Writing a discussion for a scientific paper

May 3, Category: A strong Discussion section provides a great deal of analytical depth.

Writing a discussion for a scientific paper

Bibliography 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 insights about the problem after you've taken the findings into consideration.

The discussion will always connect to the introduction by way of the research questions or hypotheses you posed and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction; the discussion should always explain how your study has moved the reader's understanding of the research problem forward from where you left them at the end of the introduction.

Importance of a Good Discussion Writing a discussion for a scientific paper discussion section is often considered the most important part of your research paper because this is where you: If appropriate, the discussion section is also where you state how the findings from your study revealed new gaps in the literature that had not been previously exposed or adequately described, and Engage the reader in thinking critically about issues based upon an evidence-based interpretation of findings; it is not governed strictly by objective reporting of information.

San Francisco Edit, Structure and Writing Style 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; in general, interpret and discuss the significance of your findings in the same sequence you described them in your results section [a notable exception is to begin by highlighting an unexpected result or finding] Use the present verb tense, especially for established facts; however, refer to specific works or prior studies in the past tense If needed, use subheadings to help organize your discussion or to categorize your interpretations into themes II.

The Content The content of the discussion section of your paper most often includes: If appropriate, note any unusual or unanticipated patterns or trends that emerged from your results and explain their meaning in relation to the research problem.

References to previous research: 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 instead of being a part of the general literature review of research used to provide context and background information.

Note that you can make this decision to highlight specific studies after you have begun writing the discussion section.

For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or highlighting best practices.

This can be framed as new research questions that emerged as a result of your analysis. 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, narrative style, and verb tense [present] that you used when when describing the research problem in your 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 sequence of 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 [either within the text or as an appendix].

Regardless of where it's mentioned a good discussion section includes analysis of any unexpected findings. This part of the discussion should begin with a description of any unanticipated findings, 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 of them in the order they appeared as you gathered or analyzed the data. As noted, the exception to discussing findings in the same order you described them in the results section would be to begin by highlighting the implications of a particularly unexpected or significant finding that emerged from the study, followed by a discussion of the remaining findings.

Before concluding the discussion, identify potential limitations and weaknesses if you do not plan to do so in the conclusion of the paper.

writing a discussion for a scientific paper

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 your findings.

Avoid using an apologetic tone; however, be honest and self-critical [e. The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of 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.

This can be followed by any recommendations for further research. However, do not offer recommendations which could have been easily addressed within the study. This would demonstrate to the reader that you have inadequately examined and interpreted the data.

Overall Objectives The objectives of your discussion section should include the following: You should write a direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results, usually in one paragraph. Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important Consider the likelihood that no one has thought as long and hard about your study as you have.

Systematically explain the underlying meaning of your findings and state why you believe they are significant.The results section is just a presentation of the data.

There should not be any discussion in the results section (that goes in the discussion section). The results need to be presented in enough detail for someone not familiar with the scientific paper to . Writing the Scientific Paper. W hen you write about scientific topics to specialists in a particular scientific field, we call that scientific writing.

(When you write to non-specialists about scientific topics, we call that science writing.) T he scientific paper has developed over the past three centuries into a tool to communicate the results of scientific . In this paper, I will discuss the issues related to the writing process of a scientific paper.

Specifically, I will focus on the best approaches to start a scientific paper, . The results section is the part of the scientific paper around which everything else is built. The introduction describes why the results needed to be obtained, the methods how they were obtained and the discussion explains the results.

Recommendations for further research can be included in either the discussion or conclusion of your paper, but do not repeat your recommendations in the both sections. Think about the overall narrative flow of your paper to . 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].

How to Write a Strong Discussion in Scientific Manuscripts