an overview that presents the essence of your thesis in a condensed and concise way. Seems to be  easy, doesn´t it? But attention: There are a few particularities to know about it before you start writing! This article sums it all up and teaches you, what to consider and how to do best to craft your thesis conslusion.

How to write a dissertation conclusion: Your approach for a strong start

  Before taking the first steps and facing your thesis opening, you should have a clear idea of its component and  what goes into it as well as how to organize the paragraphs. When you start to work out your dissertation conclusion,  you should be able to answer on all of these questions: 
  • How to approach the selection of the highlights between your results? 
  • Where and how to you restate your thesis in the conclusion? 
  • What is the scope? 
  • Which moment is the right to start to work on your PhD thesis conclusion? 
To approach the question of  how to write a conclusion for a thesis, that is strong and convincing for your reader, let us start with the basics: Its main function, goal and components (or: what  goes into it).  Regarding  thesis conclusion, the principal goal is to: 
  • Briefly present the approach that you took to craft your research (regarding the scientific method, scientific literature & Theory) 
  • Restating your thesis as a logical consequence from the gap of research
  • Select and assemble all highlights from your research 
  • Share the constribution 
In a nutshell, it  means to present your scientific approach and main results in a condensed form and to reveal your contribution to the reader. Or, to put it another way: To answer on the So What”! The best way how to conclude a dissertation is to present a  thesis finishing part, which dosen´t  leave any  doubt about the importance of your investigation, its values to the academic/scientific world (and also to the “real  world” and non-specific audience) after reading your dissertation conclusion.   It should get clear, why it was worth the pain to conduct the research exactly the way you did, by showcasing briefly the underlying theory,  scientific literature, and scientific method(s)  that you chose from the wide variety of options.  Like your introduction and dissertation abstract, the PhD. consclusion is a key section that needs to be treated with special attention. (Note, that a part of your audience, inluding your future boss, may only have the time to read these outstanding sections before they decide on wether they will continue  reading the rest or not). If you are sure how to answer on the “so what & why does it matter”, you already took a big step forwards on your way of how to conclude a thesis.  how-to-write-a-dissertation-conclusion

How to write a dissertation conclusion: Principal steps

  When starting to think about the best way of how to write conclusion for thesis, think about everything that you like to add (and need), regarding the scope. Usually, the scope is around 10% of the total (so regarding a PhD thesis, the conclusion generally takes around 2-4 pages).  
Special tip: Before writing the complete finishing section, help yourself by writing a draft, conisting of short summaries  (1-2 paragrafs on every chapter/section)
To enable a smooth start: 1. Try to showcase in a brief form the scientific approach that you took (regarding the theoretical foundation & methodology from your dissertation. 2. Continue by restating your thesis as a logical consequence from the gap of research As you do not only want to know, how to to write a conclusion section in a thesis, but also, what it takes to produce a strong and convincing one, you should prest attention on how to present your scientific results and highlights from your analysis and discussion. 3. Select the key findings which illustrate the main findings that you want to highlight 4. Put them togehter to construct the pillars of your contribution 5. Highlight the brilliant details (but avoid too overload the conclusion with details) As a logical consequence of the scope of your research and your results, there will be some limitations and questions to inspire further investigations. It is always a good plan to finish by naming the remaining and providing them as”prospects” for future researchers.  6. Open your thesis, mention what is left, leave space for conversation & dialogue 

Key considerations & tips on how to write a dissertation conclusion

  Your conclusion is the last section from your thesis and can be combined with or followed by the prospects (remaining research questions, resulting from the limitations). Without any doubt, the finishing part owns some particularities and specific aspects that I would like to share with you while answering on how to write a thesis conclusion! Please keep them in mind should while writing yours:  1. Tips & advice on how to write a phd conclusion, regarding: Citation & Repetition 
  • Dont repeat parts from the dissertation abstract
  • Avoid all kinds of plagiarism
  • Keep the number of citations as reduced as possible (take them out, if possible
2. Tips & advice on how to write a  conclusion for thesis, regarding: Results
  • Select the prime samples from your results
  • Concentrate on the highlights
  • Dont try to present everything (you already did that in the chapters of your thesis)
  • Dont drift to much into detail (remind the reader of some exceptional results & highlights, dont try to repeat every detail from the analysis)
Keep your writing short, concise and condensed. Note: A second opinion always helps!  If possible, ask a friend, fellow or someone from your family to (proof-)read it and check your writing regarding repetition and wordiness. If you have still remaining questions on how to write a conclusion for a dissertation, have a look at the related video post and continue reading the following section of frequently asked questions!     

Frequently asked questions regarding your thesis conclusion

 
  • How many words should a conclusion be in a dissertation?
Dependent to the total and the scope of your thesis, the conclusion about a 10% from the total. Usually, the scope of a PhD. dissertation  varies between 2-4 pages. 
  • What is included in conclusion section of dissertation?
The conclusion be a showcase of the approach and outcome of your thesis. Name in a few words the scientific approach and underlying theory frame, and get over to the highlights from your results, leaving no doubt about teh value and contribution of your research.    
  • How do you write a good conclusion?
Consider the particularities from this specific section. Write it clear and concise, keep a logical structure, guiding from one aspect to the next and keep a balance and sense for detaisl and the “overall” perspective. Avoid repetition and wordiness, keep away from any kind of plagiarism. 
  • How long should a thesis conclusion be?
Usually, a conclusion for a doctoral dissertation varies between 2 and 4 pages (it shouldnt pass a 10% of the total). Plese keep in mind, that you also need some space for the prospects (consult the guidelines from your University). 

About the author:

Dr. Friederike Jurth
Dr. Friederike Jurth

Possibly you already heard of me through different media channels. My name is Dr. Friederike Jurth, and since 2010 I give lectures on Methodology, Empirical Research, Anthropology, and Transcultural (Music) Studies in collaboration with universities in the United States, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. In 2010 I started to carry out 7-year-long fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro and to present my research at conferences all around the world, such as in Japan, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, and many others. In addition, I worked as a lecturer and researcher with Germany’s famous UNESCO Chair.

After finalizing my doctoral dissertation with summa cum laude, it became my aim to unite, condense and share the steps, ways and details of my unique methodological and structural approach that I could develop and elaborate during my Ph.D. and that finally helped me to achieve this result. By concentrating and putting them together to an elaborated academic conception, MyThesis Academy was born. Motivated by the only aim and objective to help my students through all steps and stages of their thesis journey, it enables them to achieve their best possible result in shortest time, independent of their specific area of research.

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