Research: Wrapping up… Thoughts about conclusions…

So you’ve done your research… You’ve written up earlier stages, including your introduction, research methods and possibly a seemingly never ending literature review. What next? Well you’ve got to present your findings, discuss them, revisit earlier questions, aims and objectives, assess what you’ve done, suggest conclusions, propose recommendations for practice and further research. Not much then. And you thought you’d done. Hahahaha.

What goes in your conclusion chapter then?

I’d suggest thinking about the following:

• a justification of the relationship between conclusions and aims and objectives
• a critical reflection on the extent to which the latter have been met
• reasons why they may not have been met
• a critical assessment of the responses to the research questions and/or the testing of hypotheses
• a clear description of how the latter explicitly relate to the limitations of the methodology, data and analysis
• a clear explanation of how the validity of the findings and the conclusions are clearly related to the scope of the research done
• an honest discussion on issues of wider applicability and transferability of the findings
• a discussion to integrate synthesis of the various issues that arise from the literature and the research undertaken (someone suggested the other day that I should use a simpler word than synthesis as teachers may not understand it… I said I think teachers can cope with that word – what do you think?)
• clear evidence that the conclusions are grounded within the material discussed and introduced earlier in the report
• a clear articulation and demonstration of interrelationships between data, literature and commentary
• a clear statement of recommendations with justification
• a discussion of implications of recommendations
• suggestions for further work with reasons, indicating both their justification and methodological basis
• an honest acknowledgement of limitations with discussion of implications for the validity and potential transferability of findings

Done all that? Great! Now you can think about dissemination and publishing your work maybe… 🙂

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