This really is the most questions that are challenging have ever asked me, because after looking through dozens of journal articles in my own Mendeley database, i possibly could not find most of them who used Discussion sections. I really believe this notion for the Discussion element of an academic journal article (or book chapter, in many cases) arises from the IMRAD type of publishing, that is, papers that have at the very 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 though I happened to be a chemical engineer, I can’t recall that I read many papers into the IMRAD model, as they all had a variation (merging Discussion with Results, or Results with Conclusion, or Discussion with Conclusion). I read engineering, natural science and social science literatures as I said on Twitter. Thusly, the Discussion sections that I read vary QUITE A BIT.
All Discussion sections I’ve read are
- analytical, not descriptive,
- specific inside their interpretation of research results,
- robust within their linkage of research findings with theories, other empirical reports and various literatures,
- great at explaining how a paper’s results may contradict earlier work, extend it, advance our knowledge of X or Y phenomenon and, almost certainly:
- NOT the conclusion of this paper.
What I think is important to keep in mind when writing the Discussion part of a paper, is to really ANALYZE, not just describe. Link theories, methods, data, other work.
My post regarding the difference between analysis and description 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 create Discussions – for the rhetorical moves.
As always in my blog posts, I here url to a few resources that could be of help (authored by other authors). Read more “Just how to write the discussion area of an academic paper”