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How to Write a Discussion Section of a Research Paper

Published on: Jun 29, 2023
Updated on: Aug 15, 2023
Table of content
  • The purpose of the discussion section
  • Structure and Writing Style
  • Step-by-step writing guide
  • Tips for writing a discussion
  • Discussion section example

How to Write a Discussion Section of a Research Paper
Is your research paper ready to be handed in, and is there a final discussion section left? This section can be challenging. Because in this part, you need to analyze the issue under study profoundly and give your assessment.

It shows how you can think critically and analyze everything you wrote about in your research. In this section, you should not just show the results but tell the impact of what you researched and what results you got. Thus, this section differs significantly from the results or conclusions because it represents your score.

This article will show you things to include in the discussion section of a research paper to adhere to the expected structure. Keep reading!

The Purpose of the Discussion Section in a Research Paper

Before we figure out how to write a discussion section, let’s figure out why this section is needed. It allows readers to evaluate the impact of your research on different areas of life and science. It also allows you to assess your creativity in solving problems and understand how valuable your research is.

Most often, this section contains the following information:

  1. A summary of your work. Don’t rewrite the results section. Briefly summarize what you’ve explored, and remind readers about that.
  2. Interpretation of your result. The following important part of the discussion section is to talk about what your results mean. What are the results of your research?
  3. Your recommendations. Tell readers about what suggestions you give in connection with the results obtained. Perhaps locally to solve the problem or in general some preventive measures. But be careful! Do not give any speculative recommendations that are not supported by your research. Also, do not focus on what did not work out or where mistakes were made.

When you start to write a discussion in a research paper, ensure you need this part. Some educators prefer to merge this part with the conclusions section in student papers. Thus, check with your professor before writing.

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Structure and Writing Style

If you need to write a discussion for a research paper, follow a few simple rules:

  • Be concise, and don’t repeat yourself. Express your thoughts clearly and consistently so the reader immediately understands what you are discussing. Do not repeat sections of your work or retell the same idea several times in different words.
  • Avoid using jargon or complex, obscure words. Everyone who reads your work should understand what you want to say without a dictionary or additional books.
  • Be bold and cite other authors and studies to support your conclusions and thoughts.
  • If your discussion section is too long, you can use subheadings to group ideas together so you don’t forget anything while writing.
  • Comment on your results, even if they were unexpected or random. Feel free to go into details.
  • You can add hypotheses or assumptions that will be explored in your following works. This way, you show the depth of the results and their significance.
  • You can start writing a discussion in scientific paper from general problems and perspectives on solving them to specific aspects. You can also offer some options for practical solutions to issues.
  • Remember to describe general patterns, principles, and relationships in the problem under study.
  • If you find some unexpected result, describe how you came to it and how it will affect the question.
  • At the end of the discussion section, you should state why the results are significant and how they affect broader research topics.

6 Steps to Write a Discussion in Research Paper

Now, let’s see how to write a successful discussion section.

Step 1. Write down the conclusions you want to make in the discussion section

Review your text again and analyze what conclusions you want to add to the discussion part of research paper. Perhaps you forgot to describe something in the previous paragraphs, and such an analysis will help you find new exciting ideas.

Step 2. Start the discussion with the problem and results

Here, you can start writing the discussion section. Begin it with a reminder of the problem you have been researching. Write what exactly you studied and what results you got. All text in the discussion section will be built based on this information.

Briefly and concisely describe all the results you got. Particular attention should be paid to significant figures and conclusions during the discussion. Do not repeat what you wrote in the previous sections. Just briefly recall the information in other words.

Step 3: Formulate your interpretations of the research paper discussion

The meaning of the results and your discoveries is evident to you. But this is not the case for those who have not done research with you. Your readers do not know the topic and have not delved into the issue as deeply as you. Therefore, it is unclear to them why your research topic is so important.

After you write the findings in the discussion part and why they are important, describe the corrections, patterns, and relationships between the data. Be sure to tell us about the research context: current and previous. Justify your conclusions in connection with the results obtained.

In the discussion part, you show your attitude to the study and what you found. The discussion demonstrates your ability to analyze and interpret.

Step 4. Describe the consequences in the discussion section

After your interpretations, you must tell what consequences the discovered results lead to. You can describe them in the paper from theoretical and practical perspectives. Your research can either confirm or disprove existing research. You need to describe it in your text and explain why.

Step 5. Talk about limitations in your discussion part

Every study has a limitation. Besides, it does not depend on the chosen topic, research materials, and other factors. Constraints can be associated with both the object of study and the preferred method.

For example, you took 20 people and examined their reactions to some factors. After doing the research, you understand how it affects them. In the restrictions of the discussion section, you should specify whether the result obtained can be transferred to all people or whether the results obtained concern only a particular group.

And be sure to indicate what will change if you change the conditions of the experiment, or this will not affect the result in any way.

Step 6. Summarize and share recommendations in the discussion section

During the study, you will likely find ways to improve some processes or provide solutions to specific issues. It is worth talking about in the last part of the discussion section.

After discussing your point of view, please write down your recommendations and arrange them in a convenient list so the reader can take practical action. Use specific ideas and suggestions.

Tips for Writing a Discussion Section

Several tips can help you create compelling work when writing a discussion section for a research paper. First and foremost, it is essential to have a clear and concise introduction that sets the stage for the discussion. It should briefly overview the research question, methodology, and main findings.

  • Once you have established the context, presenting a well-supported argument with relevant evidence and examples is essential. It means you should analyze the data collected during your research and use it to support your claims. Provide specific examples and use straightforward language to explain your findings.
  • Ensuring that your discussion is easy to follow and understand is crucial. Avoid using technical jargon, and break up complex ideas into smaller, more manageable chunks. It will help your readers stay engaged and easily follow your argument.
  • Visual aids such as graphs, charts, or tables can also be beneficial, allowing you to present data clearly and concisely. These visual aids can help to illustrate your points and make your argument more compelling.
  • Finally, engaging with your audience and creating a sense of dialogue throughout your writing is essential. It can be achieved by addressing counterarguments and inviting feedback and discussion from your readers. Doing so can create a more engaging and thought-provoking discussion section.

Overall, writing a discussion section for a research paper requires a balance of clarity, evidence, and engagement. By following these tips, you can create a piece of informative and engaging writing for your readers.

Example of Discussion in Research Paper

Here is a short example for your inspiration:

In the discussion section, we will delve deeper into the findings of our study and explore their implications. Our research showed a strong correlation between regular exercise and improved mental health. This finding is consistent with previous studies in the field and reinforces the importance of physical activity for overall well-being.

We also found that social support plays a significant role in promoting exercise adherence and mental health outcomes. Participants who reported having supportive friends and family members were more likely to exercise regularly and experience positive mental health outcomes.

However, our study had limitations that should be acknowledged. Firstly, our sample size was small, and we only recruited participants from one location. Future studies should aim to recruit a more extensive and more diverse sample. Secondly, our study relied on self-reported measures of exercise and mental health, which can be subject to bias.

Overall, our findings suggest that promoting regular exercise and social support can effectively improve mental health outcomes. Further research is needed to explore the mechanisms underlying these relationships and to identify specific interventions that can be implemented to promote exercise and social support.

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