Structure 1

The discussion section is probably the most difficult and challenging to write because you have to think carefully about the specific results you obtained in your experiment, relate them to the aim, interpret them and generalise from them. In this way you relate your own results to the store of scientific knowledge.

Some points to remember:

Staging If you have a number of results to discuss, the sequence of stages may need to be repeated and it is helpful to give each sequence its own sub-heading. For this kind of discussion, you may need to begin with a more general stage that gives brief background information, reminding your reader of the aim of your experiment, the method employed, relevant previous history, or theory.
Argument Your discussion is an argument about how you see your results. You need facts to support your argument, not meaningless generalities. Use the questions and the stages mentioned here to help you to develop your argument in a logical way. Remember that not all of the questions or the stages will be relevant to every experiment.
Content Finding the balance between what to put in the results section and what to put in the discussion can also be a problem for student writers. Remember that your results section should only contain your interpretation of the graphs and brief commentary on the significance of the results. Your discussion section will focus on the bigger picture, bringing together results and theory and/or published results.
Assumptions One of the important goals of an engineering experiment is to show that theory, which always involves assumptions and simplifications, gives reasonable predictions. At the same time there are often small discrepancies with the theory and these need to be explained within the context of the assumptions made.
show/hide
prev


David comments on the relationship between theory and experimental results, and how understanding of this is important for student learning (1m10s):


David talks about the significance of errors and how this relates to assumptions made in the theory (1m12s):



David points out some traps when attempting error analysis (54s):


» Screen 1 | 2 | 3Next