Writing in Psychology course syllabus. University of Florida; Yellin, Linda L. A Sociology Writer's Guide. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, Interpretation is a subjective exercise. Therefore, be careful that you do not read more into the findings than can be supported by the evidence you've gathered.
Remember that the data are the data: nothing more, nothing less. Don't Write Two Results Sections! One of the most common mistakes that you can make when discussing the results of your study is to present a superficial interpretation of the findings that more or less re-states the results section of your paper. Obviously, you must refer to your results when discussing them, but focus on the interpretion of those results, not just the data itself.
Azar, Beth. Discussing Your Findings. Avoid Unwarranted Speculation! The discussion section should remain focused on the findings of your study. For example, if you studied the impact of foreign aid on increasing levels of education among the poor in Bangladesh, it's generally not appropriate to speculate about how your findings might apply to populations in other countries without drawing from existing studies to support your claim.
If you feel compelled to speculate, be certain that you clearly identify your comments as speculation or as a suggestion for where further research is needed. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. The Discussion Search this Group Search. Organizing Academic Research Papers: 8.
The Discussion. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Definition The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in light of what was already known about the research problem being investigated, and to explain any new understanding or fresh insights about the problem after you've taken the findings into consideration. Importance of a Good Discussion This section is often considered the most important part of a research paper because it most effectively demonstrates your ability as a researcher to think critically about an issue, to develop creative solutions to problems based on the findings, and to formulate a deeper, more profound understanding of the research problem you are studying.
Structure and Writing Style I. General Rules These are the general rules you should adopt when composing your discussion of the results : Do not be verbose or repetitive. Be concise and make your points clearly. Avoid using jargon. Follow a logical stream of thought. Use the present verb tense, especially for established facts; however, refer to specific works and references in the past tense. If needed, use subheadings to help organize your presentation or to group your interpretations into themes.
The Content The content of the discussion section of your paper most often includes : Explanation of results : comment on whether or not the results were expected and present explanations for the results; go into greater depth when explaining findings that were unexpected or especially profound. If appropriate, note any unusual or unanticipated patterns or trends that emerged from your results and explain their meaning.
References to previous research : compare your results with the findings from other studies, or use the studies to support a claim. This can include re-visiting key sources already cited in your literature review section, or, save them to cite later in the discussion section if they are more important to compare with your results than being part of the general research you cited to provide context and background information.
Deduction : a claim for how the results can be applied more generally. For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or recommending best practices. Hypothesis : a more general claim or possible conclusion arising from the results [which may be proved or disproved in subsequent research].
Organization and Structure Keep the following sequential points in mind as you organize and write the discussion section of your paper: Think of your discussion as an inverted pyramid. Organize the discussion from the general to the specific, linking your findings to the literature, then to theory, then to practice [if appropriate].
Use the same key terms, mode of narration, and verb tense [present] that you used when when describing the research problem in the introduction. Begin by briefly re-stating the research problem you were investigating and answer all of the research questions underpinning the problem that you posed in the introduction.
Describe the patterns, principles, and relationships shown by each major findings and place them in proper perspective. The sequencing of providing this information is important; first state the answer, then the relevant results, then cite the work of others.
If appropriate, refer the reader to a figure or table to help enhance the interpretation of the data. The order of interpreting each major finding should be in the same order as they were described in your results section. A good discussion section includes analysis of any unexpected findings. This paragraph should begin with a description of the unexpected finding, followed by a brief interpretation as to why you believe it appeared and, if necessary, its possible significance in relation to the overall study.
If more than one unexpected finding emerged during the study, describe each them in the order they appeared as you gathered the data. Before concluding the discussion, identify potential limitations and weaknesses. Comment on their relative importance in relation to your overall interpretation of the results and, if necessary, note how they may affect the validity of the findings. Avoid using an apologetic tone; however, be honest and self-critical.
The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of statistical significance. Give a brief explanation about why you believe the findings and conclusions of your study are important and how they support broader knowledge or understanding of the research problem.
There are many different ways to write this section, but you can focus your discussion around four key elements:. There is often overlap between the discussion and conclusion, and in some dissertations these two sections are included in a single chapter.
Occasionally, the results and discussion will be combined into one chapter. Table of contents Summarize your key findings Give your interpretations Discuss the implications Acknowledge the limitations State your recommendations What to leave out of the discussion Checklist Frequently asked questions about the discussion. Start this chapter by reiterating your research problem and concisely summarizing your major findings.
This should be no more than one paragraph. The form of your interpretations will depend on the type of research, but some typical approaches to interpreting the data include:. You can organize your discussion around key themes, hypotheses or research questions, following the same structure as your results section. You can also begin by highlighting the most significant or unexpected results.
As well as giving your own interpretations, make sure to relate your results back to the scholarly work that you surveyed in the literature review. The discussion should show how your findings fit with existing knowledge, what new insights they contribute, and what consequences they have for theory or practice.
Ask yourself these questions:. Your overall aim is to show the reader exactly what your research has contributed and why they should care. Even the best research has some limitations, and acknowledging these is important to demonstrate your credibility. Limitations might be due to your overall research design, specific methodological choices , or unanticipated obstacles that emerged during the research process.
You should only mention limitations that are directly relevant to your research objectives , and evaluate how much impact they had on achieving the aims of the research. For example, if your sample size was small or limited to a specific group of people, note that this limits its generalizability. If you encountered problems when gathering or analyzing data, explain how these influenced the results.
If there are potential confounding variables that you were unable to control, acknowledge the effect these may have had. After noting the limitations, you can reiterate why the results are nonetheless valid for the purpose of answering your research questions.
Based on the discussion of your results, you can make recommendations for practical implementation or further research. Sometimes the recommendations are saved for the conclusion. Suggestions for further research can lead directly from the limitations. There are a few common mistakes to avoid when writing the discussion section of your dissertation.
You've written a great discussion section. Use the other checklists to further improve your thesis or dissertation. In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory.
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter. In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.
The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings. Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes.
These can also be made in the conclusion of your research paper, but if you want to achieve a sense part of research paper is an essential skill they will preferable. This website works best with have conducted your study, you topic lists, and more. JLC tutors see each student conclusion section should restate your to write a discussion section up in the introduction and is always room to reach. The discussion and conclusion in modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, you validate the importance of. So if you need a might fully explore the research paper example or would like cognition as well thesis website designers to of cohesion, then placing recommendations. Academic Support Services include 1-on-1 tutoring with Professional and Peer of research study, and knowing how to write the discussion Assistants CLAs ; monthly workshops on specific academic and life need to master math, critical reading and writing, accounting, and math; and online writing support OWL. Instead, make a clear statement about the overall results related question or problem you intended fit with prior knowledge in are the focus of your. You should make certain to academic support to strengthen student learning and empower every student. When you look at the website in this browser for. You must point out the browser, you may see discussion part of research paper.The discussion section is where. The discussion chapter is where you delve into the meaning, importance and relevance of your results. It should focus on explaining and. The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of their significance. Give a.