Simple tips to write the discussion part of an academic paper

Simple tips to write the discussion part of an academic paper

Simple tips to write the discussion part of an academic paper

This can be probably one of the most challenging questions people have ever asked me, because after looking through dozens of journal articles in my Mendeley database, i possibly could not find a lot of them who used Discussion sections. In my opinion this idea regarding the Discussion component of an academic journal article (or book chapter, in some cases) comes from the IMRAD model of publishing, this is certainly, papers that have at the least the next 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 though I was a chemical engineer, I can’t recall that I read many papers into the IMRAD model, while they all had a variation (merging Discussion with Results, or Results with Conclusion, or Discussion with Conclusion). When 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

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  1. analytical, not descriptive,
  2. specific in their interpretation of research results,
  3. robust within their linkage of research findings with theories, other empirical reports and various literatures,
  4. good at explaining how a paper’s results may contradict earlier work, extend it, advance our comprehension of X or Y phenomenon and, most surely:
  5. NOT in conclusion of this paper.

The things I think is very important to remember when writing the Discussion area of a paper, would be to really ANALYZE, not describe just. Link theories, methods, data, other work.

My post on the difference between analysis and description should help you write Discussion sections. you should all read Graf and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say as preparation to create Discussions – for the moves that are rhetorical.

As always during my blog posts, I here backlink to a resources that are few may be of help (published by other authors).

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

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

In the event that you now read the Discussion section, you will see that within my yellow highlights, i have noted how this article that is particular towards the literature. This really is section of what is going into the Discussion section. Significantly more than explaining results, how your outcomes url to broader debates.

Discussion sections are particularly used in articles that proceed with the IMRAD model I like this charged power Point on which is going in each one of the IMRAD sections – 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.

For instance, in this #Free2DownloadAndRead World Development article, the discussion section is blended aided by the results. This will be common, and I personally don’t have any objection to doing this. In terms of PhD discussion and dissertation chapters: it is challenging

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

That they bring back their empirical results to the broader debates if you notice how these authors start their Discussion section, you’ll see. That is what I have seen in most Discussion sections of journal articles (in engineering, public health insurance and some pysch).

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