Discussion Section of Research Paper

discussion section of research paper

What is the discussion section of a research raper? The discussion section of research paper is thought to be the most essential part of a research paper. It demonstrates your abilities in critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, presenting solutions, and formulating a deeper understanding of the problem you are researching. It delves into the meaning and importance of your study’s results by focusing and explaining what it is you found and how it relates to your hypothesis. There are several ways to write the discussion section, but we’ve outlined the most common and effective way of writing this for an academic assignment.

What Goes in the Discussion Section of a Research Paper?

As mentioned in the previous section, your goal should be to address the research problem or question you tackled in your introduction. You will incorporate the information you gathered from the testing phase of the research project. If you were to lookup an example of discussion in research paper you will find that this approach is standard. You are allowed to be creative but this is discouraged if you are submitting this assignment for academic review.

How to Write the Discussion Section of a Research Paper?

Now that you have a better understanding of this section, you likely want to know how to write results and discussion in a research paper that will impress even the strictest professors. 

  1. Restate the Research Question and State the Most Important Findings

    Remind your reader of the question or problem you are researching, the methods you applied to conduct your study. Next, reiterate the most important finding of the study. Write clearly and concisely, using direct and declarative statements.

  2. Explain Why the Study’s Findings Are Important and What They Mean

    There is no other person who has thought about your research study more so than you have. This is why you are in a unique position to write an excellent discussion research paper. Explain why you believe the findings are important and what they mean towards the research problem at hand. You shouldn’t have the reader go through your research paper multiple times, so make sure you provide a thorough explanation here.

  3. Connect Your Study’s Finding to Related Studies in Your Discipline

    No matter how original you believe your study is, there are likely dozens of related studies that answer similar questions or present different findings. The discussion in a research paper is your opportunity to implant yourself as a contributor to the field. Make a connection with other studies, especially if questions in other studies served to inspire your current research study.

  4. Always Think About Different Interpretations of Your Findings

    One of the most important aspects of a research paper discussion is that it presents alternative explanations for the results you came up with. Your goal should be not to prove a point but to discover information that can be used in future studies. By thinking about different possible interpretations of the information in your findings, you open yourself up to unbiased reporting and a much better research paper.

  5. Acknowledge the Research Study’s Limitations

    Imagine having to sit in a room full of students when your professor calls you out on errors in your presentation. It is to your advantage to acknowledge the limitations of your study before anyone reviews your work. Address any problems you encountered when you gathered your information. This is one of the most effective ways on how to write a discussion section of a research paper and make it credible. 

  6. Suggest more questions to further the conversation

    Your discussion in research paper might fully explore the research question or problem you intended to focus on, but there is always room to reach out toward other areas. Make suggestions for further research. There are dozens of questions that may spring from your work and by acknowledging them you validate the importance of your work.

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How to Start the Discussion Section of a Research Paper

  • Summarize your major findings

    Make sure you reiterate your research questions and summarize your key findings. Be sure that you aren’t just repeating what you stated in the results section. Instead, make a clear statement about the overall results related to the questions you brought up in the introduction and are the focus of your research study. You shouldn’t need more than a paragraph to accomplish this.

  • Give your interpretations

    When you look at the results from your study you might think that they are self-explanatory. What is obvious to you is not obvious to everyone else. You must point out the significance of the results to others. Your readers will be knowledgeable in the field but it doesn’t mean that you should skip explaining how your work makes a significant contribution to the discipline.

  • Discuss the implications your study has

    Throughout your research you were likely inspired by the work of other scholars. You should make certain to relate to the work you referenced in your literature review. Your discussion section in a research paper should show how the results from your study fit with prior knowledge in the field.

  • Acknowledge your study’s limitations

    No matter how well you have conducted your study, you are bound to have run into one or more limitations. This happens to the best scholars and researchers. This portion of the discussion isn’t about stating the mistakes that you made but rather giving an accurate view of could and could not be concluded based on the methodology you used in the study.

  • Give recommendations for future studies

    Depending on the results and ensuing discussion, you should end this section with recommendations for further studies. These can also be made in the conclusion of your research paper, but if you want to achieve a sense of cohesion, then placing recommendations in the discussion section is preferable.

The discussion and conclusion in research paper serve different purposes, so you must know what those are. Unlike the discussion section, the conclusion section should restate your hypothesis and remind the reader of your main arguments and the strongest evidence and examples in support of them. You should, however, make certain that you aren’t simply repeating what you wrote in the results section. Instead point to the larger implications or more significant issues your work can be used for.

Need Help with the Discussion Section of Research Paper?

The research paper discussion section can be tricky for those who have not had a lot of experience writing them for high school or intro courses in college. But eventually, every student will have to conduct some type of research study, and knowing how to write the discussion part of research paper is an essential skill they will need to master.
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