I have written a thesis seeking to analyze the ideological thinking of a newspaper through its editorials in a political situation during a certain period of time (1985-1991). I couldn’t count on my advisor and I have written my thesis by myself. My advisor approved my thesis and I must defend it in three weeks.

I have been reading other similar theses. I have realized that most of them use a chapter for “Discussion”. My thesis does not have such a chapter. I wrote a chapter for “Methodology”, another for “Results” and after that one for “Conclusions”. I am afraid that in my defense someone will ask me why I did not write a chapter for “Discussion” and I don’t think I have a very convincing answer. How would you answer to that kind of question?

  • 1) I have edited the title and body to make it more informative and peel it down to essentials. Please edit if you find something incongruent. 2) If your conclusions follow directly from the results, are written clearly, the aim and final outcomes of your work are appropriately emphasized, I see no problem with a lacking "Discussion" chapter - if it's not necessary, it's not needed.
    – user68958
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 18:03
  • A thesis can have any chapter titles that make sense. My PhD thesis does not have a Methodology, a Result, or a Conclusion section. Most PhD theses in my research group, which is internationally known in my field, don't have some or all of those either.
    – Jake
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 2:37

2 Answers 2


Do you discuss the results and their implications? Do you present the insights and conclusions? Do you make your argument and present your evidence in a logical, persuasive way?

I find that chapter/section headings are much less important than the overall document strength. If your thesis fits the following, the I'd defend it. Worst case you may be asked to restructure; best case you make your point and it is accepted as is.

Key Points: Thesis should - be organized and logical - clearly articulate the main points and supporting evidence - discuss any conclusions and insights

I'm sure there are others. Section/chapter headings are author's choice - use what you need to accomplish your purpose.


Even though your advisor hasn't been helpful, perhaps he or she can give you advice on this. Possibly s/he didn't think of it. But the only sections you need in a thesis are the ones that you and your advisor think you need.

Of course your concern is valid in general - how do I defend the thesis in the face of questions.

But ask yourself what would you say in such a section. If you can't think of anything, you are done. Ask yourself what kinds of things others in your field say in such a section. If you have covered those elsewhere, or don't need to say anything, you are done.

A Discussion section might be used, however, to explore alternate approaches to your problem that you haven't taken (and aren't in the literature) and why your approach is likely better. But perhaps you have covered that. Even if it isn't there, you should be prepared to answer questions about that.

The questions you get aren't likely to be about section titles, but about content. If you can point to where in the thesis all of the essential points are covered, you are done.

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