Writing the discussion on a research paper


A seasoned editor gives advice to get your work published in an international journal

If the scope of the study is broad or has many variables, or if the methodology used yields a wide range of different results, the author should state only those results that are most relevant to the research question stated in the Introduction section. As a general rule, any information that does not present the direct findings or outcome of the study should be left out of this section.


  1. Scientific Papers | Learn Science at Scitable;
  2. 4 Step approach to writing the Introduction section of a research paper | Editage Insights.
  3. Writing a Research Paper.

Unless the author is requested by the journal or advisor to included Results and Discussions together, explanations and interpretations of these results should be omitted from the Results. Your research question is based on a survey:. This can actually be represented as a heading within your paper, though it might be presented as a statement rather than a question:. Likert items and other data points can be included in figures, charts, and graphs to clarify information.

Present the results that address this specific research question first. In this case, perhaps a table illustrating data from a survey. Likert Items are included in this example. Other tables might include standard deviations, probability, matrices, etc. Following this, present a content analysis of one end of the spectrum of the survey or data table. For example:. Include other data such as frequency counts, subcategories, and rich quotes for each category. The amount of textual description used will depend on how much interpretation of the figures is necessary and how many examples the reader needs to read in order to understand the significance of these findings.

For instance:. After you have assessed the data in one figure and explained it sufficiently, move onto your next research question. This kind of data may be presented through a figure or set of figures for instance, a paired T-test table. The figure containing this data is cited in parentheses. Note that this author has included three graphs in one single figure. Separating the data into separate graphs makes it easier for the reader to assess the findings, and consolidating this information into one figure saves space and makes it easy to locate all of the most relevant results.

Data from multiple graphs can be placed into one figure to consolidate results. Following this overall summary, the relevant data in the tables is broken down into greater detail. As the hard data yielded by your study, tables and figures are central components of your Results section. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to caption the figures and refer to them within the text of the Results section.

The most important advice one can give here as well as throughout the paper is to check the requirements and standards of the journal to which you are submitting your work. Regardless of which format you use, the figures should be placed in the order they are referenced in the Results section and be as clear and easy to understand as possible. If there are multiple variables being considered within one or more research questions , it can be a good idea to split these up into separate figures.


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  • Subsequently, these can be referenced and analyzed under separate headings and paragraphs in the text. To create a caption, consider the research question being asked and change it into a phrase. Because each study is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to designing a strategy for structuring and writing the section of a research paper where findings are presented.

    The content and layout of this section will be determined by the specific area of research, the design of the study and its particular methodologies, and the guidelines of the target journal and its editors.

    Writing a Scientific Research Report (IMRaD) | Guides

    However, the following steps can be used to compose the results of most scientific research studies and are essential for researchers who are new to preparing a manuscript for publication or who need a reminder of how to construct the Results section. The goal is to communicate this complex information as clearly and precisely as possible; precise and compact phrases and sentences are most effective.

    One excellent option is to use a professional academic editing service such as Wordvice. As you can see from the above examples, the authors are moving toward presenting the specific topic of their research. So now in the following part, you can bring in some statistics to show the importance of the topic or the seriousness of the problem. Here are some examples:.

    How to write Discussion/Analysis section of a Research Paper

    Another way to emphasize the importance of the research topic is to highlight the possible benefits from solving the problem or from finding an answer to the question: possible savings, greater production, longer-lasting devices, and so on. This approach emphasizes the positive.

    Results, Discussion Conclusion chapters

    For example, instead of saying that X dollars are lost because of malaria every year, say that X dollars can be saved annually if malaria is prevented, or X millions litres of water can be saved by dispensing with irrigation, or X person-hours can be saved in the form of avoided illnesses because of improved air quality or reduced pollution. Mention past attempts to solve the research problem or to answer the research question.

    Written explanations

    As mentioned earlier, a formal review of literature is out of place in the Introduction section of a research paper; however, it is appropriate to indicate any earlier relevant research and clarify how your research differs from those attempts. The differences can be simple: you may have repeated the same set of experiments but with a different organism, or elaborated involving perhaps more sophisticated or advanced analytical instruments the study with a much larger and diverse sample, or a widely different geographical setting.

    Here are two examples:. Conclude the Introduction by mentioning the specific objectives of your research. The earlier paragraphs should lead logically to specific objectives of your study. Note that this part of the Introduction gives specific details: for instance, the earlier part of the Introduction may mention the importance of controlling malaria whereas the concluding part will specify what methods of control were used and how they were evaluated. At the same time, avoid too much detail because those belong to the Materials and Methods section of the paper.

    If, for example, your research was about finding the right proportions of two metals in an alloy and you tested ten different proportions, you do not have to list all the ten proportions: it is enough to say that the proportions varied from to Here are two more examples:. There are different ways of constructing the objectives. Using questions 2 , hypotheses, and infinitives are the more common constructions both examples in the previous paragraph use infinitives , each of which is illustrated below with some fictitious text:.

    Writing the Results Section for a Research Paper

    H1: Career stages influence work values. H2: Career stages influence the level of job satisfaction. H3: Career stages do not influence organizational commitment. Using infinitives. Compared to two other sections of a typical research paper, namely Methods and Results, Introduction and Discussion are more difficult to write. However, the 4-step approach described in this article should ease the task. You can write it, or at least revise it, after you have written the rest of the paper: this will make the Introduction not only easier to write but also more compelling. Detailing the writing of scientific manuscripts: paragraphs.

    Discussion Section of a Research Paper: Writing Instructions

    Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia 2 : e21—e Boxman R and Boxman E. Communicating Science: a practical guide for engineers and physical scientists , pp. Singapore: World Scientific. Related reading:. Create a free account and access this bonus resource. Get Instant Access. You're looking to give wings to your academic career and publication journey.

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