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5 Steps to a Strong Discussion Section

a woman typing on her laptop

We all know that writing an academic paper, especially one like a thesis or coursework, isn’t easy. But when it comes to naming one particular chapter that requires maximum effort, the majority of students would say that it is the discussion section. But why? First of all, it happens due to the specifics of this part – it has to make an argument, prove your point, show the supporting evidence, and explain the importance and the meaning of the results of your work. Pretty challenging, right? Let’s find out how you can avoid making common mistakes to create a strong discussion part.

Step 1. Remind the Audience of the Importance of Your Work

Any academic work should have something new to bring to the field of the study, as this is an actual aim of the research that you are working on. That’s why it’s crucial to provide an understanding of the significance that your paper brings and how it can help the field.

The discussion section is one of the chapters that should contain such information and answer the following questions:

  1. Why is your work significant?
  2. What does it add to the field?
  3. Why is it important to answer the question discussed in your work?

Your reader might not even know why you chose the particular problem that you address with your work. Try to provide an understanding of how answering the main question of your work helps move the study forward. You need to prove that your work has significance, but avoid overreacting. Don’t try to make your paper look like a breakthrough in the field that no one has ever seen yet.

Step 2. Provide the Analysis of Your Findings

Through your work, you were able to conduct your research, dive into the field of the study, and discover some great findings. Your discussion section is the place where you should analyze those findings and provide your interpretation.

You might focus this section on:

  1. Analyzing the correlation and patterns discovered.
  2. Explanation of the context of your results.
  3. Discussing if the results met your expectations and hypotheses or not.
  4. Discussing possible variations.

It all depends on the topic and the field of your research. But typically, the discussion part should make the reader understand the given data in its context and the meaning behind those results. Approach your discussion section in a way that will leave no place for any kind of uncertainty about the answer to your study’s main question.

Step 3. Show How it Fits into Study

While working on your discussion section, you need to show how the results of your research relate to the other studies. For example, the ones that you were using through your literature review.

How can you do this? You just need to follow the pattern where you answer the following questions:

  1. How does my work fit into the field? What is the connection with other works?
  2. Does my work consider existing theories? Does it confirm them?
  3. Do my work’s results agree with the results of other studies? What do they add to the field?
  4. If my work’s results don’t match, what might be the reason behind it?

Compare your results to the results that you have found through your research. Analyze if they agree or disagree with each other. You can highlight particular chapters and studies that were the most crucial for your research and which support your claims.

Step 4. Discuss the Limitations

The limitations are not always included in the discussion section as some learning institutions require putting them as well as the suggestion part into your conclusion. However, if you are about to discuss the limitations and weaknesses of your work in your discussion, you should use our easy tips:

  1. Explain the reason behind the limitations and weaknesses of your work. Could they exist due to the research method that you picked or some obstacles and unexpected circumstances that appeared in the process?
  2. Discuss the limitations without trying to mask them or hide them behind the strengths of your work – every research has its limitations, even a perfect one. You should stay unbiased when talking about them.
  3. Describe the problems that you faced in the process of your research and analyze your mistakes.

If the limitations affected the results and their generalizability or reliability, you should address this problem so that your work can stay credible.

Step 5. Come Up with Recommendations

Based on your work as a whole and your discussion section, in particular, it’s crucial to suggest your recommendations for further research. They might concentrate on avoiding the mistakes that you have made (based on the limitations) or on the steps that need to be taken further to fill in other gaps in the study.

You should provide particular ideas for future work and how these ideas will help the field.

Additional Tips

Here are some extra tips from us on how to work on your discussion section without struggling:

  1. Make sure you don’t ruin the credibility of your work with your limitations section. Remember that it should provide useful experiences and lessons learned, not undermine your whole research.
  2. Don’t provide any new data in your discussion, and don’t restate your results.
  3. Be brief and to the point. Check out our other tips on how you can improve your academic writing skills.
  4. Don’t be apologetic when discussing your limitations.
  5. Make sure you give proper attention to minor findings as well as major ones.
  6. Avoid making any conclusions and claims that aren’t supported by the evidence.

This is all for your discussion section. We hope that you find our tips useful when working on your academic paper. And if you need some help with it, you can request assistance from our professional team. We will be glad to help you with your studies. Good luck!