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Dissertations 5: Findings, Analysis and Discussion: Home

Alternative Structures

The time has come to show and discuss the findings of your research. How to structure this part of your dissertation? 

Dissertations can have different structures, as you can see in the dissertation structure guide.

Dissertations organised by sections

Many dissertations are organised by sections. In this case, we suggest three options. Note that, if within your course you have been instructed to use a specific structure, you should do that. Also note that sometimes there is considerable freedom on the structure, so you can come up with other structures too. 

A) More common for scientific dissertations and quantitative methods:

- Results chapter 

- Discussion chapter

Example: 

  • ...
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • (Recommendations)
  • ...

if you write a scientific dissertation, or anyway using quantitative methods, you will have some objective results that you will present in the Results chapter. You will then interpret the results in the Discussion chapter.  

B) More common for qualitative methods

- Analysis chapter. This can have more descriptive/thematic subheadings.

- Discussion chapter. This can have more descriptive/thematic subheadings.

Example: 

  • ...
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Analysis
    • Case study of Company X (fashion brand) environmental strategies 
    • Successful elements
    • Challenges
  • Discussion 
    • Lessons learnt
    • Criticisms of Company X environmental strategies 
    • Possible alternatives
  • Conclusion
  • (Recommendations)
  • ...

C) More common for qualitative methods

- Analysis and discussion chapter. This can have more descriptive/thematic titles.

Example: 

  • ...
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Analysis and Discussion
    • Case study of Company X (fashion brand) environmental strategies 
    • Successful elements
    • Challenges
    • Lessons learnt
    • Criticisms of Company X environmental strategies 
    • Possible alternatives
  • Conclusion
  • (Recommendations)
  • ...

If your dissertation uses qualitative methods, it is harder to identify and report objective data. Instead, it may be more productive and meaningful to present the findings in the same sections where you also analyse, and possibly discuss, them. You will probably have different sections dealing with different themes. The different themes can be subheadings of the Analysis and Discussion (together or separate) chapter(s). 

Thematic dissertations

If the structure of your dissertation is thematicyou will have several chapters analysing and discussing the issues raised by your research. The chapters will have descriptive/thematic titles. 

Example: 

  • ...
  • Introduction
  • Background on the conflict in Yemen (2004-present day)
  • Classification of the conflict in international law  
  • International law violations
  • Options for enforcement of international law
  • Conclusion
  • ...