The Conclusion of your research is in balance with the Introduction in its extent, while its flow is just the reversed: it is enlargening. It flows from a specific to a general view. Hence, it starts by the evaluation of the results, its passes by their generalizability, and ends by the future research directions.
The Conclusion involves the following sections:
- Reminder of the research object
- Brief overview on the research design and methods
- Evaluation of results in a wider context
- Validity, reliability, objectivity, generalizability
- Contributions or Implications
- Reserach limitations
- Future research directions
Reminder and Overview
The reminder of the research object and the brief overview on the research design and methods should be involved in theses, but not necessarily be present in focused, page-limited research materials. However, the restatement of the research objective at the beginning of the Conclusions chapter, is well-appreciated by the reviewers.
Validity, reliability, objectivity, generalizability
In the Research Design and Methodology chapter, you took considerations toward these aspects i.e. how you intend to achieve a higher validity, reliability, objectivity and generalizability in your research. Now, here is the time to evaluate the actual work you have executed so far. To take a birds-eye view and declare how you consider your results to be valid or reliable. Is generalizability even relevant? The goal is not to exaggerate or hide the pitfalls, e.g. to tell a 100% reliability, as it can never be the case. The goal is to evaluate your own model objectively.
Contributions or Implications
With the evaluation of your model, here you can give contributions. Where your research provided relatively valid and reliable results, and yield an added-value, you can advise on their implications. Your research can contribue theoretically, methodologically and managerially. Take the chance to emphasize these and tell who could benefit from reading and implying your research and its results.
In contrast to your contributions and the strength of your research, your evaluation on the model highlights the major limitations and pitfalls as well. The limitations of your reserch can also be theoretical, methodological or research-field related. Don’t be shy to admit the limitations. Moreover, consider that section as a shield that you can use to defend the research before the reviews.
Future Research Directions
The former sections can sum up what new directions can emerge due to your research. Your recommendations on these directions also contribute to the value-added and help other researchers to start it where you left off. In addition, if you would like to carry on the work, e.g. prepare a thesis from a research or conference paper, here you can enlighten a road ahead yourself, and give a new concept on how to continue.
Editor, A.S. 2018