Checklist for Writing the Discussion

Revise your aim and your results.

Prepare notes that answer these questions:

  1. What answers (or findings) do your results provide to your research aim, questions or hypotheses?
  2. How do you explain these findings?
    1. What happened to cause these results?
    2. Are these findings expected or unexpected?
    3. How do they compare with controls or replicates?
  3. Do your findings agree with the literature? (i.e. published research, standards, theory)
  4. What are the reasons for similarities and differences between your findings and the literature? e.g. Does the literature suggest an alternative explanation or an unseen design flaw in your experiment (or theirs)?
  5. What is significant or important about your results? e.g. a new understanding of the problem, an implication from a finding.
  6. What further areas of investigation can you suggest? e.g.: the next step in your study, further experiments, plus evidence/support from the literature.
  7. What is your overall conclusion? i.e. your summary of the significance/achievement of the study.

Check that your discussion

is logical,

has a clear argument,

and that all sources are correctly cited.

Check that you are interpreting and explaining your results - not just describing them

Download and print the Checklist for Writing the Discussion

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