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Conclusion Chapter

The conclusion chapter of the dissertation is of course the last chapter to be included, with the exception of supporting materials such as an index, reference list, glossary, etc. In the conclusion chapter, the student sums up the contents of the entire dissertation, from the initial hypothesis, to the literature review, the methodology, and the results and discussion chapters. In addition, the student should cover two important topics in the conclusion chapter. One is the limitations of the reported research, and the other is suggestions for future research.

In the "limitations" section of the conclusion chapter, the student should acknowledge any ways in which the research he or she conducted was not necessarily representative of the entire population. For example, the student might say, "while efforts were made to include a diverse population in the sample, the age range of respondents was only between 18-22 years, since the study was conducted on undergraduate students. The results found in this study can not necessarily be generalized to the population in general." In the conclusion section, the student can go into more detail about ways in which the research was designed to answer as many questions as possible, but that there are still questions which it did not address.

In the "suggestions for future research" section of the conclusion chapter, the student can address the reported limitations by recommending further study as a follow-up to the student's own dissertation. To carry the example from the preceding paragraph a step further, the student may write in the conclusion chapter that "a similar study conducted outside the confines of a university setting could provide a more representative sample of the population with respect to this issue." The student can again go into more detail in the dissertation's conclusion chapter, elaborating on where such a study might be conducted, ways of attracting people to the study, and other suggestions that may help later researchers build on the knowledge the student has gained during the research and writing of this dissertation.