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Dissertation Recommendations — How To Write Them

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Recommendations are crucial to your paper because they suggest solutions to your research problems. You can include recommendations in the discussion sections of your writing and briefly in the conclusions of your dissertation , thesis, or research paper . This article discusses dissertation recommendations, their purpose, and how to write one.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 Dissertation Recommendations — In a Nutshell
  • 2 Definition: Dissertation recommendations
  • 3 How to write dissertation recommendations
  • 4 Dissertation recommendations based on your findings
  • 5 Purpose of dissertation recommendations

Dissertation Recommendations — In a Nutshell

  • Dissertation recommendations are an important aspect of your research paper.
  • They should be specific, measurable, and have the potential of future possibilities.
  • Additionally, these recommendations should offer practical insights and suggestions for solving real-life problems.

When making your recommendations, please ensure the following:

  • Your recommendations are an extension of your work instead of a basis for self-criticism
  • Your research stands independently instead of suggesting recommendations that will complete it
  • Your dissertation recommendations offer insights into how future research can build upon it instead of undermining your research

Definition: Dissertation recommendations

Dissertation recommendations are the actionable insights and suggestions presented after you get your research findings. These suggestions are usually based on what you find and help to guide future studies or practical applications. It’s best to place your dissertation recommendations at the conclusion.

How to write dissertation recommendations

When writing your academic paper, you can frame dissertation recommendations using one of the following methods:

Use the problem: In this approach, you should address the issues highlighted in your research.

Offer solutions: You can offer some practical solutions to the problems revealed in your research.

Use a theory: Here, you can base your recommendations on your study’s theoretical approach.

Here are some helpful tips for writing dissertation recommendations that you should incorporate when drafting a research paper:

  • Avoid general or vague recommendations
  • Be specific and concrete
  • Offer measurable insights   Ensure your suggestions are practical and implementable
  • Avoid focusing on theoretical concepts or new findings but on future possibilities

“Based on the study’s outcomes, it’s recommended that businesses and organizations develop mental health well-being frameworks to reduce workplace stress. This training should be mandatory for all employees and conducted on a monthly basis.”

Dissertation recommendations based on your findings

After analysing your findings, you can divide your dissertation recommendations into two subheadings as discussed below:

What can be done?

This section highlights the steps you can use when conducting the research. You may also include any steps needed to address the issues highlighted in your research question. For instance, if the study reveals a lack of emotional connection between employees, implementing dynamic awareness training or sit-downs could be recommended.

Is further research needed?

This section highlights the benefits of further studies that will help build on your research findings. For instance, if your research found less data on employee mental well-being, your dissertation recommendations could suggest future studies.

Purpose of dissertation recommendations

Note: Dissertation recommendations have the following purposes:

  • Provide guidance and improve the quality of further studies based on your research findings
  • Offer insights, call to action, or suggest other studies
  • Highlight specific, clear, and realistic suggestions for future studies

When writing your dissertation recommendations, always remember to keep them specific, measurable, and clear. You should also ensure that a comprehensible rationale supports these recommendations. Additionally, your requests should always be directly linked to your research and offer suggestions from that angle.

Note that your suggestions should always focus on future possibilities and not on present new findings or theoretical concepts. This is because future researchers may use your results to draw further conclusions and gather new insights from your work.

Can I include new arguments in the conclusion of a dissertation

Dissertations follow a more formal structure; hence, you can only present new arguments in the conclusion. Use your dissertation’s concluding part as a summary of your points or to provide recommendations.

How is the conclusion different from the discussion sections?

The discussion section describes a detailed account of your findings, while the conclusion answers the research question and highlights some recommendations.

What shouldn't I include in the dissertation recommendations?

Avoid concluding with weak statements like “there are good insights from both ends…”, generic phrases like “in conclusion…” or evidence that you failed to mention in the discussion or results section.

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Research Method

Home » Research Recommendations – Examples and Writing Guide

Research Recommendations – Examples and Writing Guide

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Research Recommendations

Research Recommendations

Definition:

Research recommendations refer to suggestions or advice given to someone who is looking to conduct research on a specific topic or area. These recommendations may include suggestions for research methods, data collection techniques, sources of information, and other factors that can help to ensure that the research is conducted in a rigorous and effective manner. Research recommendations may be provided by experts in the field, such as professors, researchers, or consultants, and are intended to help guide the researcher towards the most appropriate and effective approach to their research project.

Parts of Research Recommendations

Research recommendations can vary depending on the specific project or area of research, but typically they will include some or all of the following parts:

  • Research question or objective : This is the overarching goal or purpose of the research project.
  • Research methods : This includes the specific techniques and strategies that will be used to collect and analyze data. The methods will depend on the research question and the type of data being collected.
  • Data collection: This refers to the process of gathering information or data that will be used to answer the research question. This can involve a range of different methods, including surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments.
  • Data analysis : This involves the process of examining and interpreting the data that has been collected. This can involve statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, or a combination of both.
  • Results and conclusions: This section summarizes the findings of the research and presents any conclusions or recommendations based on those findings.
  • Limitations and future research: This section discusses any limitations of the study and suggests areas for future research that could build on the findings of the current project.

How to Write Research Recommendations

Writing research recommendations involves providing specific suggestions or advice to a researcher on how to conduct their study. Here are some steps to consider when writing research recommendations:

  • Understand the research question: Before writing research recommendations, it is important to have a clear understanding of the research question and the objectives of the study. This will help to ensure that the recommendations are relevant and appropriate.
  • Consider the research methods: Consider the most appropriate research methods that could be used to collect and analyze data that will address the research question. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods and how they might apply to the specific research question.
  • Provide specific recommendations: Provide specific and actionable recommendations that the researcher can implement in their study. This can include recommendations related to sample size, data collection techniques, research instruments, data analysis methods, or other relevant factors.
  • Justify recommendations : Justify why each recommendation is being made and how it will help to address the research question or objective. It is important to provide a clear rationale for each recommendation to help the researcher understand why it is important.
  • Consider limitations and ethical considerations : Consider any limitations or potential ethical considerations that may arise in conducting the research. Provide recommendations for addressing these issues or mitigating their impact.
  • Summarize recommendations: Provide a summary of the recommendations at the end of the report or document, highlighting the most important points and emphasizing how the recommendations will contribute to the overall success of the research project.

Example of Research Recommendations

Example of Research Recommendations sample for students:

  • Further investigate the effects of X on Y by conducting a larger-scale randomized controlled trial with a diverse population.
  • Explore the relationship between A and B by conducting qualitative interviews with individuals who have experience with both.
  • Investigate the long-term effects of intervention C by conducting a follow-up study with participants one year after completion.
  • Examine the effectiveness of intervention D in a real-world setting by conducting a field study in a naturalistic environment.
  • Compare and contrast the results of this study with those of previous research on the same topic to identify any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the findings.
  • Expand upon the limitations of this study by addressing potential confounding variables and conducting further analyses to control for them.
  • Investigate the relationship between E and F by conducting a meta-analysis of existing literature on the topic.
  • Explore the potential moderating effects of variable G on the relationship between H and I by conducting subgroup analyses.
  • Identify potential areas for future research based on the gaps in current literature and the findings of this study.
  • Conduct a replication study to validate the results of this study and further establish the generalizability of the findings.

Applications of Research Recommendations

Research recommendations are important as they provide guidance on how to improve or solve a problem. The applications of research recommendations are numerous and can be used in various fields. Some of the applications of research recommendations include:

  • Policy-making: Research recommendations can be used to develop policies that address specific issues. For example, recommendations from research on climate change can be used to develop policies that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability.
  • Program development: Research recommendations can guide the development of programs that address specific issues. For example, recommendations from research on education can be used to develop programs that improve student achievement.
  • Product development : Research recommendations can guide the development of products that meet specific needs. For example, recommendations from research on consumer behavior can be used to develop products that appeal to consumers.
  • Marketing strategies: Research recommendations can be used to develop effective marketing strategies. For example, recommendations from research on target audiences can be used to develop marketing strategies that effectively reach specific demographic groups.
  • Medical practice : Research recommendations can guide medical practitioners in providing the best possible care to patients. For example, recommendations from research on treatments for specific conditions can be used to improve patient outcomes.
  • Scientific research: Research recommendations can guide future research in a specific field. For example, recommendations from research on a specific disease can be used to guide future research on treatments and cures for that disease.

Purpose of Research Recommendations

The purpose of research recommendations is to provide guidance on how to improve or solve a problem based on the findings of research. Research recommendations are typically made at the end of a research study and are based on the conclusions drawn from the research data. The purpose of research recommendations is to provide actionable advice to individuals or organizations that can help them make informed decisions, develop effective strategies, or implement changes that address the issues identified in the research.

The main purpose of research recommendations is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from researchers to practitioners, policymakers, or other stakeholders who can benefit from the research findings. Recommendations can help bridge the gap between research and practice by providing specific actions that can be taken based on the research results. By providing clear and actionable recommendations, researchers can help ensure that their findings are put into practice, leading to improvements in various fields, such as healthcare, education, business, and public policy.

Characteristics of Research Recommendations

Research recommendations are a key component of research studies and are intended to provide practical guidance on how to apply research findings to real-world problems. The following are some of the key characteristics of research recommendations:

  • Actionable : Research recommendations should be specific and actionable, providing clear guidance on what actions should be taken to address the problem identified in the research.
  • Evidence-based: Research recommendations should be based on the findings of the research study, supported by the data collected and analyzed.
  • Contextual: Research recommendations should be tailored to the specific context in which they will be implemented, taking into account the unique circumstances and constraints of the situation.
  • Feasible : Research recommendations should be realistic and feasible, taking into account the available resources, time constraints, and other factors that may impact their implementation.
  • Prioritized: Research recommendations should be prioritized based on their potential impact and feasibility, with the most important recommendations given the highest priority.
  • Communicated effectively: Research recommendations should be communicated clearly and effectively, using language that is understandable to the target audience.
  • Evaluated : Research recommendations should be evaluated to determine their effectiveness in addressing the problem identified in the research, and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Advantages of Research Recommendations

Research recommendations have several advantages, including:

  • Providing practical guidance: Research recommendations provide practical guidance on how to apply research findings to real-world problems, helping to bridge the gap between research and practice.
  • Improving decision-making: Research recommendations help decision-makers make informed decisions based on the findings of research, leading to better outcomes and improved performance.
  • Enhancing accountability : Research recommendations can help enhance accountability by providing clear guidance on what actions should be taken, and by providing a basis for evaluating progress and outcomes.
  • Informing policy development : Research recommendations can inform the development of policies that are evidence-based and tailored to the specific needs of a given situation.
  • Enhancing knowledge transfer: Research recommendations help facilitate the transfer of knowledge from researchers to practitioners, policymakers, or other stakeholders who can benefit from the research findings.
  • Encouraging further research : Research recommendations can help identify gaps in knowledge and areas for further research, encouraging continued exploration and discovery.
  • Promoting innovation: Research recommendations can help identify innovative solutions to complex problems, leading to new ideas and approaches.

Limitations of Research Recommendations

While research recommendations have several advantages, there are also some limitations to consider. These limitations include:

  • Context-specific: Research recommendations may be context-specific and may not be applicable in all situations. Recommendations developed in one context may not be suitable for another context, requiring adaptation or modification.
  • I mplementation challenges: Implementation of research recommendations may face challenges, such as lack of resources, resistance to change, or lack of buy-in from stakeholders.
  • Limited scope: Research recommendations may be limited in scope, focusing only on a specific issue or aspect of a problem, while other important factors may be overlooked.
  • Uncertainty : Research recommendations may be uncertain, particularly when the research findings are inconclusive or when the recommendations are based on limited data.
  • Bias : Research recommendations may be influenced by researcher bias or conflicts of interest, leading to recommendations that are not in the best interests of stakeholders.
  • Timing : Research recommendations may be time-sensitive, requiring timely action to be effective. Delayed action may result in missed opportunities or reduced effectiveness.
  • Lack of evaluation: Research recommendations may not be evaluated to determine their effectiveness or impact, making it difficult to assess whether they are successful or not.

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writing recommendations dissertation

Writing research recommendations involves suggesting future research directions or actions that can be taken based on the findings of a research study. The most crucial element of the analysis process, recommendations, is where you provide specific suggestions for interventions or solutions to the problems and limitations found throughout the assessment.

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The following guideline will help you explore how to write recommendations : 

What are the Recommendations?

Research recommendations are suggestions for future research based on the findings of a research study. The researcher may make these recommendations, or they may be requested by the publisher, funding agency, or other stakeholders who have an interest in the research. The purpose of research recommendations is to identify areas where further investigation is needed and to provide direction for future research in the field.

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The recommendation section, whether it is included in the discussion section or conclusion, should involve the following:

  • The research questions that the recommendation addresses.
  • A concise summary of the findings from the research.
  • The implications of the findings for practice.
  • The strengths and limitations of the research.
  • How do the findings relate to other research in the field?
  • Recommendations for further research.

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What kind of recommendations are appropriate.

The appropriateness of recommendations depends on the research study and the research field. Generally, research recommendations should be based on the findings of the study and should address research gaps or limitations. Here are some types of recommendations that may be appropriate:

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1- Further Investigations

Suggest further investigations into specific research questions or hypotheses. This can include exploring new variables, testing different methods, or using different samples.

2- Development of New Research Methods or Techniques

Propose new research methods or techniques that can be used to address research questions or improve the quality of research.

3- Replication of the Study

Recommend replication of the study with larger or more diverse samples to increase the generalizability of the findings.

4- Extension of the Study

Suggest extending the study to different populations or contexts to explore the generalizability of the findings.

5- Collaboration with Other Researchers

Recommend collaboration with other researchers or research teams to leverage expertise and resources.

6- Integration of the Study Findings into Policy or Practice

Suggest ways in which the study findings can be used to inform policy or practice in the relevant field.

7- Addressing Limitations or Gaps in the Current Research Literature

Propose ways the study findings can address limitations or gaps in the current research literature.

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Structuring of Recommendations

When learning how to write recommendations, start with structuring the recommendations section.

1- Summarize your Research Findings

Before making any recommendations, briefly summarise your study's key findings. This will provide context for your recommendations and ensure that they are relevant to the research topic.

2- Identify Research Gaps

Based on your research findings, identify gaps in the literature or areas requiring further investigation. Consider the limitations of your study and the potential implications of your findings.

3- Prioritize Recommendations

Determine the most important recommendations based on their potential impact and feasibility. You may want to organize your recommendations into short-term and long-term goals.

4- Provide Clear and Specific Recommendations

Your recommendations should be concise and specific. Avoid vague or general statements and provide actionable steps that can be taken to address the research gaps you have identified.

5- Justify Your Recommendations

Provide a rationale for each of your recommendations, explaining why they are necessary and how they will contribute to the overall research field.

6- Consider Potential Challenges

Be sure to consider potential challenges or limitations that may arise in implementing your recommendations. Provide suggestions for overcoming these challenges where possible.

7- Conclude with a Summary

End your recommendations with a brief summary of your main points. This will help reinforce the importance of your recommendations and ensure they are clearly understood.

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Remember to tailor your recommendations to your specific research study and field of study. Keep in mind that your recommendations should be based on evidence and have practical applications for researchers, practitioners, or policymakers.

Building Concrete Research Recommendations

  • The research process should be systematic and logical.
  • Conduct the research in an objective and unbiased manner.
  • The research findings should be reproducible.
  • The research recommendations should be made with a concrete plan in mind.
  • The research recommendations should be based on a solid foundation of evidence.
  • The research recommendations should be clear and concise.
  • The research recommendations should be achievable and realistic.
  • The research recommendations should be made to further the research project's goals.
  • They should be made to improve the quality of the research project.
  • The research recommendations should make the research project more efficient.
  • The recommendations should make the research project more effective.
  • The research recommendations must aid in making the research project more successful.

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What is the Smart Strategy for Writing Research Recommendations?

In academic writing, there are generally three types of Recommendations:

  • Obligations

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Recommendations can be further characterized as "SMART" or "non-SMART." A SMART Recommendation is one that is Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The following sections will provide more information on each of these characteristics.

  • A Recommendation is " Specific " if it clearly spells out what actions need to take place, who needs to take those actions, and when they need to occur.
  • A Recommendation is " Measurable " if specified indicators can be used to gauge whether it has successfully achieved its objectives.
  • A Recommendation is " Actionable " if the necessary steps required to implement the recommendation are spelt out and achievable.
  • A Recommendation is " Realistic " if it is achievable given the available resources (e.g., time, money, human resources).
  • Finally, a Recommendation is " Time - bound " if there is a specified timeframe within which the recommendation should be achieved.

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What are the Dos and Don'ts of Research Recommendations? 

1- be specific.

Provide clear and specific recommendations that are relevant to the research study and the field of study. Use precise language and avoid vague or general statements.

2- Support Your Recommendations with Evidence

Base your recommendations on the research study's findings and other relevant literature. Provide evidence to support your recommendations and explain why they are necessary.

Identify and prioritise the most important recommendations based on their potential impact and feasibility.

4- Consider Practical Applications

Ensure that your recommendations have practical applications for researchers, practitioners, or policymakers. Think about how your recommendations can be implemented in practice and how they can contribute to the field.

5- Be Concise

Keep your recommendations concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary details or explanations.

6- Provide a Rationale

Explain the rationale for each of your recommendations and how they will contribute to the overall research field.

1- Make Unsupported Claims

Avoid making claims that are not supported by evidence. Make sure that your recommendations are based on the research study's findings and other relevant literature.

2- Overgeneralize

Avoid overgeneralizing your recommendations. Make sure that your recommendations are specific to the research study and field.

3- Ignore Potential Challenges

Consider potential challenges or limitations that may arise in implementing your recommendations. Provide suggestions for overcoming these challenges where possible.

4- Disregard Practical Considerations

Ensure that your recommendations are practical and feasible. Consider the resources and constraints of the research field and how your recommendations can be implemented in practice.

5- Be Too Prescriptive

Avoid being too prescriptive in your recommendations. Provide guidance and direction, but allow room for interpretation and adaptation.

By following these dos and don'ts, you can ensure that your research recommendations are well-supported, relevant, and practical and will make a meaningful contribution to the research field.

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It is frequently the case that further research is needed to facilitate the advancement of a study. In your research plans, you can analyze potential study methodologies and the points regarding a subject that might be covered in such research.

The recommendations you include in your paper could be crucial to your research. Make sure your essay has clear recommendations that are simple to implement, can be used effectively, and are not unduly complex or challenging in any other manner. If you need further help writing recommendations, contact us via email or web chat.

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What are Implications and Recommendations in Research? How to Write it, with Examples

What are Implications and Recommendations in Research? How to Write It, with Examples

Highly cited research articles often contain both implications and recommendations , but there is often some confusion around the difference between implications and recommendations in research. Implications of a study are the impact your research makes in your chosen area; they discuss how the findings of the study may be important to justify further exploration of your research topic. Research recommendations suggest future actions or subsequent steps supported by your research findings. It helps to improve your field of research or cross-disciplinary fields through future research or provides frameworks for decision-makers or policymakers. Recommendations are the action plan you propose based on the outcome.

In this article, we aim to simplify these concepts for researchers by providing key insights on the following:  

  • what are implications in research 
  • what is recommendation in research 
  • differences between implications and recommendations 
  • how to write implications in research 
  • how to write recommendation in research 
  • sample recommendation in research 

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Table of Contents

What are implications in research

The implications in research explain what the findings of the study mean to researchers or to certain subgroups or populations beyond the basic interpretation of results. Even if your findings fail to bring radical or disruptive changes to existing ways of doing things, they might have important implications for future research studies. For example, your proposed method for operating remote-controlled robots could be more precise, efficient, or cheaper than existing methods, or the remote-controlled robot could be used in other application areas. This could enable more researchers to study a specific problem or open up new research opportunities.   

Implications in research inform how the findings, drawn from your results, may be important for and impact policy, practice, theory, and subsequent research. Implications may be theoretical or practical. 1  

  • Practical implications are potential values of the study with practical or real outcomes . Determining the practical implications of several solutions can aid in identifying optimal solution results. For example, clinical research or research on classroom learning mostly has practical implications in research . If you developed a new teaching method, the implication would be how teachers can use that method based on your findings.  
  • Theoretical implications in research constitute additions to existing theories or establish new theories. These types of implications in research characterize the ability of research to influence society in apparent ways. It is, at most, an educated guess (theoretical) about the possible implication of action and need not be as absolute as practical implications in research . If your study supported the tested theory, the theoretical implication would be that the theory can explain the investigated phenomenon. Else, your study may serve as a basis for modifying the theory. Theories may be partially supported as well, implying further study of the theory or necessary modifications are required.  

What are recommendations in research?

Recommendations in research can be considered an important segment of the analysis phase. Recommendations allow you to suggest specific interventions or strategies to address the issues and constraints identified through your study. It responds to key findings arrived at through data collection and analysis. A process of prioritization can help you narrow down important findings for which recommendations are developed.  

Recommendations in research examples

Recommendations in research may vary depending on the purpose or beneficiary as seen in the table below.  

Table: Recommendations in research examples based on purpose and beneficiary  

 

 

 

Filling a knowledge gap  Researchers  ‘Future research should explore the effectiveness of differentiated programs in special needs students.’ 
For practice  Practitioners  ‘Future research should introduce new models and methods to train teachers for curriculum development and modification introducing differentiated programs.’  
For a policy (targeting health and nutrition)  Policymakers and management  ‘Governments and higher education policymakers need to encourage and popularize differentiated learning in educational institutions.’ 

If you’re wondering how to make recommendations in research . You can use the simple  recommendation in research example below as a handy template.  

Table: Sample recommendation in research template  

 
The current study can be interpreted as a first step in the research on differentiated instructions. However, the results of this study should be treated with caution as the selected participants were more willing to make changes in their teaching models, limiting the generalizability of the model.  

Future research might consider ways to overcome resistance to implementing differentiated learning. It could also contribute to a deeper understanding of the practices for suitable implementation of differentiated learning. 

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Basic differences between implications and recommendations in research

Implications and recommendations in research are two important aspects of a research paper or your thesis or dissertation. Implications discuss the importance of the research findings, while recommendations offer specific actions to solve a problem. So, the basic difference between the two is in their function and the questions asked to achieve it. The following table highlights the main differences between implications and recommendations in research .  

Table: Differences between implications and recommendations in research  

 

 

 

  Implications in research tell us how and why your results are important for the field at large.  

 

Recommendations in research are suggestions/solutions that address certain problems based on your study results. 

 

  Discuss the importance of your research study and the difference it makes. 

 

Lists specific actions to be taken with regard to policy, practice, theory, or subsequent research. 

 

  What do your research findings mean?  What’s next in this field of research? 
  In the discussion section, after summarizing the main findings. 

 

In the discussion section, after the implications, and before the concluding paragraphs. 

 

  Our results suggest that interventions might emphasize the importance of providing emotional support to families. 

 

Based on our findings, we recommend conducting periodic assessments to benefit fully from the interventions. 

 

Where do implications go in your research paper

Because the implications and recommendations of the research are based on study findings, both are usually written after the completion of a study. There is no specific section dedicated to implications in research ; they are usually integrated into the discussion section adding evidence as to why the results are meaningful and what they add to the field. Implications can be written after summarizing your main findings and before the recommendations and conclusion.   

Implications can also be presented in the conclusion section after a short summary of the study results.   

How to write implications in research

Implication means something that is inferred. The implications of your research are derived from the importance of your work and how it will impact future research. It is based on how previous studies have advanced your field and how your study can add to that.   

When figuring out how to write implications in research , a good strategy is to separate it into the different types of implications in research , such as social, political, technological, policy-related, or others. As mentioned earlier, the most frequently used are the theoretical and practical implications.   

Next, you need to ask, “Who will benefit the most from reading my paper?” Is it policymakers, physicians, the public, or other researchers? Once you know your target population, explain how your findings can help them.  

The implication section can include a paragraph or two that asserts the practical or managerial implications and links it to the study findings. A discussion can then follow, demonstrating that the findings can be practically implemented or how they will benefit a specific audience. The writer is given a specific degree of freedom when writing research implications , depending on the type of implication in research you want to discuss: practical or theoretical. Each is discussed differently, using different words or in separate sections. The implications can be based on how the findings in your study are similar or dissimilar to that in previous studies. Your study may reaffirm or disprove the results of other studies, which has important implications in research . You can also suggest future research directions in the light of your findings or require further research to confirm your findings, which are all crucial implications. Most importantly, ensure the implications in research are specific and that your tone reflects the strength of your findings without exaggerating your results.   

Implications in research can begin with the following specific sentence structures:  

  • These findings suggest that…
  • These results build on existing body of evidence of…
  • These results should be considered when…
  • While previous research focused on x, our results show that y…
Patients were most interested in items relating to communication with healthcare providers. 
These findings suggest that people can change hospitals if they do not find communication effective. 

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What should recommendations in research look like?

Recommendations for future research should be:  

  • Directly related to your research question or findings  
  • Concrete and specific  
  • Supported by a clear reasoning  

The recommendations in research can be based on the following factors:  

1. Beneficiary: A paper’s research contribution may be aimed at single or multiple beneficiaries, based on which recommendations can vary. For instance, if your research is about the quality of care in hospitals, the research recommendation to different beneficiaries might be as follows:  

  • Nursing staff: Staff should undergo training to enhance their understanding of what quality of care entails.  
  • Health science educators: Educators must design training modules that address quality-related issues in the hospital.  
  • Hospital management: Develop policies that will increase staff participation in training related to health science.  

2. Limitations: The best way to figure out what to include in your research recommendations is to understand the limitations of your study. It could be based on factors that you have overlooked or could not consider in your present study. Accordingly, the researcher can recommend that other researchers approach the problem from a different perspective, dimension, or methodology. For example, research into the quality of care in hospitals can be based on quantitative data. The researcher can then recommend a qualitative study of factors influencing the quality of care, or they can suggest investigating the problem from the perspective of patients rather than the healthcare providers.   

3. Theory or Practice: Your recommendations in research could be implementation-oriented or further research-oriented.   

4. Your research: Research recommendations can be based on your topic, research objectives, literature review, and analysis, or evidence collected. For example, if your data points to the role of faculty involvement in developing effective programs, recommendations in research can include developing policies to increase faculty participation. Take a look at the evidence-based recommendation in research example s provided below.   

Table: Example of evidence-based research recommendation  

The study findings are positive  Recommend sustaining the practice 
The study findings are negative  Recommend actions to correct the situation 

Avoid making the following mistakes when writing research recommendations :  

  • Don’t undermine your own work: Recommendations in research should offer suggestions on how future studies can be built upon the current study as a natural extension of your work and not as an entirely new field of research.  
  • Support your study arguments: Ensure that your research findings stand alone on their own merits to showcase the strength of your research paper.   

How to write recommendations in research

When writing research recommendations , your focus should be on highlighting what additional work can be done in that field. It gives direction to researchers, industries, or governments about changes or developments possible in this field. For example, recommendations in research can include practical and obtainable strategies offering suggestions to academia to address problems. It can also be a framework that helps government agencies in developing strategic or long-term plans for timely actions against disasters or aid nation-building.  

There are a few SMART 2 things to remember when writing recommendations in research. Your recommendations must be: 

  • S pecific: Clearly state how challenges can be addressed for better outcomes and include an action plan that shows what can be achieved. 
  • M easurable: Use verbs denoting measurable outcomes, such as identify, analyze, design, compute, assess, evaluate, revise, plan, etc., to strengthen recommendations in research .   
  • A ttainable: Recommendations should offer a solution-oriented approach to problem-solving and must be written in a way that is easy to follow.  
  • R elevant: Research recommendations should be reasonable, realistic, and result-based. Make sure to suggest future possibilities for your research field.  
  • T imely: Time-based or time-sensitive recommendations in research help divide the action plan into long-term or short-term (immediate) goals. A timeline can also inform potential readers of what developments should occur over time.  

If you are wondering how many words to include in your research recommendation , a general rule of thumb would be to set aside 5% of the total word count for writing research recommendations . Finally, when writing the research implications and recommendations , stick to the facts and avoid overstating or over-generalizing the study findings. Both should be supported by evidence gathered through your data analysis.  

References:  

  • Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings.  Psychological bulletin ,  124 (2), 262.
  • Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.  Manag Rev ,  70 (11), 35-36.

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Research Recommendations – Guiding policy-makers for evidence-based decision making

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Research recommendations play a crucial role in guiding scholars and researchers toward fruitful avenues of exploration. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and an ever-expanding knowledge base, refining the process of generating research recommendations becomes imperative.

But, what is a research recommendation?

Research recommendations are suggestions or advice provided to researchers to guide their study on a specific topic . They are typically given by experts in the field. Research recommendations are more action-oriented and provide specific guidance for decision-makers, unlike implications that are broader and focus on the broader significance and consequences of the research findings. However, both are crucial components of a research study.

Difference Between Research Recommendations and Implication

Although research recommendations and implications are distinct components of a research study, they are closely related. The differences between them are as follows:

Difference between research recommendation and implication

Types of Research Recommendations

Recommendations in research can take various forms, which are as follows:

Article Recommendations Suggests specific research articles, papers, or publications
Topic Recommendations Guides researchers toward specific research topics or areas
Methodology Recommendations Offers advice on research methodologies, statistical techniques, or experimental designs
Collaboration Recommendations Connects researchers with others who share similar interests or expertise

These recommendations aim to assist researchers in navigating the vast landscape of academic knowledge.

Let us dive deeper to know about its key components and the steps to write an impactful research recommendation.

Key Components of Research Recommendations

The key components of research recommendations include defining the research question or objective, specifying research methods, outlining data collection and analysis processes, presenting results and conclusions, addressing limitations, and suggesting areas for future research. Here are some characteristics of research recommendations:

Characteristics of research recommendation

Research recommendations offer various advantages and play a crucial role in ensuring that research findings contribute to positive outcomes in various fields. However, they also have few limitations which highlights the significance of a well-crafted research recommendation in offering the promised advantages.

Advantages and limitations of a research recommendation

The importance of research recommendations ranges in various fields, influencing policy-making, program development, product development, marketing strategies, medical practice, and scientific research. Their purpose is to transfer knowledge from researchers to practitioners, policymakers, or stakeholders, facilitating informed decision-making and improving outcomes in different domains.

How to Write Research Recommendations?

Research recommendations can be generated through various means, including algorithmic approaches, expert opinions, or collaborative filtering techniques. Here is a step-wise guide to build your understanding on the development of research recommendations.

1. Understand the Research Question:

Understand the research question and objectives before writing recommendations. Also, ensure that your recommendations are relevant and directly address the goals of the study.

2. Review Existing Literature:

Familiarize yourself with relevant existing literature to help you identify gaps , and offer informed recommendations that contribute to the existing body of research.

3. Consider Research Methods:

Evaluate the appropriateness of different research methods in addressing the research question. Also, consider the nature of the data, the study design, and the specific objectives.

4. Identify Data Collection Techniques:

Gather dataset from diverse authentic sources. Include information such as keywords, abstracts, authors, publication dates, and citation metrics to provide a rich foundation for analysis.

5. Propose Data Analysis Methods:

Suggest appropriate data analysis methods based on the type of data collected. Consider whether statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, or a mixed-methods approach is most suitable.

6. Consider Limitations and Ethical Considerations:

Acknowledge any limitations and potential ethical considerations of the study. Furthermore, address these limitations or mitigate ethical concerns to ensure responsible research.

7. Justify Recommendations:

Explain how your recommendation contributes to addressing the research question or objective. Provide a strong rationale to help researchers understand the importance of following your suggestions.

8. Summarize Recommendations:

Provide a concise summary at the end of the report to emphasize how following these recommendations will contribute to the overall success of the research project.

By following these steps, you can create research recommendations that are actionable and contribute meaningfully to the success of the research project.

Download now to unlock some tips to improve your journey of writing research recommendations.

Example of a Research Recommendation

Here is an example of a research recommendation based on a hypothetical research to improve your understanding.

Research Recommendation: Enhancing Student Learning through Integrated Learning Platforms

Background:

The research study investigated the impact of an integrated learning platform on student learning outcomes in high school mathematics classes. The findings revealed a statistically significant improvement in student performance and engagement when compared to traditional teaching methods.

Recommendation:

In light of the research findings, it is recommended that educational institutions consider adopting and integrating the identified learning platform into their mathematics curriculum. The following specific recommendations are provided:

  • Implementation of the Integrated Learning Platform:

Schools are encouraged to adopt the integrated learning platform in mathematics classrooms, ensuring proper training for teachers on its effective utilization.

  • Professional Development for Educators:

Develop and implement professional programs to train educators in the effective use of the integrated learning platform to address any challenges teachers may face during the transition.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation:

Establish a monitoring and evaluation system to track the impact of the integrated learning platform on student performance over time.

  • Resource Allocation:

Allocate sufficient resources, both financial and technical, to support the widespread implementation of the integrated learning platform.

By implementing these recommendations, educational institutions can harness the potential of the integrated learning platform and enhance student learning experiences and academic achievements in mathematics.

This example covers the components of a research recommendation, providing specific actions based on the research findings, identifying the target audience, and outlining practical steps for implementation.

Using AI in Research Recommendation Writing

Enhancing research recommendations is an ongoing endeavor that requires the integration of cutting-edge technologies, collaborative efforts, and ethical considerations. By embracing data-driven approaches and leveraging advanced technologies, the research community can create more effective and personalized recommendation systems. However, it is accompanied by several limitations. Therefore, it is essential to approach the use of AI in research with a critical mindset, and complement its capabilities with human expertise and judgment.

Here are some limitations of integrating AI in writing research recommendation and some ways on how to counter them.

1. Data Bias

AI systems rely heavily on data for training. If the training data is biased or incomplete, the AI model may produce biased results or recommendations.

How to tackle: Audit regularly the model’s performance to identify any discrepancies and adjust the training data and algorithms accordingly.

2. Lack of Understanding of Context:

AI models may struggle to understand the nuanced context of a particular research problem. They may misinterpret information, leading to inaccurate recommendations.

How to tackle: Use AI to characterize research articles and topics. Employ them to extract features like keywords, authorship patterns and content-based details.

3. Ethical Considerations:

AI models might stereotype certain concepts or generate recommendations that could have negative consequences for certain individuals or groups.

How to tackle: Incorporate user feedback mechanisms to reduce redundancies. Establish an ethics review process for AI models in research recommendation writing.

4. Lack of Creativity and Intuition:

AI may struggle with tasks that require a deep understanding of the underlying principles or the ability to think outside the box.

How to tackle: Hybrid approaches can be employed by integrating AI in data analysis and identifying patterns for accelerating the data interpretation process.

5. Interpretability:

Many AI models, especially complex deep learning models, lack transparency on how the model arrived at a particular recommendation.

How to tackle: Implement models like decision trees or linear models. Provide clear explanation of the model architecture, training process, and decision-making criteria.

6. Dynamic Nature of Research:

Research fields are dynamic, and new information is constantly emerging. AI models may struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape and may not be able to adapt to new developments.

How to tackle: Establish a feedback loop for continuous improvement. Regularly update the recommendation system based on user feedback and emerging research trends.

The integration of AI in research recommendation writing holds great promise for advancing knowledge and streamlining the research process. However, navigating these concerns is pivotal in ensuring the responsible deployment of these technologies. Researchers need to understand the use of responsible use of AI in research and must be aware of the ethical considerations.

Exploring research recommendations plays a critical role in shaping the trajectory of scientific inquiry. It serves as a compass, guiding researchers toward more robust methodologies, collaborative endeavors, and innovative approaches. Embracing these suggestions not only enhances the quality of individual studies but also contributes to the collective advancement of human understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of recommendations in research is to provide practical and actionable suggestions based on the study's findings, guiding future actions, policies, or interventions in a specific field or context. Recommendations bridges the gap between research outcomes and their real-world application.

To make a research recommendation, analyze your findings, identify key insights, and propose specific, evidence-based actions. Include the relevance of the recommendations to the study's objectives and provide practical steps for implementation.

Begin a recommendation by succinctly summarizing the key findings of the research. Clearly state the purpose of the recommendation and its intended impact. Use a direct and actionable language to convey the suggested course of action.

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How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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How To Write The Conclusion Chapter

A Simple Explainer With Examples + Free Template

By: Jenna Crossley (PhD) | Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021

So, you’ve wrapped up your results and discussion chapters, and you’re finally on the home stretch – the conclusion chapter . In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to craft a high-quality conclusion chapter for your dissertation or thesis project.

Overview: The Conclusion Chapter

  • What the thesis/dissertation conclusion chapter is
  • What to include in your conclusion
  • How to structure and write up your conclusion
  • A few tips  to help you ace the chapter
  • FREE conclusion template

What is the conclusion chapter?

The conclusion chapter is typically the final major chapter of a dissertation or thesis. As such, it serves as a concluding summary of your research findings and wraps up the document. While some publications such as journal articles and research reports combine the discussion and conclusion sections, these are typically separate chapters in a dissertation or thesis. As always, be sure to check what your university’s structural preference is before you start writing up these chapters.

So, what’s the difference between the discussion and the conclusion chapter?

Well, the two chapters are quite similar , as they both discuss the key findings of the study. However, the conclusion chapter is typically more general and high-level in nature. In your discussion chapter, you’ll typically discuss the intricate details of your study, but in your conclusion chapter, you’ll take a   broader perspective, reporting on the main research outcomes and how these addressed your research aim (or aims) .

A core function of the conclusion chapter is to synthesise all major points covered in your study and to tell the reader what they should take away from your work. Basically, you need to tell them what you found , why it’s valuable , how it can be applied , and what further research can be done.

Whatever you do, don’t just copy and paste what you’ve written in your discussion chapter! The conclusion chapter should not be a simple rehash of the discussion chapter. While the two chapters are similar, they have distinctly different functions.  

Dissertation Conclusion Template

What should I include in the conclusion chapter?

To understand what needs to go into your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to understand what the chapter needs to achieve. In general, a good dissertation conclusion chapter should achieve the following:

  • Summarise the key findings of the study
  • Explicitly answer the research question(s) and address the research aims
  • Inform the reader of the study’s main contributions
  • Discuss any limitations or weaknesses of the study
  • Present recommendations for future research

Therefore, your conclusion chapter needs to cover these core components. Importantly, you need to be careful not to include any new findings or data points. Your conclusion chapter should be based purely on data and analysis findings that you’ve already presented in the earlier chapters. If there’s a new point you want to introduce, you’ll need to go back to your results and discussion chapters to weave the foundation in there.

In many cases, readers will jump from the introduction chapter directly to the conclusions chapter to get a quick overview of the study’s purpose and key findings. Therefore, when you write up your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to assume that the reader hasn’t consumed the inner chapters of your dissertation or thesis. In other words, craft your conclusion chapter such that there’s a strong connection and smooth flow between the introduction and conclusion chapters, even though they’re on opposite ends of your document.

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How to write the conclusion chapter

Now that you have a clearer view of what the conclusion chapter is about, let’s break down the structure of this chapter so that you can get writing. Keep in mind that this is merely a typical structure – it’s not set in stone or universal. Some universities will prefer that you cover some of these points in the discussion chapter , or that you cover the points at different levels in different chapters.

Step 1: Craft a brief introduction section

As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the conclusions chapter needs to start with a brief introduction. In this introductory section, you’ll want to tell the reader what they can expect to find in the chapter, and in what order . Here’s an example of what this might look like:

This chapter will conclude the study by summarising the key research findings in relation to the research aims and questions and discussing the value and contribution thereof. It will also review the limitations of the study and propose opportunities for future research.

Importantly, the objective here is just to give the reader a taste of what’s to come (a roadmap of sorts), not a summary of the chapter. So, keep it short and sweet – a paragraph or two should be ample.

Step 2: Discuss the overall findings in relation to the research aims

The next step in writing your conclusions chapter is to discuss the overall findings of your study , as they relate to the research aims and research questions . You would have likely covered similar ground in the discussion chapter, so it’s important to zoom out a little bit here and focus on the broader findings – specifically, how these help address the research aims .

In practical terms, it’s useful to start this section by reminding your reader of your research aims and research questions, so that the findings are well contextualised. In this section, phrases such as, “This study aimed to…” and “the results indicate that…” will likely come in handy. For example, you could say something like the following:

This study aimed to investigate the feeding habits of the naked mole-rat. The results indicate that naked mole rats feed on underground roots and tubers. Further findings show that these creatures eat only a part of the plant, leaving essential parts to ensure long-term food stability.

Be careful not to make overly bold claims here. Avoid claims such as “this study proves that” or “the findings disprove existing the existing theory”. It’s seldom the case that a single study can prove or disprove something. Typically, this is achieved by a broader body of research, not a single study – especially not a dissertation or thesis which will inherently have significant  limitations . We’ll discuss those limitations a little later.

Dont make overly bold claims in your dissertation conclusion

Step 3: Discuss how your study contributes to the field

Next, you’ll need to discuss how your research has contributed to the field – both in terms of theory and practice . This involves talking about what you achieved in your study, highlighting why this is important and valuable, and how it can be used or applied.

In this section you’ll want to:

  • Mention any research outputs created as a result of your study (e.g., articles, publications, etc.)
  • Inform the reader on just how your research solves your research problem , and why that matters
  • Reflect on gaps in the existing research and discuss how your study contributes towards addressing these gaps
  • Discuss your study in relation to relevant theories . For example, does it confirm these theories or constructively challenge them?
  • Discuss how your research findings can be applied in the real world . For example, what specific actions can practitioners take, based on your findings?

Be careful to strike a careful balance between being firm but humble in your arguments here. It’s unlikely that your one study will fundamentally change paradigms or shake up the discipline, so making claims to this effect will be frowned upon . At the same time though, you need to present your arguments with confidence, firmly asserting the contribution your research has made, however small that contribution may be. Simply put, you need to keep it balanced .

Step 4: Reflect on the limitations of your study

Now that you’ve pumped your research up, the next step is to critically reflect on the limitations and potential shortcomings of your study. You may have already covered this in the discussion chapter, depending on your university’s structural preferences, so be careful not to repeat yourself unnecessarily.

There are many potential limitations that can apply to any given study. Some common ones include:

  • Sampling issues that reduce the generalisability of the findings (e.g., non-probability sampling )
  • Insufficient sample size (e.g., not getting enough survey responses ) or limited data access
  • Low-resolution data collection or analysis techniques
  • Researcher bias or lack of experience
  • Lack of access to research equipment
  • Time constraints that limit the methodology (e.g. cross-sectional vs longitudinal time horizon)
  • Budget constraints that limit various aspects of the study

Discussing the limitations of your research may feel self-defeating (no one wants to highlight their weaknesses, right), but it’s a critical component of high-quality research. It’s important to appreciate that all studies have limitations (even well-funded studies by expert researchers) – therefore acknowledging these limitations adds credibility to your research by showing that you understand the limitations of your research design .

That being said, keep an eye on your wording and make sure that you don’t undermine your research . It’s important to strike a balance between recognising the limitations, but also highlighting the value of your research despite those limitations. Show the reader that you understand the limitations, that these were justified given your constraints, and that you know how they can be improved upon – this will get you marks.

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

Next, you’ll need to make recommendations for future studies. This will largely be built on the limitations you just discussed. For example, if one of your study’s weaknesses was related to a specific data collection or analysis method, you can make a recommendation that future researchers undertake similar research using a more sophisticated method.

Another potential source of future research recommendations is any data points or analysis findings that were interesting or surprising , but not directly related to your study’s research aims and research questions. So, if you observed anything that “stood out” in your analysis, but you didn’t explore it in your discussion (due to a lack of relevance to your research aims), you can earmark that for further exploration in this section.

Essentially, this section is an opportunity to outline how other researchers can build on your study to take the research further and help develop the body of knowledge. So, think carefully about the new questions that your study has raised, and clearly outline these for future researchers to pick up on.

Step 6: Wrap up with a closing summary

Tips for a top-notch conclusion chapter

Now that we’ve covered the what , why and how of the conclusion chapter, here are some quick tips and suggestions to help you craft a rock-solid conclusion.

  • Don’t ramble . The conclusion chapter usually consumes 5-7% of the total word count (although this will vary between universities), so you need to be concise. Edit this chapter thoroughly with a focus on brevity and clarity.
  • Be very careful about the claims you make in terms of your study’s contribution. Nothing will make the marker’s eyes roll back faster than exaggerated or unfounded claims. Be humble but firm in your claim-making.
  • Use clear and simple language that can be easily understood by an intelligent layman. Remember that not every reader will be an expert in your field, so it’s important to make your writing accessible. Bear in mind that no one knows your research better than you do, so it’s important to spell things out clearly for readers.

Hopefully, this post has given you some direction and confidence to take on the conclusion chapter of your dissertation or thesis with confidence. If you’re still feeling a little shaky and need a helping hand, consider booking a free initial consultation with a friendly Grad Coach to discuss how we can help you with hands-on, private coaching.

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17 Comments

Abebayehu

Really you team are doing great!

Mohapi-Mothae

Your guide on writing the concluding chapter of a research is really informative especially to the beginners who really do not know where to start. Im now ready to start. Keep it up guys

Really your team are doing great!

Solomon Abeba

Very helpful guidelines, timely saved. Thanks so much for the tips.

Mazvita Chikutukutu

This post was very helpful and informative. Thank you team.

Moses Ndlovu

A very enjoyable, understandable and crisp presentation on how to write a conclusion chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Jenna.

Dee

This was a very helpful article which really gave me practical pointers for my concluding chapter. Keep doing what you are doing! It meant a lot to me to be able to have this guide. Thank you so much.

Suresh Tukaram Telvekar

Nice content dealing with the conclusion chapter, it’s a relief after the streneous task of completing discussion part.Thanks for valuable guidance

Musa Balonde

Thanks for your guidance

Asan

I get all my doubts clarified regarding the conclusion chapter. It’s really amazing. Many thanks.

vera

Very helpful tips. Thanks so much for the guidance

Sam Mwaniki

Thank you very much for this piece. It offers a very helpful starting point in writing the conclusion chapter of my thesis.

Abdullahi Maude

It’s awesome! Most useful and timely too. Thanks a million times

Abueng

Bundle of thanks for your guidance. It was greatly helpful.

Rebecca

Wonderful, clear, practical guidance. So grateful to read this as I conclude my research. Thank you.

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How to Write a Dissertation | A Guide to Structure & Content

A dissertation or thesis is a long piece of academic writing based on original research, submitted as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The structure of a dissertation depends on your field, but it is usually divided into at least four or five chapters (including an introduction and conclusion chapter).

The most common dissertation structure in the sciences and social sciences includes:

  • An introduction to your topic
  • A literature review that surveys relevant sources
  • An explanation of your methodology
  • An overview of the results of your research
  • A discussion of the results and their implications
  • A conclusion that shows what your research has contributed

Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an argument by analysing primary and secondary sources . Instead of the standard structure outlined here, you might organise your chapters around different themes or case studies.

Other important elements of the dissertation include the title page , abstract , and reference list . If in doubt about how your dissertation should be structured, always check your department’s guidelines and consult with your supervisor.

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Table of contents

Acknowledgements, table of contents, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review / theoretical framework, methodology, reference list.

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation’s title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo. Many programs have strict requirements for formatting the dissertation title page .

The title page is often used as cover when printing and binding your dissertation .

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The acknowledgements section is usually optional, and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you.

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150-300 words long. You should write it at the very end, when you’ve completed the rest of the dissertation. In the abstract, make sure to:

  • State the main topic and aims of your research
  • Describe the methods you used
  • Summarise the main results
  • State your conclusions

Although the abstract is very short, it’s the first part (and sometimes the only part) of your dissertation that people will read, so it’s important that you get it right. If you’re struggling to write a strong abstract, read our guide on how to write an abstract .

In the table of contents, list all of your chapters and subheadings and their page numbers. The dissertation contents page gives the reader an overview of your structure and helps easily navigate the document.

All parts of your dissertation should be included in the table of contents, including the appendices. You can generate a table of contents automatically in Word.

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If you have used a lot of tables and figures in your dissertation, you should itemise them in a numbered list . You can automatically generate this list using the Insert Caption feature in Word.

If you have used a lot of abbreviations in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetised list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

If you have used a lot of highly specialised terms that will not be familiar to your reader, it might be a good idea to include a glossary . List the terms alphabetically and explain each term with a brief description or definition.

In the introduction, you set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance, and tell the reader what to expect in the rest of the dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving necessary background information to contextualise your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of the research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your objectives and research questions , and indicate how you will answer them
  • Give an overview of your dissertation’s structure

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant to your research. By the end, the reader should understand the what , why and how of your research. Not sure how? Read our guide on how to write a dissertation introduction .

Before you start on your research, you should have conducted a literature review to gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic. This means:

  • Collecting sources (e.g. books and journal articles) and selecting the most relevant ones
  • Critically evaluating and analysing each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g. themes, patterns, conflicts, gaps) to make an overall point

In the dissertation literature review chapter or section, you shouldn’t just summarise existing studies, but develop a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear basis or justification for your own research. For example, it might aim to show how your research:

  • Addresses a gap in the literature
  • Takes a new theoretical or methodological approach to the topic
  • Proposes a solution to an unresolved problem
  • Advances a theoretical debate
  • Builds on and strengthens existing knowledge with new data

The literature review often becomes the basis for a theoretical framework , in which you define and analyse the key theories, concepts and models that frame your research. In this section you can answer descriptive research questions about the relationship between concepts or variables.

The methodology chapter or section describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to assess its validity. You should generally include:

  • The overall approach and type of research (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, experimental, ethnographic)
  • Your methods of collecting data (e.g. interviews, surveys, archives)
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Your methods of analysing data (e.g. statistical analysis, discourse analysis)
  • Tools and materials you used (e.g. computer programs, lab equipment)
  • A discussion of any obstacles you faced in conducting the research and how you overcame them
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Your aim in the methodology is to accurately report what you did, as well as convincing the reader that this was the best approach to answering your research questions or objectives.

Next, you report the results of your research . You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses, or topics. Only report results that are relevant to your objectives and research questions. In some disciplines, the results section is strictly separated from the discussion, while in others the two are combined.

For example, for qualitative methods like in-depth interviews, the presentation of the data will often be woven together with discussion and analysis, while in quantitative and experimental research, the results should be presented separately before you discuss their meaning. If you’re unsure, consult with your supervisor and look at sample dissertations to find out the best structure for your research.

In the results section it can often be helpful to include tables, graphs and charts. Think carefully about how best to present your data, and don’t include tables or figures that just repeat what you have written  –  they should provide extra information or usefully visualise the results in a way that adds value to your text.

Full versions of your data (such as interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix .

The discussion  is where you explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research questions. Here you should interpret the results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data and discuss any limitations that might have influenced the results.

The discussion should reference other scholarly work to show how your results fit with existing knowledge. You can also make recommendations for future research or practical action.

The dissertation conclusion should concisely answer the main research question, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of your central argument. Wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you did and how you did it. The conclusion often also includes recommendations for research or practice.

In this section, it’s important to show how your findings contribute to knowledge in the field and why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known?

You must include full details of all sources that you have cited in a reference list (sometimes also called a works cited list or bibliography). It’s important to follow a consistent reference style . Each style has strict and specific requirements for how to format your sources in the reference list.

The most common styles used in UK universities are Harvard referencing and Vancouver referencing . Your department will often specify which referencing style you should use – for example, psychology students tend to use APA style , humanities students often use MHRA , and law students always use OSCOLA . M ake sure to check the requirements, and ask your supervisor if you’re unsure.

To save time creating the reference list and make sure your citations are correctly and consistently formatted, you can use our free APA Citation Generator .

Your dissertation itself should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents you have used that do not fit into the main body of your dissertation (such as interview transcripts, survey questions or tables with full figures) can be added as appendices .

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How to Write Recommendations in a Research Paper Correctly and Appropriately

Updated 25 Jun 2024

How to Write Recommendations in a Research Paper

Completing a research paper can be daunting, but it becomes more manageable if you delve deeper into the process. Academic papers adhere to specific formats that must be followed to ensure high-quality content.

The conclusion and recommendations sections are crucial components of a research paper. They mark the end of your research, leave a lasting impression on your readers, and should be approached with great care. No wonder many students search for information about how to write recommendations in research papers. Explore this comprehensive guide to infuse your content with thoughtfulness and coherence, thereby elevating the impact of your research paper.

Recommendations in a research paper: meaning and goals

Before you start learning how to write recommendations in a research paper, the first thing is to clarify the meaning of this term. It is a significant element in the research paper structure, as it is critical to your discussion section and conclusion. While conducting research and analyzing gathered data, you may come across ideas or results that only partially align with the scope of your research topic. Alternatively, your findings offer possible implications or causal relationships between the aspects not covered in existing research.

This section will provide practical solutions for further research based on your conclusions and findings. The particular goals of this section depend on the research nature and usually include the following:

  • Providing strategies to address the issues considered in the paper;
  • Delivering suggestions on how the investigation findings can be applied in practice;
  • Identifying gaps in the subject area and suggesting ways to extend existing knowledge;
  • Enhancing reliability and validity of the research findings. 

Where to put recommendations?

To better understand how to write recommendations in research, you should know where to insert them. These elements are typically added in the conclusion (a short version) and discussion sections. Still, if you’re doing research with a practical or business focus, you can also include your suggestions in an advisory report or separate section. This text part should be completed based on the research findings and evidence. It should be clear, specific, and actionable, targeted to the intended audience, such as researchers, practitioners, or policymakers.

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What should recommendations look like?

When providing your solutions for further research, it’s important to ensure they are specific, fully connected to your investigation, and supported by a comprehensible rationale. The essential goal is to show how other researchers can generate the same results to make conclusions and offer potential directions for future research. 

Recommendations should be clear and include actionable words. While completing this section, the writer should show a solution-oriented approach by highlighting the scope for future investigation. Using bullet points is a better way to ensure clarity instead of writing long paragraphs.

Look at the following recommendation in a research paper example:

It is recommended that company X should create and promote sugar-free biscuits along with their existing product range. The marketing department should focus on creating a positive and healthy image. 

Let’s rewrite this paragraph to make it clear and well-structured:

  • The corporation has to introduce and promote sugar-free products;
  • The company has to create a new positive image;
  • The company has to launch an advertising campaign to show their products’ benefits for health.

When visiting the EduBirdie website, you’ll find many helpful tips on writing a research paper, ranging from completing a research paper conclusion to exploring examples of a well-thought-out recommendations section. Don’t miss your chance to improve your paper with our assistance!

Structure of recommendations

Let’s consider the typical structure of this part. You’ll come across many various ways to organize it. The most common approach uses a simple formula with three elements: research question, conclusion, and recommendation. Now, you’ll see how this structure can be implemented.

Research question:

Which category of people is more prone to social exclusion? 

Conclusion:

The study found that individuals over 65 have a greater risk of being isolated from society.

Recommendation:

It is recommended that the institutions dealing with overcoming social exclusion should focus on this particular group. 

In this example, the author delivers a suggestion based on the research findings (the risk of social isolation grows among people aged 65 and more). The measures to improve this situation are indicated (the organizations dealing with problems of social isolation should pay more attention to people over 65 years old).

How to write recommendations in research papers: essential guidelines

Look at some tips from EduBirdie research paper writing services to help you complete a flawless chapter for your papers.

  • Be concise in your statements.  Ensure that your suggestions are written in clear and concise language, avoiding jargon or technical terms difficult to understand. Try to limit yourself to one-sentence statements to present your recommendation. Not only it can help with language learning overall, but will also look more professional.
  • Organize your ideas logically and coherently . You may use lists or paragraphs depending on your institution's guidelines or field of study. Use headings and subheadings to structure your section for easy navigation.
  • Provide specific and concrete suggestions.  Clearly state the issues you explore and offer specific measures and solutions. Your call to action and suggestions should be related to the issues mentioned in the previous sections. Focusing on the most relevant and actionable suggestions directly stemming from your research is crucial.
  • Match recommendations to your conclusion.  Ensure that your suggestions logically align with your conclusions. Refrain from suggesting too many solutions. You can create one recommendation addressing several conclusions when you must provide numerous suggestions for every study conclusion.
  • Ensure your solutions are achievable.  Your recommendations should be practical and feasible to implement. Suggest specific and actionable steps to effectively address the considered issues or gaps in the research, avoiding vague or impractical suggestions.
  • Use a comprehensive approach.  Make sure your solutions cover all relevant areas within your research scope. Consider different contexts, stakeholders, and perspectives affected by the recommendations. Be thorough in identifying potential improvement areas and offering appropriate actions.
  • Don’t add new information to this part of your paper.  Avoid introducing new issues or ideas to complete your argument when writing recommendations in a research paper. Your academic paper has to stand on its own merits. 
  • Create content tailored to your readers.  Ensure that your recommendations are aimed at your audience, namely your colleagues in the field of study who work on similar topics. The ideas you provide in the paper should be based on limitations identified during research. They should offer concrete possibilities for further study to rely on areas your investigation could not cover when completed.
  • Explain how your recommendations can solve the issues you explore.  Go beyond listing suggestions and provide a rationale for each, including why it is essential, how it handles the research problem, and what evidence or theory supports it. Use relevant literature citations to strengthen your content. Explain how the suggested solutions can effectively answer the research question. This can be done by adding the following:
  • Ideas for improving the methodology or approach;
  • Policy suggestions;
  • Perspectives for future research.
  • Don’t undermine your research contribution or criticize yourself.   Avoid criticizing yourself in this section. Instead, use it as a perfect opportunity to provide ideas on how future studies can build upon your findings, making them a natural extension point. 
  • Acknowledge any limitations or constraints of your research.  Reflect on how these limitations may impact the feasibility or generalizability of your solutions. This demonstrates critical thinking and awareness of the limitations of your study.
  • End this section with a summary.  Highlight the key suggestions and their potential impact in a short conclusion. Emphasize the significance of your ideas and their valuable contribution to the field.

Don’t forget to consult and adhere to the requirements and specific guidelines provided by your institution for this section.

How do the discussion and the conclusion sections differ in a research paper? 

The discussion usually entails a comprehensive analysis of the results, delving into the significance of your findings and providing contextualization using citations of relevant sources. On the other hand, the conclusion is typically more concise and general. It briefly considers the main research question and provides suggestions from your findings.

Can the research paper conclusion come with new arguments? 

Although adding fresh evidence or arguments in the conclusion might be tempting, especially if you have a compelling point, we don’t recommend doing it. Research papers, dissertations, or theses typically adhere to a formal structure. Exposing all your arguments and findings in the thesis body is crucial. It’s better to do it in the discussion and results chapters. The conclusion should serve as a summary and reflection of your evidence and arguments rather than a place to introduce new ideas.

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Written by Steven Robinson

Steven Robinson is an academic writing expert with a degree in English literature. His expertise, patient approach, and support empower students to express ideas clearly. On EduBirdie's blog, he provides valuable writing guides on essays, research papers, and other intriguing topics. Enjoys chess in free time.

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Thesis and Dissertation: Getting Started

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The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

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How to Structure a Dissertation – A Step by Step Guide

Published by Owen Ingram at August 11th, 2021 , Revised On September 20, 2023

A dissertation – sometimes called a thesis –  is a long piece of information backed up by extensive research. This one, huge piece of research is what matters the most when students – undergraduates and postgraduates – are in their final year of study.

On the other hand, some institutions, especially in the case of undergraduate students, may or may not require students to write a dissertation. Courses are offered instead. This generally depends on the requirements of that particular institution.

If you are unsure about how to structure your dissertation or thesis, this article will offer you some guidelines to work out what the most important segments of a dissertation paper are and how you should organise them. Why is structure so important in research, anyway?

One way to answer that, as Abbie Hoffman aptly put it, is because: “Structure is more important than content in the transmission of information.”

Also Read:   How to write a dissertation – step by step guide .

How to Structure a Dissertation or Thesis

It should be noted that the exact structure of your dissertation will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your research approach (qualitative/quantitative)
  • The nature of your research design (exploratory/descriptive etc.)
  • The requirements set for forth by your academic institution.
  • The discipline or field your study belongs to. For instance, if you are a humanities student, you will need to develop your dissertation on the same pattern as any long essay .

This will include developing an overall argument to support the thesis statement and organizing chapters around theories or questions. The dissertation will be structured such that it starts with an introduction , develops on the main idea in its main body paragraphs and is then summarised in conclusion .

However, if you are basing your dissertation on primary or empirical research, you will be required to include each of the below components. In most cases of dissertation writing, each of these elements will have to be written as a separate chapter.

But depending on the word count you are provided with and academic subject, you may choose to combine some of these elements.

For example, sciences and engineering students often present results and discussions together in one chapter rather than two different chapters.

If you have any doubts about structuring your dissertation or thesis, it would be a good idea to consult with your academic supervisor and check your department’s requirements.

Parts of  a Dissertation or Thesis

Your dissertation will  start with a t itle page that will contain details of the author/researcher, research topic, degree program (the paper is to be submitted for), and research supervisor. In other words, a title page is the opening page containing all the names and title related to your research.

The name of your university, logo, student ID and submission date can also be presented on the title page. Many academic programs have stringent rules for formatting the dissertation title page.

Acknowledgements

The acknowledgments section allows you to thank those who helped you with your dissertation project. You might want to mention the names of your academic supervisor, family members, friends, God, and participants of your study whose contribution and support enabled you to complete your work.

However, the acknowledgments section is usually optional.

Tip: Many students wrongly assume that they need to thank everyone…even those who had little to no contributions towards the dissertation. This is not the case. You only need to thank those who were directly involved in the research process, such as your participants/volunteers, supervisor(s) etc.

Perhaps the smallest yet important part of a thesis, an abstract contains 5 parts:

  • A brief introduction of your research topic.
  • The significance of your research.
  •  A line or two about the methodology that was used.
  • The results and what they mean (briefly); their interpretation(s).
  • And lastly, a conclusive comment regarding the results’ interpretation(s) as conclusion .

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Tip: Make sure to highlight key points to help readers figure out the scope and findings of your research study without having to read the entire dissertation. The abstract is your first chance to impress your readers. So, make sure to get it right. Here are detailed guidelines on how to write abstract for dissertation .

Table of Contents

Table of contents is the section of a dissertation that guides each section of the dissertation paper’s contents. Depending on the level of detail in a table of contents, the most useful headings are listed to provide the reader the page number on which said information may be found at.

Table of contents can be inserted automatically as well as manually using the Microsoft Word Table of Contents feature.

List of Figures and Tables

If your dissertation paper uses several illustrations, tables and figures, you might want to present them in a numbered list in a separate section . Again, this list of tables and figures can be auto-created and auto inserted using the Microsoft Word built-in feature.

List of Abbreviations

Dissertations that include several abbreviations can also have an independent and separate alphabetised  list of abbreviations so readers can easily figure out their meanings.

If you think you have used terms and phrases in your dissertation that readers might not be familiar with, you can create a  glossary  that lists important phrases and terms with their meanings explained.

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Introduction

Introduction chapter  briefly introduces the purpose and relevance of your research topic.

Here, you will be expected to list the aim and key objectives of your research so your readers can easily understand what the following chapters of the dissertation will cover. A good dissertation introduction section incorporates the following information:

  • It provides background information to give context to your research.
  • It clearly specifies the research problem you wish to address with your research. When creating research questions , it is important to make sure your research’s focus and scope are neither too broad nor too narrow.
  • it demonstrates how your research is relevant and how it would contribute to the existing knowledge.
  • It provides an overview of the structure of your dissertation. The last section of an introduction contains an outline of the following chapters. It could start off with something like: “In the following chapter, past literature has been reviewed and critiqued. The proceeding section lays down major research findings…”
  • Theoretical framework – under a separate sub-heading – is also provided within the introductory chapter. Theoretical framework deals with the basic, underlying theory or theories that the research revolves around.

All the information presented under this section should be relevant, clear, and engaging. The readers should be able to figure out the what, why, when, and how of your study once they have read the introduction. Here are comprehensive guidelines on how to structure the introduction to the dissertation .

“Overwhelmed by tight deadlines and tons of assignments to write? There is no need to panic! Our expert academics can help you with every aspect of your dissertation – from topic creation and research problem identification to choosing the methodological approach and data analysis.”

Literature Review 

The  literature review chapter  presents previous research performed on the topic and improves your understanding of the existing literature on your chosen topic. This is usually organised to complement your  primary research  work completed at a later stage.

Make sure that your chosen academic sources are authentic and up-to-date. The literature review chapter must be comprehensive and address the aims and objectives as defined in the introduction chapter. Here is what your literature research chapter should aim to achieve:

  • Data collection from authentic and relevant academic sources such as books, journal articles and research papers.
  • Analytical assessment of the information collected from those sources; this would involve a critiquing the reviewed researches that is, what their strengths/weaknesses are, why the research method they employed is better than others, importance of their findings, etc.
  • Identifying key research gaps, conflicts, patterns, and theories to get your point across to the reader effectively.

While your literature review should summarise previous literature, it is equally important to make sure that you develop a comprehensible argument or structure to justify your research topic. It would help if you considered keeping the following questions in mind when writing the literature review:

  • How does your research work fill a certain gap in exiting literature?
  • Did you adopt/adapt a new research approach to investigate the topic?
  • Does your research solve an unresolved problem?
  • Is your research dealing with some groundbreaking topic or theory that others might have overlooked?
  • Is your research taking forward an existing theoretical discussion?
  • Does your research strengthen and build on current knowledge within your area of study? This is otherwise known as ‘adding to the existing body of knowledge’ in academic circles.

Tip: You might want to establish relationships between variables/concepts to provide descriptive answers to some or all of your research questions. For instance, in case of quantitative research, you might hypothesise that variable A is positively co-related to variable B that is, one increases and so does the other one.

Research Methodology

The methods and techniques ( secondary and/or primar y) employed to collect research data are discussed in detail in the  Methodology chapter. The most commonly used primary data collection methods are:

  • questionnaires
  • focus groups
  • observations

Essentially, the methodology chapter allows the researcher to explain how he/she achieved the findings, why they are reliable and how they helped him/her test the research hypotheses or address the research problem.

You might want to consider the following when writing methodology for the dissertation:

  • Type of research and approach your work is based on. Some of the most widely used types of research include experimental, quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
  • Data collection techniques that were employed such as questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, observations etc.
  • Details of how, when, where, and what of the research that was conducted.
  • Data analysis strategies employed (for instance, regression analysis).
  • Software and tools used for data analysis (Excel, STATA, SPSS, lab equipment, etc.).
  • Research limitations to highlight any hurdles you had to overcome when carrying our research. Limitations might or might not be mentioned within research methodology. Some institutions’ guidelines dictate they be mentioned under a separate section alongside recommendations.
  • Justification of your selection of research approach and research methodology.

Here is a comprehensive article on  how to structure a dissertation methodology .

Research Findings

In this section, you present your research findings. The dissertation findings chapter  is built around the research questions, as outlined in the introduction chapter. Report findings that are directly relevant to your research questions.

Any information that is not directly relevant to research questions or hypotheses but could be useful for the readers can be placed under the  Appendices .

As indicated above, you can either develop a  standalone chapter  to present your findings or combine them with the discussion chapter. This choice depends on  the type of research involved and the academic subject, as well as what your institution’s academic guidelines dictate.

For example, it is common to have both findings and discussion grouped under the same section, particularly if the dissertation is based on qualitative research data.

On the other hand, dissertations that use quantitative or experimental data should present findings and analysis/discussion in two separate chapters. Here are some sample dissertations to help you figure out the best structure for your own project.

Sample Dissertation

Tip: Try to present as many charts, graphs, illustrations and tables in the findings chapter to improve your data presentation. Provide their qualitative interpretations alongside, too. Refrain from explaining the information that is already evident from figures and tables.

The findings are followed by the  Discussion chapter , which is considered the heart of any dissertation paper. The discussion section is an opportunity for you to tie the knots together to address the research questions and present arguments, models and key themes.

This chapter can make or break your research.

The discussion chapter does not require any new data or information because it is more about the interpretation(s) of the data you have already collected and presented. Here are some questions for you to think over when writing the discussion chapter:

  • Did your work answer all the research questions or tested the hypothesis?
  • Did you come up with some unexpected results for which you have to provide an additional explanation or justification?
  • Are there any limitations that could have influenced your research findings?

Here is an article on how to  structure a dissertation discussion .

Conclusions corresponding to each research objective are provided in the  Conclusion section . This is usually done by revisiting the research questions to finally close the dissertation. Some institutions may specifically ask for recommendations to evaluate your critical thinking.

By the end, the readers should have a clear apprehension of your fundamental case with a focus on  what methods of research were employed  and what you achieved from this research.

Quick Question: Does the conclusion chapter reflect on the contributions your research work will make to existing knowledge?

Answer: Yes, the conclusion chapter of the research paper typically includes a reflection on the research’s contributions to existing knowledge.  In the “conclusion chapter”, you have to summarise the key findings and discuss how they add value to the existing literature on the current topic.

Reference list

All academic sources that you collected information from should be cited in-text and also presented in a  reference list (or a bibliography in case you include references that you read for the research but didn’t end up citing in the text), so the readers can easily locate the source of information when/if needed.

At most UK universities, Harvard referencing is the recommended style of referencing. It has strict and specific requirements on how to format a reference resource. Other common styles of referencing include MLA, APA, Footnotes, etc.

Each chapter of the dissertation should have relevant information. Any information that is not directly relevant to your research topic but your readers might be interested in (interview transcripts etc.) should be moved under the Appendices section .

Things like questionnaires, survey items or readings that were used in the study’s experiment are mostly included under appendices.

An Outline of Dissertation/Thesis Structure

An Outline of Dissertation

How can We Help you with your Dissertation?

If you are still unsure about how to structure a dissertation or thesis, or simply lack the motivation to kick start your dissertation project, you might be interested in our dissertation services .

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FAQs About Structure a Dissertation

What does the title page of a dissertation contain.

The title page will contain details of the author/researcher, research topic , degree program (the paper is to be submitted for) and research supervisor’s name(s). The name of your university, logo, student number and submission date can also be presented on the title page.

What is the purpose of adding acknowledgement?

The acknowledgements section allows you to thank those who helped you with your dissertation project. You might want to mention the names of your academic supervisor, family members, friends, God and participants of your study whose contribution and support enabled you to complete your work.

Can I omit the glossary from the dissertation?

Yes, but only if you think that your paper does not contain any terms or phrases that the reader might not understand. If you think you have used them in the paper,  you must create a glossary that lists important phrases and terms with their meanings explained.

What is the purpose of appendices in a dissertation?

Any information that is not directly relevant to research questions or hypotheses but could be useful for the readers can be placed under the Appendices, such as questionnaire that was used in the study.

Which referencing style should I use in my dissertation?

You can use any of the referencing styles such as APA, MLA, and Harvard, according to the recommendation of your university; however, almost all UK institutions prefer Harvard referencing style .

What is the difference between references and bibliography?

References contain all the works that you read up and used and therefore, cited within the text of your thesis. However, in case you read on some works and resources that you didn’t end up citing in-text, they will be referenced in what is called a bibliography.

Additional readings might also be present alongside each bibliography entry for readers.

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This brief introductory section aims to deal with the definitions of two paradigms, positivism and post-positivism, as well as their importance in research.

Your dissertation introduction chapter provides detailed information on the research problem, significance of research, and research aim & objectives.

This article is a step-by-step guide to how to write statement of a problem in research. The research problem will be half-solved by defining it correctly.

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writing recommendations dissertation

Recommendations

Recommendations and references have a similar role in a selective process. Recommendations are usually formal, confidential letters provided to a graduate school or other academic-based program, while references are used by employers to confirm qualifications before making an offer.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation provide a detailed and persuasive argument for why and how the subject of the letter (you) should be admitted to the program you are applying for.

Typically, letters of recommendation are used as part of an application, most often for advanced degree programs but also for selective programs like fellowships, scholarships, or experiential learning. For example, a letter of recommendation is required for applications to the Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Program.

These letters are usually sent directly to the admissions office or selection committee rather than provided to the applicant. Some recommenders also choose to provide a copy to the person they are writing the letter about.

Ask people who can write about your relevant strengths and who will submit a recommendation on time.

You may need to ask different people, depending on what you are applying for. Some applications may require a personal recommender as well as an academic or professional one.

  • Ask those who know you well: They will be able to write a more comprehensive and detailed letter.
  • Ask those who can write a strong and relevant recommendation: You want a recommender who thinks highly of you—particularly in areas relevant to what you are applying for.
  • Ask those who can submit the letter on time: A glowing letter that arrives late won’t help you.

In order to plan ahead, have an honest conversation with the people you would like to ask for a recommendation well in advance of starting your application.

  • Could they be a strong recommender?
  • If not, what steps can you take to improve or to help them get to know you better?
  • What are the qualities or criteria that they use to determine whether they can provide a strong recommendation?

When to Ask

Ask at least three weeks in advance of the submission date.

Give them plenty of time to make a decision about writing the letter and so that it is as persuasive as possible. Make sure they are aware of the official deadline in addition to your timeline, especially if you would like them to submit the letter early.

Ask in an email.

Wait for an Honest Answer

The person needs time to consider your request. You want all recommendations to be strong ones. If someone you ask feels as though they cannot write a strong recommendation, it is better that they decline, so that you can ask someone else.

Package the Details

You should include all of the necessary details as well as additional helpful information all in one place. This makes it easier for them to reference what they need to know and make a decision. If the topic initially comes up during a meeting or conversation, send a follow-up email as a formal request and so that you can provide all of the details they will need.

  • What you are applying for
  • Any requirements in content or format
  • Timeline—your preferred timeline and/or the actual deadline
  • How and/or where to submit the letter

Additional Suggestions

  • Why you chose them as a recommender, either generally or for a specific program
  • A copy of your resume
  • A copy of items that speak to why you are applying, either for the field generally or for a specific program, such as a personal statement or application essay
  • Anything else that helps

Request: Write a Letter of Recommendation

Dear _____________, I hope you are doing well. I wanted to let you know that I was really inspired after _____________, and it has led me to decide to pursue ___________. I am in the process of applying for ________. My application requires a recommendation letter from a ______ [their role: professor, former or current supervisor, etc.] and since __________ [the reason you are asking this person specifically], I was wondering if you would be willing to write a strong recommendation about me for my application. If so, the application is due __________, which allows four weeks to complete the letter. I would also be happy to meet with you if you would like to learn more about why I am applying to ____________ and what skills make me a good fit for it. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing back regarding your decision. Best, Your Name

After Asking

It is your job to prompt your recommender to write and submit the letter on time. If needed, send a gentle reminder a week before the deadline and ask if they need more information.

After your recommender submits the letter, be sure to follow up and thank them.

Follow-Up: Deadline Reminder

Dear _____________, Thank you again for agreeing to write a recommendation letter for my application to ________. I wanted to check in as the deadline is ________, just one week from today. Please let me know if there’s any additional information that would be helpful to you in writing the letter. Best, Your Name

Asking for Future Applications

If you think you might need letters of recommendation in the future, it is better to request them while you are still at BU and have good relationships with faculty or others you want to ask. Dossier service platforms like Interfolio will keep the letters confidential until you are ready for them to be submitted to an admissions or selection committee.

He never saw himself as disadvantaged. Then the government had him write an essay.

It had never occurred to Curtis Joachim to blame racism for his professional setbacks until an SBA application forced him to think differently about his life.

writing recommendations dissertation

Curtis Joachim sat at his computer, searching for the words to prove his disadvantage.

It was summer 2023, and a federal judge had just ruled that a government program for minority contractors could no longer automatically accept participants like Joachim. For the first time in the program’s 45-year history, simply being Black was not enough to qualify as “socially disadvantaged” — a key requirement to receive set-asides for lucrative government contracts. Now Joachim, an accountant, had to document his struggles.

He had to write an essay.

So Joachim began examining his life through the prism of disadvantage. It was new terrain for the 56-year-old Marine Corps veteran and longtime entrepreneur, a man who had instinctively equated success with merit.

As he sat down to write, he thought about his many setbacks: the missed promotions, the bankruptcies, the second jobs he took to make ends meet. No matter how hard he had worked, he now realized, there had always been some resistance, almost like an “invisible force” holding him back.

And then it struck him: “It could have been different if I was not a Black man.”

Joachim was writing the essay because of a decision several weeks earlier by a federal judge in Tennessee. A White woman had challenged the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program , one of the government’s defining affirmative action programs, which certifies businesses as “disadvantaged” so they can pursue federal contracts set aside for minority-owned businesses. Last year, more than a dozen agencies disbursed $24.4 billion through the 8(a) pipeline.

Joachim said the program changed the course of his life, allowing him to win more than $32 million in accounting and auditing contracts over the past decade from the departments of Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation, among others. The experience gave him the foundation to pursue other government work and increase his staff to 15.

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But now, the judge said, the program could no longer admit applicants based solely on their racial identity. Instead, every applicant would have to offer a narrative of disadvantage, one that demonstrated how their identity set them back.

Since last June, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down race-based college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, the nation’s most selective universities have been forced to undergo a similar transformation. Applicants can no longer expect special consideration on the basis of their race, though they can use their personal essays to discuss how race has shaped their experiences .

The Harvard-UNC decision touched off a broader shift in the way institutions approach diversity . In the corporate world and government contracting, as well as higher education, explicit preferences for people of certain races or ethnicities are giving way to processes that focus on the totality of an applicant’s character, said David Glasgow, executive director of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at New York University.

Glasgow said he expects to “see more of that kind of individualized essay-based assessment, in part because the Supreme Court has foreclosed the more direct demographic approaches.”

For the 4,800 businesses that participate in the 8(a) program, the court ruling last July touched off a frenzy. The SBA trained additional staff to review the essays that were now pouring in from participants. Lawyers hired by applicants to help complete their narratives said the process sowed confusion — and dredged up past trauma.

Nicole Pottroff, a partner at the law firm Koprince McCall Pottroff, said many applicants drew upon such severe experiences as “sexual harassment, blatant racism — things that were very hurtful to the individual telling the story.”

“Most of this is painful,” Pottroff said. “They’re hoping to repress a lot of these memories.”

In his essay, Joachim needed to describe two episodes when he experienced discrimination to establish what the SBA called “chronic and substantial social disadvantage.” Pottroff worked with Joachim to identify the incidents, which could have taken place during his education, his employment or in his business history.

He chose to write about his time in the military.

Joachim wrote that he had been a “Poster Marine” who spit shined his boots every night, kept his hair “high and tight,” and earned his sergeant’s stripes in just under three years — it typically takes four to five — while attending college at night and competing as a power weightlifter. He had been named Marine of the Month, then Service Member of the Year, the essay said.

None of it was enough to qualify him for the officers training program, which would have provided him with a college education and propelled him into the commissioned officer ranks. Instead, he wrote, a White Marine had been selected.

“It was my lifelong dream to be a Marine Officer,” he wrote, “but that dream was crushed because of the color of my skin.”

For his second incident, Joachim wrote about how, about a decade later after discharge, he repeatedly had been passed over for promotions while working as a civilian with the U.S. Army Audit Agency in Germany. White peers moved to bigger roles, he wrote, even though he was sure he performed better.

“Given my success and incredibly (nearly excessive) hard work — race again was the only ‘advantage’ they all had over me at that time,” he wrote. “And apparently that was a significant enough ‘advantage’ to promote them three years before me.”

Joachim had not always seen things this way. It had not occurred to him to blame racism when he was rejected for the officers training program or missed out on promotions.

“I never saw myself as disadvantaged,” he said. “To me, it was America. You roll your sleeves up and you work hard, and you get there.”

But writing the essay forced him to examine his life through a different lens. He found the idea that his skin color may have contributed to his many setbacks upsetting. It upended his belief that success was just a matter of hard work and perseverance.

The anecdotes in his essay, he wrote, “are just the tip of the iceberg as to the racism and social disadvantage I have faced in this country from the early days of my youth, through my education and career, and through my business history.”

A hard charger

Joachim was 15 when he first landed in the United States in 1984, traveling from Dominica with five siblings to reunite with their father in Brooklyn. Any fears he had about his new country were quickly overtaken by excitement, and the sense of limitless possibility it could bring. Because he wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen and college was out of reach, Joachim enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Friends who served with Joachim at Camp Lejeune, N.C., described him as a “hard charger” and a “Marine’s Marine.”

“He was always number one,” said Wayne Jackson, one of Joachim’s roommates. “He was the rabbit that everybody chased.”

Jackson, who is Black, said racism was a “reality” in the Marines when he served, though he believes the branch has since made progress. Another roommate, Jimmy Tran, agreed, noting that his peers often ribbed him about his Vietnamese heritage.

Still, both said making the leap from enlisted man to officer would have been difficult for anyone, no matter how talented. And Joachim faced an especially big hurdle, they said, because he did not have a college degree at the time.

By 1995, having received his U.S. citizenship in the military, Joachim decided to return to civilian life. He sold perfume, first in Virginia Beach and then in Mobile, Ala., for a multilevel marketing company, but went bankrupt after his operation collapsed. He worked at a fast-food chain while also loading trucks at a Coca-Cola warehouse.

In all of his endeavors, Joachim was intent on becoming “financially free” and going into business for himself, said his ex-wife, April Joachim.

He got a step closer to that goal in 1998, when he earned a business administration degree from the University of Dubuque in Iowa and went straight to work for the Army Audit Agency in Germany. Though he eventually was made a supervisor and led teams that audited the efficiency of military supply routes during conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, his career plateaued.

In 2004, his work with the audit agency took him to Fort Monroe, Va., where he began selling homes on the side. Taking his cues from Robert Kiyosaki, the real estate guru known for his get-rich-quick seminars , Joachim decided it was time to work for himself. He resigned from the Army Audit Agency and started his own accounting firm, as well as a mortgage company.

Then in 2008, the housing market crashed, ushering in the Great Recession. With his business underwater, Joachim filed for bankruptcy. He managed to find some accounting work for struggling small businesses, while also stocking shelves overnight at Walmart.

As the economy began to recover, Joachim found work for a contractor serving the U.S. Coast Guard, which eventually awarded him a subcontract. It was the break he needed, the launchpad to qualify for the 8(a) program, which “put me in a position to compete” by giving him access to the initial contracts he would need to build credibility with government agencies and fellow contractors, he said.

Suddenly contracts were easier to come by. His accounting firm, the Joachim Group, flourished. He settled on 10 acres in Southern Virginia and sent his son and daughter to college.

In his essay, Joachim reflected on that turnaround.

“The 8(a) Program is one of the only things in my life that has even remotely worked to begin to level the playing field for me as a man in a historically white man’s business world,” he wrote.

Affirmative action programs like 8(a) were designed to recognize past discrimination and “try to make up for that in some ways — without sticking it in your face,” he said. But the process of writing the essay — of having to relive those painful experiences — “forces you to focus on that and think of yourself as a second-class citizen.”

Five days after submitting his essay last August, the SBA accepted it, allowing Joachim to remain in the program for a 10th and final year.

Last month, he “graduated” from 8(a). From now on, the government will no longer classify him as “disadvantaged.”

Now, it’s “sink or swim,” he said. “And, by golly, we’re going to swim.”

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How not to write your college essay.

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If you are looking for the “secret formula” for writing a “winning” college essay, you have come to the wrong place. The reality is there is no silver bullet or strategy to write your way to an acceptance. There is not one topic or approach that will guarantee a favorable outcome.

At the end of the day, every admission office just wants to know more about you, what you value, and what excites you. They want to hear about your experiences through your own words and in your own voice. As you set out to write your essay, you will no doubt get input (both sought-after and unsolicited) on what to write. But how about what NOT Notcoin to write? There are avoidable blunders that applicants frequently make in drafting their essays. I asked college admission leaders, who have read thousands of submissions, to share their thoughts.

Don’t Go In There

There is wide consensus on this first one, so before you call on your Jedi mind tricks or predictive analytics, listen to the voices of a diverse range of admission deans. Peter Hagan, executive director of admissions at Syracuse University, sums it up best, saying, “I would recommend that students try not to get inside of our heads. He adds, “Too often the focus is on what they think we want.”

Andy Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College agrees, warning, “Do NOT get caught in the trap of trying to figure out what is going to impress the admission committee. You have NO idea who is going to read your essay and what is going to connect with them. So, don't try to guess that.” Victoria Romero, vice president for enrollment, at Scripps College adds, “Do not write about something you don’t care about.” She says, “I think students try to figure out what an admission officer wants to read, and the reality is the reader begins every next essay with no expectations about the content THEY want to read.” Chrystal Russell, dean of admission at Hampden-Sydney College, agrees, saying, “If you're not interested in writing it, we will not be interested when reading it.” Jay Jacobs, vice provost for enrollment management at the University of Vermont elaborates, advising. “Don’t try to make yourself sound any different than you are.” He says, “The number one goal for admission officers is to better understand the applicant, what they like to do, what they want to do, where they spend the majority of their time, and what makes them tick. If a student stays genuine to that, it will shine through and make an engaging and successful essay.”

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Don’t Be Artificial

The headlines about college admission are dominated by stories about artificial intelligence and the college essay. Let’s set some ground rules–to allow ChatGPT or some other tool to do your work is not only unethical, it is also unintelligent. The only worse mistake you could make is to let another human write your essay for you. Instead of preoccupying yourself with whether or not colleges are using AI detection software (most are not), spend your time focused on how best to express yourself authentically. Rick Clark is the executive director of strategic student success at Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the first institutions to clearly outline their AI policy for applicants. He says, “Much of a college application is devoted to lines, boxes, and numbers. Essays and supplements are the one place to establish connection, personality, and distinction. AI, in its current state, is terrible at all three.” He adds, “My hope is that students will use ChatGPT or other tools for brainstorming and to get started, but then move quickly into crafting an essay that will provide insight and value.”

Don’t Overdo It

Michael Stefanowicz, vice president for enrollment management at Landmark College says, “You can only cover so much detail about yourself in an admission essay, and a lot of students feel pressure to tell their life story or choose their most defining experience to date as an essay topic. Admission professionals know that you’re sharing just one part of your lived experience in the essay.” He adds, “Some of the favorite essays I’ve read have been episodic, reflecting on the way you’ve found meaning in a seemingly ordinary experience, advice you’ve lived out, a mistake you’ve learned from, or a special tradition in your life.” Gary Ross, vice president for admission and financial aid at Colgate University adds, “More than a few applicants each year craft essays that talk about the frustration and struggles they have experienced in identifying a topic for their college application essay. Presenting your college application essay as a smorgasbord of topics that ultimately landed on the cutting room floor does not give us much insight into an applicant.”

Don’t Believe In Magic

Jason Nevinger, senior director of admission at the University of Rochester warns, “Be skeptical of anyone or any company telling you, ‘This is the essay that got me into _____.’ There is no magic topic, approach, sentence structure, or prose that got any student into any institution ever.” Social media is littered with advertisements promising strategic essay help. Don’t waste your time, energy, or money trying to emulate a certain style, topic, or tone. Liz Cheron is chief executive officer for the Coalition for College and former assistant vice president of enrollment & dean of admissions at Northeastern University. She agrees with Nevinger, saying “Don't put pressure on yourself to find the perfect, slam dunk topic. The vast majority of college essays do exactly what they're supposed to do–they are well-written and tell the admission officer more about the student in that student's voice–and that can take many different forms.”

Don’t Over Recycle

Beatrice Atkinson-Myers, associate director of global recruitment at the University of California at Santa Cruz tells students, “Do not use the same response for each university; research and craft your essay to match the program at the university you are interested in studying. Don't waste time telling me things I can read elsewhere in your application. Use your essay to give the admissions officer insights into your motivations, interests, and thinking. Don't make your essay the kitchen sink, focus on one or two examples which demonstrate your depth and creativity.” Her UC colleague, Jim Rawlins, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management at the University of California at San Diego agrees, saying “Answer the question. Not doing so is the surest way we can tell you are simply giving us a snippet of something you actually wrote for a different purpose.”

Don’t Overedit

Emily Roper-Doten, vice president for undergraduate admissions and financial assistance at Clark University warns against “Too many editors!” She says, “Pick a couple of trusted folks to be your sounding board when considering topics and as readers once you have drafts. You don’t want too many voices in your essay to drown you out!” Scripps’ Romero agrees, suggesting, “Ask a good friend, someone you trust and knows you well, to read your essays.” She adds, “The goal is for the admission committee to get to know a little about you and who better to help you create that framework, than a good friend. This may not work for all students because of content but helps them understand it’s important to be themselves.” Whitney Soule, vice provost and dean of admissions at The University of Pennsylvania adds, “Avoid well-meaning editorial interference that might seem to polish your writing but actually takes your own personal ‘shine’ right out of the message.” She says, “As readers, we connect to applicants through their genuine tone and style. Considering editorial advice for flow and message is OK but hold on to the 'you' for what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Don’t Get Showy

Palmer Muntz, senior regional admissions counselor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks cautions applicants, “Don’t be fancier than you are. You don’t need to put on airs.” He adds, “Yes, proofread your work for grammar and spelling, but be natural. Craft something you’d want to read yourself, which probably means keeping your paragraphs short, using familiar words, and writing in an active voice.” Connecticut College’s Strickler agrees, warning, “Don't try to be someone you are not. If you are not funny, don't try to write a funny essay. If you are not an intellectual, trying to write an intellectual essay is a bad idea.”

Anthony Jones, the vice president of enrollment management at Loyola University New Orleans offers a unique metaphor for thinking about the essay. He says, “In the new world of the hyper-fast college admission process, it's become easy to overlook the essential meaning of the college application. It's meant to reveal Y...O...U, the real you, not some phony digital avatar. Think of the essay as the essence of that voice but in analog. Like the completeness and authenticity captured in a vinyl record, the few lines you're given to explain your view should be a slow walk through unrestrained expression chock full of unapologetic nuances, crevices of emotion, and exactness about how you feel in the moment. Then, and only then, can you give the admissions officer an experience that makes them want to tune in and listen for more.”

Don’t Be A Downer

James Nondorf, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at The University of Chicago says, “Don’t be negative about other people, be appreciative of those who have supported you, and be excited about who you are and what you will bring to our campus!” He adds, “While admissions offices want smart students for our classrooms, we also want kind-hearted, caring, and joyous students who will add to our campus communities too.”

Don’t Pattern Match

Alan Ramirez is the dean of admission and financial aid at Sewanee, The University of the South. He explains, “A big concern I have is when students find themselves comparing their writing to other students or past applicants and transform their writing to be more like those individuals as a way to better their chances of offering a more-compelling essay.” He emphasizes that the result is that the “essay is no longer authentic nor the best representation of themselves and the whole point of the essay is lost. Their distinctive voice and viewpoint contribute to the range of voices in the incoming class, enhancing the diversity of perspectives we aim to achieve.” Ramirez simple tells students, “Be yourself, that’s what we want to see, plus there's no one else who can do it better than you!”

Don’t Feel Tied To A Topic

Jessica Ricker is the vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid at Skidmore College. She says, “Sometimes students feel they must tell a story of grief or hardship, and then end up reliving that during the essay-writing process in ways that are emotionally detrimental. I encourage students to choose a topic they can reflect upon positively but recommend that if they choose a more challenging experience to write about, they avoid belaboring the details and instead focus on the outcome of that journey.” She adds, "They simply need to name it, frame its impact, and then help us as the reader understand how it has shaped their lens on life and their approach moving forward.”

Landmark College’s Stefanowicz adds, “A lot of students worry about how personal to get in sharing a part of their identity like your race or heritage (recalling last year’s Supreme Court case about race-conscious admissions), a learning difference or other disability, your religious values, LGBTQ identity…the list goes on.” He emphasizes, “This is always your choice, and your essay doesn’t have to be about a defining identity. But I encourage you to be fully yourself as you present yourself to colleges—because the college admission process is about finding a school where your whole self is welcome and you find a setting to flourish!”

Don’t Be Redundant

Hillen Grason Jr., dean of admission at Franklin & Marshall College, advises, “Don't repeat academic or co-curricular information that is easily identifiable within other parts of your application unless the topic is a core tenant of you as an individual.” He adds, “Use your essay, and other parts of your application, wisely. Your essay is the best way to convey who your authentic self is to the schools you apply. If you navigated a situation that led to a dip in your grades or co-curricular involvement, leverage the ‘additional information’ section of the application.

Thomas Marr is a regional manager of admissions for the Americas at The University of St Andrews in Scotland and points out that “Not all international schools use the main college essay as part of their assessment when reviewing student applications.” He says, “At the University of St Andrews, we focus on the supplemental essay and students should avoid the mistake of making the supplemental a repeat of their other essay. The supplemental (called the Personal Statement if using the UCAS application process) is to show the extent of their passion and enthusiasm for the subject/s to which they are applying and we expect about 75% of the content to cover this. They can use the remaining space to mention their interests outside of the classroom. Some students confuse passion for the school with passion for their subject; do not fall into that trap.”

A Few Final Don’ts

Don’t delay. Every college applicant I have ever worked with has wished they had started earlier. You can best avoid the pitfalls above if you give yourself the time and space to write a thoughtful essay and welcome feedback openly but cautiously. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect . Do your best, share your voice, and stay true to who you are.

Brennan Barnard

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Supporting Dissertation Writers Through the Silent Struggle

While we want Ph.D. students to be independent, our practices can signal that we’re not available to support them when they need it, writes Ramon B. Goings.

By  Ramon B. Goings

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Consider the following discussion. A student tells me, “I have so much going on right now. I’m trying to write this dissertation, take care of my mom and raise my kids. I’m giving to everyone else and have nothing left to write.”

“Thanks for sharing,” I respond. “Have you reached out to your adviser to discuss what is happening and see what resources you might be able to access?”

“My adviser said they will meet with me when I have a document ready for them to review. They are too busy,” the student says. “I’ve just been struggling in silence and don’t know what to do.”

This conversation highlights the reality for many doctoral students—they may experience hardships in silence. The doctoral journey is an interesting experience during which students are provided structure through coursework and then, once they enter the dissertation phase, that structure is removed. They usually are in a position where they have to manage everything themselves.

As faculty members, we try to provide the space of intellectual curiosity for our students and allow them to explore their dissertation topics. However, while we want students to be independent, our practices can signal that we are not available to support them when they need it. What are some strategies that we should consider implementing to support our students who too often struggle in silence? Below are three that I have implemented in my chairing process.

Create an environment where students can share. Students want to meet our expectations and standards. Yet in efforts to not burden us, some students may choose not to reach out to us when they are experiencing challenges. In some instances, they also do not come to us due to the fear—and, at times, the reality—that they will face adverse consequence for doing so. While that can occur during the coursework phase, it is even more common when students are writing their dissertations, because they believe they must be independent scholars and figure everything out on their own.

To combat those situations, we as dissertation chairs must first create an environment where students can feel comfortable to share what they are going through. One simple way to foster that type of relationship is to first ensure that you make time to meet regularly with your advisees. While that may seem to be an obvious practice, I often hear from doctoral students, like the one in the opening vignette of this article, that they find it challenging just to get on their chair’s calendar. That can unintentionally signal to them that we as faculty members are not available. As a faculty member, I know we have many demands on our time. To support my students, I have dedicated times each week when students can meet with me as needed. Making the time consistent on my calendar allows me to ensure other activities do not get in the way of meeting with students. To be more efficient, I created a special Calendly meeting link that has time slots open for students to schedule.

Programs should also have regular faculty meetings to discuss student academic progress, along with any well-being challenges such as mental health and/or life challenges. Sometimes a student is more comfortable talking with a faculty member who is not on their dissertation committee, and having such conversations can provide a space for all faculty members to learn what is going on and potentially troubleshoot before a student’s difficulties gets worse.

Choose your words with care. As dissertation chairs, our words hold significant power with our advisees. Those words become even more important when our students are experiencing personal and/or professional challenges. To illustrate this point, I offer you one word that, when used, can be a trigger for students: concern.

Students have told me that if we use the word “concern” when talking with them, it signals something is drastically wrong with what they are doing. So if I am relaying information—especially feedback—to students, I ask myself the following before I speak:

  • Is what I need to share truly a concern? For example, some students receive a concern comment when minor or moderate editorial changes—grammar, syntax, formatting and the like—are needed. While those must be fixed, they don’t usually rise to the level of concern that impacts the integrity of the study, a misalignment between the research questions and methodology.
  • Can I express my thoughts in a more detailed way rather than just expressing concern? In the example above, if I thought the student’s editorial work needed updates, I would explain that to them and provide examples on how the student can make the changes that I am requesting.

I am certainly aware that interpretation is important, but while students can take feedback from us on their work, I have learned to be reflective about what I say. It can influence their self-confidence, a key component for completing the dissertation process.

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Understand your role is not a problem solver but solution facilitator. When I talk with other faculty members, some are quick to declare they are scientists, not therapists, so supporting their students’ distinct life challenges isn’t in their job description. I also agree that it’s not our role as faculty members to solve students’ problems for them. But we can provide a listening ear and, most of all, connect students to the various resources that can support them in their decision making.

For instance, a chair I know was advising a doctoral student who was communicative when writing their proposal and moved through the process fairly quickly. Then, after the student collected their data, the chair noticed that the student slowed down their progress and that when they met the student exhibited some uncharacteristic behaviors. Fortunately, the two had established a positive rapport, so the faculty member was able to learn that the student was unexpectedly taking on caregiving responsibilities for a sibling while experiencing some housing instability. In that case, the faculty member was able to connect the student with a campus resource for caregivers and, through it, the student was able to find housing support.

I know many faculty members are already engaging in the practices that I’ve suggested, but I continue to encounter doctoral students at the dissertation phase who are suffering in silence.

I invite you to share with me in conversations on X any other successful strategies you’ve implemented to support your doctoral students. My mission is to bring to light some of these ideas so we can make our graduate programs spaces where our students can flourish.

Ramon B. Goings ( @ramongoings ) is an associate professor in the language, literacy and culture doctoral program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and founder of Done Dissertation .

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Canada at a crossroads: Understanding the shifting sands of immigration attitudes

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Associate Professor of Economics, School of Public Policy and Urban Studies Program, Simon Fraser University

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Mohsen Javdani does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Canada stands at a crossroads as its 157th birthday approaches. It’s navigating shifting immigration attitudes amid global and domestic challenges.

The ongoing politicization and polarization around immigration in Canada underscores a critical juncture for a country celebrated for its diversity . As Canadians grapple with economic insecurity, housing crises, health-care shortages and social tensions, the immigration debate tests the nation’s values and future direction.

Recent research I conducted with two colleagues , drawing from more than three decades of data, sheds light on evolving Canadian attitudes toward immigration. Between 1988 and 2008, there was a notable 41 per cent decline in Canadians who favoured reducing immigration numbers. Yet, post-2008, this trend shifted, with Canadians who wanted reduced immigration levels rising to 40 per cent by 2019.

Changes in attitudes toward immigration in Canada, 1988 to 2019

This development signals more than just changing preferences; there are deeper socio-psychological and political dynamics shaping views on immigration.

Judgments on who merits inclusion

But let’s simplify that socio-psychological jargon. Imagine society as a bustling potluck gathering. You arrive with your dish — packed with your beliefs, values and biases. Looking around, you’re judging everyone’s contributions and figuring out where you fit in.

Social identity theory suggests it’s natural to categorize ourselves into “us” versus “them” using familiar facets of our identity, such as religion and ethnicity. Driven by our need for a positive self-image and convinced that what we have to offer is the best, we sometimes snub outsiders.

This dynamic suggests the immigration debate delves into deeper territories of social identity. It’s about who we believe merits inclusion in our society, not just as an economic question.

Our findings suggest that economic concerns often cited in the immigration debate are just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface, Canadians’ opinions on immigration are deeply influenced by aspects like religion, ethnicity, personal and familial immigration history and political leanings.

Our research finds, for example, that Christians show the least support for immigration. In contrast, Muslims — the second-largest religious group in Canada after Christians — are the most supportive of immigration. Jewish Canadians, atheists and agnostics also show strong support.

Ethnicity and immigration history also play pivotal roles in shaping our social identity. Our research indicates white people born in Canada exhibit a significantly stronger preference towards decreased immigration compared to white immigrants and ethnic minorities.

In terms of geography, it found that Nova Scotians have the most favourable sentiments about immigration, whereas Alberta and Ontario exhibit the most negative sentiments in Canada.

This suggests a varying landscape of belonging and acceptance. Immigrants and ethnic minorities show greater openness to new immigration, likely mirroring their journeys of settling and integrating into Canadian society.

Women wearing hijabs walk together in a city setting.

The politics of immigration

One of our most striking findings is the increasing political polarization over immigration. Our research has found that since 2006, political party identification has emerged as the foremost factor in explaining Canadians’ differing views on immigration.

This polarization highlights that immigration is not just a social issue, but also a political tool. It is often framed and politicized seemingly to galvanize party bases rather than address the complexities of immigration and integration.

Political parties link immigration to pressures on public finances or housing shortages during difficult periods. This amplifies anti-immigration sentiments, even if there’s no direct causation. This tactic also elevates immigration as a focal issue, intertwining it with prevailing concerns and magnifying its perceived negative impact on society.

Read more: International students are not to blame for Canada's housing crisis

Our study underscores the complexity of the debate. It’s not just about numbers or economics, but about deeper socio-psychological currents and political strategies.

So, what’s the takeaway for Canada? Firstly, our findings are a wakeup call for political leaders, policymakers and the wider community. The rise in negative sentiments about immigration, especially amid challenging conditions, could have far-reaching consequences for Canada’s social harmony and economic prosperity.

Addressing anti-immigration sentiments requires engaging deeply with the socio-psychological factors that mounting evidence suggests are critical. Education is key, as studies consistently show.

People carry a banner that reads Reject Migration with the Peace Tower behind them.

Effective response

Our vision of education, however, extends beyond traditional classrooms and involves the gradual development of an appreciation for diverse perspectives, openness and tolerance for change and diversity.

The significance of media and political parties in shaping public opinions cannot be overlooked. The way immigration is politicized through narratives of national security, economic risks and cultural identity influences both policy decisions and the public’s understanding of these policies. That means this conversation is as much a political issue as a policy challenge.

An effective response requires a holistic strategy that integrates policy initiatives with efforts to shift political and societal narratives toward more inclusive and accurate representations of immigration and its myriad contributions to society.

Our reaction to immigration should elevate above the narrow, self-serving question of “what’s in it for us?” This perspective narrowly views immigrants as mere economic assets, neglecting their wide-ranging contributions to society.

This viewpoint becomes particularly problematic when acknowledging that the lands currently known as Canada were first inhabited by Indigenous Peoples. As non-Indigenous people living in Canada, we all share the status of settlers, inheriting a responsibility from our colonial past. This history obliges us to extend a welcome embodying generosity and respect while looking toward our collective future.

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Guest Essay

Hillary Clinton: I’ve Debated Trump and Biden. Here’s What I’m Watching For.

Facing away from each other, Hillary Rodham Clinton stands onstage on the left and Donald Trump stands on the right.

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Mrs. Clinton was the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

Last week I had the time of my life at the Tony Awards introducing a song from “Suffs,” the Broadway musical I co-produced about the suffragists who won women the right to vote. I was thrilled when the show took home the awards for best original score and best book.

From “Suffs” to “Hamilton,” I love theater about politics. But not the other way around. Too often we approach pivotal moments like this week’s debate between President Biden and Donald Trump like drama critics. We’re picking a president, not the best actor.

I am the only person to have debated both men (Mr. Trump in 2016 and, in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race, Mr. Biden). I know the excruciating pressure of walking onto that stage and that it is nearly impossible to focus on substance when Mr. Trump is involved. In our three debates in 2016, he unleashed a blizzard of interruptions, insults and lies that overwhelmed the moderators and did a disservice to the voters who tuned in to learn about our visions for the country — including a record 84 million viewers for our first debate.

It is a waste of time to try to refute Mr. Trump’s arguments like in a normal debate. It’s nearly impossible to identify what his arguments even are. He starts with nonsense and then digresses into blather. This has gotten only worse in the years since we debated. I was not surprised that after a recent meeting, several chief executives said that Mr. Trump, as one journalist described it, “could not keep a straight thought” and was “all over the map.” Yet expectations for him are so low that if he doesn’t literally light himself on fire on Thursday evening, some will say he was downright presidential.

Mr. Trump may rant and rave in part because he wants to avoid giving straight answers about his unpopular positions, like restrictions on abortion, giving tax breaks to billionaires and selling out our planet to big oil companies in return for campaign donations. He interrupts and bullies — he even stalked me around the stage at one point — because he wants to appear dominant and throw his opponent off balance.

These ploys will fall flat if Mr. Biden is as direct and forceful as he was when engaging Republican hecklers at the State of the Union address in March. The president also has facts and truth on his side. He led America’s comeback from a historic health and economic crisis, with more than 15 million jobs created so far, incomes for working families rising, inflation slowing and investments in clean energy and advanced manufacturing soaring. He’ll win if that story comes through.

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  1. Formatting Guidelines

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  2. How to Write Methodologies for a Dissertation

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  3. Dissertation Recommendations ~ How To Write Them

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  4. A Guide to Writing a Dissertation in IT (Information Technology)

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write Recommendations in Research

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    Here are some helpful tips for writing dissertation recommendations that you should incorporate when drafting a research paper: Avoid general or vague recommendations. Be specific and concrete. Offer measurable insights Ensure your suggestions are practical and implementable. Avoid focusing on theoretical concepts or new findings but on future ...

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  9. What Is a Dissertation?

    A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program. Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you've ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating ...

  10. PDF A Practical Guide to Dissertation and Thesis Writing

    thesis students are expected to study more widely than dissertation students and are also expected to see wider implications of their field of research and to be able to make recommendations that have wider implications than dissertation students. In some theses, two original empirical studies may be necessary to propose and test a hypothesis.

  11. How to Write a Literature Review

    Examples of literature reviews. Step 1 - Search for relevant literature. Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources. Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps. Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure. Step 5 - Write your literature review.

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    Some universities will prefer that you cover some of these points in the discussion chapter, or that you cover the points at different levels in different chapters. Step 1: Craft a brief introduction section. As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the conclusions chapter needs to start with a brief introduction.

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    Research is a crucial business everywhere. Failure to follow the language, style, structure, and formatting guidelines provided by your department or institution when writing the dissertation paper can worsen matters. It is recommended to read the dissertation handbook before starting the write-up thoroughly. Steps of Writing a Dissertation

  20. How To Write Recommendations In A Dissertation

    Step 2 Put recommendations in a numbered or bulleted list format. While making them specific, you will have how to write recommendations in a dissertation to consider the ambiguity of the actions. Preceding the main body of the report are several pages containing the preliminary material The pressure is too much!

  21. How to Structure a Dissertation

    The dissertation will be structured such that it starts with an introduction, develops on the main idea in its main body paragraphs and is then summarised in conclusion. However, if you are basing your dissertation on primary or empirical research, you will be required to include each of the below components.

  22. Analysis and commentary on CNN's presidential debate

    Read CNN's analysis and commentary of the first 2024 presidential debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in Atlanta.

  23. 7 ChatGPT Prompts To Improve Your Writing

    1. Generating Ideas And Topics. AI shouldn't do your writing for you. It lacks the necessary human context and isn't immune to errors. But it can be a powerful writing partner.

  24. Letters of Recommendation: Who and How to Ask

    These letters are usually sent directly to the admissions office or selection committee rather than provided to the applicant. Some recommenders also choose to provide a copy to the person they are writing the letter about. Who to Ask. Ask people who can write about your relevant strengths and who will submit a recommendation on time.

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    Joachim was writing the essay because of a decision several weeks earlier by a federal judge in Tennessee. A White woman had challenged the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business ...

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    Don't Be Artificial . The headlines about college admission are dominated by stories about artificial intelligence and the college essay. Let's set some ground rules-to allow ChatGPT or some ...

  27. Supporting Dissertation Writers Through the Silent Struggle

    While we want Ph.D. students to be independent, our practices can signal that we're not available to support them when they need it, writes Ramon B. Goings. Consider the following discussion. A student tells me, "I have so much going on right now. I'm trying to write this dissertation, take care of my mom and raise my kids. I'm giving to everyone else and have nothing left to write ...

  28. Canada at a crossroads: Understanding the shifting sands of immigration

    The rise in anti-immigration sentiments, especially amid challenging conditions, could have far-reaching consequences for Canada's social harmony and economic prosperity.

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  30. Opinion

    Last week I had the time of my life at the Tony Awards introducing a song from "Suffs," the Broadway musical I co-produced about the suffragists who won women the right to vote.