How to Write an Effective Discussion Section

Many students keep wondering how to write a discussion section. Thus, it is crucial to outline the core aim of the discussion. First, the core purpose is to demonstrate what thoughts and interpretations regarding a specific issue you have. Second, a discussion should provide suggestions and insights for the future research. All in all, when writing a discussion, you need to address in detail each research question that you have posed in the introductory section. Further, it is important to critically explain and analyze how the findings obtained are related (in particular, how they support) to the research questions. Finally, it is required to demonstrate how the answers correspond to the existing research that was done on the topic. Generally, the discussion section is the main body of the paper, so the bulk of the important information should be presented in it coherently and succinctly.

Thinking about how to write a discussion, you should pay sufficient attention to the organization and structure of this section. Before starting to write, it is advisable to design an outline, where you will include the main subsections and subheadings. The outline will help you see a clear picture of what constituents the discussion section of dissertation will comprise. The parts should be organized in a logical and coherent manner. You should provide a smooth flow of ideas and ensure there are logical transitions between paragraphs and sections.

Another frequently asked by students question is how long should a discussion section be. Actually, it depends on the total word count limit and the topic, but keep in mind that the discussion should clearly convey the central idea and address the main dissertation question in detail. You should provide relevant information in accordance with the paper requirements. The topic should be researched specifically and delving into too much general or background information should be avoided.

Steps on how to organize discussion section in the best way:

  1. Go from specific to general points. Present findings and back them up with supporting evidence from literature review. First present theory and then switch over to practice.
  2. Be consistent in using terms and key notions. Make sure that they are understandable to the reader. When using some specific terms or concepts for the first time, make sure to define them if you are sure that they are not known to the readers.
  3. When you start your discussion section, go back to your hypothesis and try to answer the research questions posed in the introductory section.
  4. Each answer that you provide to research questions should be supported by ample evidence. Clearly indicate which results were obtained. Relate your findings to the literature on the given topic.
  5. All results that relate to research questions should be elaborated.
  6. If there is some connection or relationship between the results, it should be indicated and demonstrated how exactly the results are related. Make sure to include citations when you refer to the outside sources.
  7. When you provide your specific viewpoint, make sure to support it and defend with sufficient evidence. Your argument should be strong and persuasive. Besides, sometimes it is advisable to provide a contrary aspect of the argument as well (and refute it).
  8. In case there are some contradictory or conflicting results, make sure to discuss the possible discrepancies.
  9. Also pay attention to some unexpected research outcomes or surprising findings. Make sure you focus on such issues (if there are any) in a separate paragraph.
  10. Consider the possible weaknesses and limitations that were revealed in the process of researching the topic. Interpret how they might have (or not) impacted the results and validity of research outcomes and findings.
  11. Provide a succinct summary of the research implications and its core findings.
  12. Provide one-two recommendations for further research. Make sure to formulate them specifically. Do not write more than two – it is better to clearly describe each one rather than mention some information in general.
  13. Provide an explanation how the study outcomes and conclusions derived are important for the research. What have you proved when conducting this research? How do the findings influence our understanding of the problem?

To sum up, when organizing the discussion section, be specific and brief. Write to the point and strictly follow the requirements of the dissertation.

Read more about dissertation discussion here!

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