Writing the dissertation conclusion chapter
Writing the dissertation conclusion chapter is the last step in your dissertation. Once done you can breathe a sigh of relief and say I have done it. However, it is not to be taken for granted or done casually. The dissertation conclusion chapter is the final part of your dissertation and will be read fully by your marker. It is an important chapter as it presents your findings in a nutshell showing that you have achieved the aims of your study. Apart from finishing your dissertation on a high note a well written chapter it demonstrates that you knew what your set out to do and your have successfully achieved it. Usually it consists about 10% of the word count. Though short it is not to be approached casually as it carries a significant amount of marks.
Purpose of the dissertation conclusion chapter
The dissertation conclusion chapter is where you put together the different strands which you have discussed in your report’s main body. Usually, depending on the subject this is also where you offer recommendations and suggest areas of further research. You also get the opportunity to contextualise your study and comment on the limitations to your study. The limitations should however not occupy too much prominence since this is not a chance to detail what academia has not covered in the study area but rather to detail what you have covered. You are not supposed to include new theories or information in the conclusion chapter.
References in conclusion chapter
Forgetting to reference in the conclusion chapter is a common mistake. Do not do that because it costs you marks! The basis of your conclusions should be the information which you have already written in your text. You should therefore make reference to what you have written in your findings and also make reference to the accepted academic opinions which you have discussed throughout your dissertation. However, some institutions do not want academic references to be included in the conclusions chapter so you must take note of your guidelines. Direct quotation is likely to be very limited. It may be your dissertation and you may have written it in such a way as to show your view but it is your ability to relate your ideas to the views of academics who your marker/lecturer respects that will gain you the best marks.
In a nutshell
In many ways the conclusion will mirror the introduction. Remember, however, that whereas in the introduction you stated what the dissertation does, in the conclusion you will reflect upon that which it has done.
Finally, some universities also expect conclusions to contain a reflective section in which you comment on what you have learnt through writing the dissertation. If your university does not specifically request that you include such a section, do not write one. If you do have to write a reflection, remember to add some references and seek guidance from your supervisor as to its length. The majority of marks are awarded for analysis, not for how well you think you may have done something. Include in the reflection something upon which you could have improved; for example, in a nursing dissertation, link your thesis to something that may have occurred during your placement, and suggest perhaps that your communication with your colleagues could have been improved, and so on. Do not dwell on your inadequacies: present a rounded view (just as you should have done throughout the dissertation).