conclusion and implication section chapter 5 Conclusions and Implications 5.1 Introduction Chapter 5 is the most important chapter of the MSc Management Research Project-Dissertation, for after ensuring the methodology and research processes are sound, the examiners will spend much time studying chapter 5. But the chapter is often characterised by fatigue, so the student must discover springs of interest and creativity to make his or her chapter 5 worthy of the rest of the report, and make it clearly show that the research does make some contribution to the body of knowledge. Thus the research’s contributions to knowledge should be the explicit theme of sections 5.2 to 5.4. A jigsaw puzzle analogy is useful for understanding what chapter 5 is about. Research begins like a jumbled jigsaw puzzle about the research problem. Chapter 2’s literature review starts putting the pieces together to uncover a picture, but shows that some pieces are missing and so the complete picture cannot be known. Then chapters 3 and 4 describe the hunt for the missing pieces. Then chapter 5 returns to the puzzle, briefly summarising what the picture looked like at the end of chapter 2 and then explaining how the new pieces fit in to make the whole picture clear. 5.2 Critical Evaluation of Adopted Methodology Once the research has been completed, the student has an obligation to explain to the reader how successful the chosen research methodology fitted the problem. Inevitably, with hindsight, the student will find areas where his or her selection of research method was perhaps inappropriate, or unsuccessful in some way. This section deals with these issues. Note that an MSc Management Research Project-Dissertation that describes the research process as faultless and the findings unquestionable is almost certainly a referral! This demonstrates that the student has not fully understood what a piece of research should achieve. 5.3 Conclusions About the Research Objectives Findings for each research objective are summarised from chapter 4 and explained within the context of this and prior research examined in chapter 2; for example, with which of the researchers discussed in chapter 2 does this research agree or disagree, and why? For each research objective, the agreement or disagreement of the results of a numbered section in chapter 4 with the literature should be made clear and the reason for disagreement thought through. For example, the disagreement might be because some previous research was done in the USA and this research was done in England. Each research objective should have its own subsection, that is, 5.2.1, 5.2.2 and so on, and each section will have a reference to the appropriate section of chapter 4 so that the examiner can clearly see that the conclusions come from the findings in chapter 4. Of course, each section will also have many references to the writers discussed in chapter 2. 5.4 Conclusions About the Research Question Based on section 5.2, implications of the research for furthering understanding of the research question are explored. The section goes beyond the mere number crunching (if appropriate) of chapter 4 and incorporates qualitative findings about the research problem developed during the research, including those insights discovered during interviews in qualitative research which had never even been considered in the literature reviewed in chapter 2. You are warned that examiners are careful that conclusions are based on findings alone, and will dispute conclusions not clearly based on the research results. That is, there is a difference between the conclusions of the research findings in sections 5.3 and implications drawn from them later in sections 5.4. For example, if a qualitative methodology is used with limited claims for generalisability, the conclusions must refer specifically to the people interviewed in the past – ‘the Chester Tourist Board managers placed small value on advertising’ rather than ‘Chester Tourist Board managers place small value on price’. This section may sometimes be quite small if the research objectives dealt with in the previous sections comprehensively cover the area of the research problem. Nevertheless, the section is usually worth including for it provides a conclusion to the whole research effort. 5.5 Limitations Section 1.4 has (hopefully!) previously outlined major limitations of the research that were a deliberate part of the overall plan (for example, industry boundaries to the research problem). This section discusses other limitations that became apparent during the progress of the research, for example, questionnaire results may indicate that age of respondents is a limitation, etc. 5.6 Opportunities for Further Research This final section is written to help MA, MSc, MBA, MPhil, PhD, DBA and other researchers in the selection and design of future research. Further research could refer to both topics and to methodologies – or to both. A case study methodology thesis might mention the need for positivist research to generalise the findings. Removing some limitations mentioned in section 1.4 usually provides opportunities for further research, for example, different regions or countries, different industries and different levels of management.
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