Just how to write the discussion element of an academic paper

That is probably the most questions that are challenging have ever asked me, because after looking through a large number of journal articles in my Mendeley database, i really could not find many of them who used Discussion sections. I really believe this concept associated with Discussion component of an academic journal article (or book chapter, in some cases) comes from the IMRAD type of publishing, that is, papers which have at the least the following five sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Analysis and Discussion (hence the acronym).

Personally, I neither like, nor do I often write this kind of journal article. Even if I was a chemical engineer, I can’t recall that I read many papers in the IMRAD model, while they all had a variation (merging Discussion with Results, or Results with Conclusion, or Discussion with Conclusion). As I said on Twitter, I buy essay 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

  1. analytical, not descriptive,
  2. specific in their interpretation of research results,
  3. robust in their linkage of research findings with theories, other empirical reports and literatures that are various
  4. great at explaining how a paper’s results may contradict earlier work, extend it, advance our understanding of X or Y phenomenon and, most definitely:
  5. NOT the final outcome associated with paper.

What I think is essential to remember when writing the Discussion portion of a paper, is to really ANALYZE, not just describe. Link theories, methods, data, other work.

My post regarding the difference between Description and Analysis should help you 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 within my blog posts, I here connect to a resources that are few may be of help (written by other authors).

  • Dr. Pat Thomson, as usual providing advice that is great Results/Discussion sections of journal articles.
  • A handy handout on what gets into all the IMRAD sections.
  • Note how this informative article by Sollaci and Pereira on 50 many years of IMRAD articles won’t have a Conclusion section (oh, the irony!). However, their Discussion section is fairly nice, albeit brief.
  • This informative article by Hцfler et al offers good advice on integrating substantive knowledge with results to create a discussion section that is solid.
  • In this article, Цner Sanli and coauthors provide great suggestions about how to write a Discussion portion of a journal article.

In my Twitter thread, I suggested techniques to discern (and learned from) how authors have written their discussion sections.

If you now read the Discussion section, you will see that in my yellow highlights, I’ve noted how this particular article contributes to the literature. That is section of what should go when you look at the Discussion section. A lot more than explaining results, how your results link to broader debates. pic.twitter.com/a19hE5FB9d

Discussion sections are particularly utilized in articles that follow the IMRAD model https://t.co/FzunG4tnce I prefer this charged power Point on which should go in all the IMRAD sections https://t.co/SQLVLsD6JB – what I’ve found is that often times, Discussion sections are blended/morphed

There are times when scholars blend Discussion and Conclusions, or Results and Discussions sections. It is not even discipline-dependent, it is author-dependent.

The discussion section is blended with the results for example, in this # Free2DownloadAndRead World Development article. https://t.co/cgB82kYXla It is common, and I also personally don’t have any objection to achieving this. In terms of PhD discussion and dissertation chapters: this will be challenging

Another example, now from the justice field that is criminal.

In the event that you notice how these authors start their Discussion section, you will see which they bring back their empirical results to the broader debates. That is what I have seen in most Discussion sections of journal articles (in engineering, public health insurance and some pysch). pic.twitter.com/wpH9jGghjk

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