Purpose

The discussion section is where you interpret your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and explain your new understanding of the problem. The discussion is connected to the introduction in the questions or hypotheses you posed and literature cited but it does not repeat the introduction.

Fundamental questions that the discussion answers include:

  1. What answers (or findings) do your results provide to your research aim, questions or hypotheses?
  2. How do you interpret these findings? (What happened to cause these results? Are these findings expected or unexpected? 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? (summarise the significance/achievement of the study)

These questions form the basis of the argument in the discussion.

Avoid just restating or only describing your results. In the discussion you are interpreting your results; saying what they mean.

Do not introduce new data or new results in the discussion.

 

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Kathy summerises the strengths of the results (33s):

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Jacquie summerises what she has learned from the assignment (18s):

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Mathew reflects on what he has learned from writing the report (18s):

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