Style Guide for the Applied Dissertation

Chapter 5
Summary, Conclusions,
Discussions, & Recommendations
Applied Research Center
Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
Summer Conference 2012
General Information
• This session will address the components of
Chapter 5 of the Applied Dissertation.
• The format and style of Chapter 5 should follow
the Style Guide for the Applied Dissertation and
the sixth edition of the APA manual.
Chapter 5
• Purpose of Chapter 5: To provide the readers with
a thorough understanding of what the results of
your study mean to the research field and to
professional practice.
Chapter 5
Chapter 5 allows you to
• summarize the findings,
• discuss the importance of the findings,
• place the research findings in the context of current
• compare and contrast the research findings with other
relevant research,
• identify the strengths and weaknesses of the research
• discuss the implications of the research findings, and
• make recommendations for future research.
Summary of Findings
• Restate the results presented in Chapter 4 using little
or no statistical jargon.
• Write in a clear straightforward manner with no
interpretation of the results.
• Use past tense.
• Do not include tables and figures.
• Identify whether the findings of your study supported
the hypotheses or research questions.
• Present unusual findings (e.g., results that you did not
expect to be significant but were, and vice versa).
Interpretation of Findings
• Analyze both significant findings and not significant
• Were the results what you predicted?
• Why do you think the results turned out the way they
• Were there any issues related to sampling,
measurement, and procedural issues, as well as
confounding variables?
• Provide possible explanations for the results.
• Link the results to any theoretical framework you used
to develop your research question or hypotheses.
Context of Findings
• Place your findings in perspective to other studies
of the topic found in the reviewed literature.
• How are your findings similar or different from
those of other studies?
• Based on the literature, are the findings what
might have been expected?
• If your results differ from those of other studies,
what plausible explanations can account for this?
Implications of Findings
• How do the findings expand the understanding of the
phenomenon under study?
• Identify the implications of the findings for
– Theory: Are findings consistent with current theories in the
field? Are they consistent with the selected theoretical
framework for your study?
– Research: Does the study help advance the research
methodology in the field? (e.g., understanding of new
confounding variables, issues of measurement, issues of design)
– Practice: Who may be interested in using these findings in a
professional field? Why should they pay attention to the
findings? Could the findings lead to changes in the way
professionals “do” things?
Discussion on Limitations
• Review the potential limitations that you initially
proposed in the proposal. Discuss the limitations
that may have affected—one way or another—your
• Limitations typically originate in one of two sources:
the study’s design and the study’s problems during
• Issues of design involve decisions about sampling,
assessment, procedures, and choice of research
design (poor match).
• Some of the issues that may have arisen at the time
of research implementation relate to low sample
size, measurement issues, heterogeneous groups,
and so forth.
Discussion on Limitations (Cont.)
Think of limitations in four major areas:
• Internal Validity—Unless the study is a “true
experiment” one cannot claim that the IV “caused”
changes in the DV.
• External Validity—Discuss the extent to which
findings can be generalized.
• Measurement—Discuss issues of reliability and
validity of assessment instruments.
• Statistical Analysis—Discuss issues of power, effect
size, conservative or liberal statistics, and statistical
test chosen.
Discussion on Future Directions
• Discuss findings in light of questions or issues that
suggest future research directions.
• Extend the study to other populations.
• Think of other IVs and DVs that ought to be
explored in the field; also, think of how to assess
those additional variables.
• This is the section of the paper where most
researchers are allowed to dream; think of extending
your study to other questions that may add to the
understanding of the issues.
Cone, J. D., & Foster, S. F. (2006). Dissertations
and theses from start to finish: Psychology
and related fields. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association.
Cottrell, R. R., & McKenzie, J. F. (2011). Health
Promotion and education research methods:
Using the five-chapter thesis/dissertation
model (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and