A strong discussion section of an article expands the specific results to include their broader implications and ties them with the general background of the study to maximize the paper’s efficiency. So, you should move “back and forth” between the discussion and the introduction sections of the paper.
Should and should nots
- State whether the study hypothesis is supported by your data
- Interpret the results: what are the results’ implications?
- Discuss your findings in relation to those of other studies (e.g., whether the obtained results approve or differ from those obtained in previous papers)
- Explain how your study adds to existing knowledge
- Introduce possible alternative explanations for your findings
- Mention the study limitations
- Don’t just repeat the results again
- Don’t draw conclusions that are not supported by the data
In this section, express the key conclusions of your paper in the context of the formulated problem. By the time readers get to this part of the text, they should have comprehended what you did and the study outcomes. Readers should be able to realize how and why you get to your conclusions.
Should and should nots
Explicate what you’ve learned from the study
- Make sure that the conclusion is directly related to your research question and the study objectives.
- Elaborate on the broader implications of your study.
- Provide specific future research suggestions to advance the knowledge you’ve gathered from the study or respond to questions that your study did not address.
- Don’t exaggerate your research or “overgeneralize” the findings, that is, extend the study findings to provide suggestions or conclusions that your study doesn’t really cover.
- Don’t simply summarize the findings of your paper.
Writing for different reader groups
- A smart writer is aware of the different expectations of readers and can structure a paper based on the readers’ expectations and backgrounds. Even a general reader with little or no knowledge of the subject should be able to get a good understanding of what you did and why.
- Avoid jargons. Define key terms clearly, especially if they are not used in their conventional sense or ones that a few readers may be familiar with.
- If only specialists in a specific field can understand your study, your paper will be limited to a small group audience. Lead readers up to the problem or theory you are studying. Don’t assume that your audience know everything about the topic of your study.
Effective authors keep the readers in mind while writing their papers. A well-structured manuscript helps the author enhance the flow of his/her ideas and tells readers what to expect at different parts of the manuscript.