Processing findings

When drafting your conclusion, refresh your memory by returning to those objectives/ questions, as laid out in your introduction-some writers even begin the writing of the Conclusion by drawing attention to specifically why the research was undertaken. Readers will also find it helpful if you remind them what you had set out to do before proceeding to tell them what you actually achieved.

When reporting on your findings, however, do not merely list or repeat them from the various chapters-Chapter 1 shows, Chapter 2 shows, etc. Doing so gives no insight into the meanings you attach to these findings. Rather, draw together all findings into a coherent whole, and think about the weight and significance you attach to these findings in terms of your research objectives or questions. As not all findings will be equally important, you might want to think about them in terms of a scale of significance. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What do I consider most important about my findings in general and why?
  • Which findings seem to be of greater or lesser significance and why?
  • Are there any specific findings to which I want to draw particular attention and why?
  • Is there anything unusual about any of my findings needing special mention and why?
  • Has my methodology or anything else affected my interpretation of findings and is this something that needs to be discussed (e.g. biases inbuilt into the research design)?
  • Any other questions important for your particular research?

You might want to explain what you have found in terms of expected or unexpected outcomes in the process of attributing significance. By processing thesis findings in this way, you are bringing them into a new set of relations-telling your reader what it all means.

Drawing out implications >>