Writing Tips #28

DISCUSSION

 Highlight the most significant results, but don’t just repeat what you’ve written in the Results section. How do these results relate to the original question? Do the data support your hypothesis? Are your results consistent with what other investigators have reported? If your results were unexpected, try to explain why. Is there another way to interpret your results? What further research would be necessary to answer the questions raised by your results? How do y our results fit into the big picture.

End with a one-sentence summary of your conclusion, emphasizing why it is relevant.

Develop a strategy for your Discussion.
Many novice paper writers begin their Discussion section with a statement about problems with their methods or the items in their results about which they feel most insecure. Unless these really are the most important thing about your research (in which case you have problems), save them for later. Begin a Discussion with a short restatement of the most important points from your results. Use this statement to set up the ideas you want to focus on in interpreting your results and relating them to the literature. Use sub-headings that structure the discussion around these ideas.

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