You have to submit your Conclusions and Recommendations as to get feedback from your tutor.
You should Illustrate how findings are supported by the data and theory, and how the findings directly align in order to answer the research questions. At the end, you have to describe the implications/limitations of your study and mention any relevant recommendations.
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WEEK 6: HOW TO WRITE THE CONCLUSIONS OF YOUR DISSERTATION
Learn how to write the conclusions of your dissertation
Make recommendations for possible research in the future
Convince the readers about your outcomes and the importance of your research
Difference between conclusions and recommendations
Discussion forum 1: Discuss with your colleagues the importance of writing good
conclusions for your dissertation.
Discussion forum 2: What are your first thoughts after submitting the conclusions
and recommendations of your dissertation?
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Table of Contents
Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
Characteristics of the Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………… 3
General rules of structure and writing style of conclusion …………………………………………………… 4
Developing a compelling conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………. 5
Problems to avoid in conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation …………………………………………………………………… 7
Parameters of Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 8
Precautions in writing conclusions …………………………………………………………………………………. 9
Recommendations and Suggestions ………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
Common recommendations that researchers often make Include ……………………………………….. 12
Difference between a conclusion and a recommendation ………………………………………………….. 13
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In the conclusion you will bring together the different parts of your dissertation, and clearly state
what the answers were to your central dissertation research question. You should also look to make
suggestions for further research and recommendations were applicable. It’s important to remember
that you have to explain how your findings will make a difference in the academic community and
how they are implied in practice.
This means that a conclusion intend to help the reader understand why the research should matter
to them after they have finished reading the dissertation. It is important to note that a conclusion
should not be understood as a summary of the points or a re-statement of the research problem but
a synthesis of key points.
The Conclusion therefore is a section that sums up the key points of the discussion, the essential
features of your design, or the significant outcomes of your investigation. The conclusion should
be written so that it relates directly to the aims of the dissertation as stated in the Introduction
indicate the extent to which the aims have been achieved
summarise the key findings, outcomes or information in your report
acknowledge limitations and make recommendations for future work (where applicable)
highlight the significance or usefulness of your work.
The conclusions should relate to the aims of the work
A well-written conclusion provides the following important opportunities and demonstrates to the
reader an overall understanding of the research problem.
i. It presents the last word on the issues one raised in the thesis.
ii. It helps to summarise one’s thoughts and conveying the larger implications of the thesis.
iii. It demonstrates the importance of one’s ideas.
iv. It introduces possible new or expanded ways of thinking about the research problem.
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Characteristics of the conclusion
Give a general overview of the important contributions of your work: The original contributions
of your work must be clear and where they are situated with respect to the rest of your research
field. A good way to do this is to give a brief explanation of your contributions.
Summarize the main points of your various chapters: Especially if you aim to get your work
published, your conclusion should always strive to be an ‘executive summary’ of your work.
Not every reader will be interested in reading your entire work. This way, you will have this
chapter ready to give them a brief (yet comprehensive) overview of the dissertation.
Recommendations: You should always include at least a paragraph on the practical
implications resulting from your findings. You can be rather flexible with your
recommendations as long as they are relevant and derived from the findings of your
dissertation research. For example, you can list highly-specific recommendations and steps to
be followed or you can list more general recommendations guiding the reader towards certain
ideas and principles to follow.
Future Work: No matter how much you have done with your dissertation research, it will never
truly be finished. There will always be remaining question marks and open ends. By no means
does this indicate your work is incomplete. On the contrary, no dissertation work is ever
complete and, in fact, a good dissertation is one that sparks a high level of general interest and
motivates further research in a particular discipline. At the end of this chapter, include a
“Recommendations for future research” section, where you will propose future research that
will clarify the issue further. Explain why you suggest this research and what form it should
References: This section needs to be highly structured, and needs to include all of your
references in the required referencing style. As you edit and rewrite your dissertation you will
probably gain and lose references that you had in earlier versions. It is important therefore to
check that all the references in your reference list are actually referenced within the text; and
that all the references that appear in the text appear also in the reference list.
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GENERAL RULES OF STRUCTURE AND WRITING STYLE OF CONCLUSION
The following are some of the general rules to follow when writing a conclusion:
i. It is important to state the conclusion in clear and simple language.
ii. As a researcher do not simply reiterate the results or the discussion of your study.
iii. It is important to indicate opportunities for future research.
iv. It is important to note that the function of the conclusion in research is to restate the main
argument. This means that it should remind the reader of the strengths of the main argument(s)
and reiterates the most important evidence supporting those argument(s).
One needs to consider the following points to help ensure the conclusion is appropriate:
i. If the argument or point of the study is complex, one may need to summarize the argument for
ii. If, prior to the conclusion, one has not yet explained the significance of the findings or if one
is proceeding inductively, use the end of the thesis to describe the main points and explain their
iii. Move from a detailed to a general level of considerations that returns the topic to the context
provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from the data (USC
The conclusion also provides a place for one to persuasively and succinctly restate the research
problem, given that the reader has now been presented with all the information about the topic.
Depending on the discipline one is writing in, the concluding paragraph may contain the reflections
on the evidence presented, or on the essay’s central research problem. However, the nature of
being introspective about the research one has done will depend on the topic and whether one’s
supervisor wants one to express the observations in this way
Don’t delve into idle speculation. Being introspective means looking within ourselves as an author
to try and understand an issue more deeply not to guess at possible outcomes (USC Libraries,
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DEVELOPING A COMPELLING CONCLUSION
Strategies to help one move beyond merely summarizing the key points of the thesis may include
any of the following:
i. If the study deals with a contemporary problem, one needs to warn readers of the possible
consequences of not attending to the problem.
ii. Recommend a specific course or courses of action.
iii. Cite a relevant quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion on has reached;
a good place to look is research from the literature review.
iv. Restate a key statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of the thesis.
v. If the discipline encourages personal reflection, one needs to illustrate one’s concluding point
with a relevant narrative drawn from one’s own life experiences.
vi. Return to an anecdote, an example, or a quotation that was introduced in the introduction, but
add further insight that is derived from the findings of the study; use the interpretation of results
to reframe it in new ways.
vii. Provide a ‘take-home’ message in the form of a strong, succinct statement that one wants the
reader to remember about the study (USC Libraries, 2014).
PROBLEMS TO AVOID IN CONCLUSION
The following problems should be avoided in writing the conclusion:
i. Failure to be concise: the conclusion section should be concise and to the point. Conclusions
that are too long have unnecessary detail. The conclusion section is not the place for details
about the methodology or results. Although one should give a summary of what was learned
from the research, this summary should be relatively brief, since the emphasis in the conclusion
is on the implications, evaluations, insights, etc. that one makes.
ii. Failure to comment on larger, more significant issues: in the introduction, one’s task was to
move from general (the field of study) to specific (the research problem). However, in the
conclusion, one’s task is to move from specific (the research problem) back to general or field
– i.e. how the research contributes new understanding or fills an important gap in the literature.
In other words, the conclusion is where one places the study research within a larger context.
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iii. Failure to reveal problems and negative results: negative aspects of the research process
should never be ignored. Problems, drawbacks, and challenges encountered during the study
should be included as a way of qualifying the overall conclusions. If one encountered negative
results of findings that are validated outside the research context in which they were generated;
one must report them in the results section of the paper. In the conclusion, use the negative
results as an opportunity to explain how they provide information on which future research can
iv. Failure to provide a clear summary of what was learned: in order to be able to discuss how the
research fits back into the field of study and possibly the world at large; one needs to
summarize it briefly and directly. Often this element of the conclusion is only a few sentences
v. Failure to match the objectives of the research: often research objectives change while the
research is being carried out. This is not a problem unless one forgets to go back and refine the
original objectives in the introduction, as these changes emerge they must be documented so
that they accurately reflect what one was trying to accomplish in the research and not wan one
thought one might accomplish when one began.
vi. Resist the urge to apologize: if one has immerged one’s self in studying the research problem,
one now knows a good deal about it, perhaps even more than one’s supervisor! Nevertheless,
by the time one has finished writing, one may be having some doubts about what one has
produced. Repress those doubts! Don’t undermine one’s authority by saying something like:
this is just one approach to examining the problem; there may be other, much better approaches
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SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
This chapter may consist of five sections namely: summary, conclusion, implication,
recommendations, and suggestions. The last two are optional depending on the nature of the report
(Mutai, 2001, p.35).
To start with, summarize what one has attempted to do and the results one has achieved; one may
restate the original research questions, or hypotheses, and indicate whether one has supported, or
rejected them. Briefly summarize everything covered in the first three chapters and in the findings
portion of chapter four (results) (Mutai, 2001, p.35).
The summary reminds and informs the reader about the purpose of the study, the process used to
collect, analyze data and the major findings of the study. A summary must reflect as accurately as
possible the body of one’s report (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003, p.151)
In summarizing the results, keep in mind, the importance of inter-chapter consistency. For most
dissertations, the statement of the problem in chapter one; the literature review in chapter two; the
explanation of methodology in chapter three; the presentation of results in chapter four; and the
synthesis and interpretation of findings in chapter five should be arranged in a consistent manner.
One should summarize these without the introduction, or addition of new irrelevant information
(Mutai, 2001, p.62).
Summary serves the following three purposes:
i. It refocuses the reader’s attention in the main issues and findings: by encapsulating the varied
details which have been presented.
ii. It qualifies some of the findings (when appropriate): by stressing methodological limitations
and alternative limitations of research.
iii. It may suggest promising directions for future research: based upon the experience of the
researcher. It also highlights serendipitous findings and generalizes research results into
theoretical findings (Mutai, 2001, pp.62 – 63).
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In summarizing results, one should find that the general-to-specific pattern works well. Begin with
the general, and support it with appropriate details. Finally, increase the clarity of the summary
section by using appropriate transitional cues. One can use sequencing words such as the
following: first; also; next; finally (Mutai, 2001, p.63).
The final chapter should not introduce any new data or analysis into the report. Everything that
was to be tested or evaluated should have been included in prior chapters. Only summation of
one’s findings appears in the final chapter, making it relatively brief (Mutai, 2001, p.63).
PARAMETERS OF CONCLUSIONS
The following points should be considered when writing conclusion section:
i. Write the conclusions at a scope and level of generality justified by the data presentation.
ii. Make necessary qualifications with care and caution.
iii. Coordinate the conclusion with the tentative acceptance or rejection of the research
hypotheses presented, or with the objectives or questions posed.
iv. Present the conclusions in a form that other investigators can understand and subsequently
v. Ensure that conclusions which are within the limits of the results obtained and must be sound
and based upon the body of the thesis.
vi. The conclusions are drawn by inference, either inductive or deductive, from the findings; the
conclusions verify or deny the premises, or hypotheses upon which the investigation has been
conducted; hence care should be taken to state a conclusion for each objective or problem
delimited in the proposal or statement of the research objectives.
vii. Ensure that conclusions should flow logically from the findings; but since drawing
conclusions involves the human process, should help one avoid this inherent problem.
viii. Discuss the conclusions in the light of the present and future practices, for theory, and for
additional needed investigations.
ix. Give an indication of the usefulness of the research: who could benefit from what one has
done? How? What theories, discipline; organizations, groups etc. would like to know what
one has uncovered, or concluded? What is the value of one’s effort? (Mutai, 2001, pp.64 –
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PRECAUTIONS IN WRITING CONCLUSIONS
One should always bear in mind that feeble conclusions can easily mar the total effectiveness of
the report. Several factors contribute to weak conclusions as follows:
i. The sense that the writer is in haste to finish up the dissertation may be due to shortage of time
or a lack of ideas.
ii. Obviousness is another factor: terms like “in conclusion”, or any of its relatives, are
unnecessary in concluding paragraphs. Exceptional to this rule do exist, but logically, once one
has given the subheading i.e. conclusion, there is no need to keep on repeating it again.
iii. Moralizing, apologizing or congratulating weakens the conclusions too. Phrases like, “this
study having tried to prove …”, “having shown …”, “hopefully has given you a better
understanding …”, or “hopefully inspiring you …” are inappropriate and usually insulting to
the reader’s intelligence (Mutai, 2001, pp.65 – 66).
RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
In most theses there is always confusion between recommendations and suggestions. Some writers
do not include the suggestions sections in the last chapter and write recommendations. But when
one looks at it critically one would note that the contents included therein are not actually
recommendations, but suggestions and vice-versa. To avoid this kind of confusion, herein briefly
outlined what recommendations are all about.
Otherwise, the two sections are optional. One can always omit them if one doesn’t have anything
to recommend or suggest; nobody would punish one for that. But it is important, because it portrays
how much one has mastered the subject, and, in one way or another, it shows one’s contribution
to the solution of the problem under study (Mutai, 2001, p.66).
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One’s summary and conclusions should lead logically to one’s recommendations.
Recommendations must be consistent with the purpose of the study, its objectives, the evidence
presented by the data and the interpretations given. Recommendations should be practical and
achievable (Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003, pp.151 – 152).
The recommendations concerning the action to be taken follow the conclusions. Where
recommendations involve policy decisions, state them completely as possible including who
should do what, when and why (Mutai, 2001, p.35).
Your dissertation may include recommendations that are related to the issue you have described
in the introduction of your dissertation.
Recommendations are generally included in a separate chapter after your conclusion and
discussion chapter. If your client prefers, you can also present them in a separate advisory report.
Each recommendation should be explained and justified with the support of your research findings.
Example of a supported recommendation
How can aggressive behaviour be prevented in young people (aged 10-12) in district XXX?
To prevent children in the highest levels of primary schools from joining up with loitering
secondary school students, it is important to organize afterschool activities for children between
the ages of 10 and 12 years so that their free time has the structure they need. The municipality
can play a proactive role by advising associations, making funds available, and supporting youth
EDU731-2 Page 11
Recommendations should be real and include verbs such as care of, create, organize and develop.
You can present your recommendations in different ways. For instance, you can start with your
rationale and then move on to the actual recommendation, or the other way around.
Example of a descriptive question research with practical recommendations
Research question (descriptive):
To what extent does any social isolation experienced affect the public confidence of citizens in the
Municipality of Amsterdam?
Sample sub-question (descriptive):
How does the social isolation of Amsterdam citizens look in practice?
Based on the research results, it can be concluded that individuals’ access
to the internet, degree of feeling connected to their neighbourhood and age
have a strong influence on how they perceive isolation.
The study has shown that older people (especially those over 65) face the greatest risk of social
isolation. To prevent or combat social isolation, it is therefore recommended that more attention
be paid to this target group in particular.
The most appropriate way to prepare your recommendations is from your conclusions. The
recommendations should emerge from the conclusions and make suggestions on what is to be
done, who is to do it and how/when it is to be done, and be justified based on findings, not just the
opinion of the writer.
Recommendations cover two key aspects. They may suggest action which could be taken right
now in relation to a particular issue or topic. In addition, they may suggest that further research
and work is necessary to be able to take appropriate action.
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Research often exposes further problems and
introduces more questions. As a student,
there is a time limit to your research project,
so it is unlikely that your work would have
solved all the problems associated with the
area of study. Therefore,
you will be expected to make
suggestions about how your work can be
improved and, based on your findings,
whether there are areas that deserve further
What you write in this section will show whether you have a firm appreciation of your work, and
whether you have given sufficient thought to its implications, not only within the narrow confines
of the research topic, but to related fields. These reflect your ability for original thought, and your
potential to carry out original research; key issues in a research degree.
Common recommendations that researchers often make include:
i. Areas of further research: emphasizing the questions in the study that remain unanswered
and therefor ought to be explored further.
ii. Methodological issues: that could be addressed and refined to improve future research in
the areas of study.
iii. Actions that should be taken to address the problem based on the research findings: solving
specific problems could involve designing and implementing an intervention of project
(Mugenda & Mugenda, 2003, p.152).
The recommendations section should be made as short as possible. Half or one page is sufficient.
Use bullets or numbers for each point and make it short and clear. This may include the following:
EDU731-2 Page 13
i. Recommendations concerning implementation of the research findings, when appropriate,
relative to the objectives stated in the purpose of the investigation, most frequently
encountered in survey studies and action research.
ii. Recommendations for improving the situation guidelines or codes of practice. Many
educational studies will have clear implication for practice. Although one should feel free
to make such recommendations, one should again avoid diagnostic assertions, or sweeping
recommendations that go beyond the study.
iii. The recommendations concerning action to be taken follow conclusions. Where
recommendations involve policy decisions some researchers prefer to report any
conclusions and leave out recommendations.
iv. The researcher is often in the best position to determine recommendations, and if asked to
do so, should state them as completely as possible, including who should do what, when,
and why. But making recommendations depends not only on the nature of decision to be
made, but also on the researcher’s knowledge of the total situation of the problem. In many
instances, the researcher does not have this “total picture” of the situation (Mutai, 2001,
pp.66 – 67).
Difference between a conclusion and a recommendation
A conclusion answers your research question based on the results of your investigation. In
contrast, a recommendation offers concrete solutions that your client can use to set new
goals for the future; any related ideas it contains must be connected to your research and
be both realistic and implementable.
As noted above, remember that you can also have several recommendations related to one
conclusion (or vice versa).
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In this section, one may give suggestions about new lines of thinking, research, methodological
modification, theoretical limitations and implications drawing inferences from the study and may
include the following:
i. Suggestion for additional research a section indicating what questions one was unable to
answer, or what research questions one formulated as a result of the research.
ii. New questions set forth for possible investigation; recommendation for additional research
in the problem area study. In giving suggestions in this final chapter, note only the research
that the study suggests is needed. Do not make a mistake of listing an array of “interesting”
topics, many of which have no relationship with the study. One’s suggestions should not
be broad statements like “more research would be needed” (which invariably would be the
case); but IMPLICATIONS Such implications are usually targeted to stakeholders
(Mugenda & Mugenda, 2002, p.151).
It may be that the study has some major theoretical implications. It confirms existing theory, or
presents disconfirming evidence. If so, one should call attention to these implications, as in this
example, “Bridges (1967) theory of the “zone acceptance” would have predicted that teachers
would have been receptive to Estevan decision in areas where they had no personal stake.
However, the teachers in this study frequently manifested resistance even when the decision had
no immediate impact …” One should discuss any possible implication of the study for a model,
group theory and discipline in a more focused and pointed manner. Whenever one is referring to a
theory ensure that one restates the theory before discussing its implication (Mutai, 2001, pp.67 –
EDU731-2 Page 15
Ebrahim, Y.H. (2015). Micro-temperature change in relation to urban built form: design and
development of Ebstats Software, a digital statistical analytical tool for primary and
secondary data analysis in upland climates. Paper presented at annual Eastern African
Regional Workshop, Nairobi. Research Gate Publications, May 2018
Ebrahim, Y.H. (2017). The effects of urban built form on micro-temperature change: A case study
of Komarock Infill ‘B’ Estate Nairobi. (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Nairobi
Ebrahim, Y.H. (2017a). Ebrahim PhD Ebstats 2017 Decb. Software in Microsoft Excel for free
Ebrahim, Y.H. (2018). Use of the Ebstats Software for bioclimatic analysis in tropical countries:
Micro-temperature change in relation to urban built form. Rese
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