Thesis >> Conclusion

Being the last chapter and preceding the reference list and appendixes in a thesis, the Conclusion summarises the main results and findings, highlights implications and significance of the study, and suggests directions for further research. The lengths of the Conclusion in theses vary but the Conclusion aims to summarise the study and articulates its contributions and significance. Conclusions in submitted theses in the same discipline can inform authors of the usual organisation and length of the Conclusion.

Read the following Conclusion from a thesis in the field of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management and answer questions for the pre-reading by using the colour palette. Ellipses, […] and [….], in the extract indicate that some words or paragraphs are left out of the original text.

  1.  What is the research purpose of the study?
  2.  What were the results of the study?
  3.  Were the results in the study connected with existing concepts and theories?
  4.  What were the limitations of the study?
  5.  What were the implications and recommendations derived from the study?

7.1   Overall Discussion

In this thesis, four experiments were conducted to investigate spatial S-R compatibility effects for multimodal multi-task environments. The major findings of each experiment are summarized below.

7.1.1   Experiment 1

The first experiment examined the effect of spatial compatibility on […] No right-left prevalence effect in the spatial compatibility task was observed in this study […]

7.1.2   Experiment 2

Here, the two independent visual tasks in the first experiment were superimposed on a single display […] no right-left prevalence effect for the spatial compatibility task was observed.


7.1.4   Experiment 4

In the previous three experiments, […] Overall, the results showed that there was delay in multi-task processing when […] No right- left prevalence effect for the spatial compatibility task was observed with the use of two fingers of the left hand for responses.

7.2   Spatial S-R Compatibility Effect

The concept of spatial S-R compatibility has long been applied for human-machine/computer interface design […] Note however that […] only two fingers were used for responses throughout the experiments here. Using two hands or two feet for responses seems more capable of […]

7.3   Modality Effect

According to multiple resource theory […] It is believed that, in the context of mixed-modalities within a task, the modality shifting effect (MSE) might have ensued, consequently leading to extra costs for using the cross-modal presentation.

7.4   Dual-task/Multi-task Processing

Multiple resource theory and threaded cognition were the two principal theories […] predict degradation in overall task performance […] and therefore it should try to avoid designing tasks consuming the same pool of resources […]

7.5   Overall Conclusion

The results of this study provide important and useful ergonomics design implications and consequent recommendations […] The ergonomics recommendations generated from this study may be summarized as follows:

a.  Components of visual signals and response devices should be mapped congruently to […]


i.  The signal modality presentation […] Mixed-modality presentation within a task should be avoided to eliminate/ minimized response conflict and the modality shifting effect.

Adapted from:
N. H. Tsang, “Multi-task performance in processing four-choice spatial stimulus-response (S-R) mappings: Implications for multimodal human-machine interface design”, Ph. D. dissertation, Dept. Syst. Eng. & Eng. Mgt., CITYU, Hong Kong, 2014. [Online]. Available: CityU Institutional Repository.

The final chapter in the main text of a thesis is the Conclusion which recapitulates the major results and findings in the study so as to remind readers of the study’s significance and contributions, attempting to leave a lasting impression on the readers. Much effort is needed in writing so as to produce a conclusion that gives a fair as well as concise account of the study. Limitations may need to be attended to while proclaiming the fruitful results of the study.

The main purposes of the Conclusion in a thesis include

  • reminding readers of the essence of the study by restating the research purpose and summarising the major results and findings;
  • conveying the validity and generalisability of the study accurately by acknowledging the limitations in the study;
  • affirming the efforts made to reduce the identified research gap(s) by articulating the significance of the study in terms of its implications and contribution;
  • affirming the value of the study by explaining its significance in terms of possible applications of the methods in other scenarios or areas and future research directions.

The Conclusion in a thesis shows how the author attempts to achieve the research purpose by highlighting the most important results and findings that are derived from the new or improved research design. The significance of the study as well as suggestions for future research are explicitly stated in the Conclusion, affirming the value of the study and leaving the readers with a good impression of the thesis. Limitations of the study and efforts made to minimise them are also explained and justified, which offers a fair account of the study to the readers. All this shows the author’s ability to conduct scientific research and the scholarship of the study.

The Conclusion, which summarises and brings an end to the thesis, should be written in a concise and precise manner. The lengths and organisation of conclusions depend on the discipline. To obtain specific guidance and reference, students are recommended to consult with their supervisors and read the conclusions written in submitted theses from the same discipline. Guidelines from both the respective department and the university should be followed.

Some examples of variations on the chapter title include “Conclusion”, “Conclusions”, “Conclusion and further work”, “Conclusions and future work”, “Conclusions and recommendations”. 

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