The difference between empirical and discussion chapters (and how to write them)
What is the difference between an empirical and discussion chapter?
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How do I write an empirical chapter?
Your PhD Thesis.
On one page.
Use our free PhD Structure Template to quickly visualise every element of your thesis.
How do I write a discussion chapter?
- You can start by writing a long list of everything you have found
- See if you can sort and organise this list. Categorise each finding based on whether it is speculative or based in empirical fact. This is important because your discussion will need to be somewhat (but not too) speculative
- Try to categorise your different findings into themes
- Now try to find linkages between these themes
- Organise these themes into different section headings for the discussion chapter, and try to come up with sub-headings.
- What are the relationships between observations? (the mud-map you developed earlier will help here)
- Are there any trends and generalisations amongst the results? Are there any exceptions to these?
- What are the causes of, or mechanisms behind, the underlying patterns you have uncovered?
- Do your results agree or disagree with previous work?
- How do your findings relate to the theoretical framework you developed, if applicable?
- How do the findings relate to the hypotheses you developed, if applicable?
- What other explanations could there be for your results? This issue is more pertinent if you are engaging in theory creation/inductive reasoning.
- What do we now know as a result of your research that we didn’t know before?
- What is the significance of these findings?
- Why should we care about the findings?
- How do the findings relate to the theory and methods discussed previously?
- Why you have reached particular conclusions?
- How do your findings relate to the gaps in the literature you identified earlier?
- What implications do the findings have for the discipline and for existing understanding?
- How do the findings relate to your research questions/aims and objectives?
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