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How to elaborate the Discussion section on IMRAD manuscript

Typical complaints of Referees

The Discussion fails to relate the findings and observations to other relevant studies, and there appears to be no discussion on the implications and limitations of these findings.

The main result of this study was that P=Q. However, no exhaustive explanations are given. The authors simply limit the Discussion on P by reporting previous findings already documented in several papers. I find this kind of Discussion too speculative and limited. The author claims improved efficiency and easy management. However, he did not include any experimental results showing how fast the new system would work (in terms of performance) compared to the traditional method. If the author does not choose to include the actual implementation, this defect can be pointed out in the limitation/future work section as a subsection in the Discussion section.

17.1 How should I structure the Discussion?

The Discussion should answer the following questions, possibly in the following order. You can thus use the answers to structure your Discussion. This gives you a relatively easy template to follow.

1. Do my data support what I set out to demonstrate at the beginning of the paper?

2. How do my findings compare with what others have found? How consistent are they?

3. What is my personal interpretation of my findings?

4. What other possible interpretations are there?

5. What are the limitations of my study? What other factors could have influenced my findings? Have I reported everything that could make my findings invalid?

6. Do any interpretations reveal a possible flaw (i.e., defect, error) in my experiment?

7. Do my interpretations contribute some new understanding of the problem I have investigated? In which case do they suggest a shortcoming in, or an advance on, the work of others?

8. What external validity do my findings have? How could my findings be generalized to other areas?

9. What possible implications or applications do my findings have? What support can I give for such implications?

10. What further research would be needed to explain the issues raised by my findings? Will I do this research, or do I want to open it to the community?

Whatever your discipline, you will need to answer all the questions above, except question 8 (your findings may only be very preliminary). 

Whether you answer questions 8–10 depends on whether you have a separate Conclusions section; if so, the Conclusions may be more appropriate. It may make sense for you to organize your Discussion following the same sequence as your present your findings in the Results section. In this case, you discuss each survey, study or experiment and interpret it within the overall scenario of the problem.


English for Writing Research Papers (tiramisutes.github.io)

English for Writing Research Papers by Adrian Wallwork (auth.) - PDF Drive

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