Assessing the Conclusions of the Study
|Conclusions pull together the various results
of the study, consider what they mean, and suggest their importance.
There are several types of conclusions. The following is one typology:
Conclusions and recommendations are not an automatic extension of the results. They require careful inference in light of the delimitations of the study (the bounds on the questions of the study, the contexts studied, the population and sampling frame, and the interventions that occurred or were administered) and in light of the limitations of the study (the methodological shortcomings). They also require broad knowledge of the topic being addressed, they require combining facts and values, and they involve some speculation.
Even eminent researchers occasionally blow the conclusions and recommendations of a study. It is not uncommon to find a conclusion or two with no real support from the results, and occasionally a conclusion will be contradicted by the results. The most common reasons for that are fatigue and ambition. The conclusions and recommendations cannot be generated until the rest of the research is completed, and by then the research has usually taken more time and money than expected. So the conclusions and recommendations are often hastily assembled. In addition, many researchers have hopes of making important contributions, and, at the end, they sometimes succumb to concluding and recommending more than is well justified by their study.
Whether there is good justification for the conclusions can usually be determined by reading the research report. Indeed, readers may infer additional conclusions that are well supported by the study but not stated in the report. It should be noted, however, that some omissions in the report may make some conclusions appear unjustified even though the researcher actually has good justification for them.
Common errors when generating the conclusions and recommendations are the following:
Last Update: June 29, 2000