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Research Paper Writing: 7. Discussion

Essential interpretations

The discussion section is essentially ideas restating the primary conclusion that the writer interprets from the results and analysis sections, and how the data found explains the results. In this section it is important to provide a logical interpretation that lights the way to the research purpose and the problem that was researched. The discussion section needs to be a clear path to the discoveries in relation to the purpose of the paper.

Examples of a Discussion Section



These examples are two ways that a Discussion section can be wrote in a research paper.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Sixth Ed. 2010

Discussion validity

How should it be written

  • Should help move the audience from the simple facts to the more common, hypothetical, or relative statements of the conclusion
  • Close the gaps such as, interesting leads and open questions that was accessible in the results section
  • Build upon the results and expand the findings in more detail
  • Validate the theory
  • Show what falls outside of validity
  • Show how it impacts the literature that was presented
  • Show further exploration if it is needed

Ask these questions when writing the discussion section

  • What did you set out to report
  • What did you expect to uncover
  • What was the basic theoretical framework
  • What background did previous research provide for the paper
  • What technique was used
  • Were any of the findings unexpected
  • Did it support or contradict the problem

Roadblocks prevents the discussion to become a success

  • Bias or personal feelings
  • Broad or confusing interpretation of the findings
  • Not criticizing the experiment
  • Leaving out crucial information about what you did not find