A discussion is a discussion about a specific topic. It examines a specific topic and an academic work is an important part. In the thesis, the discussion critically examines the facts previously considered and interprets them. Wikipedia says: The author puts himself in the position of possible discussants and combines them into a coherent consideration.

As a rule, you present results and research methods neutrally and show what you have found without commenting too much. For example, you list the content of literature or statements from interviews that you have done.

Now it is important to discuss these results and to show the reader what can be hidden behind the data and which statements in current literature are the same which contradict which and which limitations there may be.

example : You walk into a room with 5 people and 2 pictures. In the results, they describe what these people look like, what they do and which images are in the room. In the following, you will discuss what connection the people could have, what the images could mean and much more.

Discussion of the research design

What is often and happily forgotten is a discussion of research design. Often students use a literature analysis and expert interviews because it fits. But why did you choose these methods and what separates them from other methods and what might have come out of a different research design?

Reading tip: Limitation of research methods

You should know exactly the advantages and disadvantages of research methods (see reading tip). First, discuss why you used the research methods and point out the benefits. For example, qualitative research is more suitable for exploratory issues and quantitative research is more suitable for standardizable issues. Surveys are particularly well suited to recording a large number in order to achieve a higher general validity, but interviews help to explore rather unknown fields with open questions. You may also find similar studies that have used a similar approach. In contrast, what did you do differently and what was better?

Remember that you should justify the methods well. To do this, you must first familiarize yourself with the methods and deal with them. I’ve written an article on almost every methodology on the blog. These can certainly provide an initial orientation.

discussion of the results

In this part you discuss the results. Are there possible connections between the results, which are new, which have already been mentioned in the existing literature and many other questions. Possible limitations and approaches for further research are also part of the discussion. The important thing is to interpret the results and, above all, to clearly present surprising facts. For example: it is not uncommon for companies to have significantly more technology than they did a few years ago, but it would be surprising if, for example, it is said that the budgets should no longer be there. Also delimit the results of similar studies. Do you have similar results or do they differ?

This part is particularly difficult because, in contrast to the research methods (clear advantages and disadvantages), you can only orient yourself, if at all, on possible similar studies. So you need to fully understand your findings and write down critical questions and discuss them. This requires a lot of personal effort and hardly anyone can help you with it.


In my opinion, the discussion is one of the hardest parts of a thesis. It distinguishes very good from good work and shows how well you have understood the topic. While the collection of data, for example interviews, follows a stringent procedure, you have to think hard in the discussion and examine and discuss the data from all aspects. Take enough time to write down critical questions before the discussion and try to discuss them.

A high-quality discussion is the hallmark of a good scientist!

[student] [fotolia]

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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