How to Write a Strong Conclusion for a Doctoral Dissertation

Dissertations are long, major studies that analyze major topics and are broken up into many sections. In fact, the smartest strategy for a dissertation is, if you’re using APA citation (as you probably will) is to break it up into as many APA subsections as possible.

This way, the dissertation becomes less intimidating. It’s more like a series of short one page essays page by page that way—and anyone can write a page, right?

In fact, that is all a dissertation is—a page a day. In fact, my dissertation director told me to make mine 365 pages long and write one page a day, to make the whole project doable.

  • The Conclusion—The Art of Mastering the LAST Part of Your Book Length Study
  • After you have completed all of your chapters, which will typically each be 25-48 pages long or somewhere about that, the conclusion will seem like a welcome thing to write.


  • Energy and the Conclusion
  • I advise taking a brief break from your dissertation after you complete your last chapter. You need time to rest, reflect, sleep, dream, and think about what you learned from the entire process. What would you say about it now, in the light of all you learned.


  • The Last Chapter as Preparation for Your Defense of Your Dissertation
  • You’ll have to find a way to speak about your process of learning as you wrote your book, because one crucial part of your dissertation is the oral dissertation defense you’ll have to do in front of a committee after you are finished.

    This conclusion can be your practice for the dissertation defense, as well as bringing your conclusion to a close.


  • Different Methods for Approaching the Conclusion
  • Your conclusion will typically be a little bit shorter than the other chapters of your dissertation – and that is okay. In fact, your dissertation director will expect the conclusion to be shorter.

    In your conclusion, divide the last chapter into headers—one addressing every chapter of your conclusion except the introduction. You do not need to sum up your introduction . You only summarize your findings for each chapter—each category you broke your chapters into.

    In each section of the headed conclusion, address under these chapter headings how you feel about what you learned in that particular chapter. Do you feel differently now about your assertions than you did when you first wrote it—that’s what they’ll expect. Reflection and thought as you sum up the study overall. Also, include a closing section where you tell your readers your final thoughts in the light of the entire study.

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