This is certainly one of the more questions that are challenging have ever asked me, because after looking through a large number of journal articles in my own Mendeley database, i possibly could not find most of them who used Discussion sections. I believe this idea of this Discussion part of an journal that is academic (or book chapter, in many cases) comes from the IMRAD model of publishing, this is certainly, papers which have at least listed here five sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Analysis and Discussion (hence the acronym).
Personally, I neither like, nor do I often write this type of journal article. Even when I was a chemical engineer, I can’t recall as they all had a variation (merging Discussion with Results, or Results with Conclusion, or Discussion with Conclusion) that I read many papers in the IMRAD model,. As I said on Twitter, I read engineering, natural science and social science literatures. Thusly, the Discussion sections that I read vary QUITE A LOT.
All Discussion sections I’ve read are
- analytical, not descriptive,
- specific inside their interpretation of research results,
- robust within their linkage of research findings with theories, other empirical reports and various literatures,
- proficient at explaining how a paper’s results may contradict earlier work, extend it, advance our comprehension of X or Y phenomenon and, most definitely:
- NOT the final outcome associated with the paper.
The thing I think is very important to keep in mind when writing the Discussion section of a paper, is always to really ANALYZE, not just describe. Link theories, methods, data, other work.
My post in the difference between Description and Analysis should assist you to write Discussion sections. https://t.co/oxz8uIY3Pd you should all read Graf and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say https://t.co/yDXHawbez1 as preparation to write Discussions – for the moves that are rhetorical.
As usual during my blog posts, I here url to a resources that are few could be of help (written by other authors).
- Dr. Pat Thomson, as usual providing advice that is great Results/Discussion sections of journal articles.
- A handout that is handy what gets into all the IMRAD sections. (more…)