Discussion Section For A Research Paper







                                  This section describes an organizational structure commonly used to report experimental research in many scientific disciplines, the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion.

                                  Although the main headings are standard for many scientific fields, details may vary; check with your instructor, or, if submitting an article to a journal, refer to the instructions to authors.

                                  Use the menu below to find out how to write each part of a scientific report.

                                  Discussion Section

                                  The table below offers some questions effective discussion sections in scientific reports address.

                                  What do your observations mean?

                                  • Summarize the most important findings at the beginning.

                                  What conclusions can you draw?

                                  For each major result:

                                  • Describe the patterns, principles, relationships your results show.
                                  • Explain how your results relate to expectations and to literature cited in your Introduction. Do they agree, contradict, or are they exceptions to the rule?
                                  • Explain plausibly any agreements, contradictions, or exceptions.
                                  • Describe what additional research might resolve contradictions or explain exceptions.

                                  How do your results fit into a broader context?

                                  • Suggest the theoretical implications of your results.
                                  • Suggest practical applications of your results?
                                  • Extend your findings to other situations or other species.
                                  • Give the big picture: do your findings help us understand a broader topic?

                                  Additional tips:

                                  1. Move from specific to general: your finding(s) --> literature, theory, practice.
                                  2. Don't ignore or bury the major issue. Did the study achieve the goal (resolve the problem, answer the question, support the hypothesis) presented in the Introduction?
                                  3. Make explanations complete.
                                    • Give evidence for each conclusion.
                                    • Discuss possible reasons for expected and unexpected findings.

                                  What to avoid:

                                  1. Don't overgeneralize.
                                  2. Don't ignore deviations in your data.
                                  3. Avoid speculation that cannot be tested in the foreseeable future.


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