PhD thesis - Chapter 6 - Concluding chapter - as a small guide only

Posted by sazali

Salam ( Peace be upon you readers)

Bis millahi rahmanir rahim ( In the name of God the most beneficient and most benevolent)

This is a small writing on how to conclude your research work.  I would like to dedicate this to my malaysian students/ friends who are trying to put the final words on their masters / PhD work.  Let me call it the first draft for   s/he must show their work to their supervisor for the final approval regarding this concluding chapter only.

All chapters in a thesis has an introduction.

So my advice is in your introduction it is wise to declare whether this is a quantitative work, qualititative work or a mixture of both/  experimentation/ programming etc etc.  This can help the readers to proceed with knowing your work in advance.

So the structure of this chapter is

introduction/  a quasi-experimental research.  Pre-  Experiment - Post Test  + Control
contents -  your contribution to the body of knowledge (BOK)
limitations of your work
future recommendations
THE END ( smile please)

Brief history of your work.
Research Questions RQ1, RQ2, RQ3 etc etc. 

Sample/ place


I was instructed by my supervisors/examiners to write this chapter based on my research questions RQ1 to RQ4.




What conclusion have you derived?


This chapter must incorporate points like :


·          Your contribution towards the BOK Body Of Knowledge.

·         Limitations of your study

·         Recommendations

I think you should stick with 1 or 2 recommendations only for a start.


Your recommendations are:

Firstly, recruit better technical students into the polytechnics MTUN systems in Malaysia. 
Secondly, recruit teachers  who masters in mathematics education background and not engineers who could only see things from the engineering applications point of view.  

PLease elaborate.


If you have a recommendation, just tell us.  Why?




The contribution towards  the body of knowledge?


First you briefly state some important theories that are the foundation towards your research.  My study  was about learning and teaching of mathematics using computers/ internet among 18+ polytechnic students MOHE in Malaysia undergoing certificate engineering programs.  Sample was 137 students (70% males; 30% females).  The study was conducted in the first 8 weeks of the first semester.  Certificate engineering programs run for 4 semesters with one semester in industrial placement.


So the theories that were used are:  Mays (2000) from Australia,  Mayer(1995) from Cambridge ,UK , Marzita Puteh (2003) about mathematics anxiety in Malaysia and Felder  (2000) in USA.  See you have put down the big stones that acted as the foundation/ pillars throughout  your study.


I introduced a courseware called CDiCL ( a CD with collaboration learning principles in a polytechnic students population age 18+). The courseware was built using ADDIE model (acronym for Analisis, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluation).  This acted as my contribution.


My findings.  Put them here.


So what are your contributions?  I contributed in two things.  Firstly, I experimented using CDiCL with four quadrants on 1 computer screen at a time in pre-algebra where we believe that text and visual clues can help to develop many mathematical weaknesses among weaker sets of learners. I found that many students can understand maths much better and faster than to expose them solely using text clue .  By having four different quadrants, few students can share their ideas while using the computers in  small group of 2 -3 only.  Second,  the CD was built taking into account  the strength of each individual students' learning style i.e., they are strong in learning things using visual clues and few other students are stronger in building their maths understanding in text mode only.  By combining two different strengths of any student , you are introducing an element that had saved  learning and teaching time in the Malaysian polytechnic, technical schools and college communities in this country.  By saving the time, you have saved  money, funds and working time since Malaysians enjoyed many kinds of holidays annually.  The CD was built using the theories by Mayer (1995) multimedia learning and Flenders (2000) collaborative learning.  Admission:   the courseware was pilot tested in three different places before it  was used  in Polytechnic Kota Bharu, Kelantan , Malaysia MOHE  in 2006.  Sample 137 students 18+ 70% males and 30% females.


The statistics of the students doing better must be given at this point.  See chapter 4 findings section 4.1 and section 4.2 in this thesis.  Explain briefly the figures to show that there was an impact of learning pre-algebra using CDiCL. 


Once you state something, and you gave the readers (your "examiners") with supporting evidence then you may claim that ..this is your contribution towards the BOK (body of knowledge).  My claim includes the incorporation of Hermann Brain model into the development of CDiCL in learning mathematics  in the polytechnic.



The final section of this chapter could include both limitation and future recommendation .


The limitation of my work was

  •  The medium of instruction in the CD (CDiCL) was in English
  • The study was run for the first eight weeks of the first semester of certificate engineering programmes of Polytechnic Kota Bharu, Kelantan.  During this time , some administration of the students were not yet finalised especially the funding aspects  of their studies.  However, this is the time when algebra is taught for the certificate engineering students.
  • The content of the CDiCL was pre-algebra (factorization, simplification and word problem solving which was equivalent to GCE’O’ Levels ) only.





Recommendations.  Recommendations .  you can suggest/ use the word “may’  which is more polite when you are not  forcing anybody to follow your idea.  If they follow ..good ..if they reject it is also very good.  It is not the end of the world.  Moreover, you are not going to solve all the problems in this sick sick world by doing PhD right?


An example of  a recommendation:

  •  The CDiCL should be used throughout the first two semesters of the certificate engineering programmes/  why?  Then we can see its (CDiCL) suitability and proper adaptation between algebra and calculus in engineering



He..he… think positive ..when you write this chapter.  But you must show that you have built / gained some authority in your subject matter.  The examiners can detect this easily by the way you explain few things in this chapter.  Once you got this confidence/ authority .. your PhD explains that you are the master of your research in this world.


Thank you  for reading.


God help you OK?   See you then …


Wallahhuaklam.  (God knows best).


By :  Sazali Khalid Ph.D ( UTHM, Malaysia),  M Computers in Education (Birmingham),  B.Sc  OR & Computing (Leeds)


Cryer, P.(2000). The research student's guide to success.  2nd Ed.  ISBN 0 335 2086 7 Buckingham:  Open University Press
Phillips, E. M. and Pugh, D.S. (2000).  How to get a PhD - a handbook for students and their supervisors .  3rd Ed.  ISBN 0-320550-X Maidenhead:  Open University Press

Sulaiman Yamin (1988).  Quantitative research -  Tests, evaluations and assessment in Science Education in UTM Malaysia.  PhD thesis.  Oregon, USA.

Clark, R.E.(1994).  Media will never influence learning.  Educational Technology Research and Development , Vol 42(2), 21-29

 Aida Suraya M Yunus et al (2006).  Coonfidence in teaching mathematics among pre-service teachers.  Journal of Science and Mathematics Education in South East Asia. Vol 29(1) .  Penang: Seameo, Recsam  1- 20







  1. Gloria Adams said...

    This would certainly help a lot of people who are writing their conclusion part of thesis paper. I think thesis writing can be hard and tedious at times, but with article and blog post like this can truly help people find the better and easier path to travel. Anyway, I do hope everything went well with your paper, Sazali.

  2. sazali said...

    TQ Prof Gloria Adams

    Yes with some help like the above structure, I managed to submit my thesis in April 2010. I was conferred with my Ph.D in July the same year.

    I think your support is great at this point. God bless you Gloria.

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