Discussion and conclusions (“What does it mean?”)


In the discussion section, comment on your results and make relevant comparisons with what others have previously concluded. It is important to reinforce what you say with references (sources). You can also speculate on the significance of your findings. Often you need to occasionally briefly summarise essential results in the discussion (so that the reader does not have to go back and forth through the text). These summaries should be made as short as possible, the discussion should not be an embellished summary.

The discussion should show whether you should reject your hypotheses or if you, at least for the time being, can keep them. Try to refine your hypotheses, or generate new ones, based on your results.

If for some reason the results did not turn out as you expected, you can provide sources of error. Do not list universal or “insignificant” sources of error, but concentrate on what you truly believe may have affected your results. This is part of the critical evaluation of your own work and its methods that you should do at the end of the discussion. What are the limitations of the work? How far-reaching conclusions can you make based on the given results? In this context, do not  forget to focus the discussion on what is good in the study, that is the strengths of the work.


At the end of the discussion or under its own heading "Conclusion", you can summarise your conclusions or write what you think should continue being investigated, to further illuminate what you have written about: "In summary, the study shows that ..." Do not add any new information or references. This section should be short (max 1/3 page).

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