Research Components

15 Discussion and Conclusions

The story continues…

Physicus inquired, “What would you conclude based on our findings, Harry?”

“Well,” Harry replied, “our results show that Pickles will catch mice, but apparently he feels overwhelmed by too many mice in my house. Well, Pickles is not alone. I feel overwhelmed too!”

“Okay,” Physicus agreed, “what evidence supported these conclusions?”

Harry replied. “When the count of mice is less than four, Pickles gets them every time and quickly! If Pickles is hungry he will even attack four mice.”

“Great,” said Physicus, his face shining with happiness.

“I think we can find a way to limit the number of mice Pickles encounters, then he will attack,” said Harry, “What do you think?”

Physicus exclaimed, “I’m sure we can do this! But first, Harry, what else did we learn?”

“Well, we learned that if there are five or more mice in the room, Pickles did not attack. This supports the conclusion that he becomes overwhelmed by the number of mice.”

“On the money, Harry,” Physicus said and gave Harry a high-five! Physicus continued, “I agree, Pickles becomes overwhelmed and unmotivated to catch more than three mice at a time. These are important conclusions that other cat owners would like to know!”

“Awesome!” exclaimed Harry, “How do we share this information?”

“Well,” Physicus replied, “we can look into submitting an article to a research journal.”

“This sounds amazing, but first can we get rid of the mice in my house?” asked Harry.

Physicus and Harry set to work on a plan to get rid of all the mice in Harry’s house.

Interpreting the Story

The friends reviewed their findings and discussed their conclusions. Based on their research they concluded that Pickles did indeed become overwhelmed by exposure to too many mice at once. The friends found the maximum number of mice Pickles would attack. This conclusion provided a clear solution to solve Harry’s problem. The friends simply needed to limit the number of mice in the room and Pickles would catch them all.  As the friends discovered, cats can become overwhelmed by the number of mice they encounter. Sharing this information with other cat owners adds to the body of knowledge.

Discussion and Conclusions

The Discussion and Conclusions heading(s) present assertions and suppositions about the findings of the research project. These are separate headings in some projects, and in other projects, the discussion and conclusions are presented under the same heading. The heading details the claims the researcher makes based on the findings. The claims are supported by the findings of the project and by previously published research from your Literature Review. The heading reads similar to a persuasive work in that there is a presentation of an assertion and an argument detailing the reasoning to support the assertion.

The Discussion is written to explain the relationship between the specific findings of your research and the purpose of the project. The significance of the results and how the results fulfill the purpose of the project are conveyed. The significance of the results in relation to the greater body of knowledge is also presented. This part of the Discussion notes where your findings are either consistent or inconsistent with published research.

The Conclusions heading presents your suppositions made about the results. These suppositions emphasize what was learned in the research project. The writing then argues to what extent the purpose of the research project was realized and the best application of the findings. The argument also emphasizes how the findings demonstrate the value of the research project and how it filled the niche in the research literature.



telling the research story

The Discussion and Conclusions heading(s) are the falling action leading to the resolution of the research story. These explain “what we now know.”  This part of the story argues the value of what was found and makes claims about the knowledge that was acquired from the quest. The writing tells what the climax means for the characters in the story and how “what we now know” influences the world of education.

The Discussion and Conclusions heading(s) are in Chapter 5 of the thesis and dissertation. The heading(s) content is included in Chapter 2 of a capstone project under the heading of Significance. The literature review does not have this heading.


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Graduate Research in Education: Learning the Research Story by Kimberly Chappell and Greg I. Voykhansky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.