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- How to Write a Discussion Section | Tips & Examples
How to Write a Discussion Section | Tips & Examples
Published on August 21, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 18, 2023.
The discussion section is where you delve into the meaning, importance, and relevance of your results .
It should focus on explaining and evaluating what you found, showing how it relates to your literature review and paper or dissertation topic , and making an argument in support of your overall conclusion. It should not be a second results section.
There are different ways to write this section, but you can focus your writing around these key elements:
- Summary : A brief recap of your key results
- Interpretations: What do your results mean?
- Implications: Why do your results matter?
- Limitations: What can’t your results tell us?
- Recommendations: Avenues for further studies or analyses
Table of contents
What not to include in your discussion section, step 1: summarize your key findings, step 2: give your interpretations, step 3: discuss the implications, step 4: acknowledge the limitations, step 5: share your recommendations, discussion section example, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about discussion sections.
There are a few common mistakes to avoid when writing the discussion section of your paper.
- Don’t introduce new results: You should only discuss the data that you have already reported in your results section .
- Don’t make inflated claims: Avoid overinterpretation and speculation that isn’t directly supported by your data.
- Don’t undermine your research: The discussion of limitations should aim to strengthen your credibility, not emphasize weaknesses or failures.
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Start this section by reiterating your research problem and concisely summarizing your major findings. To speed up the process you can use a summarizer to quickly get an overview of all important findings. Don’t just repeat all the data you have already reported—aim for a clear statement of the overall result that directly answers your main research question . This should be no more than one paragraph.
Many students struggle with the differences between a discussion section and a results section . The crux of the matter is that your results sections should present your results, and your discussion section should subjectively evaluate them. Try not to blend elements of these two sections, in order to keep your paper sharp.
- The results indicate that…
- The study demonstrates a correlation between…
- This analysis supports the theory that…
- The data suggest that…
The meaning of your results may seem obvious to you, but it’s important to spell out their significance for your reader, showing exactly how they answer your research question.
The form of your interpretations will depend on the type of research, but some typical approaches to interpreting the data include:
- Identifying correlations , patterns, and relationships among the data
- Discussing whether the results met your expectations or supported your hypotheses
- Contextualizing your findings within previous research and theory
- Explaining unexpected results and evaluating their significance
- Considering possible alternative explanations and making an argument for your position
You can organize your discussion around key themes, hypotheses, or research questions, following the same structure as your results section. Alternatively, you can also begin by highlighting the most significant or unexpected results.
- In line with the hypothesis…
- Contrary to the hypothesized association…
- The results contradict the claims of Smith (2022) that…
- The results might suggest that x . However, based on the findings of similar studies, a more plausible explanation is y .
As well as giving your own interpretations, make sure to relate your results back to the scholarly work that you surveyed in the literature review . The discussion should show how your findings fit with existing knowledge, what new insights they contribute, and what consequences they have for theory or practice.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do your results support or challenge existing theories? If they support existing theories, what new information do they contribute? If they challenge existing theories, why do you think that is?
- Are there any practical implications?
Your overall aim is to show the reader exactly what your research has contributed, and why they should care.
- These results build on existing evidence of…
- The results do not fit with the theory that…
- The experiment provides a new insight into the relationship between…
- These results should be taken into account when considering how to…
- The data contribute a clearer understanding of…
- While previous research has focused on x , these results demonstrate that y .
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Even the best research has its limitations. Acknowledging these is important to demonstrate your credibility. Limitations aren’t about listing your errors, but about providing an accurate picture of what can and cannot be concluded from your study.
Limitations might be due to your overall research design, specific methodological choices , or unanticipated obstacles that emerged during your research process.
Here are a few common possibilities:
- If your sample size was small or limited to a specific group of people, explain how generalizability is limited.
- If you encountered problems when gathering or analyzing data, explain how these influenced the results.
- If there are potential confounding variables that you were unable to control, acknowledge the effect these may have had.
After noting the limitations, you can reiterate why the results are nonetheless valid for the purpose of answering your research question.
- The generalizability of the results is limited by…
- The reliability of these data is impacted by…
- Due to the lack of data on x , the results cannot confirm…
- The methodological choices were constrained by…
- It is beyond the scope of this study to…
Based on the discussion of your results, you can make recommendations for practical implementation or further research. Sometimes, the recommendations are saved for the conclusion .
Suggestions for further research can lead directly from the limitations. Don’t just state that more studies should be done—give concrete ideas for how future work can build on areas that your own research was unable to address.
- Further research is needed to establish…
- Future studies should take into account…
- Avenues for future research include…
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In the discussion , you explore the meaning and relevance of your research results , explaining how they fit with existing research and theory. Discuss:
- Your interpretations : what do the results tell us?
- The implications : why do the results matter?
- The limitation s : what can’t the results tell us?
The results chapter or section simply and objectively reports what you found, without speculating on why you found these results. The discussion interprets the meaning of the results, puts them in context, and explains why they matter.
In qualitative research , results and discussion are sometimes combined. But in quantitative research , it’s considered important to separate the objective results from your interpretation of them.
In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.
The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.
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- How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.
What makes an effective discussion?
When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.
A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:
- the results of your research,
- a discussion of related research, and
- a comparison between your results and initial hypothesis.
Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.
You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.
Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Was my hypothesis correct?
- If my hypothesis is partially correct or entirely different, what can be learned from the results?
- How do the conclusions reshape or add onto the existing knowledge in the field? What does previous research say about the topic?
- Why are the results important or relevant to your audience? Do they add further evidence to a scientific consensus or disprove prior studies?
- How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done?
- What is the “take-home” message you want your reader to leave with?
How to structure a discussion
Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:
While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results!
- Read the journal’s guidelines on the discussion and conclusion sections. If possible, learn about the guidelines before writing the discussion to ensure you’re writing to meet their expectations.
- Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion.
- Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and limitations of the research.
- State whether the results prove or disprove your hypothesis. If your hypothesis was disproved, what might be the reasons?
- Introduce new or expanded ways to think about the research question. Indicate what next steps can be taken to further pursue any unresolved questions.
- If dealing with a contemporary or ongoing problem, such as climate change, discuss possible consequences if the problem is avoided.
- Be concise. Adding unnecessary detail can distract from the main findings.
- Rewrite your abstract. Statements with “we investigated” or “we studied” generally do not belong in the discussion.
- Include new arguments or evidence not previously discussed. Necessary information and evidence should be introduced in the main body of the paper.
- Apologize. Even if your research contains significant limitations, don’t undermine your authority by including statements that doubt your methodology or execution.
- Shy away from speaking on limitations or negative results. Including limitations and negative results will give readers a complete understanding of the presented research. Potential limitations include sources of potential bias, threats to internal or external validity, barriers to implementing an intervention and other issues inherent to the study design.
- Overstate the importance of your findings. Making grand statements about how a study will fully resolve large questions can lead readers to doubt the success of the research.
Snippets of Effective Discussions:
Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach
Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears
- How to Write a Great Title
- How to Write an Abstract
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- How to Report Statistics
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The contents of the Writing Center are also available as a live, interactive training session, complete with slides, talking points, and activities. …
There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…
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The purpose of the discussion section is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in relation to what was already known about the research problem being investigated and to explain any new understanding or insights that emerged as a result of your research. The discussion will always connect to the introduction by way of the research questions or hypotheses you posed and the literature you reviewed, but the discussion does not simply repeat or rearrange the first parts of your paper; the discussion clearly explains how your study advanced the reader's understanding of the research problem from where you left them at the end of your review of prior research.
Annesley, Thomas M. “The Discussion Section: Your Closing Argument.” Clinical Chemistry 56 (November 2010): 1671-1674.
Importance of a Good Discussion
The discussion section is often considered the most important part of your research paper because it:
- Most effectively demonstrates your ability as a researcher to think critically about an issue, to develop creative solutions to problems based upon a logical synthesis of the findings, and to formulate a deeper, more profound understanding of the research problem under investigation;
- Presents the underlying meaning of your research, notes possible implications in other areas of study, and explores possible improvements that can be made in order to further develop the concerns of your research;
- Highlights the importance of your study and how it can contribute to understanding the research problem within the field of study;
- Presents how the findings from your study revealed and helped fill gaps in the literature that had not been previously exposed or adequately described; and,
- Engages the reader in thinking critically about issues based on an evidence-based interpretation of findings; it is not governed strictly by objective reporting of information.
Annesley Thomas M. “The Discussion Section: Your Closing Argument.” Clinical Chemistry 56 (November 2010): 1671-1674; Bitchener, John and Helen Basturkmen. “Perceptions of the Difficulties of Postgraduate L2 Thesis Students Writing the Discussion Section.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5 (January 2006): 4-18; Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing an Effective Discussion Section. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008.
Structure and Writing Style
I. General Rules
These are the general rules you should adopt when composing your discussion of the results :
- Do not be verbose or repetitive; be concise and make your points clearly
- Avoid the use of jargon or undefined technical language
- Follow a logical stream of thought; in general, interpret and discuss the significance of your findings in the same sequence you described them in your results section [a notable exception is to begin by highlighting an unexpected result or a finding that can grab the reader's attention]
- Use the present verb tense, especially for established facts; however, refer to specific works or prior studies in the past tense
- If needed, use subheadings to help organize your discussion or to categorize your interpretations into themes
II. The Content
The content of the discussion section of your paper most often includes :
- Explanation of results : Comment on whether or not the results were expected for each set of findings; go into greater depth to explain findings that were unexpected or especially profound. If appropriate, note any unusual or unanticipated patterns or trends that emerged from your results and explain their meaning in relation to the research problem.
- References to previous research : Either compare your results with the findings from other studies or use the studies to support a claim. This can include re-visiting key sources already cited in your literature review section, or, save them to cite later in the discussion section if they are more important to compare with your results instead of being a part of the general literature review of prior research used to provide context and background information. Note that you can make this decision to highlight specific studies after you have begun writing the discussion section.
- Deduction : A claim for how the results can be applied more generally. For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or highlighting best practices.
- Hypothesis : A more general claim or possible conclusion arising from the results [which may be proved or disproved in subsequent research]. This can be framed as new research questions that emerged as a consequence of your analysis.
III. Organization and Structure
Keep the following sequential points in mind as you organize and write the discussion section of your paper:
- Think of your discussion as an inverted pyramid. Organize the discussion from the general to the specific, linking your findings to the literature, then to theory, then to practice [if appropriate].
- Use the same key terms, narrative style, and verb tense [present] that you used when describing the research problem in your introduction.
- Begin by briefly re-stating the research problem you were investigating and answer all of the research questions underpinning the problem that you posed in the introduction.
- Describe the patterns, principles, and relationships shown by each major findings and place them in proper perspective. The sequence of this information is important; first state the answer, then the relevant results, then cite the work of others. If appropriate, refer the reader to a figure or table to help enhance the interpretation of the data [either within the text or as an appendix].
- Regardless of where it's mentioned, a good discussion section includes analysis of any unexpected findings. This part of the discussion should begin with a description of the unanticipated finding, followed by a brief interpretation as to why you believe it appeared and, if necessary, its possible significance in relation to the overall study. If more than one unexpected finding emerged during the study, describe each of them in the order they appeared as you gathered or analyzed the data. As noted, the exception to discussing findings in the same order you described them in the results section would be to begin by highlighting the implications of a particularly unexpected or significant finding that emerged from the study, followed by a discussion of the remaining findings.
- Before concluding the discussion, identify potential limitations and weaknesses if you do not plan to do so in the conclusion of the paper. Comment on their relative importance in relation to your overall interpretation of the results and, if necessary, note how they may affect the validity of your findings. Avoid using an apologetic tone; however, be honest and self-critical [e.g., in retrospect, had you included a particular question in a survey instrument, additional data could have been revealed].
- The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of their significance. Give a brief explanation about why you believe the findings and conclusions of your study are important and how they support broader knowledge or understanding of the research problem. This can be followed by any recommendations for further research. However, do not offer recommendations which could have been easily addressed within the study. This would demonstrate to the reader that you have inadequately examined and interpreted the data.
IV. Overall Objectives
The objectives of your discussion section should include the following: I. Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings
Briefly reiterate the research problem or problems you are investigating and the methods you used to investigate them, then move quickly to describe the major findings of the study. You should write a direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results, usually in one paragraph.
II. Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important
No one has thought as long and hard about your study as you have. Systematically explain the underlying meaning of your findings and state why you believe they are significant. After reading the discussion section, you want the reader to think critically about the results and why they are important. You don’t want to force the reader to go through the paper multiple times to figure out what it all means. If applicable, begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most significant or unanticipated finding first, then systematically review each finding. Otherwise, follow the general order you reported the findings presented in the results section.
III. Relate the Findings to Similar Studies
No study in the social sciences is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to previously published research. The discussion section should relate your results to those found in other studies, particularly if questions raised from prior studies served as the motivation for your research. This is important because comparing and contrasting the findings of other studies helps to support the overall importance of your results and it highlights how and in what ways your study differs from other research about the topic. Note that any significant or unanticipated finding is often because there was no prior research to indicate the finding could occur. If there is prior research to indicate this, you need to explain why it was significant or unanticipated. IV. Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings
It is important to remember that the purpose of research in the social sciences is to discover and not to prove . When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations for the study results, rather than just those that fit your hypothesis or prior assumptions and biases. This is especially important when describing the discovery of significant or unanticipated findings.
V. Acknowledge the Study’s Limitations
It is far better for you to identify and acknowledge your study’s limitations than to have them pointed out by your professor! Note any unanswered questions or issues your study could not address and describe the generalizability of your results to other situations. If a limitation is applicable to the method chosen to gather information, then describe in detail the problems you encountered and why. VI. Make Suggestions for Further Research
You may choose to conclude the discussion section by making suggestions for further research [as opposed to offering suggestions in the conclusion of your paper]. Although your study can offer important insights about the research problem, this is where you can address other questions related to the problem that remain unanswered or highlight hidden issues that were revealed as a result of conducting your research. You should frame your suggestions by linking the need for further research to the limitations of your study [e.g., in future studies, the survey instrument should include more questions that ask..."] or linking to critical issues revealed from the data that were not considered initially in your research.
NOTE: Besides the literature review section, the preponderance of references to sources is usually found in the discussion section . A few historical references may be helpful for perspective, but most of the references should be relatively recent and included to aid in the interpretation of your results, to support the significance of a finding, and/or to place a finding within a particular context. If a study that you cited does not support your findings, don't ignore it--clearly explain why your research findings differ from theirs.
V. Problems to Avoid
- Do not waste time restating your results . Should you need to remind the reader of a finding to be discussed, use "bridge sentences" that relate the result to the interpretation. An example would be: “In the case of determining available housing to single women with children in rural areas of Texas, the findings suggest that access to good schools is important...," then move on to further explaining this finding and its implications.
- As noted, recommendations for further research can be included in either the discussion or conclusion of your paper, but do not repeat your recommendations in the both sections. Think about the overall narrative flow of your paper to determine where best to locate this information. However, if your findings raise a lot of new questions or issues, consider including suggestions for further research in the discussion section.
- Do not introduce new results in the discussion section. Be wary of mistaking the reiteration of a specific finding for an interpretation because it may confuse the reader. The description of findings [results section] and the interpretation of their significance [discussion section] should be distinct parts of your paper. If you choose to combine the results section and the discussion section into a single narrative, you must be clear in how you report the information discovered and your own interpretation of each finding. This approach is not recommended if you lack experience writing college-level research papers.
- Use of the first person pronoun is generally acceptable. Using first person singular pronouns can help emphasize a point or illustrate a contrasting finding. However, keep in mind that too much use of the first person can actually distract the reader from the main points [i.e., I know you're telling me this--just tell me!].
Analyzing vs. Summarizing. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University; Discussion. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Hess, Dean R. "How to Write an Effective Discussion." Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004); Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing to Writing an Effective Discussion Section. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Sauaia, A. et al. "The Anatomy of an Article: The Discussion Section: "How Does the Article I Read Today Change What I Will Recommend to my Patients Tomorrow?” The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 74 (June 2013): 1599-1602; Research Limitations & Future Research . Lund Research Ltd., 2012; Summary: Using it Wisely. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Schafer, Mickey S. Writing the Discussion. Writing in Psychology course syllabus. University of Florida; Yellin, Linda L. A Sociology Writer's Guide . Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2009.
Don’t Over-Interpret the Results!
Interpretation is a subjective exercise. As such, you should always approach the selection and interpretation of your findings introspectively and to think critically about the possibility of judgmental biases unintentionally entering into discussions about the significance of your work. With this in mind, be careful that you do not read more into the findings than can be supported by the evidence you have gathered. Remember that the data are the data: nothing more, nothing less.
MacCoun, Robert J. "Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results." Annual Review of Psychology 49 (February 1998): 259-287.
Another Writing Tip
Don't Write Two Results Sections!
One of the most common mistakes that you can make when discussing the results of your study is to present a superficial interpretation of the findings that more or less re-states the results section of your paper. Obviously, you must refer to your results when discussing them, but focus on the interpretation of those results and their significance in relation to the research problem, not the data itself.
Azar, Beth. "Discussing Your Findings." American Psychological Association gradPSYCH Magazine (January 2006).
Yet Another Writing Tip
Avoid Unwarranted Speculation!
The discussion section should remain focused on the findings of your study. For example, if the purpose of your research was to measure the impact of foreign aid on increasing access to education among disadvantaged children in Bangladesh, it would not be appropriate to speculate about how your findings might apply to populations in other countries without drawing from existing studies to support your claim or if analysis of other countries was not a part of your original research design. If you feel compelled to speculate, do so in the form of describing possible implications or explaining possible impacts. Be certain that you clearly identify your comments as speculation or as a suggestion for where further research is needed. Sometimes your professor will encourage you to expand your discussion of the results in this way, while others don’t care what your opinion is beyond your effort to interpret the data in relation to the research problem.
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How to Write a Discussion Section: Writing Guide
Table of contents
The discussion section of a research paper is where the author analyzes and explains the importance of the study's results. It presents the conclusions drawn from the study, compares them to previous research, and addresses any potential limitations or weaknesses. The discussion section should also suggest areas for future research.
Everything is not that complicated if you know where to find the required information. We’ll tell you everything there is to know about writing your discussion. Our easy guide covers all important bits, including research questions and your research results. Do you know how all enumerated events are connected? Well, you will after reading this guide we’ve prepared for you!
What Is in the Discussion Section of a Research Paper
The discussion section of a research paper can be viewed as something similar to the conclusion of your paper. But not literal, of course. It’s an ultimate section where you can talk about the findings of your study. Think about these questions when writing:
- Did you answer all of the promised research questions?
- Did you mention why your work matters?
- What are your findings, and why should anyone even care?
- Does your study have a literature review?
So, answer your questions, provide proof, and don’t forget about your promises from the introduction.
How to Write a Discussion Section in 5 Steps
How to write the discussion section of a research paper is something everyone googles eventually. It's just life. But why not make everything easier? In brief, this section we’re talking about must include all following parts:
- Answers for research questions
- Literature review
- Results of the work
- Limitations of one’s study
- Overall conclusion
Indeed, all those parts may confuse anyone. So by looking at our guide, you'll save yourself some hassle. P.S. All our steps are easy and explained in detail! But if you are looking for the most efficient solution, consider using professional help. Leave your “ write my research paper for me ” order at StudyCrumb and get a customized study tailored to your requirements.
Step 1. Start Strong: Discussion Section of a Research Paper
First and foremost, how to start the discussion section of a research paper? Here’s what you should definitely consider before settling down to start writing:
- All essays or papers must begin strong. All readers will not wait for any writer to get to the point. We advise summarizing the paper's main findings.
- Moreover, you should relate both discussion and literature review to what you have discovered. Mentioning that would be a plus too.
- Make sure that an introduction or start per se is clear and concise. Word count might be needed for school. But any paper should be understandable and not too diluted.
Step 2. Answer the Questions in Your Discussion Section of a Research Paper
Writing the discussion section of a research paper also involves mentioning your questions. Remember that in your introduction, you have promised your readers to answer certain questions. Well, now it’s a perfect time to finally give the awaited answer. You need to explain all possible correlations between your findings, research questions, and literature proposed. You already had hypotheses. So were they correct, or maybe you want to propose certain corrections? Section’s main goal is to avoid open ends. It’s not a story or a fairytale with an intriguing ending. If you have several questions, you must answer them. As simple as that.
Step 3. Relate Your Results in a Discussion Section
Writing a discussion section of a research paper also requires any writer to explain their results. You will undoubtedly include an impactful literature review. However, your readers should not just try and struggle with understanding what are some specific relationships behind previous studies and your results. Your results should sound something like: “This guy in their paper discovered that apples are green. Nevertheless, I have proven via experimentation and research that apples are actually red.” Please, don’t take these results directly. It’s just an initial hypothesis. But what you should definitely remember is any practical implications of your study. Why does it matter and how can anyone use it? That’s the most crucial question.
Step 4. Describe the Limitations in Your Discussion Section
Discussion section of a research paper isn’t limitless. What does that mean? Essentially, it means that you also have to discuss any limitations of your study. Maybe you had some methodological inconsistencies. Possibly, there are no particular theories or not enough information for you to be entirely confident in one’s conclusions. You might say that an available source of literature you have studied does not focus on one’s issue. That’s why one’s main limitation is theoretical. However, keep in mind that your limitations must possess a certain degree of relevancy. You can just say that you haven’t found enough books. Your information must be truthful to research.
Step 5. Conclude Your Discussion Section With Recommendations
Your last step when you write a discussion section in a paper is its conclusion, like in any other academic work. Writer’s conclusion must be as strong as their starting point of the overall work. Check out our brief list of things to know about the conclusion in research paper :
- It must present its scientific relevance and importance of your work.
- It should include different implications of your research.
- It should not, however, discuss anything new or things that you have not mentioned before.
- Leave no open questions and carefully complete the work without them.
Discussion Section of a Research Paper Example
All the best example discussion sections of a research paper will be written according to our brief guide. Don’t forget that you need to state your findings and underline the importance of your work. An undoubtedly big part of one’s discussion will definitely be answering and explaining the research questions. In other words, you’ll already have all the knowledge you have so carefully gathered. Our last step for you is to recollect and wrap up your paper. But we’re sure you’ll succeed!
How to Write a Discussion Section: Final Thoughts
Today we have covered how to write a discussion section. That was quite a brief journey, wasn’t it? Just to remind you to focus on these things:
- Importance of your study.
- Summary of the information you have gathered.
- Main findings and conclusions.
- Answers to all research questions without an open end.
- Correlation between literature review and your results.
But, wait, this guide is not the only thing we can do. Looking for how to write an abstract for a research paper for example? We have such a blog and much more on our platform.
Our academic writing service is just a click away. We are proud to say that our writers are professionals in their fields. Buy a research paper and our experts can provide prompt solutions without compromising the quality.
Discussion Section of a Research Paper: Frequently Asked Questions
1. how long should the discussion section of a research paper be.
Our discussion section of a research paper should not be longer than other sections. So try to keep it short but as informative as possible. It usually contains around 6-7 paragraphs in length. It is enough to briefly summarize all the important data and not to drag it.
2. What's the difference between the discussion and the results?
The difference between discussion and results is very simple and easy to understand. The results only report your main findings. You stated what you have found and how you have done that. In contrast, one’s discussion mentions your findings and explains how they relate to other literature, research questions, and one’s hypothesis. Therefore, it is not only a report but an efficient as well as proper explanation.
3. What's the difference between a discussion and a conclusion?
The difference between discussion and conclusion is also quite easy. Conclusion is a brief summary of all the findings and results. Still, our favorite discussion section interprets and explains your main results. It is an important but more lengthy and wordy part. Besides, it uses extra literature for references.
4. What is the purpose of the discussion section?
The primary purpose of a discussion section is to interpret and describe all your interesting findings. Therefore, you should state what you have learned, whether your hypothesis was correct and how your results can be explained using other sources. If this section is clear to readers, our congratulations as you have succeeded.
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Guide to Writing the Results and Discussion Sections of a Scientific Article
A quality research paper has both the qualities of in-depth research and good writing ( Bordage, 2001 ). In addition, a research paper must be clear, concise, and effective when presenting the information in an organized structure with a logical manner ( Sandercock, 2013 ).
In this article, we will take a closer look at the results and discussion section. Composing each of these carefully with sufficient data and well-constructed arguments can help improve your paper overall.
The results section of your research paper contains a description about the main findings of your research, whereas the discussion section interprets the results for readers and provides the significance of the findings. The discussion should not repeat the results.
Let’s dive in a little deeper about how to properly, and clearly organize each part.
How to Organize the Results Section
Since your results follow your methods, you’ll want to provide information about what you discovered from the methods you used, such as your research data. In other words, what were the outcomes of the methods you used?
You may also include information about the measurement of your data, variables, treatments, and statistical analyses.
To start, organize your research data based on how important those are in relation to your research questions. This section should focus on showing major results that support or reject your research hypothesis. Include your least important data as supplemental materials when submitting to the journal.
The next step is to prioritize your research data based on importance – focusing heavily on the information that directly relates to your research questions using the subheadings.
The organization of the subheadings for the results section usually mirrors the methods section. It should follow a logical and chronological order.
Subheadings within your results section are primarily going to detail major findings within each important experiment. And the first paragraph of your results section should be dedicated to your main findings (findings that answer your overall research question and lead to your conclusion) (Hofmann, 2013).
In the book “Writing in the Biological Sciences,” author Angelika Hofmann recommends you structure your results subsection paragraphs as follows:
- Experimental purpose
Each subheading may contain a combination of ( Bahadoran, 2019 ; Hofmann, 2013, pg. 62-63):
- Text: to explain about the research data
- Figures: to display the research data and to show trends or relationships, for examples using graphs or gel pictures.
- Tables: to represent a large data and exact value
Decide on the best way to present your data — in the form of text, figures or tables (Hofmann, 2013).
Data or Results?
Sometimes we get confused about how to differentiate between data and results . Data are information (facts or numbers) that you collected from your research ( Bahadoran, 2019 ).
Whereas, results are the texts presenting the meaning of your research data ( Bahadoran, 2019 ).
One mistake that some authors often make is to use text to direct the reader to find a specific table or figure without further explanation. This can confuse readers when they interpret data completely different from what the authors had in mind. So, you should briefly explain your data to make your information clear for the readers.
Common Elements in Figures and Tables
Figures and tables present information about your research data visually. The use of these visual elements is necessary so readers can summarize, compare, and interpret large data at a glance. You can use graphs or figures to compare groups or patterns. Whereas, tables are ideal to present large quantities of data and exact values.
Several components are needed to create your figures and tables. These elements are important to sort your data based on groups (or treatments). It will be easier for the readers to see the similarities and differences among the groups.
When presenting your research data in the form of figures and tables, organize your data based on the steps of the research leading you into a conclusion.
Common elements of the figures (Bahadoran, 2019):
- Figure number
- Figure title
- Figure legend (for example a brief title, experimental/statistical information, or definition of symbols).
Tables in the result section may contain several elements (Bahadoran, 2019):
- Table number
- Table title
- Row headings (for example groups)
- Column headings
- Row subheadings (for example categories or groups)
- Column subheadings (for example categories or variables)
- Footnotes (for example statistical analyses)
Tips to Write the Results Section
- Direct the reader to the research data and explain the meaning of the data.
- Avoid using a repetitive sentence structure to explain a new set of data.
- Write and highlight important findings in your results.
- Use the same order as the subheadings of the methods section.
- Match the results with the research questions from the introduction. Your results should answer your research questions.
- Be sure to mention the figures and tables in the body of your text.
- Make sure there is no mismatch between the table number or the figure number in text and in figure/tables.
- Only present data that support the significance of your study. You can provide additional data in tables and figures as supplementary material.
How to Organize the Discussion Section
It’s not enough to use figures and tables in your results section to convince your readers about the importance of your findings. You need to support your results section by providing more explanation in the discussion section about what you found.
In the discussion section, based on your findings, you defend the answers to your research questions and create arguments to support your conclusions.
Below is a list of questions to guide you when organizing the structure of your discussion section ( Viera et al ., 2018 ):
- What experiments did you conduct and what were the results?
- What do the results mean?
- What were the important results from your study?
- How did the results answer your research questions?
- Did your results support your hypothesis or reject your hypothesis?
- What are the variables or factors that might affect your results?
- What were the strengths and limitations of your study?
- What other published works support your findings?
- What other published works contradict your findings?
- What possible factors might cause your findings different from other findings?
- What is the significance of your research?
- What are new research questions to explore based on your findings?
Organizing the Discussion Section
The structure of the discussion section may be different from one paper to another, but it commonly has a beginning, middle-, and end- to the section.
One way to organize the structure of the discussion section is by dividing it into three parts (Ghasemi, 2019):
- The beginning: The first sentence of the first paragraph should state the importance and the new findings of your research. The first paragraph may also include answers to your research questions mentioned in your introduction section.
- The middle: The middle should contain the interpretations of the results to defend your answers, the strength of the study, the limitations of the study, and an update literature review that validates your findings.
- The end: The end concludes the study and the significance of your research.
Another possible way to organize the discussion section was proposed by Michael Docherty in British Medical Journal: is by using this structure ( Docherty, 1999 ):
- Discussion of important findings
- Comparison of your results with other published works
- Include the strengths and limitations of the study
- Conclusion and possible implications of your study, including the significance of your study – address why and how is it meaningful
- Future research questions based on your findings
Finally, a last option is structuring your discussion this way (Hofmann, 2013, pg. 104):
- First Paragraph: Provide an interpretation based on your key findings. Then support your interpretation with evidence.
- Secondary results
- Unexpected findings
- Comparisons to previous publications
- Last Paragraph: The last paragraph should provide a summarization (conclusion) along with detailing the significance, implications and potential next steps.
Remember, at the heart of the discussion section is presenting an interpretation of your major findings.
Tips to Write the Discussion Section
- Highlight the significance of your findings
- Mention how the study will fill a gap in knowledge.
- Indicate the implication of your research.
- Avoid generalizing, misinterpreting your results, drawing a conclusion with no supportive findings from your results.
Aggarwal, R., & Sahni, P. (2018). The Results Section. In Reporting and Publishing Research in the Biomedical Sciences (pp. 21-38): Springer.
Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P., Zadeh-Vakili, A., Hosseinpanah, F., & Ghasemi, A. (2019). The principles of biomedical scientific writing: Results. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17(2).
Bordage, G. (2001). Reasons reviewers reject and accept manuscripts: the strengths and weaknesses in medical education reports. Academic medicine, 76(9), 889-896.
Cals, J. W., & Kotz, D. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part VI: discussion. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 66(10), 1064.
Docherty, M., & Smith, R. (1999). The case for structuring the discussion of scientific papers: Much the same as that for structuring abstracts. In: British Medical Journal Publishing Group.
Faber, J. (2017). Writing scientific manuscripts: most common mistakes. Dental press journal of orthodontics, 22(5), 113-117.
Fletcher, R. H., & Fletcher, S. W. (2018). The discussion section. In Reporting and Publishing Research in the Biomedical Sciences (pp. 39-48): Springer.
Ghasemi, A., Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran, P., Hosseinpanah, F., Shiva, N., & Zadeh-Vakili, A. (2019). The Principles of Biomedical Scientific Writing: Discussion. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17(3).
Hofmann, A. H. (2013). Writing in the biological sciences: a comprehensive resource for scientific communication . New York: Oxford University Press.
Kotz, D., & Cals, J. W. (2013). Effective writing and publishing scientific papers, part V: results. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 66(9), 945.
Mack, C. (2014). How to Write a Good Scientific Paper: Structure and Organization. Journal of Micro/ Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS, 13. doi:10.1117/1.JMM.13.4.040101
Moore, A. (2016). What's in a Discussion section? Exploiting 2‐dimensionality in the online world…. Bioessays, 38(12), 1185-1185.
Peat, J., Elliott, E., Baur, L., & Keena, V. (2013). Scientific writing: easy when you know how: John Wiley & Sons.
Sandercock, P. M. L. (2012). How to write and publish a scientific article. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal, 45(1), 1-5.
Teo, E. K. (2016). Effective Medical Writing: The Write Way to Get Published. Singapore Medical Journal, 57(9), 523-523. doi:10.11622/smedj.2016156
Van Way III, C. W. (2007). Writing a scientific paper. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 22(6), 636-640.
Vieira, R. F., Lima, R. C. d., & Mizubuti, E. S. G. (2019). How to write the discussion section of a scientific article. Acta Scientiarum. Agronomy, 41.
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Writing a scientific paper.
- Writing a lab report
Writing a "good" discussion section
"discussion and conclusions checklist" from: how to write a good scientific paper. chris a. mack. spie. 2018., peer review.
- LITERATURE CITED
- Bibliography of guides to scientific writing and presenting
- Lab Report Writing Guides on the Web
This is is usually the hardest section to write. You are trying to bring out the true meaning of your data without being too long. Do not use words to conceal your facts or reasoning. Also do not repeat your results, this is a discussion.
- Present principles, relationships and generalizations shown by the results
- Point out exceptions or lack of correlations. Define why you think this is so.
- Show how your results agree or disagree with previously published works
- Discuss the theoretical implications of your work as well as practical applications
- State your conclusions clearly. Summarize your evidence for each conclusion.
- Discuss the significance of the results
- Evidence does not explain itself; the results must be presented and then explained.
- Typical stages in the discussion: summarizing the results, discussing whether results are expected or unexpected, comparing these results to previous work, interpreting and explaining the results (often by comparison to a theory or model), and hypothesizing about their generality.
- Discuss any problems or shortcomings encountered during the course of the work.
- Discuss possible alternate explanations for the results.
- Avoid: presenting results that are never discussed; presenting discussion that does not relate to any of the results; presenting results and discussion in chronological order rather than logical order; ignoring results that do not support the conclusions; drawing conclusions from results without logical arguments to back them up.
- Provide a very brief summary of the Results and Discussion.
- Emphasize the implications of the findings, explaining how the work is significant and providing the key message(s) the author wishes to convey.
- Provide the most general claims that can be supported by the evidence.
- Provide a future perspective on the work.
- Avoid: repeating the abstract; repeating background information from the Introduction; introducing new evidence or new arguments not found in the Results and Discussion; repeating the arguments made in the Results and Discussion; failing to address all of the research questions set out in the Introduction.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I COMPLETE MY PAPER?
The peer review process is the quality control step in the publication of ideas. Papers that are submitted to a journal for publication are sent out to several scientists (peers) who look carefully at the paper to see if it is "good science". These reviewers then recommend to the editor of a journal whether or not a paper should be published. Most journals have publication guidelines. Ask for them and follow them exactly. Peer reviewers examine the soundness of the materials and methods section. Are the materials and methods used written clearly enough for another scientist to reproduce the experiment? Other areas they look at are: originality of research, significance of research question studied, soundness of the discussion and interpretation, correct spelling and use of technical terms, and length of the article.
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Emeritus Faculty Council
Efc reports -- combined september and october 2023.
EFC Committee/Liaison Reports
PRESIDENT’S COMMITTEE ON ATHLETICS
October 5, 2023, MEETING
Report submitted by John Westefeld
- Update on construction of wrestling practice facility—anticipated move-in date is April, 2024.
- Coach Tom Brands updated the committee about other issues related to wrestling.
- There was an update on DEI activities, including a trip a number of student-athletes took to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama to visit some historic locations related to the civil rights movement, including the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the Civil Rights Memorial.
- The athletic director updated the committee on several issues, including conference realignment, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), a new cheer squad and gymnastics facility, and a feasibility study that is examining potential renovations to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Funded Retirement and Investment Committee (FRIC) MEETING
October 6, 2023
Submitted by Sheldon Kurtz
Open enrollment for university plan in which retirees are enrolled will be 11/10-11/15. Retirees who are on Medicare already start the process on 10/15.
There is much confusion relating to the Wellmark designation of an insured’s PCP particularly for insureds who don’t currently have a PCP and cannot currently get one. Wellmark’s designation of a PCP to an insured doesn’t mean the designated PCP is actually the insured’s PCP whether because the designated PCP is not taking more patients or the insured doesn’t want that PCP.
Weight Loss Rx was also discussed.
Benefits office looking into difficulty of getting a physician at IRL.
Report on Library Committee
September 15, 2023
Submitted by Constance Berman
Reviewed the library charge in Charter
Updated on gate count: up six percent
Discussion of new gallery exhibit on Bill Sackter. (Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop in School of Social Work): exhibit from August 21 to December 19, 2023.
Call for nominations for Arthur Benton Fund award by October 1.
Arthur Benton University Librarian's Award for Excellence
The $2,000 award, made possible by a generous endowment from Dr. Arthur Benton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Notice of University’s next Capital Campaign will be launched on 16 October.
Modifications to Librarian promotion process
With P & S /merit 20 new hires of 170 staff, mostly due to retirements.
Discussion of journals that we get, but for which page charges have to be paid.
Discussion of: Robust Special Collection
Discussion of shared position with Stanley digital scholar project.
Plan for future Meeting at Conservation lab in person.
Next meeting: library collection budget (90 % on journals)
October 13, 2023
Submitted by Diane Huber
- Welcome and introductions were done.
- There are 150 students working across the main library plus 7 other locations.
- There is a philanthropically funded scholarship program for library student workers ($2500).
- They are recruiting a new Associate Librarian (Dr. Jade Davis).
- Renovations continue at Hardin Library (next year is its 50th anniversary.
- Discussion of print resources and collaborations with other 2 Regents institutions plus Big 10.
- Presentation of details of the libraries’ budget for FY23 and FY24. They have a flat budget. There has been a strategic reinvestment in staff. Budget issues also include subscriptions inflation (drains the budget) and a one-time e-collections purchasing freeze.
- Discussion of open access and paying to publish vs. paying to read, arrangements with various publishers, differences in citations.
Recreation Services – Charter Committee – October 27, 2023
Reported by Christopher Atchison
Charter Committee 10.27.23 Notes
Committee Members: Daniel Caplan, Alex Voss, Evan Decker, Kara Park, Adam Schuck, Nathan Lokenvitz, Gretta Acheson, Emily Hamling, Alec Tewes, Christopher Atchison, Patrick Taylor, Abby Rodenburg
Recreational Services Staff: Amy Lenderink, Mike Valentine, Dave Patton, Brian Baxter, Matt Stancel, Pat Kutcher, Allyson Herman, Luke Mozena, Michelle Harder, Mallory Valentine, Shelby Reeves, Brett Cline, Danelle Stipes, Emily Downes, Erin Sullivan, Raud Kashef, David Francis, Adam Walsh, Tommy Schorer, Jeanette Luke
RecShare – Luke Mozena
The University of Iowa is hosting a workshop for collegiate recreation professionals and students targeting the state of Iowa. The goal is to support professional development among collegiate recreation professionals for little to no cost. Traditionally we have attracted participants from the flagship institutions but have expanded to included smaller university and colleges. For the first time since 2017, the University of Iowa is bringing back the event to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on November 8 th . Deadline to sign up is October 31 st .
- Question from Alex Voss: How does the rotation of who hosts the conference work? Who has all hosted? Answer: Michelle Harder/Luke Mozena: The hosting institution has rotated based on interest from that particular school. Since 2018, Iowa State, DMAAC, and St. Ambrose have all volunteered to host.
- Question from Mike Valentine: Are there fitness classes? Answer from Pat Kutcher: Formally in the schedule, no, however Pat will be teaching at noon.
Registration Link: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_82i375DR0hdZfkp
Turf Project Update – Michelle Harder
Last fall Recreational Services started the project to add synthetic turf to the Hawkeye Recreation Fields to extend the duration of play for our sport clubs, intramural sports, and rentals roughly 60 days. The 5.1-million-dollar project was approved by the Board of Regents and construction started January 2023.
Project began with updating the lighting and wiring of the facility. Construction of the turf started in April/May.
7 natural grass fields will be replaced with 6 turf flag football fields or 2 soccer fields. As of today the East side of the Hawkeye Recreation Fields will remain natural grass.
In addition, WIFI, new fencing, new sand volleyball, signage, security cameras, and new gate will all be added by the completion of the project. Original date for completion was scheduled for October 2 nd but has been delayed due to additional electrical and IT work, fencing completion, and weather.
We are planning on having a dedication ceremony in March, early April.
• Question from Patrick Taylor: What has sport clubs/IMs been doing for the last year? Answer Tommy Schorer: Moved play to the East side and got creative with the field layout. Sport Clubs were moved into the HTRC for Iowa turf space. Extended hours to accommodate groups for practice time. Practice time was reduced due to compression, but made it work as best as possible. Starting November 5 th move to indoor scheduling only.
Challenge Course Project Update – Dave Patton
Current challenge course opened in 2005 and located in Ashton Cross Country Course. Current course is designed as a dynamic course meaning you go up an element, complete the element, and then come down. Course design can be very staff intensive and not the most efficient.
Last year we identified a funding source of $250,000 in partnership with University College to create a static challenge course. A static course is designed to allow participants to go up an element and then remain in the air to complete more elements prior to descending. More people can participate more efficiently, and the experience is more interactive with less staffing.
The location to replace the challenge course was identified as the Hawkeye Recreation Fields, specifically field #7 that was not being replaced with the synthetic turf project. Advantages with new location include plumbing, bathrooms, parking, electricity, lights, etc. Two construction meetings have taken place this fall 2023.
- Question from Kara Park: Will the old course be torn down? Answer from Dave Patton: The course is still safe and we will use it until the new course is up and running. At this time no decision has been made regarding tearing down the current course.
- Question from Adam Walsh: Will there be a new auxiliary building included with the new challenge course? Timeline?
Answer from Dave Patton: We are trying to utilize the current structures already there.
Answer from Brian Baxter: With the budget, trying to maximize what we can get with the course.
- Question from Mike Valentine: Where is the closest comparable challenge course?
Answer from Dave Patton: Des Moines
- Question from Matt Stancel: So based on the footprint of where you are going to put it, are your intentions to
keep the same quantity of low course obstacles or more put into the high ropes offerings? Answer from Dave Patton: Looking at putting both high and low elements in the same area. Ideally 8-10 low elements (about the same as what we currently have).
- Question from Patrick Taylor: At the Hawkeye Turf fields, is it on a field and we are losing a field or off to the side?
Answer from Dave Patton: The challenge course will go on Field #7 which is not currently being turfed in the
- Question from Patrick Taylor: What is the amount of usage for the current facility?
Answer from Mallory Valentine: From the annual report last year, 1,169 participants which was up 29% from the previous Fiscal Year.
• Question from Adam Schuck: In Tippie College of Business they utilize Fitness East. Is that location going to be relocated or is that simply going to come off the books? Answer from Brian Baxter: We are working with campus planning to discuss how to absorb that usage into our other buildings. Exploring expansion/space at the CRWC and Field House to accommodate the usage of that space.
Report from Research Council
Joint Meeting of Associate Deans for Research, Associate Deans for Faculty, and the Research Council
October 5, 2023
Topic: UI’s Research Security Program
- Presentations by Craig Pfeiler, FBI Special Agent, Omaha Division/Cedar Rapids Office: Transnational Repression and DOJ Updates on Foreign Interference in Research
- By Russ Ganim, Associate Provost, and Dean of International Programs Research Security from International Programs Perspective
- BY Mike Andrews, Director of Research Integrity and Security, Research Integrity Officer, and Research Security Officer; Wendy Beaver, Executive Director of the Division of Sponsored Programs; Zach Furst, Chief Information Security Officer and the Executive Director of the Information Security and Policy Office
- University of Iowa’s Research Security Program
- Among other topics was how to deal with changed self-presentation among foreign students and researchers. Is it a symptom of pressure from home Query. How can it be delicately and responsibly be handled.
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What goes in a discussion section of a research paper.
June 15, 2021
This article shows you how to write a discussion section of a research paper in five simple steps. But first, let us know more about the importance and content of a discussion section of research paper. The following points explain what you need to make sure you include in the discussion section.
What Goes in the Discussion Section of a Research Paper?
A discussion section of lab report is one type of assignment we can use to demonstrate what is in the discussion section of a research paper. There are six important points you should make as you write this section of the assignment:
You need to reiterate the research problem and the major findings. Briefly point out the research problem or problems your study addresses. You should state the method or approach you used to address the research problem and then move to describe the major finding of the study. Write clearly and concisely. Make direct statements and keep this section to one paragraph. You need to explain the meaning and importance of these findings. You need to assume that the reader is learning about your research for the first time and may not have thought about its importance to the field. You need to explain the significance of your work to what is already known and what it could mean for future studies in the area. You don’t want your reader to have to go through your research paper several times before coming to the same realization as you. You can convince the reader of the importance in this paragraph. You need to relate your research study findings to prior research work. No matter how unique your research study may seem, it will likely be connected to prior research. You should know this from the literature review you conducted and included in the research study. Make connections to establish your credibility by comparing and contrasting your approach, methods, questions, and results to whatever has come before. You need to consider different explanations of your research findings. When you conduct any research study your main goal is to discover. You are not out to prove something (although many students believe they must prove their thesis statement to be successful). No matter what your theories are going into the research project, you should keep in mind that your discoveries should encourage further research. Consider different explanations of the findings even when they don’t fit your hypothesis. You need to acknowledge that there are limitations to your study. All research studies will have limitations and you must identify and acknowledge them before they are discovered and pointed out by others. State any questions or issues that you could not address and provide an explanation of how these limitations may have affected your research study results. You need to make suggestions for the work that will follow your own. The last paragraph of the discussion section should make suggestions for further research. Some people decide to make recommendations in the conclusion section, but it’s perfectly acceptable to include a few sentences in the discussion that point to more work that needs to be done to address questions that have gone unanswered.
How Long Should a Discussion Section Be?
The exact length of this section varies from one assignment to the next. A good rule of thumb is that the section should not exceed the number of words or pages of the other sections combined (e.g., introduction, methods, and results). You should also try to write the discussion within 6 to 8 paragraphs addressing each of the points listed above .
How to Write Discussion Section in Five Simple Steps
Unlike other sections in a research paper, the discussion section is where you will go into the meaning and importance of your study’s results and discuss how it relates to other studies about your topic. An important part of learning how to write the discussion section of a research paper is taking into consideration your research questions and literature review. Here are five steps to follow when writing a discussion section:
- Summarize the Key Research Findings
This chapter should begin with a few sentences that reiterate the research problem and questions followed by a concise summary of the key research findings. You should not repeat all the information you have already stated in prior sections. Make a clear statement the addresses the primary research question you sought to address and the overall result of the study. For example, “The study demonstrates that…” “The results indicate a correlation between…” “The analysis suggests that…” These statements are clear and concise, and they will keep you on track with the goal of this section.
- Give Your Interpretations of the Findings
Next, you need to point out the meaning of the results and their significance to the reader even if it seems obvious to you. Your interpretations will be shaped by the kind of research you conducted (qualitative approach or quantitative approach). You can find more information on this in an article discussing research methods. But there are some typical approaches you can include in your interpretation, including identifying patterns in data, discussing whether your findings support your thesis, and explaining unexpected results.
- Describe the Implications of the Findings
In addition to giving your research interpretations, you need to relate the results to the work you found when going through the literature review you included in your study. Answer questions like “How do your findings relate to prior knowledge?” “How can new perspectives contribute to what is already known?” and “What are the consequences and how can they be applied to the field’s theory or practice?” You will have to ask yourself several questions to provide an adequate discussion of the implications, so make a list of questions and write two or three sentence answers to each one.
- Acknowledge the Limitations of the Study
Every research study has some limitations. It is important to acknowledge what these are. At the college and graduate levels, you have access to numerous resources at the library and available through interlibrary loans. But you may still be limited because of time and data. It’s important to state your limitations to give your study credibility. Another researcher needs to know that although your findings are sound, there may be differences in results if other factors are considered.
- G ive Recommendations for More Research
The last paragraph of the discussion section is where you make recommendations for further study. If you recall what we said earlier in this how to write discussion section of scientific paper article, all research is built upon prior research. You can make recommendations about how your findings can be applied to future studies or how they can be applied to current theories and practices. You can state this with sentences that begin with “Future research should take XYZ into account…” or “Further studies are required to establish…”
Following the steps above will ensure you know how to write discussion section of scientific paper that should earn you a high score. It may also give you the acknowledgment and respect of your peers who may use your work as a foundation for future studies.
Further Help with a Discussion Section
We offer a lot of experience when it comes to crafting a discussion in research paper. Our experts know how to write ad discussion section that makes it easier for researchers and professors can use to conduct their studies. This will give you the credible respect that you deserve for putting together a capstone project that will be the foundation of all the academic and professional work you do in your field. We are available 24/7 and will address your needs with a customized plan to fit your budget while delivering excellent services and quality products.
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How to Write a Discussion Section for a Research Paper
We’ve talked about several useful writing tips that authors should consider while drafting or editing their research papers. In particular, we’ve focused on figures and legends , as well as the Introduction , Methods , and Results . Now that we’ve addressed the more technical portions of your journal manuscript, let’s turn to the analytical segments of your research article. In this article, we’ll provide tips on how to write a strong Discussion section that best portrays the significance of your research contributions.
What is the Discussion section of a research paper?
In a nutshell, your Discussion fulfills the promise you made to readers in your Introduction . At the beginning of your paper, you tell us why we should care about your research. You then guide us through a series of intricate images and graphs that capture all the relevant data you collected during your research. We may be dazzled and impressed at first, but none of that matters if you deliver an anti-climactic conclusion in the Discussion section!
Are you feeling pressured? Don’t worry. To be honest, you will edit the Discussion section of your manuscript numerous times. After all, in as little as one to two paragraphs ( Nature ‘s suggestion based on their 3,000-word main body text limit), you have to explain how your research moves us from point A (issues you raise in the Introduction) to point B (our new understanding of these matters). You must also recommend how we might get to point C (i.e., identify what you think is the next direction for research in this field). That’s a lot to say in two paragraphs!
So, how do you do that? Let’s take a closer look.
What should I include in the Discussion section?
As we stated above, the goal of your Discussion section is to answer the questions you raise in your Introduction by using the results you collected during your research . The content you include in the Discussions segment should include the following information:
- Remind us why we should be interested in this research project.
- Describe the nature of the knowledge gap you were trying to fill using the results of your study.
- Don’t repeat your Introduction. Instead, focus on why this particular study was needed to fill the gap you noticed and why that gap needed filling in the first place.
- Mainly, you want to remind us of how your research will increase our knowledge base and inspire others to conduct further research.
- Clearly tell us what that piece of missing knowledge was.
- Answer each of the questions you asked in your Introduction and explain how your results support those conclusions.
- Make sure to factor in all results relevant to the questions (even if those results were not statistically significant).
- Focus on the significance of the most noteworthy results.
- If conflicting inferences can be drawn from your results, evaluate the merits of all of them.
- Don’t rehash what you said earlier in the Results section. Rather, discuss your findings in the context of answering your hypothesis. Instead of making statements like “[The first result] was this…,” say, “[The first result] suggests [conclusion].”
- Do your conclusions line up with existing literature?
- Discuss whether your findings agree with current knowledge and expectations.
- Keep in mind good persuasive argument skills, such as explaining the strengths of your arguments and highlighting the weaknesses of contrary opinions.
- If you discovered something unexpected, offer reasons. If your conclusions aren’t aligned with current literature, explain.
- Address any limitations of your study and how relevant they are to interpreting your results and validating your findings.
- Make sure to acknowledge any weaknesses in your conclusions and suggest room for further research concerning that aspect of your analysis.
- Make sure your suggestions aren’t ones that should have been conducted during your research! Doing so might raise questions about your initial research design and protocols.
- Similarly, maintain a critical but unapologetic tone. You want to instill confidence in your readers that you have thoroughly examined your results and have objectively assessed them in a way that would benefit the scientific community’s desire to expand our knowledge base.
- Recommend next steps.
- Your suggestions should inspire other researchers to conduct follow-up studies to build upon the knowledge you have shared with them.
- Keep the list short (no more than two).
How to Write the Discussion Section
The above list of what to include in the Discussion section gives an overall idea of what you need to focus on throughout the section. Below are some tips and general suggestions about the technical aspects of writing and organization that you might find useful as you draft or revise the contents we’ve outlined above.
Technical writing elements
- Embrace active voice because it eliminates the awkward phrasing and wordiness that accompanies passive voice.
- Use the present tense, which should also be employed in the Introduction.
- Sprinkle with first person pronouns if needed, but generally, avoid it. We want to focus on your findings.
- Maintain an objective and analytical tone.
Discussion section organization
- Keep the same flow across the Results, Methods, and Discussion sections.
- We develop a rhythm as we read and parallel structures facilitate our comprehension. When you organize information the same way in each of these related parts of your journal manuscript, we can quickly see how a certain result was interpreted and quickly verify the particular methods used to produce that result.
- Notice how using parallel structure will eliminate extra narration in the Discussion part since we can anticipate the flow of your ideas based on what we read in the Results segment. Reducing wordiness is important when you only have a few paragraphs to devote to the Discussion section!
- Within each subpart of a Discussion, the information should flow as follows: (A) conclusion first, (B) relevant results and how they relate to that conclusion and (C) relevant literature.
- End with a concise summary explaining the big-picture impact of your study on our understanding of the subject matter. At the beginning of your Discussion section, you stated why this particular study was needed to fill the gap you noticed and why that gap needed filling in the first place. Now, it is time to end with “how your research filled that gap.”
Discussion Part 1: Summarizing Key Findings
Begin the Discussion section by restating your statement of the problem and briefly summarizing the major results. Do not simply repeat your findings. Rather, try to create a concise statement of the main results that directly answer the central research question that you stated in the Introduction section . This content should not be longer than one paragraph in length.
Many researchers struggle with understanding the precise differences between a Discussion section and a Results section . The most important thing to remember here is that your Discussion section should subjectively evaluate the findings presented in the Results section, and in relatively the same order. Keep these sections distinct by making sure that you do not repeat the findings without providing an interpretation.
Phrase examples: Summarizing the results
- The findings indicate that …
- These results suggest a correlation between A and B …
- The data present here suggest that …
- An interpretation of the findings reveals a connection between…
Discussion Part 2: Interpreting the Findings
What do the results mean? It may seem obvious to you, but simply looking at the figures in the Results section will not necessarily convey to readers the importance of the findings in answering your research questions.
The exact structure of interpretations depends on the type of research being conducted. Here are some common approaches to interpreting data:
- Identifying correlations and relationships in the findings
- Explaining whether the results confirm or undermine your research hypothesis
- Giving the findings context within the history of similar research studies
- Discussing unexpected results and analyzing their significance to your study or general research
- Offering alternative explanations and arguing for your position
Organize the Discussion section around key arguments, themes, hypotheses, or research questions or problems. Again, make sure to follow the same order as you did in the Results section.
Discussion Part 3: Discussing the Implications
In addition to providing your own interpretations, show how your results fit into the wider scholarly literature you surveyed in the literature review section. This section is called the implications of the study . Show where and how these results fit into existing knowledge, what additional insights they contribute, and any possible consequences that might arise from this knowledge, both in the specific research topic and in the wider scientific domain.
Questions to ask yourself when dealing with potential implications:
- Do your findings fall in line with existing theories, or do they challenge these theories or findings? What new information do they contribute to the literature, if any? How exactly do these findings impact or conflict with existing theories or models?
- What are the practical implications on actual subjects or demographics?
- What are the methodological implications for similar studies conducted either in the past or future?
Your purpose in giving the implications is to spell out exactly what your study has contributed and why researchers and other readers should be interested.
Phrase examples: Discussing the implications of the research
- These results confirm the existing evidence in X studies…
- The results are not in line with the foregoing theory that…
- This experiment provides new insights into the connection between…
- These findings present a more nuanced understanding of…
- While previous studies have focused on X, these results demonstrate that Y.
Step 4: Acknowledging the limitations
All research has study limitations of one sort or another. Acknowledging limitations in methodology or approach helps strengthen your credibility as a researcher. Study limitations are not simply a list of mistakes made in the study. Rather, limitations help provide a more detailed picture of what can or cannot be concluded from your findings. In essence, they help temper and qualify the study implications you listed previously.
Study limitations can relate to research design, specific methodological or material choices, or unexpected issues that emerged while you conducted the research. Mention only those limitations directly relate to your research questions, and explain what impact these limitations had on how your study was conducted and the validity of any interpretations.
Possible types of study limitations:
- Insufficient sample size for statistical measurements
- Lack of previous research studies on the topic
- Methods/instruments/techniques used to collect the data
- Limited access to data
- Time constraints in properly preparing and executing the study
After discussing the study limitations, you can also stress that your results are still valid. Give some specific reasons why the limitations do not necessarily handicap your study or narrow its scope.
Phrase examples: Limitations sentence beginners
- “There may be some possible limitations in this study.”
- “The findings of this study have to be seen in light of some limitations.”
- “The first limitation is the…The second limitation concerns the…”
- “The empirical results reported herein should be considered in the light of some limitations.”
- “This research, however, is subject to several limitations.”
- “The primary limitation to the generalization of these results is…”
- “Nonetheless, these results must be interpreted with caution and a number of limitations should be borne in mind.”
Discussion Part 5: Giving Recommendations for Further Research
Based on your interpretation and discussion of the findings, your recommendations can include practical changes to the study or specific further research to be conducted to clarify the research questions. Recommendations are often listed in a separate Conclusion section , but often this is just the final paragraph of the Discussion section.
Suggestions for further research often stem directly from the limitations outlined. Rather than simply stating that “further research should be conducted,” provide concrete specifics for how future can help answer questions that your research could not.
Phrase examples: Recommendation sentence beginners
- Further research is needed to establish …
- There is abundant space for further progress in analyzing…
- A further study with more focus on X should be done to investigate…
- Further studies of X that account for these variables must be undertaken.
Consider Receiving Professional Language Editing
As you edit or draft your research manuscript, we hope that you implement these guidelines to produce a more effective Discussion section. And after completing your draft, don’t forget to submit your work to a professional proofreading and English editing service like Wordvice, including our manuscript editing service for paper editing , cover letter editing , SOP editing , and personal statement proofreading services. Language editors not only proofread and correct errors in grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and formatting but also improve terms and revise phrases so they read more naturally. Wordvice is an industry leader in providing high-quality revision for all types of academic documents.
For additional information about how to write a strong research paper, make sure to check out our full research writing series !
Wordvice Writing Resources
- How to Write a Research Paper Introduction
- Which Verb Tenses to Use in a Research Paper
- How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper
- How to Write a Research Paper Title
- Useful Phrases for Academic Writing
- Common Transition Terms in Academic Papers
- Active and Passive Voice in Research Papers
- 100+ Verbs That Will Make Your Research Writing Amazing
- Tips for Paraphrasing in Research Papers
Additional Academic Resources
- Guide for Authors. (Elsevier)
- How to Write the Results Section of a Research Paper. (Bates College)
- Structure of a Research Paper. (University of Minnesota Biomedical Library)
- How to Choose a Target Journal (Springer)
- How to Write Figures and Tables (UNC Writing Center)
Organizing Academic Research Papers: 8. The Discussion
- Purpose of Guide
- Design Flaws to Avoid
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Academic Writing Style
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
- Paragraph Development
- Executive Summary
- Background Information
- The Research Problem/Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
- Secondary Sources
- Tertiary Sources
- What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
- Annotated Bibliography
- Dealing with Nervousness
- Using Visual Aids
- Grading Someone Else's Paper
- How to Manage Group Projects
- Multiple Book Review Essay
- Reviewing Collected Essays
- About Informed Consent
- Writing Field Notes
- Writing a Policy Memo
- Writing a Research Proposal
The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in light of what was already known about the research problem being investigated, and to explain any new understanding or fresh insights about the problem after you've taken the findings into consideration. The discussion will always connect to the introduction by way of the research questions or hypotheses you posed and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction; the discussion should always explain how your study has moved the reader's understanding of the research problem forward from where you left them at the end of the introduction.
Importance of a Good Discussion
This section is often considered the most important part of a research paper because it most effectively demonstrates your ability as a researcher to think critically about an issue, to develop creative solutions to problems based on the findings, and to formulate a deeper, more profound understanding of the research problem you are studying.
The discussion section is where you explore the underlying meaning of your research , its possible implications in other areas of study, and the possible improvements that can be made in order to further develop the concerns of your research.
This is the section where you need to present the importance of your study and how it may be able to contribute to and/or fill existing gaps in the field. If appropriate, the discussion section is also where you state how the findings from your study revealed new gaps in the literature that had not been previously exposed or adequately described.
This part of the paper is not strictly governed by objective reporting of information but, rather, it is where you can engage in creative thinking about issues through evidence-based interpretation of findings. This is where you infuse your results with meaning.
Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing to Writing an Effective Discussion Section . San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008.
Structure and Writing Style
I. General Rules
These are the general rules you should adopt when composing your discussion of the results :
- Do not be verbose or repetitive.
- Be concise and make your points clearly.
- Avoid using jargon.
- Follow a logical stream of thought.
- Use the present verb tense, especially for established facts; however, refer to specific works and references in the past tense.
- If needed, use subheadings to help organize your presentation or to group your interpretations into themes.
II. The Content
The content of the discussion section of your paper most often includes :
- Explanation of results : comment on whether or not the results were expected and present explanations for the results; go into greater depth when explaining findings that were unexpected or especially profound. If appropriate, note any unusual or unanticipated patterns or trends that emerged from your results and explain their meaning.
- References to previous research : compare your results with the findings from other studies, or use the studies to support a claim. This can include re-visiting key sources already cited in your literature review section, or, save them to cite later in the discussion section if they are more important to compare with your results than being part of the general research you cited to provide context and background information.
- Deduction : a claim for how the results can be applied more generally. For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or recommending best practices.
- Hypothesis : a more general claim or possible conclusion arising from the results [which may be proved or disproved in subsequent research].
III. Organization and Structure
Keep the following sequential points in mind as you organize and write the discussion section of your paper:
- Think of your discussion as an inverted pyramid. Organize the discussion from the general to the specific, linking your findings to the literature, then to theory, then to practice [if appropriate].
- Use the same key terms, mode of narration, and verb tense [present] that you used when when describing the research problem in the introduction.
- Begin by briefly re-stating the research problem you were investigating and answer all of the research questions underpinning the problem that you posed in the introduction.
- Describe the patterns, principles, and relationships shown by each major findings and place them in proper perspective. The sequencing of providing this information is important; first state the answer, then the relevant results, then cite the work of others. If appropriate, refer the reader to a figure or table to help enhance the interpretation of the data. The order of interpreting each major finding should be in the same order as they were described in your results section.
- A good discussion section includes analysis of any unexpected findings. This paragraph should begin with a description of the unexpected finding, followed by a brief interpretation as to why you believe it appeared and, if necessary, its possible significance in relation to the overall study. If more than one unexpected finding emerged during the study, describe each them in the order they appeared as you gathered the data.
- Before concluding the discussion, identify potential limitations and weaknesses. Comment on their relative importance in relation to your overall interpretation of the results and, if necessary, note how they may affect the validity of the findings. Avoid using an apologetic tone; however, be honest and self-critical.
- The discussion section should end with a concise summary of the principal implications of the findings regardless of statistical significance. Give a brief explanation about why you believe the findings and conclusions of your study are important and how they support broader knowledge or understanding of the research problem. This can be followed by any recommendations for further research. However, do not offer recommendations which could have been easily addressed within the study. This demonstrates to the reader you have inadequately examined and interpreted the data.
IV. Overall Objectives
The objectives of your discussion section should include the following: I. Reiterate the Research Problem/State the Major Findings
Briefly reiterate for your readers the research problem or problems you are investigating and the methods you used to investigate them, then move quickly to describe the major findings of the study. You should write a direct, declarative, and succinct proclamation of the study results.
II. Explain the Meaning of the Findings and Why They are Important
No one has thought as long and hard about your study as you have. Systematically explain the meaning of the findings and why you believe they are important. After reading the discussion section, you want the reader to think about the results [“why hadn’t I thought of that?”]. You don’t want to force the reader to go through the paper multiple times to figure out what it all means. Begin this part of the section by repeating what you consider to be your most important finding first.
III. Relate the Findings to Similar Studies
No study is so novel or possesses such a restricted focus that it has absolutely no relation to other previously published research. The discussion section should relate your study findings to those of other studies, particularly if questions raised by previous studies served as the motivation for your study, the findings of other studies support your findings [which strengthens the importance of your study results], and/or they point out how your study differs from other similar studies. IV. Consider Alternative Explanations of the Findings
It is important to remember that the purpose of research is to discover and not to prove . When writing the discussion section, you should carefully consider all possible explanations for the study results, rather than just those that fit your prior assumptions or biases.
V. Acknowledge the Study’s Limitations
It is far better for you to identify and acknowledge your study’s limitations than to have them pointed out by your professor! Describe the generalizability of your results to other situations, if applicable to the method chosen, then describe in detail problems you encountered in the method(s) you used to gather information. Note any unanswered questions or issues your study did not address, and.... VI. Make Suggestions for Further Research
Although your study may offer important insights about the research problem, other questions related to the problem likely remain unanswered. Moreover, some unanswered questions may have become more focused because of your study. You should make suggestions for further research in the discussion section.
NOTE: Besides the literature review section, the preponderance of references to sources in your research paper are usually found in the discussion section . A few historical references may be helpful for perspective but most of the references should be relatively recent and included to aid in the interpretation of your results and/or linked to similar studies. If a study that you cited disagrees with your findings, don't ignore it--clearly explain why the study's findings differ from yours.
V. Problems to Avoid
- Do not waste entire sentences restating your results . Should you need to remind the reader of the finding to be discussed, use "bridge sentences" that relate the result to the interpretation. An example would be: “The lack of available housing to single women with children in rural areas of Texas suggests that...[then move to the interpretation of this finding].”
- Recommendations for further research can be included in either the discussion or conclusion of your paper but do not repeat your recommendations in the both sections.
- Do not introduce new results in the discussion. Be wary of mistaking the reiteration of a specific finding for an interpretation.
- Use of the first person is acceptable, but too much use of the first person may actually distract the reader from the main points.
Analyzing vs. Summarizing. Department of English Writing Guide. George Mason University; Discussion . The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Hess, Dean R. How to Write an Effective Discussion. Respiratory Care 49 (October 2004); Kretchmer, Paul. Fourteen Steps to Writing to Writing an Effective Discussion Section . San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; The Lab Report . University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Summary: Using it Wisely . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Schafer, Mickey S. Writing the Discussion . Writing in Psychology course syllabus. University of Florida; Yellin, Linda L. A Sociology Writer's Guide. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2009.
Don’t Overinterpret the Results!
Interpretation is a subjective exercise. Therefore, be careful that you do not read more into the findings than can be supported by the evidence you've gathered. Remember that the data are the data: nothing more, nothing less.
Another Writing Tip
Don't Write Two Results Sections!
One of the most common mistakes that you can make when discussing the results of your study is to present a superficial interpretation of the findings that more or less re-states the results section of your paper. Obviously, you must refer to your results when discussing them, but focus on the interpretion of those results, not just the data itself.
Azar, Beth. Discussing Your Findings. American Psychological Association gradPSYCH Magazine (January 2006)
Yet Another Writing Tip
Avoid Unwarranted Speculation!
The discussion section should remain focused on the findings of your study. For example, if you studied the impact of foreign aid on increasing levels of education among the poor in Bangladesh, it's generally not appropriate to speculate about how your findings might apply to populations in other countries without drawing from existing studies to support your claim. If you feel compelled to speculate, be certain that you clearly identify your comments as speculation or as a suggestion for where further research is needed. Sometimes your professor will encourage you to expand the discussion in this way, while others don’t care what your opinion is beyond your efforts to interpret the data.
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Marketing, Other Intangibles, and Output Growth in 61 United States Industries
Marketing, other intangibles, and output growth in 61 united states industries (pdf).
Experts in the System of National Accounts (SNA) recently considered whether marketing could be included as a capital asset in the national accounts and later recommended that marketing should be an intangible in the 2025 SNA (IMF, 2022; IMF, 2023). This paper contributes to that discussion by developing macroeconomic measures of marketing investments and stocks for the United States. We also construct and analyze measures of how marketing and other intangibles contribute to output growth in the 61 industries that comprise the U.S. private business sector.
We find that marketing contributes approximately as much to output growth as software and R&D (research and development) do. From 1987 to 2020, our preferred estimates of the annual contribution to output growth are 0.15 percentage point for R&D, 0.19 for software, and 0.18 for marketing. Software grows more rapidly, whereas marketing has a larger factor share. Marketing contributes even more to output if quality is adjusted to allow for better targeting associated with digital advertising. There is a close relationship between data flows, software, and digital marketing, and national accountants must allocate expenditures among these categories.
- Marketing Asset Detail XLSX
- Marketing Prices for Submission XLSX
- Own-Account Marketing for Submission XLSX
- Purchased and Inhouse Marketing for Submission XLSX
Leo Sveikauskas , Rachel Soloveichik , Corby Garner , Peter B. Meyer , James Bessen , and Mathew Russell
JEL Code(s) M31 M37 Published October 2023
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When writing a research paper, the discussion section emerges as a critical aspect of the assignment. It is imperative to grasp the art of writing an impactful discussion, as this segment serves as the platform to elucidate how your data substantiates or challenges your hypotheses.
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To write an effective discussion, you must know how to write a discussion in a research paper and present your data clearly and concisely. It must carefully elucidate that the collected data and its findings align with or challenge the hypotheses.
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What is a Discussion Section?
The discussion section in a research paper is a crucial part where the researcher interprets and analyzes the results obtained from the study. It is a space where the researcher can explain the significance and implications of the findings in relation to the research questions or hypotheses. The discussion section allows the researcher to understand the data better, identify patterns or trends, and compare the results with existing literature or theories.
Discover Dissertation Discussion Examples Here
What Should be Included in Your Discussion Section?
The discussion section traditionally includes the following:
- A description of the findings.
- An interpretation of the findings of other studies.
- An evaluation of the findings.
- The implications of the results/findings for future research or practice.
Explore More on the Topic of How to Write the Result Section
1- A Description of the Findings
The primary step in writing the discussion section involves comprehensively describing the research findings. This encompasses both quantitative and qualitative data presented in a clear and succinct manner. It is important to note that this description should solely focus on presenting the findings without engaging in any interpretation or evaluation. This step involves presenting a factual account of what was discovered during the research process.
2- The Interpretation of the Findings
The interpretation of findings is the stage where you delve into the significance of the data in relation to other studies conducted on the same topic. Here, you initiate the process of drawing conclusions from your research. Supporting your interpretation with compelling evidence from your data is crucial.
3- The Evaluation of Findings
The evaluation phase entails a comprehensive assessment of whether the research successfully achieved its objectives. This involves identifying any limitations that might have influenced the results and discussing their impact. Examining any unexpected findings and establishing their relevance to the research objectives is crucial.
4- Implications for Future Research
In the final stage, it is vital to delve into the implications of the findings for future research or practice. This entails highlighting recommendations for further research that may be deemed necessary and examining how the results can be applied in real-world scenarios. It is essential to support any recommendations with concrete evidence derived from your data, thus reinforcing their validity and relevance.
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Tips on how to write discussion in research paper.
The following tips will help you in writing an expert discussion section for your research paper:
1- Start with a Concise Introduction
Begin the discussion section with a brief introduction that provides context and sets the stage for the subsequent analysis. Clearly state the purpose of the section and outline the key points you will address.
2-Organize Your Discussion Logically
Structure your discussion in a logical and coherent manner. Consider using subheadings to divide the section into smaller, focused topics. This enhances readability and helps readers navigate through your arguments.
3- Describe the Findings Objectively
Start by objectively describing and presenting your findings clearly and concisely. Focus on facts and avoid interpretation or evaluation at this stage. Provide sufficient detail to allow readers to grasp the essence of your results.
4- Relate Findings to Research Objectives
Connect your findings to the research objectives or research questions established earlier in your paper. Explain how each finding contributes to answering the research questions or achieving the research goals.
5- Analyze and Interpret the Findings
After presenting the findings, delve into their interpretation and analysis. Analyze the patterns, trends, and relationships observed in the data. Interpret the results in the context of existing literature, theories, or hypotheses.
6- Address Unexpected or Contradictory Findings
If you encounter unexpected or contradictory results, acknowledge and discuss them. Explore potential explanations, alternative perspectives, or limitations that might have influenced these findings. Be open to considering different angles and providing a balanced analysis.
7- Discuss the Implications and Significance
Evaluate the implications and significance of your findings. Discuss the broader implications for the research field, practical applications, or theoretical advancements. Highlight your research's value and contributions to the existing body of knowledge.
8- Consider Limitations and Alternative Explanations
Address any limitations or constraints of your study that may have influenced the findings. Acknowledge the potential impact of these limitations on the interpretation and generalizability of the results. Discuss alternative explanations or factors that could have influenced the outcomes.
9- Propose Recommendations for Further Research
Identify areas that require further investigation and propose recommendations for future research. Highlight the gaps or unanswered questions revealed by your study. Provide a rationale for why these areas merit further exploration.
10- Conclude with a Summary
Summarize the main points discussed in the section, reinforcing the key findings, interpretations, and implications. Emphasize the overall significance of your research and its contribution to the field.
Learn About Writing Discussions for Academic Reports Here
How Does a Discussion Section Vary from a Conclusion?
There is a difference between a discussion section and a conclusion. In many ways, a discussion section is similar to a conclusion. Both are typically found at the end of the piece, and both provide a summary of the main points that have been presented. However, some important distinctions exist between a discussion section and a conclusion.
Perhaps most importantly, a discussion section is typically much longer than a conclusion. Whereas a conclusion maybe just a few sentences long, a discussion section may be several paragraphs or even pages in length.
In addition, whereas a conclusion will simply restate the main points that have been made, a discussion will provide further analysis and interpretation of key findings. It is often seen as being more intellectually demanding than a conclusion.
Learn More About a Step-by-Step Guide in the Discussion Section
Finally, whereas a conclusion will typically focus on what has been learned from the main body of the text, a discussion section will typically focus on future research directions or potential implications. For all these reasons, it is essential to understand the difference between a discussion section and a conclusion before writing either one.
- A discussion section is typically found in scientific papers.
- The purpose of a discussion section is to interpret and draw conclusions from the data presented in the paper.
- A discussion section should be objective and unbiased.
- A conclusion is typically found in papers that are not scientific in nature.
- The primary purpose of a conclusion is to summarize the paper's main points.
- A conclusion should be objective and unbiased.
- A discussion section is usually longer than a conclusion.
- A discussion section typically contains more detailed information than a conclusion.
- A discussion section often includes conflicting interpretations of the data presented in the paper.
- A conclusion typically contains a single interpretation of the data presented in the paper.
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Common mistakes to avoid in a discussion, 1. restating your results.
One mistake often made in a discussion section is simply restating the study's results. While it is important to mention your results briefly, the discussion section should be focused on interpretation and implications, not just a regurgitation of data. Instead of just repeating what you found, discuss why you found it and what it means in relation to previous research.
2. Making Over-Generalizations
Another mistake to avoid is making over-generalizations about your findings. Just because you found something true in your study does not mean it is universally true. Be cautious about extrapolating too much from your data and making claims that are not supported by the evidence.
3. Failing to Critique Your Study
A discussion section is also an opportunity to reflect on the shortcomings of your study and suggest ways that future research could be improved. Don't be afraid to point out any limitations of your study or areas where more research is needed. By acknowledging the weaknesses of your study, you can make your findings more valuable.
4. Failing to Summarize the Main Points of the Paper
Before engaging in a meaningful discussion of the data, you must summarise the paper's main points. This will remind the reader of what they have just read and help them follow along with your discussion. Include a brief overview of the research question, hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusion.
5. Repeating Information from Other Sections of the Paper
Once you have summarized the paper's main points, you can discuss the implications of your findings. However, it is important to avoid repeating information from other paper sections. For example, there is no need to reiterate your results or conclusions here. Instead, focus on providing new insights and interpretations based on your data analysis.
6. Making Assumptions about the Reader's Knowledge
When writing a discussion section, it is important to assume that your reader has not read the entire paper. As such, you must provide enough context to interpret the data without repeating information from other sections. Be sure to explain any jargon or terminology unfamiliar to your reader.
7. Failing to Make Connections to Other Areas of Study
An effective discussion section will go beyond simply summarizing your findings and will make connections to other areas of study. For example, if you discuss the implications of your findings for future research, connect your work to the existing literature in the field. This will help situate your work within the larger conversation that is taking place in academia.
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Writing a discussion section can be tough, but if you follow these simple steps, you can write an effective discussion section that engages your reader and presents your findings clearly and concisely.
Learning how to write a discussion in a research paper will require consistent practice.
Contact Premier Dissertations to develop a discussion section with a strong stance regarding your research. We can assist you with every process step, from topic selection to data analysis in a dissertation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve academic success!
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- Published: 06 November 2023
A spinal cord neuroprosthesis for locomotor deficits due to Parkinson’s disease
- Tomislav Milekovic ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6769-6506 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 na1 ,
- Eduardo Martin Moraud ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6148-7065 2 , 3 , 4 na1 ,
- Nicolo Macellari 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 na2 ,
- Charlotte Moerman ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0009-0009-2957 2 , 3 , 4 na2 ,
- Flavio Raschellà 1 , 6 na2 ,
- Shiqi Sun ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0009-7257-7996 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 na2 ,
- Matthew G. Perich ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9800-2386 5 na2 ,
- Camille Varescon 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Robin Demesmaeker ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0856-0929 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Alice Bruel 7 ,
- Léa N. Bole-Feysot 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Giuseppe Schiavone ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7121-9825 1 , 8 ,
- Elvira Pirondini 2 , 3 , 9 , 10 ,
- Cheng YunLong 11 , 12 , 13 ,
- Li Hao 11 , 12 , 13 ,
- Andrea Galvez 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Sergio Daniel Hernandez-Charpak ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0477-8138 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Gregory Dumont 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Jimmy Ravier 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Camille G. Le Goff-Mignardot 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Jean-Baptiste Mignardot 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Gaia Carparelli 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Cathal Harte 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Nicolas Hankov 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Viviana Aureli 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Anne Watrin 14 ,
- Hendrik Lambert 14 ,
- David Borton ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0710-3005 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 15 ,
- Jean Laurens 1 , 16 ,
- Isabelle Vollenweider 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Simon Borgognon ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4577-6553 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- François Bourre 17 , 18 ,
- Michel Goillandeau 17 , 18 ,
- Wai Kin D. Ko 11 , 12 , 13 ,
- Laurent Petit ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2499-5367 17 , 18 ,
- Qin Li 11 , 12 , 13 ,
- Rik Buschman 19 ,
- Nicholas Buse 19 ,
- Maria Yaroshinsky 20 ,
- Jean-Baptiste Ledoux ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0447-5073 21 ,
- Fabio Becce ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8444-8504 21 ,
- Mayté Castro Jimenez ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4165-4804 22 ,
- Julien F. Bally ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0970-8844 22 ,
- Timothy Denison 23 ,
- Dominique Guehl 17 , 18 ,
- Auke Ijspeert ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1417-9980 7 ,
- Marco Capogrosso ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0975-316X 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 9 ,
- Jordan W. Squair 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Leonie Asboth ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2414-9574 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
- Philip A. Starr ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2733-4003 20 ,
- Doris D. Wang 20 ,
- Stéphanie P. Lacour ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9075-4022 6 , 8 ,
- Silvestro Micera ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4396-8217 6 , 24 ,
- Chuan Qin 12 ,
- Jocelyne Bloch ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6405-1590 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 na3 ,
- Erwan Bezard ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0410-4638 11 , 12 , 13 , 17 , 18 na3 &
- G. Courtine ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5744-4142 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 na3
Nature Medicine ( 2023 ) Cite this article
- Brain–machine interface
- Parkinson's disease
People with late-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) often suffer from debilitating locomotor deficits that are resistant to currently available therapies. To alleviate these deficits, we developed a neuroprosthesis operating in closed loop that targets the dorsal root entry zones innervating lumbosacral segments to reproduce the natural spatiotemporal activation of the lumbosacral spinal cord during walking. We first developed this neuroprosthesis in a non-human primate model that replicates locomotor deficits due to PD. This neuroprosthesis not only alleviated locomotor deficits but also restored skilled walking in this model. We then implanted the neuroprosthesis in a 62-year-old male with a 30-year history of PD who presented with severe gait impairments and frequent falls that were medically refractory to currently available therapies. We found that the neuroprosthesis interacted synergistically with deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus and dopaminergic replacement therapies to alleviate asymmetry and promote longer steps, improve balance and reduce freezing of gait. This neuroprosthesis opens new perspectives to reduce the severity of locomotor deficits in people with PD.
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Data that support the findings and software routines developed for the data analysis will be made available upon reasonable request to the corresponding authors at: [email protected] or [email protected]. Third party datasets used in our study are available under the Creative Commons Public License: VerSe 2019 ( https://osf.io/nqjyw/ ) and VerSe 2020 ( https://osf.io/t98fz/ ).
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Funding was obtained from the Defitech Foundation, the Roger de Spoelberch Prize, ONWARD Medical, CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences grant 2021-1-I2M-034, National Natural Science Foundation of China grants 81941012 and 82161138027, PDWALK ERANET JP cofunND 2-NT (ANR, FNS, ZonMw), the Parkinson Schweiz Foundation, the European Community’s Seventh Framework Program (NeuWalk), a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council, the Wyss Center for Bio- and Neuroengineering, the Bertarelli Foundation, a Marie Curie fellowship to D.A.B., Marie Curie COFUND EPFL fellowships to T.M. and G.S., a Morton Cure Paralysis Fund fellowship to T.M., a Whitaker Foundation fellowship to M.G.P. and the Swiss National Science Foundation, including the National Center of Competence in Research in Robotics, the Sino-Swiss Science and Technology Cooperation (IZLCZ3_156331), the NanoTera.ch program (SpineRepair) and the Sinergia program (CRSII3_160696).
These authors contributed equally: Tomislav Milekovic, Eduardo Martin Moraud.
These authors contributed equally: Nicolo Macellari, Charlotte Moerman, Flavio Raschellà, Shiqi Sun, Matthew G. Perich.
These authors jointly supervised this work: Jocelyne Bloch, Erwan Bezard, G. Courtine.
Authors and Affiliations
NeuroX Institute, School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Geneva, Switzerland
Tomislav Milekovic, Nicolo Macellari, Flavio Raschellà, Shiqi Sun, Camille Varescon, Robin Demesmaeker, Léa N. Bole-Feysot, Giuseppe Schiavone, Andrea Galvez, Sergio Daniel Hernandez-Charpak, Gregory Dumont, Jimmy Ravier, Camille G. Le Goff-Mignardot, Jean-Baptiste Mignardot, Gaia Carparelli, Cathal Harte, Nicolas Hankov, Viviana Aureli, David Borton, Jean Laurens, Isabelle Vollenweider, Simon Borgognon, Marco Capogrosso, Jordan W. Squair, Leonie Asboth, Jocelyne Bloch & G. Courtine
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL), Lausanne, Switzerland
Tomislav Milekovic, Eduardo Martin Moraud, Nicolo Macellari, Charlotte Moerman, Shiqi Sun, Camille Varescon, Robin Demesmaeker, Léa N. Bole-Feysot, Elvira Pirondini, Andrea Galvez, Sergio Daniel Hernandez-Charpak, Gregory Dumont, Jimmy Ravier, Camille G. Le Goff-Mignardot, Jean-Baptiste Mignardot, Gaia Carparelli, Cathal Harte, Nicolas Hankov, Viviana Aureli, David Borton, Isabelle Vollenweider, Simon Borgognon, Marco Capogrosso, Jordan W. Squair, Leonie Asboth, Jocelyne Bloch & G. Courtine
NeuroRestore, Defitech Center for Interventional Neurotherapies, EPFL/CHUV/UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Department of Neurosurgery, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland
Tomislav Milekovic, Eduardo Martin Moraud, Nicolo Macellari, Charlotte Moerman, Shiqi Sun, Camille Varescon, Robin Demesmaeker, Léa N. Bole-Feysot, Andrea Galvez, Sergio Daniel Hernandez-Charpak, Gregory Dumont, Jimmy Ravier, Camille G. Le Goff-Mignardot, Jean-Baptiste Mignardot, Gaia Carparelli, Cathal Harte, Nicolas Hankov, Viviana Aureli, David Borton, Isabelle Vollenweider, Simon Borgognon, Marco Capogrosso, Jordan W. Squair, Leonie Asboth, Jocelyne Bloch & G. Courtine
Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
Tomislav Milekovic & Matthew G. Perich
NeuroX Institute, School of Bioengineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Flavio Raschellà, Stéphanie P. Lacour & Silvestro Micera
Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Alice Bruel & Auke Ijspeert
Laboratory for Soft Bioelectronic Interfaces (LSBI), NeuroX Institute, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Giuseppe Schiavone & Stéphanie P. Lacour
Rehab and Neural Engineering Labs, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Elvira Pirondini & Marco Capogrosso
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Motac Neuroscience, UK-M15 6WE, Manchester, UK
Cheng YunLong, Li Hao, Wai Kin D. Ko, Qin Li & Erwan Bezard
China Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
Cheng YunLong, Li Hao, Wai Kin D. Ko, Qin Li, Chuan Qin & Erwan Bezard
Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences, Beijing, China
ONWARD Medical, Lausanne, Switzerland
Anne Watrin & Hendrik Lambert
School of Engineering, Carney Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA
Université de Bordeaux, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France
François Bourre, Michel Goillandeau, Laurent Petit, Dominique Guehl & Erwan Bezard
CNRS, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, Bordeaux, France
Medtronic, Minneapolis, USA
Rik Buschman & Nicholas Buse
Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Maria Yaroshinsky, Philip A. Starr & Doris D. Wang
Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, CHUV/UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Jean-Baptiste Ledoux & Fabio Becce
Department of Neurology, CHUV/UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland
Mayté Castro Jimenez & Julien F. Bally
Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Department of Excellence in Robotics and AI, Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy
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T.M., E.M.M., N.M., C.M., F.R., S.S., M.G.P., R.J.D., A.B., G.S., C.H., N.H., L.A., D.B., F.B., M.C., P.A.S., T.D., D.W. and S.P.L.: technological framework. M.G.P., C.YL., L.H., D.B., Q.L., E.B., D.W., J.B. and G.C.: surgeries. T.M., E.M.M., N.M., C.M., F.R., S.S., M.G.P., C.V., R.J.D., A.B., L.N.B.-F., Y.J., C.H., D.B., J.L., I.V., S.B., F.B., M.G., C.YL., L.H., L.P., M.Y., F.B., M.C., D.D.W., J.B. and G.C. performed experiments. T.M., E.M.M., N.M., C.M., F.R., S.S., M.G.P., R.J.D., A.B., A.G., S.D.H.-C., G.D., J.R., C.G.L.G.-M., J.S.Q., J.-B.M., G.C. and J.L.: data analysis. Y.J., C.YL., L.H., Q.L., F.B., M.G., M.C.J., J.F.B., P.A.S. and D.G.: neurological evaluations. T.M., E.M.M., N.M., C.M., F.R., S.S., M.G.P., R.J.D., G.S., A.G. and J.R. generated figures. A.W., H.L., S.B., W.K.D.K., Q.L., C.Q., J.B., E.B. and G.C.: regulatory affairs. T.M., E.M.M., F.R., R.D., L.A., D.B., W.K.D.K., Q.L., M.C., P.A.S., T.D., D.G., A.I., D.D.W., S.P.L., S.M., C.Q., J.B., E.B. and G.C.: conception and supervision. G.C. wrote the paper, with T.M., E.M.M., F.R., M.G.P., G.S., J.B. and E.B.
Correspondence to Jocelyne Bloch , Erwan Bezard or G. Courtine .
The authors declare the following competing financial interests: G.C., J.B., R.D., S.M., S.L., T.M., E.M.M. and M.C. hold various patents or applications in relation to the present work. G.C. and J.B. are consultants for ONWARD Medical. G.C., J.B., S.M., S.L., H.L. are founders and minority shareholders of ONWARD Medical, a company with potential commercial interest in the presented work. E.B. reports personal fees from Motac Neuroscience Ltd UK and is a shareholder of Motac Holding UK and Plenitudes SARL France. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.
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Extended data fig. 1 objective quantification of gait impairments and balance problems in the nhp mptp model of parkinson’s disease and in people with pd..
a , Scatter plot shows the rounded mean of PD scores for each monkey across sessions recorded after MPTP administration. Photographs show the dopaminergic projections labelled with tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the putamen and caudate of a healthy monkey and in M8. The bar plots show the density of TH-labelled projections in the putamen and caudate (n = Healthy: M6: 6, M7: 6, M8: 4, M9: 6) and count of dopaminergic cells in substantia nigra (n = Healthy: 3, M5: 1, M6: 2, M7:2, M8: 2, M9: 2) in healthy monkeys and in monkeys after the MPTP administration. b-c , The NHPs were trained to walk across a 3m-long corridor (M1-9, n = 9) and along the rungs of a 3m-long horizontal ladder (M3-8, n = 6). Both runways were embedded within Plexiglass enclosures that allowed the NHPs to behave freely and untethered while anatomical landmarks painted on the joints were filmed using 4 or 6 cameras in order to reconstruct whole-body kinematics in 3D. We used these kinematic recordings to compute 83 variables from each gait cycle that quantified kinematic features of monkeys’ locomotor patterns (Supplementary Table 3 ). This dataset was arranged in a matrix with variables as the matrix columns and each row representing one gait cycle. Data collected from different conditions (before and after MPTP administration) and different monkeys were pooled together in a single matrix and z-scored across columns. Two different tasks, corridor (a) and ladder (b), were analysed separately. We then applied PCA on this dataset and visualized the outcome by plotting the dataset in a new space spanned by the three leading PCs. The data for each monkey and condition is represented by a balloons – ellipsoids with the centre and principal semi-axis as the mean and standard deviation calculated across all the gait cycles for that condition and monkey (number of gait cycles in corridor: before MPTP: M1: 4, M2: 6, M3: 18, M4: 13, M5: 14, M6: 22, M7: 14, M8: 95, M9: 49; after MPTP: M1: 28, M2: 8, M3: 16, M4: 22, M5: 11, M6: 6, M7:9, M8: 48, M9: 59; ladder: before MPTP: M3: 12, M4: 25, M5: 23, M6: 19, M7: 9, M8: 40; after MPTP: M3: 18, M4: 7, M5: 24, M6: 31, M7: 24, M8: 14). Since the variance in the dataset is driven by the changes in gait parameters between the healthy and MPTP conditions consistent across monkeys, the parameters that best capture gait and balance deficits after MPTP administration have the highest loading factors in leading principal components (PCs). The colorplot shows the loading factors for the three leading PCs. The bar plots report the mean values of the parameters with the highest factor loadings. These parameters reflect gait and balance deficits commonly observed in people with PD. d , Healthy subjects (H; n = 9) and subjects with PD (PD; n = 25) walked straight overground as we recorded their full-body kinematics in 3D using the Vicon multi-camera system. We used these kinematic recordings to compute 35 variables from each gait cycle that quantified kinematic features of human locomotor patterns (Supplementary Table 5 ). As for the monkeys, we arranged this dataset in a gait parameters x gait cycles matrix, applied PCA on this dataset and visualized the outcome by plotting the distribution balloons for each subject in a space spanned by the three leading PCs (number of gait cycles: H1: 37, H2: 36, H3: 33, H4: 44, H5:42, H6: 38, H7: 45, H8: 33, H9: 39; PD1: 28, PD2: 30, PD3: 54, PD4: 53, PD5: 81, PD6: 47, PD7: 69, PD8: 37, PD9: 8, PD10: 100, PD11: 32, PD12: 22, PD13: 48, PD14: 25, PD15: 69, PD16: 70, PD17: 33, PD18: 61, PD19: 40, PD20: 29, PD21: 82, PD22: 8, PD23: 66, PD24: 33, PD25: 29). The colorplot shows the loading factors for the three leading PCs. *, ** significant difference at p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively, using two-sided Wilcoxon signed rank test. Error bars, sem.
Extended Data Fig. 2 Design of EES protocols based on spatiotemporal maps of motor neuron activity.
a , Colorplots showing the average spatiotemporal map of motor neuron activity underlying locomotion in M6 (n = 12 gait cycles), M7 (n = 10), M8 (n = 20), M9 (n = 32) and M10 (n = 13) before MPTP administration (Healthy). We identified the hotspots of motor neuron activity using Gaussian Mixture Modelling. The spatial maps of motor neuron activity corresponding to the time at which each hotspot reached a maximum (centre) are laid over the schematics of the spinal cord. b , Colorplots show the spatiotemporal maps of motor neuron activity underlying locomotion in M6 (n = 55 gait cycles), M7 (n = 44), M8 (n = 17) and M9 (n = 11) after MPTP administration (MPTP). Bar plots compare the surface correlation between two maps calculated before MPTP administration and between a map calculated before MPTP administration and a map calculated after the MPTP administration. **, *** significant difference at p < 0.01, p < 0.001, respectively, using non-parametric one-sided Monte Carlo permutation test. Error bars show sem.
Extended Data Fig. 3 Brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis technology.
a , We developed a fabrication process to manufacture the non-human primate epidural spinal arrays used in M11 using e-dura technology (see Methods ). Step 1: Substrate creation. We used 4’ silicon wafers as substrate to prepare the arrays. (top) A polystyrene sulfonic acid layer is spin coated on the carrier to provide a water-release layer for the substrate stack. A PDMS layer is subsequently cast on the substrate until reaching a thickness of approximately 500 µm. (middle) A laser-machined, 50 µm thick polyimide mask is then manually laminated on the PDMS surface, and the carriers are then mounted in a thermal evaporation chamber. A stack of chromium and gold is thermally evaporated on the carriers through the polyimide masks, at a thickness of 5 nm (Cr) and 55 nm (Au). The chromium acts as adhesion promoter for the gold interconnect on PDMS. (bottom) The polyimide shadow mask is then peeled off the surface, revealing the interconnect design patterned in the metal stack. Step 2 : Passivation. (top) A 3 mm thick PDMS handling layer is cast in a Petri dish. Once cured, the top surface is exposed to an oxygen plasma and a vapour-phase 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane layer is applied in a vacuum chamber. This process inhibits the adhesion of the silicone to subsequent PDMS layers deposited on the surface. Two subsequent 20 µm thick PDMS layers are spin-coated and cured on the thick PDMS, separated by the same adhesion inhibiting layer. A slab of this triple PDMS stack (3 mm, 20 µm, 20 µm in cross section) is then cut with a blade and mounted on a glass slide. (bottom) A mechanical catheter puncher is used to make holes through the two thin PDMS layers and into the thick handling layer, in order to machine the passivation stack with through-vias. Each via is created by punching a series of 4 round holes of 690 µm diameter with 400 µm centre-to-centre spacing. Step 3: Assembly. (top) The top surfaces of the substrate and triple stack encapsulation are exposed to oxygen plasma, then mounted on an alignment rack, with the two treated surfaces facing one another. The vias machined in the encapsulation are aligned with the interconnect patterned on the substrate, and the two parts are then put into contact in order to form a covalent bond between the silicone layers. (bottom) Once bonded, the thick PDMS handling layer is peeled off the substrate, leaving the interconnect encapsulated by two 20 µm thick PDMS layers with openings corresponding to the position of the electrodes. Step 4: Electroactive coating. (top) The electroactive coating is prepared as a composite material obtained by dispersing microscale platinum particles (3.5 µm maximum particle size) within a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) matrix. This creates a conductive paste that offers a balance between the charge injection properties of platinum and the mechanical properties of PDMS. The composite paste is applied on the encapsulation through the screen print PDMS layer, filling the openings to make an electrical contact with the interconnect. (bottom) The screen print layer is then peeled off to remove the excess coating and define the active stimulation sites. Step 5: Packaging. (top) The assembled implant is manually cut while still on wafer to the desired shape using a blade. Electrical wires are threaded in a PDMS guiding piece through holes that are machined at the same pitch as the gold tracks on the substrate. This soft connector is aligned and placed onto the interconnect with wires close to the ends of the gold tracks. Conductive Silver paste is then pressure dispensed to form individual electrical connections between the wires and the gold tracks. Once all electrical connections are made, a bolus of room temperature vulcanisation sealant (one component silicone sealant 734, Dow Corning) is applied over the connector to mechanically secure the assembly. (bottom) After the sealant is cured, the implant is released from the silicon carrier by dissolving the PSS layer under the PDMS substrate with DI water. All silicone layers are prepared by mixing polydimethylsiloxane using a weight ratio of 10:1 between pre-polymer and cross-linker. The deposited layers are cured for a minimum of 3 hours in a temperature-controlled oven set to 80 °C. Photographs show a fabricated e-dura spinal implant, including a zoom on the electrode contacts. b , We exploited our fabrication process to produce epidural spinal arrays that embedded laterally-located electrodes targeting the left and right posterior roots of the lumbar spinal cord, as well as midline-located electrodes targeting the ascending fibres within the dorsal column. The shown spinal cord was reconstructed from a magnetic resonance imaging scan of a rhesus macaque onto which we represented the planed locations of the rostral and caudal spinal arrays. c , Circular plots reporting the amplitude (grey scale) of muscle responses recorded from leg muscles when delivering single-pulse EES at increasing amplitudes (radial axis). Red circles highlight the optimal amplitude while the polygon quantifies the muscular selectivity at this amplitude. Spatial map of motor neuron activity corresponding to optimal EES amplitudes are laid over the schematics of the spinal cord for each hotspot. Bar plots report the correlation between each maximal-selectivity spatial map of motor neuron activity and the spatial map corresponding to the targeted hotspot. Muscle responses were normalized to the maximum amplitudes observed across all the recording sessions. d , The scheme illustrates the similarity between non-human primate and human implementation of the spinal cord neuroprosthesis. In both implementations, sensors collected physiological signals that are wirelessly acquired by the control computer running a stimulation control software. This software processed the sensor signals and used a rLDA algorithm to detect hotspot initiation events. On detection of an event, the stimulation control software sent a command to the implanted pulse generator via a wireless communication pipeline that featured electromagnetic induction though the users’ skin. On reception of the command, the implanted pulse generator modified the EES sequence to promote the activity of the detected hotspot and, therefore, reinforce the intended movements. Modified EES was delivered over the posterior spinal cord by the epidural spinal arrays. Between non-human primate and human implementations, only the sensors and the spinal arrays differed. Non-human primate implementation relied on recordings from neurosensors featuring microelectrode arrays implanted into the leg area of the motor cortex; and on custom spinal arrays designed for Rhesus macaque spinal anatomy. Human implementation relied on recordings from wearable non-invasive IMU sensors distributed across major anatomical landmarks; and on clinically-approved epidural spinal arrays. The remainder of the spinal cord neuroprosthesis implementation was identical.
Extended Data Fig. 4 Calibration of neural decoders for real-time detection of hotspot initiation events.
a. Step 1: Hindlimb kinematics and MI activity were recorded during locomotion. The neural signals were band-pass filtered (0.5-7.5 kHz), and multiunit spike events were collected based on a threshold set at 3.5 times the standard deviation. Step 2: We marked video frames containing left and right foot off and foot strike events. We estimated multiunit spike rates from overlapping 150 ms bins that were updated every 0.5 ms. Step 3: We identified the right weight acceptance and right leg lift hotspots initiation events from the spatiotemporal map of motor neuron activity by aligning the gait events to the derived map of spatiotemporal motor neuron activity. The left hotspot initiation events were derived using the same process, assuming symmetry between both legs. The hotspot events were adjusted to account for the stimulation latency of 105 ms. Step 4: We extracted feature vectors that originated at hotspot events and assigned them to respective hotspot classes. We assigned all other feature vectors to the ‘neither’ class. Step 5: We used these feature vector classes to calibrate a regularized linear discriminant analysis decoder. Step 6: The decoder was uploaded into our real-time analysis software application running on the control computer. Neural data was collected in real-time, processed into multiunit spike rates, and passed through the decoder that calculated the probabilities of hotspot events. When one of the hotspot event probabilities crossed a threshold of 0.8, a wireless command was sent to the implanted pulse generator to trigger the respective stimulation sequences. These sequences were composed of one or more stimulation protocols, each designed to reinforce one of six hotspots: left and right weight acceptance, propulsion and leg lift hotspots. b . Two-step decoder calibration. Step 1: Data are acquired without EES to calibrate the first-step decoder as shown in a. Step 2: An additional set of data is acquired during which the first step decoder trigger composite stimulation sequences once per gait cycle. This sparse triggering mitigates the ability of EES to influence the neural activity used to detect the hotspot events that trigger EES. The composite EES sequences contain either left weight acceptance, left propulsion and right leg lift; or right weight acceptance, right propulsion and left leg lift EES protocols. Step 3: A second step decoder is then calibrated using all the acquired datasets. Since the decoder is calibrated on neural activity that is non-affected and affected by EES, the decoder maintains high accuracy regardless of the presence or absence of EES.
Extended Data Fig. 5 The brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis improves basic and skilled locomotion after MPTP administration.
a , Examples of locomotor execution along the corridor (3.3 s) and ladder (2.4 s) without stimulation (left columns) and when using the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis in M8 after MPTP administration. From top to bottom: stick diagram decompositions of left and right leg movements; neural recording from a single channel; probability of left and right weight acceptance events; detected hotspot events (broken vertical lines), periods of stimulation through the electrodes targeting the left and right weight acceptance, propulsion and leg lift hotspots; electromyographic signals; whole-limb extension calculated as distance from the hip to the ankle joint. The white, light grey and dark grey backgrounds correspond to double stance, left and right swing gait phases, respectively. b , The histogram plots show the distributions between hotspot initiation events measured from kinematic recordings (ground truth) and hotspot initiation events decoded during locomotion with the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis (n = 516, 618 and 612 events for M8, M9 and M11, respectively). Bar plots report key parameters associated with gait and balance deficits commonly observed in people with PD (n = 26, 51, 27, 81, 50 and 45 steps for M8, 63, 62, 45, 140 and 55 steps for M9, and 25, 87, 33 and 19 steps for M11 across conditions from left to right). M8’s gait was recorded in two days before the MPTP treatment (days 1 and 2) and two days after the treatment (days 3 and 4). M9’s gait was recorded in one day before the MPTP treatment (day 1) and two days after the treatment (days 2 and 3). M11’s gait was recorded in two days after the treatment (days 1 and 2). The statistical significance is shown only for comparison of between the MPTP EES OFF dataset and MPTP EES ON datasets recorded on the same day. c , Changes in EES frequency between 30 and 80 Hz modulate gait parameters but has minimal impact on the efficacy of the therapy. The plots report the mean stride length, endpoint velocity and lateral hip displacement during locomotion along the corridor (n = 50, 45, 26, 16, 17, 18, 27, 26, 22 and 33 steps for M8, 55, 63, 62, 45, 58, 43 and 39 steps for M9, and 25, 11, 29, 10, 19, 26, 33 and 19 steps for M11 across conditions from left to right) under different EES frequencies with the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis. Small circles, individual gait cycles; lines, mean across all gait cycle for each condition. Recording days and presentation of statistical significance same as in (c). d , Body posture reconstructed from body kinematics using a whole-body skeletal model. Bar plots show the spine curvature measured from these reconstructions (n = 12, 12 and 12 samples for M8, 12, 12 and 12 samples for M9, and 10 and 10 samples for M11 across conditions from left to right). e , Brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis immediately improves locomotor performance when traversing a horizontal ladder. Stick diagrams show right leg kinematics during walking along the horizontal ladder of M11 after MPTP administration without and with brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis. Pie charts report the temporal accuracy of the decoder (n = 135 and 103 events for M8 and M11 respectively) measured during the online use of the neuroprosthesis. The histogram plots show the distributions between hotspot initiation events measured from kinematic recordings (ground truth) and hotspot initiation events decoded during locomotion with the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis (n = 135 and 103 events for ladder for M8 and M11, respectively). Bar plots repot ‘task’ time needed to complete the task (n = 11, 9, 30 trials for M8 and 6, 14 trials for M11 across conditions from left to right) and the occurrence of falls (n = 30 trials). Balloons show mean ± standard deviation of all gait cycles for a given condition in space defined by PC1 and PC2, which explained 41% of all the variance. Bar plots report the Euclidean distance in the full 83-dimensional space of gait parameters between each gait cycle and the mean values across all the gait cycles recorded during two independent sessions before MPTP administration; as well as key parameters associated with gait and balance deficits commonly observed in people with PD (Ladder: n = 10, 13, 14, 19 and 40 steps for M8, and 20 and 12 steps for M11 across conditions from left to right). Changes in EES frequency between 30 and 80 Hz modulates gait parameters but has minimal impact on the efficacy of the therapy in the ladder. The plots report the stance duration and velocity during locomotion along the ladder (n = 40, 10, 8, 5, 14, 14 and 5 steps for M8, and 20 and 12 steps for M11 across conditions from left to right) under different EES frequencies with the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis. Small circles, individual gait cycles; thick lines, mean across all gait cycle for each condition. Recording days and presentation of statistical significance same as in (c). *, **, *** significant difference at p < 0.05, p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively using two-sided Wilcoxon rank sum test or the one-sided Monte Carlo permutation test. n.s., not significant (p ≥ 0.05) according to the same tests. Error bars show sem.
Extended Data Fig. 6 EES protocols must be synchronized precisely with hotspot initiation events for maximum efficacy of the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis.
a , Examples showing 3.3 s of locomotion across the corridor using the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis with three different decoding models (M8). From left to right: hotspot stimulation protocols initiated 200 ms before their initiation, hotspot stimulation protocols synchronized with hotspot initiation, hotspot stimulation protocols initiated 200 ms after their initiation. Conventions are the same as in Extended Data Fig. 5a . b , Dot plots showing the task time and crossing time without stimulation and when using the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis delivering synchronized, advanced or delayed EES (task time: n = 7, 4 and 4 trials for M8 and 5, 5 and 11 trials for M9; crossing time: n = 7, 4 and 5 trials for M8 and 5, 5 and 11 trials for M9 for conditions from left to right, respectively). c, Example showing 7.16 s of locomotion across the corridor during the randomly triggered stimulation protocols. Conventions are the same as in Extended Data Fig. 5a . d, Dot plots showing the task time and crossing time without stimulation, when using the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis to deliver synchronized EES, and random delivery of EES (task time: n = 7, 4 and 5 trials for M8 and 5, 5 and 5 trials for M9; crossing time: n = 7, 4 and 5 trials for M8 and 5, 5 and 5 trials for M9 for conditions from left to right, respectively). *, ** significant difference at p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively, using two-sided Wilcoxon rank sum test.
Extended Data Fig. 7 DBS reduces bradykinesia in an NHP MPTP model of PD.
a , We implanted monkey M9 with mini-DBS electrodes in the left and right subthalamic nucleus after the MPTP treatment to test the effect of low frequency (20 Hz) and high frequency (125 Hz) DBS during corridor walking. We evaluated the locomotor performance for the following conditions: before MPTP administration (Healthy) and after MPTP administration with stimulation off (MPTP), using 20 Hz DBS (DBS ON 20 Hz), and using 125 Hz DBS (DBS ON 125 Hz). Balloons show mean ± SD of all gait cycles for each condition in the space spanned by two leading PCs (number of gait cycles: Healthy: 39; MPTP: 47; DBS ON 20 Hz: 27; DBS ON 125 Hz: 37). The bar plot inset reports the Euclidean distance in the full 83-dimensional gait space between each gait cycle and the mean values across all the gait cycles recorded before MPTP administration. To identify the MPTP-induced locomotor deficits affected the most by the DBS, we identified the parameters with the highest loading factors on PC1. This analysis revealed a strong influence of DBS on parameters related to gait velocity and size, but reduced impact of limb configuration values (leg lift, propulsion) during gait. B , As reported in Parkinson’s disease patients, high frequency DBS increases the overall mobility and mediates a moderate increase on gait speed, while the low frequency DBS fails to improve locomotion and impairs awareness. The bar plots show the number of corridor crossings within 10 minutes (number of trials: Healthy: 24; MPTP: 19; DBS ON 20 Hz: 12; DBS ON 125 Hz: 17), percentage of uncompleted trials, and gait cycle duration (number of gait cycles: Healthy: 50; MPTP: 160; DBS ON 20 Hz: 49; DBS ON 125 Hz: 137). C , High frequency DBS moderately improves the balance locomotor deficits. The bar plot shows the mean lateral displacement of the hip during gait (number of gait cycles same as in a). d , DBS failed to correct for the lack of propulsion and leg lift induced by MPTP. The plots show examples of three successive gait cycles recorded before MPTP (left column), and after MPTP without using stimulation (middle column) or using 125 Hz DBS (right column). The plots show mean ± SD of left leg step height, limb length and limb angle across the gait cycle (number of gait cycles same as in a). *, **, *** reflect a significant difference at p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001 respectively, using two-sided Wilcoxon ranksum test or the one-sided Monte Carlo permutation test. Error bars show sem.
Extended Data Fig. 8 EcoG signals collected from the surface of the motor cortex of people with Parkinson’s disease enable accurate detection of hotspot initiation events during locomotion.
a , Two people with Parkinson’s disease, P2 and P3, were implanted with quadripolar cortical paddles inserted subdurally over the motor cortex. Each paddle was connected to an implanted Medtronic Summit RC + S device to acquire epicortical ECoG signals wirelessly. b , Examples of locomotor execution along the treadmill (5 s) and corridor (5 s) of participant P2. From top to bottom: stick diagram decompositions of left and right leg movements; neural features (low-pass filtered ECoG signal) from all four recorded channels; probability of left and right leg lift events with detected hotspot events (black dots); left and right limb length calculated as distance from the hip to the ankle joint. The white, light grey and dark grey backgrounds correspond to double stance, left and right swing gait phases, respectively. c , Decoding remains accurate for both tasks in P2 and for P3. The pie charts show the mean ± sem accuracy of the detections for P2 (events: left: 64; right: 62) and P3 (events: left: 70; right: 74) calculated by offline analysis using cross-validation. d , Histogram plots show the distribution of the temporal differences between real and detected events (events: P1 treadmill: left: 92; right: 118; P1 corridor: left: 64; right: 62; P2 corridor: left: 70; right: 74) calculated by offline analysis using cross-validation. Median temporal difference is provided and marked by a vertical black line.
Extended Data Fig. 9 Procedures to achieve spinal cord neuroprosthesis in human.
a , In order to estimate the target for the immediate effects of our therapy, we sought to simulate the gait of P1 given his anatomy but in the absence of neurodegeneration. To this end, we generated a personalized neurobiomechanical model of P1. Step1: We personalized the Lower Limb model 1 to P1’s anatomy using morphological and physiological scaling. We performed the morphological scaling based on full-body motion tracking using the Vicon system. We then implemented the physiological scaling based on segmentation of muscles’ cross-sectional area (CSA) from CT images. Step2: We optimized the reflex-based gait controller using the SCONE software 2 , 3 . This controller is composed of phase dependent reflexes providing muscle excitation based on muscle length, velocity or force feedback. Step3: We simulated P1 gait in the absence of neurodegeneration using Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolutionary Strategy (CMA-ES) 4 to optimize controller parameters. About 500 generations of CMA-ES were necessary to reach a stable gait from initialization. Once the parameters of the controller have converged, we generated 200 steps of this model and extracted full kinematics of lower limbs and muscle activity. The graphs show the mean with tubes showing the mean +/- standard deviation range of values. b , We used the P1’s CT and MRI scans to generate a three-dimensional anatomical model of the spine, which we then used to plan the surgical placement of the epidural spinal array over the entire lumbar spinal cord. Step1 : P1 underwent a CT and a structural 1.5 T MRI scan of his spine. Step 2: We segmented the vertebral bones and disks from the CT scan, and segmented the spinal cord tissues (spinal cord, spinal cord roots and cerebrospinal fluid) from the MRI scan. We co-registered the tissues segmented from the two different scans, and combined them into a 3D anatomical model of the P1 spine. Step 3: We loaded a 3D model of the spinal array and placed it centred over the dorsal side of the spinal cord covering the L1-L5 spinal segments. Position of the array with respect to the segmented vertebral column determined the insertion point of the array to be between L1 and T12 vertebra. During the surgery, we opened the access to the surface of the dura by small incisions and a T12/L1 flavectomy, placed the tip of the array over the midline of the exposed dura and advanced the array rostrally to the target location. We accurately adjusted the medial and segmental position of the paddle array by monitoring the muscle responses to single-pulse EES delivered by different array electrodes . Step 4: After the surgery, we performed a post-operative CT scan to reconstruct the position of the spinal array with respect to the patient spine. The actual placement of the array was within 1 cm of the preoperative plan, as expected due to segmentation and co-registration inaccuracies.
Extended Data Fig. 10 Spinal cord neuroprosthesis delivering spinal EES in synchrony with attempted movements alleviates gait deficits of PD alone and synergistically with DBS of the subthalamic nucleus.
a , Examples show 3 s of P1’s locomotor execution along the corridor in four combinations of using or not the kinematically-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis (marked ‘EES’) and DBS of the subthalamic nucleus, and of the personalized neurobiomechanical model of P1. From top to bottom: stick diagram decompositions of left and right leg movements; four IMU features used to control the EES; probability of left and right weight acceptance events; detected hotspot events (broken vertical lines), periods of stimulation using a combination of 10 EES protocols targeting the left and right weight acceptance, propulsion and leg lift hotspots; and left and right knee angles. The white, light grey and dark grey backgrounds correspond to double stance, left swing and right swing gait phases, respectively. b , The plots showing EMG of left and right hip (iliopsoas), knee (gastrocnemius medialis) and ankle (vastus lateralis) leg muscles when transitioning from DBS ON - EES OFF into DBS ON - EES ON conditions illustrate the change in muscle activation. Bar plots show the burst amplitude of left and right gastrocnemius medialis muscle during the propulsion phase of gait in DBS ON - EES OFF (gait cycles: left: 79; right: 72) and DBS ON - EES ON (gait cycles: left: 136; right: 134) conditions. c , With the progressive use of spinal cord neuroprosthesis and DBS therapies, the motor neuron activation dynamics became more similar to that of the P1 neurobiomechanical model. The colorplots show the Target spatiotemporal spinal map derived from the P1 neurobiomechanical model, and the left and right leg spatiotemporal spinal maps of P1 in four combinations of using or not the kinematically-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis and DBS of the subthalamic nucleus (number of gait cycles: Target: 168; left leg: DBS OFF - EES OFF : 130; DBS ON - EES OFF : 67; DBS OFF - EES ON : 119; DBS ON - EES ON : 95; right leg: DBS OFF - EES OFF : 131; DBS ON - EES OFF : 66; DBS OFF - EES ON : 118; DBS ON - EES ON : 91). Surface correlation between the Target and therapy spatiotemporal spinal maps are shown on Fig. 5d . d , Bar plots show measures of gait quality, efficacy and symmetry, as well as balance: participants walk score (number of trials: DBS OFF - EES OFF : 2; DBS ON - EES OFF : 2; DBS OFF - EES ON : 5; DBS ON - EES ON : 5), stride length (number of gait cycles: P1 target model: 335, DBS OFF - EES OFF : 239; DBS ON - EES OFF : 120; DBS OFF - EES ON : 297; DBS ON - EES ON : 209), max knee angle (number of gait cycles: Target: 336; DBS OFF - EES OFF : 328; DBS ON - EES OFF : 175; DBS OFF - EES ON : 431; DBS ON - EES ON : 339), gait phase asymmetry (number of gait cycles: DBS OFF - EES OFF : 119; DBS ON - EES OFF : 60; DBS OFF - EES ON : 148; DBS ON - EES ON : 103), step length asymmetry as measured by the ratio between lengths of the left and right steps (number of gait cycles: P1 Target model: 167; DBS OFF - EES OFF : 119; DBS ON - EES OFF : 60; DBS OFF - EES ON : 148; DBS ON - EES ON : 103), stride time coefficient of variability (number of gait cycles same as for stride length), and arm swing angle (number of gait cycles: DBS OFF - EES OFF : 328; DBS ON - EES OFF : 175; DBS OFF - EES ON : 431; DBS ON - EES ON : 339). e , Decoding of hotspot initiation events from IMU signals to control the spinal cord neuroprosthesis remains accurate both when DBS is on or off. Histogram plots show the distribution of the temporal differences between real and detected events (events: DBS OFF - EES ON : 462; DBS ON - EES ON : 328) when using the brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthesis. Median temporal difference is provided and marked by a vertical line. f , The bar plots show improvements in endurance, as measured by the distance covered during a 6-minute walking test, after the three-month rehabilitation supported by the spinal cord EES and 1-year after (n = 1 test in each condition). g , The bar plots show the gains in balance, as measured using the Mini-BESTest, after the three-month rehabilitation supported by the spinal cord EES (n = 1 test in each condition). h , Improvements in balance and freezing of gait, as measured by the ABC questionnaire and FoG questionnaire, prior and post-rehabilitation (n = 1 filled-out questionnaire in each condition). i , The bar plots show the sub-categories of the quality of life PDQ-39 questionnaire scores before and after the three-month rehabilitation supported by the spinal cord EES (n = 1 filled-out questionnaire in each condition). *, **, *** significant difference at p < 0.05, p < 0.01, p < 0.001, respectively, using two-sided Wilcoxon rank sum test or the one-sided Monte Carlo permutation test. n.s., not significant (p ≥ 0.05) according to the same tests. Error bars show sem.
A 31-page document with additional methods and 10 supplementary tables
Supplementary movie 1.
NHP MPTP model of PD accurately replicates kinematic and muscle activity gait deficits of PD
Supplementary Movie 2
A brain-controlled spinal cord neuroprosthetic that alleviates locomotor deficits due to PD
Supplementary Movie 3
Real-time detection of hotspot events
Supplementary Movie 4
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Milekovic, T., Moraud, E.M., Macellari, N. et al. A spinal cord neuroprosthesis for locomotor deficits due to Parkinson’s disease. Nat Med (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02584-1
Received : 06 July 2023
Accepted : 08 September 2023
Published : 06 November 2023
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02584-1
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An example of a Discussion section to a Research Report
You can use this document when you are making the self-assessment about Thesis writing. You can also use it when you want to learn more about writing this part of your thesis.
It gives an example for writing a discussion section for a research report content wise (answer the following questions: What was found in previous research? What was the gap or weakness in the previous study? What methodology was used? What were the results? How does the present work fit in the 'research map' of this field?) and by use of language (use the past simple to refer to findings in this work).
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US daylight saving time: When do clocks change and why was it created?
Oct 31 (Reuters) - As countries including the United States, Canada and Cuba prepare to set clocks back an hour on Nov. 5 as daylight saving time ends, debate is once again emerging in the U.S. over whether and how to end this practice .
Here is everything you need to know about daylight saving time and the arguments to end it.
WHAT IS DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME?
Daylight saving time is the practice of moving clocks forward by one hour during summer months so daylight lasts longer into the evening. Most of North America and Europe follows the custom, while the majority of countries elsewhere, especially those close to the equator, do not.
The practice has been controversial from the outset, with many countries having adopted and rejected it multiple times. Egypt announced in March it would reintroduce daylight saving time after a seven-year gap to rationalize energy use. Japan considered adopting the practice for the 2020 Olympics but rejected the proposal due to lack of popular support and technical challenges.
WHEN DOES DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME END IN 2023?
Daylight saving time in the U.S. and some neighbouring countries will end on Nov. 5 at 2 a.m. local time, pushing clocks back an hour.
In the UK and other European countries, daylight saving time, also known as summer time, ended on Oct. 29.
Daylight saving time always starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November for the United States. This contrasts with the UK and European Union, where summer time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
WHY WAS DAYLIGHT SAVING CREATED IN THE US AND HOW DID IT START?
The modern idea of changing the clocks with the seasons can be traced back to at least the late 19th century when New Zealand entomologist George Hudson proposed it to conserve energy and extend summer daylight hours, something which would have benefited his own hobby of collecting insects after work.
The idea was slow to gain traction until World War One when European states sought any strategies to conserve fuel . Germany was the first country to adopt daylight saving time in 1916 and the U.S. followed in 1918.
File photo: The Grand Central Terminal Clock is pictured in the Main Concourse inside Grand Central Terminal train station, in Manhattan, in New York, U.S., May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File photo Acquire Licensing Rights
The practice went through many variations before the U.S. standardized it in 1966 in the Uniform Time Act, which allows states to opt out of it but not to stay on daylight saving time permanently.
A common myth is that the U.S. adopted daylight saving time to benefit farmers, but in reality many farmers are opposed to the practice for being disruptive to their schedules.
The original motivation to conserve fuel is also under debate, as studies have found little, if any, energy savings from the shift, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Opponents point to other studies that have found adverse health effects linked to daylight saving time, such as a spike in fatal traffic accidents, heart attacks, strokes and sleep deprivation in the days after clocks are moved forward an hour every March.
A March 2023 YouGov poll found that 62% of Americans want to end the practice of changing clocks, though only 50% preferred to keep permanent daylight saving time.
DO ALL US STATES OBSERVE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME?
No, Hawaii and Arizona, with the exception of Navajo Nation, do not observe daylight saving time. American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also observe permanent standard time.
While daylight saving time is widespread across the United States, 19 states have passed legislation to permanently use daylight saving time if Congress were to allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
IS THE US ENDING DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME?
The U.S. is not ending daylight saving any time soon, though there is an effort in the federal government to pass the so-called Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent.
The act, which a bipartisan group of senators introduced in 2022, was passed unanimously by voice vote but stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives because lawmakers could not agree on whether to keep standard time or permanent daylight saving time, said Representative Frank Pallone in March.
The group of senators reintroduced the bill again this year and it has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to review. The bill would need to pass the Senate and House of Representatives before President Joe Biden can sign it into law.
Writing by Josie Kao; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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Frontier AI: capabilities and risks – discussion paper
A discussion paper on the capabilities of, and risks from, frontier AI.
Capabilities and risks from frontier AI: discussion paper
PDF , 1.98 MB , 45 pages
Future risks of frontier AI (Annex A)
PDF , 1.08 MB , 44 pages
Safety and security risks of generative artificial intelligence to 2025 (Annex B)
PDF , 1.53 MB , 6 pages
This discussion paper was written to inform discussions at the AI Safety Summit 2023 . It does not represent government policy.
A shared understanding of the risks is essential to unlock the enormous benefits of frontier AI. This paper outlines the capabilities, risks, and cross-cutting challenges presented by the technology, pointing particularly to dangers around misuse, social harms, and loss of control.
The paper was reviewed by an expert panel composed of external experts, including Turing Prize Winner Yoshua Bengio, and other leading minds such as Sara Hooker, Arvind Narayanan, William Isaac, Paul Christiano, Irene Solaiman, Alexander Babuta and John McDermid.
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How to write a discussion in a lab report + examples
Lab reports are an essential part of any science education. They allow you to synthesize the data you have collected and learn from your experiments. When it comes time to write a lab report discussion section, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of writing a discussion for a lab report step-by-step. We will cover what should be included in this section and how to effectively communicate your findings. Let’s get started!
The purpose of the discussion section
The purpose of the discussion section is to interpret the data that you have collected and to explain what it means. This section should be written clearly and concisely, and it should be easy for the reader to understand. You should start by summarizing your findings and then explaining what they mean about the hypothesis or question that you were investigating.
In addition, you should also discuss any limitations of your experiment and what further research needs to be done to answer the question that you were investigating. This is an important part of the discussion section as it allows you to show that you understand the scientific process and that you are thinking critically about your data.
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In this section, you can also: propose possible explanations for your findings and discuss any alternative hypotheses that you came up with. You should also consider the implications of your findings and what they could mean for future research.
The structure of a discussion section
Here is a basic structure that you can use when writing a discussion section for a lab report:
- Introduce the findings.
- Interpreting the findings.
- Discussing the implications.
- Explaining the limitations.
- Propose further research.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.
Introducing the findings
When you introduce the findings of your experiment, you should be clear and concise. You should state the main findings of your study in a few sentences and then explain what they mean. It is important to be specific here and to avoid generalizations.
For example, if you were investigating the effect of a drug on heart rate, you would state the specific findings of your study, such as the drug’s dosage or how long it was administered. You should also explain what these findings mean in terms of the hypothesis that you were investigating.
If your experiment had a negative result, you should still explain what happened and why it is important. You should avoid making excuses or trying to justify a negative result.
Interpreting the findings
After you have introduced the findings of your experiment, you should then go on to interpret them. This means explaining what they mean in terms of the hypothesis or question that you were investigating. You should be clear and concise here and avoid making any assumptions about the data.
It is important to remember that your data can never “prove” a hypothesis. Rather, it can only support or disprove it. Therefore, you should always be careful when interpreting your findings and avoid overstating the conclusions that can be drawn from them.
For example, if you found that a drug did not affect heart rate, you would say that the drug did not have an effect rather than saying that the drug was ineffective.
Discussing the implications
After you have interpreted the findings of your experiment, you should then discuss their implications. This means thinking about what the findings could mean for future research and practical applications. You should also consider whether your findings challenge any existing theories or hypotheses.
It is important to be objective here and to avoid speculating about things that are beyond the scope of your data. For example, if you found that a drug did not affect heart rate, you would not say that it means that the drug is safe because further research would need to be done to confirm this.
Every experiment has limitations and it is important to acknowledge them in your discussion section. This means discussing the factors that may have influenced your results and explaining why they are important.
You should be clear about the limitations of your study and you should avoid making any assumptions about the data. For example, if you found that a drug did not affect heart rate, you would not say that it means that the drug is safe because further research would need to be done to confirm this.
Proposing further research
Finally, in your discussion section, you should propose further research that needs to be done. This could include ideas for future experiments or studies that need to be conducted to clarify the findings of your experiment.
It is important to be realistic here and to come up with proposals that are achievable within the scope of your research. You should also avoid proposing research that is already being done by someone else.
In your lab report conclusion , you should briefly summarize the main findings of your experiment and explain their significance. You should also mention any unanswered questions that remain and propose further research that needs to be done to address them.
That’s it! This is everything you need to know about writing a discussion for a lab report. Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to produce a high-quality discussion section that will help to strengthen your argument.
Lab report discussion examples
Lab report discussion example 1:.
Below is an example of a discussion in a lab report on the effect of caffeine on heart rate.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of caffeine on heart rate. The results of this experiment showed that caffeine did not have a significant effect on heart rate. This suggests that caffeine does not affect heart rate in healthy adults.
The findings of this study have several important implications. Firstly, they suggest that caffeine is safe for healthy adults and can be consumed without any concerns about its effects on heart rate. Secondly, they suggest that caffeine may not be an effective means of increasing heart rate in healthy adults, which could have implications for its use in sports medicine. Finally, they suggest that further research is needed to explore the effects of caffeine on heart rate in different populations (e.g. adults with heart disease, children, etc.).
This study had several limitations that should be acknowledged. Firstly, the sample size was small and this may have influenced the results. Secondly, the study was carried out in a controlled environment and it is possible that the results would be different in a real-world setting. Finally, the effects of caffeine on heart rate may vary depending on individual factors (e.g. age, weight, etc.).
In conclusion, this study provides evidence that caffeine does not affect heart rate in healthy adults. However, further research is needed to explore its effects in different populations and settings.
Lab report discussion example 2
Below is an example of a discussion section from a college lab report. In this example, the student discusses the results of an experiment testing the effects of different concentrations of salt on the boiling point of water.
The data in Table one shows that as the concentration of salt increased, so did the boiling point of water. This makes sense because, with more salt in the water, there is more attraction between the water molecules and the salt molecules, meaning that it takes more energy to break these attractions and get the water to boil. The trend in Table one was consistent with what was predicted by Boyle’s law.
In Table two, it can be seen that as the concentration of salt increased, so did the temperature at which steam was produced. Again, this makes sense because, with more salt in the water, the water molecules are held together more tightly, meaning that it takes more energy to produce steam. The trend in Table two was also consistent with Boyle’s law.
The data in Tables one and two support the hypothesis that as the concentration of salt increases, so does the boiling point of water and the temperature at which steam is produced.
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Home » Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types
Research Report – Example, Writing Guide and Types
Table of Contents
Research Report is a written document that presents the results of a research project or study, including the research question, methodology, results, and conclusions, in a clear and objective manner.
The purpose of a research report is to communicate the findings of the research to the intended audience, which could be other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public.
Components of Research Report
Components of Research Report are as follows:
The introduction sets the stage for the research report and provides a brief overview of the research question or problem being investigated. It should include a clear statement of the purpose of the study and its significance or relevance to the field of research. It may also provide background information or a literature review to help contextualize the research.
The literature review provides a critical analysis and synthesis of the existing research and scholarship relevant to the research question or problem. It should identify the gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions in the literature and show how the current study addresses these issues. The literature review also establishes the theoretical framework or conceptual model that guides the research.
The methodology section describes the research design, methods, and procedures used to collect and analyze data. It should include information on the sample or participants, data collection instruments, data collection procedures, and data analysis techniques. The methodology should be clear and detailed enough to allow other researchers to replicate the study.
The results section presents the findings of the study in a clear and objective manner. It should provide a detailed description of the data and statistics used to answer the research question or test the hypothesis. Tables, graphs, and figures may be included to help visualize the data and illustrate the key findings.
The discussion section interprets the results of the study and explains their significance or relevance to the research question or problem. It should also compare the current findings with those of previous studies and identify the implications for future research or practice. The discussion should be based on the results presented in the previous section and should avoid speculation or unfounded conclusions.
The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the study and restates the main argument or thesis presented in the introduction. It should also provide a brief overview of the contributions of the study to the field of research and the implications for practice or policy.
The references section lists all the sources cited in the research report, following a specific citation style, such as APA or MLA.
The appendices section includes any additional material, such as data tables, figures, or instruments used in the study, that could not be included in the main text due to space limitations.
Types of Research Report
Types of Research Report are as follows:
Thesis is a type of research report. A thesis is a long-form research document that presents the findings and conclusions of an original research study conducted by a student as part of a graduate or postgraduate program. It is typically written by a student pursuing a higher degree, such as a Master’s or Doctoral degree, although it can also be written by researchers or scholars in other fields.
Research paper is a type of research report. A research paper is a document that presents the results of a research study or investigation. Research papers can be written in a variety of fields, including science, social science, humanities, and business. They typically follow a standard format that includes an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion sections.
A technical report is a detailed report that provides information about a specific technical or scientific problem or project. Technical reports are often used in engineering, science, and other technical fields to document research and development work.
A progress report provides an update on the progress of a research project or program over a specific period of time. Progress reports are typically used to communicate the status of a project to stakeholders, funders, or project managers.
A feasibility report assesses the feasibility of a proposed project or plan, providing an analysis of the potential risks, benefits, and costs associated with the project. Feasibility reports are often used in business, engineering, and other fields to determine the viability of a project before it is undertaken.
A field report documents observations and findings from fieldwork, which is research conducted in the natural environment or setting. Field reports are often used in anthropology, ecology, and other social and natural sciences.
An experimental report documents the results of a scientific experiment, including the hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusions. Experimental reports are often used in biology, chemistry, and other sciences to communicate the results of laboratory experiments.
Case Study Report
A case study report provides an in-depth analysis of a specific case or situation, often used in psychology, social work, and other fields to document and understand complex cases or phenomena.
Literature Review Report
A literature review report synthesizes and summarizes existing research on a specific topic, providing an overview of the current state of knowledge on the subject. Literature review reports are often used in social sciences, education, and other fields to identify gaps in the literature and guide future research.
Research Report Example
Following is a Research Report Example sample for Students:
Title: The Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance among High School Students
This study aims to investigate the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students. The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The findings indicate that there is a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students. The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers, as they highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities.
Social media has become an integral part of the lives of high school students. With the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, students can connect with friends, share photos and videos, and engage in discussions on a range of topics. While social media offers many benefits, concerns have been raised about its impact on academic performance. Many studies have found a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance among high school students (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012).
Given the growing importance of social media in the lives of high school students, it is important to investigate its impact on academic performance. This study aims to address this gap by examining the relationship between social media use and academic performance among high school students.
The study utilized a quantitative research design, which involved a survey questionnaire administered to a sample of 200 high school students. The questionnaire was developed based on previous studies and was designed to measure the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as academic performance.
The participants were selected using a convenience sampling technique, and the survey questionnaire was distributed in the classroom during regular school hours. The data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlation analysis.
The findings indicate that the majority of high school students use social media platforms on a daily basis, with Facebook being the most popular platform. The results also show a negative correlation between social media use and academic performance, suggesting that excessive social media use can lead to poor academic performance among high school students.
The results of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. The negative correlation between social media use and academic performance suggests that strategies should be put in place to help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. For example, educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students.
In conclusion, this study provides evidence of the negative impact of social media on academic performance among high school students. The findings highlight the need for strategies that can help students balance their social media use and academic responsibilities. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms by which social media use affects academic performance and to develop effective strategies for addressing this issue.
One limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling, which limits the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Future studies should use random sampling techniques to increase the representativeness of the sample. Another limitation is the use of self-reported measures, which may be subject to social desirability bias. Future studies could use objective measures of social media use and academic performance, such as tracking software and school records.
The findings of this study have important implications for educators, parents, and policymakers. Educators could incorporate social media into their teaching strategies to engage students and enhance learning. For example, teachers could use social media platforms to share relevant educational resources and facilitate online discussions. Parents could limit their children’s social media use and encourage them to prioritize their academic responsibilities. They could also engage in open communication with their children to understand their social media use and its impact on their academic performance. Policymakers could develop guidelines and policies to regulate social media use among high school students. For example, schools could implement social media policies that restrict access during class time and encourage responsible use.
- Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245.
- Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 8(1), 1-19.
- Pantic, I. (2014). Online social networking and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), 652-657.
- Rosen, L. D., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2013). Facebook and texting made me do it: Media-induced task-switching while studying. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 948-958.
Note*: Above mention, Example is just a sample for the students’ guide. Do not directly copy and paste as your College or University assignment. Kindly do some research and Write your own.
Applications of Research Report
Research reports have many applications, including:
- Communicating research findings: The primary application of a research report is to communicate the results of a study to other researchers, stakeholders, or the general public. The report serves as a way to share new knowledge, insights, and discoveries with others in the field.
- Informing policy and practice : Research reports can inform policy and practice by providing evidence-based recommendations for decision-makers. For example, a research report on the effectiveness of a new drug could inform regulatory agencies in their decision-making process.
- Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research in a particular area. Other researchers may use the findings and methodology of a report to develop new research questions or to build on existing research.
- Evaluating programs and interventions : Research reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions in achieving their intended outcomes. For example, a research report on a new educational program could provide evidence of its impact on student performance.
- Demonstrating impact : Research reports can be used to demonstrate the impact of research funding or to evaluate the success of research projects. By presenting the findings and outcomes of a study, research reports can show the value of research to funders and stakeholders.
- Enhancing professional development : Research reports can be used to enhance professional development by providing a source of information and learning for researchers and practitioners in a particular field. For example, a research report on a new teaching methodology could provide insights and ideas for educators to incorporate into their own practice.
How to write Research Report
Here are some steps you can follow to write a research report:
- Identify the research question: The first step in writing a research report is to identify your research question. This will help you focus your research and organize your findings.
- Conduct research : Once you have identified your research question, you will need to conduct research to gather relevant data and information. This can involve conducting experiments, reviewing literature, or analyzing data.
- Organize your findings: Once you have gathered all of your data, you will need to organize your findings in a way that is clear and understandable. This can involve creating tables, graphs, or charts to illustrate your results.
- Write the report: Once you have organized your findings, you can begin writing the report. Start with an introduction that provides background information and explains the purpose of your research. Next, provide a detailed description of your research methods and findings. Finally, summarize your results and draw conclusions based on your findings.
- Proofread and edit: After you have written your report, be sure to proofread and edit it carefully. Check for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure that your report is well-organized and easy to read.
- Include a reference list: Be sure to include a list of references that you used in your research. This will give credit to your sources and allow readers to further explore the topic if they choose.
- Format your report: Finally, format your report according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or organization. This may include formatting requirements for headings, margins, fonts, and spacing.
Purpose of Research Report
The purpose of a research report is to communicate the results of a research study to a specific audience, such as peers in the same field, stakeholders, or the general public. The report provides a detailed description of the research methods, findings, and conclusions.
Some common purposes of a research report include:
- Sharing knowledge: A research report allows researchers to share their findings and knowledge with others in their field. This helps to advance the field and improve the understanding of a particular topic.
- Identifying trends: A research report can identify trends and patterns in data, which can help guide future research and inform decision-making.
- Addressing problems: A research report can provide insights into problems or issues and suggest solutions or recommendations for addressing them.
- Evaluating programs or interventions : A research report can evaluate the effectiveness of programs or interventions, which can inform decision-making about whether to continue, modify, or discontinue them.
- Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies.
When to Write Research Report
A research report should be written after completing the research study. This includes collecting data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions based on the findings. Once the research is complete, the report should be written in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.
In academic settings, research reports are often required as part of coursework or as part of a thesis or dissertation. In this case, the report should be written according to the guidelines provided by the instructor or institution.
In other settings, such as in industry or government, research reports may be required to inform decision-making or to comply with regulatory requirements. In these cases, the report should be written as soon as possible after the research is completed in order to inform decision-making in a timely manner.
Overall, the timing of when to write a research report depends on the purpose of the research, the expectations of the audience, and any regulatory requirements that need to be met. However, it is important to complete the report in a timely manner while the information is still fresh in the researcher’s mind.
Characteristics of Research Report
There are several characteristics of a research report that distinguish it from other types of writing. These characteristics include:
- Objective: A research report should be written in an objective and unbiased manner. It should present the facts and findings of the research study without any personal opinions or biases.
- Systematic: A research report should be written in a systematic manner. It should follow a clear and logical structure, and the information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand and follow.
- Detailed: A research report should be detailed and comprehensive. It should provide a thorough description of the research methods, results, and conclusions.
- Accurate : A research report should be accurate and based on sound research methods. The findings and conclusions should be supported by data and evidence.
- Organized: A research report should be well-organized. It should include headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the report and understand the main points.
- Clear and concise: A research report should be written in clear and concise language. The information should be presented in a way that is easy to understand, and unnecessary jargon should be avoided.
- Citations and references: A research report should include citations and references to support the findings and conclusions. This helps to give credit to other researchers and to provide readers with the opportunity to further explore the topic.
Advantages of Research Report
Research reports have several advantages, including:
- Communicating research findings: Research reports allow researchers to communicate their findings to a wider audience, including other researchers, stakeholders, and the general public. This helps to disseminate knowledge and advance the understanding of a particular topic.
- Providing evidence for decision-making : Research reports can provide evidence to inform decision-making, such as in the case of policy-making, program planning, or product development. The findings and conclusions can help guide decisions and improve outcomes.
- Supporting further research: Research reports can provide a foundation for further research on a particular topic. Other researchers can build on the findings and conclusions of the report, which can lead to further discoveries and advancements in the field.
- Demonstrating expertise: Research reports can demonstrate the expertise of the researchers and their ability to conduct rigorous and high-quality research. This can be important for securing funding, promotions, and other professional opportunities.
- Meeting regulatory requirements: In some fields, research reports are required to meet regulatory requirements, such as in the case of drug trials or environmental impact studies. Producing a high-quality research report can help ensure compliance with these requirements.
Limitations of Research Report
Despite their advantages, research reports also have some limitations, including:
- Time-consuming: Conducting research and writing a report can be a time-consuming process, particularly for large-scale studies. This can limit the frequency and speed of producing research reports.
- Expensive: Conducting research and producing a report can be expensive, particularly for studies that require specialized equipment, personnel, or data. This can limit the scope and feasibility of some research studies.
- Limited generalizability: Research studies often focus on a specific population or context, which can limit the generalizability of the findings to other populations or contexts.
- Potential bias : Researchers may have biases or conflicts of interest that can influence the findings and conclusions of the research study. Additionally, participants may also have biases or may not be representative of the larger population, which can limit the validity and reliability of the findings.
- Accessibility: Research reports may be written in technical or academic language, which can limit their accessibility to a wider audience. Additionally, some research may be behind paywalls or require specialized access, which can limit the ability of others to read and use the findings.
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Discussion Vs. Conclusion: Know the Difference Before Drafting Manuscripts
The discussion section of your manuscript can be one of the hardest to write as it requires you to think about the meaning of the research you have done. An effective discussion section tells the reader what your study means and why it is important. In this article, we will cover some pointers for writing clear/well-organized discussion and conclusion sections and discuss what should NOT be a part of these sections.
What Should be in the Discussion Section?
Your discussion is, in short, the answer to the question “what do my results mean?” The discussion section of the manuscript should come after the methods and results section and before the conclusion. It should relate back directly to the questions posed in your introduction, and contextualize your results within the literature you have covered in your literature review . In order to make your discussion section engaging, you should include the following information:
- The major findings of your study
- The meaning of those findings
- How these findings relate to what others have done
- Limitations of your findings
- An explanation for any surprising, unexpected, or inconclusive results
- Suggestions for further research
Your discussion should NOT include any of the following information:
- New results or data not presented previously in the paper
- Unwarranted speculation
- Tangential issues
- Conclusions not supported by your data
Related: Avoid outright rejection with a well-structured manuscript. Check out these resources and improve your manuscript now!
How to Make the Discussion Section Effective?
There are several ways to make the discussion section of your manuscript effective, interesting, and relevant. Hear from one of our experts on how to structure your discussion section and distinguish it from the results section:
Now that we have listened to how to approach writing a discussion section, let’s delve deeper into some essential tips with a few examples:
- Most writing guides recommend listing the findings of your study in decreasing order of their importance. You would not want your reader to lose sight of the key results that you found. Therefore, put the most important finding front and center. Example: Imagine that you conduct a study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of stent placement in patients with partially blocked arteries. You find that despite this being a common first-line treatment, stents are not effective for patients with partially blocked arteries. The study also discovers that patients treated with a stent tend to develop asthma at slightly higher rates than those who receive no such treatment.
Which sentence would you choose to begin your discussion? Our findings suggest that patients who had partially blocked arteries and were treated with a stent as the first line of intervention had no better outcomes than patients who were not given any surgical treatments. Our findings noted that patients who received stents demonstrated slightly higher rates of asthma than those who did not. In addition, the placement of a stent did not impact their rates of cardiac events in a statistically significant way.
If you chose the first example, you are correct!
- If you are not sure which results are the most important, go back to your research question and start from there. The most important result is the one that answers your research question.
- It is also necessary to contextualize the meaning of your findings for the reader. What does previous literature say, and do your results agree? Do your results elaborate on previous findings, or differ significantly?
- In our stent example, if previous literature found that stents were an effective line of treatment for patients with partially blocked arteries, you should explore why your interpretation seems different in the discussion section. Did your methodology differ? Was your study broader in scope and larger in scale than the previous studies? Were there any limitations to previous studies that your study overcame? Alternatively, is it possible that your own study could be incorrect because of some difficulties you had in carrying it out? The discussion section should narrate a coherent story to the target audience.
- Finally, remember not to introduce new ideas/data, or speculate wildly on the possible future implications of your study in the discussion section. However, considering alternative explanations for your results is encouraged.
Avoiding Confusion in your Conclusion!
Many writers confuse the information they should include in their discussion with the information they should place in their conclusion. One easy way to avoid this confusion is to think of your conclusion as a summary of everything that you have said thus far. In the conclusion section, you remind the reader of what they have just read. Your conclusion should:
- Restate your hypothesis or research question
- Restate your major findings
- Tell the reader what contribution your study has made to the existing literature
- Highlight any limitations of your study
- State future directions for research/recommendations
Your conclusion should NOT:
- Introduce new arguments
- Introduce new data
- Fail to include your research question
- Fail to state your major results
An appropriate conclusion to our hypothetical stent study might read as follows:
In this study, we examined the effectiveness of stent placement. We compared the patients with partially blocked arteries to those with non-surgical interventions. After examining the five-year medical outcomes of 19,457 patients in the Greater Dallas area, our statistical analysis concluded that the placement of a stent resulted in outcomes that were no better than non-surgical interventions such as diet and exercise. Although previous findings indicated that stent placement improved patient outcomes, our study followed a greater number of patients than those in major studies conducted previously. It is possible that outcomes would vary if measured over a ten or fifteen year period. Future researchers should consider investigating the impact of stent placement in these patients over a longer period (five years or longer). Regardless, our results point to the need for medical practitioners to reconsider the placement of a stent as the first line of treatment as non-surgical interventions may have equally positive outcomes for patients.
Did you find the tips in this article relevant? What is the most challenging portion of a research paper for you to write? Let us know in the comments section below!
This is the most stunning and self-instructional site I have come across. Thank you so much for your updates! I will help me work on my dissertation.
Thank you so much!! It helps a lot!
very helpful, thank you
thanks a lot …
this is one of a kind! awesome, straight to the point and easy to understand! Thanks a lot
Thank you so much for this, I never comment on these types of sites but I just had too here as I’ve never seen an article that has answered everyone of the questions I wanted when I searched on Google. Certainly not to the extent and clear clarity that you have presented. Thanks so much for this it has put my mind to ease a bit with my terrible dissertation haha.
Have a nice day.
Helped massively with writing a good conclusion!
Extremely well explained all details in simple and applicable manner, Thank you very much for outstanding article. It really made life easy. Ravi, India.
Thanks a lot for such a nicely explained difference of discussion and conclusion. now got some basic idea to write what.
Thanks for clearing the great confusion. It gave real clarity to me!
Clarified my confusion. Thank you for this article
This website certainly has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.
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How to write a discussion section?
Writing manuscripts to describe study outcomes, although not easy, is the main task of an academician. The aim of the present review is to outline the main aspects of writing the discussion section of a manuscript. Additionally, we address various issues regarding manuscripts in general. It is advisable to work on a manuscript regularly to avoid losing familiarity with the article. On principle, simple, clear and effective language should be used throughout the text. In addition, a pre-peer review process is recommended to obtain feedback on the manuscript. The discussion section can be written in 3 parts: an introductory paragraph, intermediate paragraphs and a conclusion paragraph. For intermediate paragraphs, a “divide and conquer” approach, meaning a full paragraph describing each of the study endpoints, can be used. In conclusion, academic writing is similar to other skills, and practice makes perfect.
Sharing knowledge produced during academic life is achieved through writing manuscripts. However writing manuscripts is a challenging endeavour in that we physicians have a heavy workload, and English which is common language used for the dissemination of scientific knowledge is not our mother tongue.
The objective of this review is to summarize the method of writing ‘Discussion’ section which is the most important, but probably at the same time the most unlikable part of a manuscript, and demonstrate the easy ways we applied in our practice, and finally share the frequently made relevant mistakes. During this procedure, inevitably some issues which concerns general concept of manuscript writing process are dealt with. Therefore in this review we will deal with topics related to the general aspects of manuscript writing process, and specifically issues concerning only the ‘Discussion’ section.
A) Approaches to general aspects of manuscript writing process:
1. what should be the strategy of sparing time for manuscript writing be.
Two different approaches can be formulated on this issue? One of them is to allocate at least 30 minutes a day for writing a manuscript which amounts to 3.5 hours a week. This period of time is adequate for completion of a manuscript within a few weeks which can be generally considered as a long time interval. Fundamental advantage of this approach is to gain a habit of making academic researches if one complies with the designated time schedule, and to keep the manuscript writing motivation at persistently high levels. Another approach concerning this issue is to accomplish manuscript writing process within a week. With the latter approach, the target is rapidly attained. However longer time periods spent in order to concentrate on the subject matter can be boring, and lead to loss of motivation. Daily working requirements unrelated to the manuscript writing might intervene, and prolong manuscript writing process. Alienation periods can cause loss of time because of need for recurrent literature reviews. The most optimal approach to manuscript writing process is daily writing strategy where higher levels of motivation are persistently maintained.
Especially before writing the manuscript, the most important step at the start is to construct a draft, and completion of the manuscript on a theoretical basis. Therefore, during construction of a draft, attention distracting environment should be avoided, and this step should be completed within 1–2 hours. On the other hand, manuscript writing process should begin before the completion of the study (even the during project stage). The justification of this approach is to see the missing aspects of the study and the manuscript writing methodology, and try to solve the relevant problems before completion of the study. Generally, after completion of the study, it is very difficult to solve the problems which might be discerned during the writing process. Herein, at least drafts of the ‘Introduction’, and ‘Material and Methods’ can be written, and even tables containing numerical data can be constructed. These tables can be written down in the ‘Results’ section. [ 1 ]
2. How should the manuscript be written?
The most important principle to be remembered on this issue is to obey the criteria of simplicity, clarity, and effectiveness. [ 2 ] Herein, do not forget that, the objective should be to share our findings with the readers in an easily comprehensible format. Our approach on this subject is to write all structured parts of the manuscript at the same time, and start writing the manuscript while reading the first literature. Thus newly arisen connotations, and self-brain gyms will be promptly written down. However during this process your outcomes should be revealed fully, and roughly the message of the manuscript which be delivered. Thus with this so-called ‘hunter’s approach’ the target can be achieved directly, and rapidly. Another approach is ‘collectioner’s approach. [ 3 ] In this approach, firstly, potential data, and literature studies are gathered, read, and then selected ones are used. Since this approach suits with surgical point of view, probably ‘hunter’s approach’ serves our purposes more appropriately. However, in parallel with academic development, our novice colleague ‘manuscripters’ can prefer ‘collectioner’s approach.’
On the other hand, we think that research team consisting of different age groups has some advantages. Indeed young colleagues have the enthusiasm, and energy required for the conduction of the study, while middle-aged researchers have the knowledge to manage the research, and manuscript writing. Experienced researchers make guiding contributions to the manuscript. However working together in harmony requires assignment of a chief researcher, and periodically organizing advancement meetings. Besides, talents, skills, and experiences of the researchers in different fields (ie. research methods, contact with patients, preparation of a project, fund-raising, statistical analysis etc.) will determine task sharing, and make a favourable contribution to the perfection of the manuscript. Achievement of the shared duties within a predetermined time frame will sustain the motivation of the researchers, and prevent wearing out of updated data.
According to our point of view, ‘Abstract’ section of the manuscript should be written after completion of the manuscript. The reason for this is that during writing process of the main text, the significant study outcomes might become insignificant or vice versa. However, generally, before onset of the writing process of the manuscript, its abstract might be already presented in various congresses. During writing process, this abstract might be a useful guide which prevents deviation from the main objective of the manuscript.
On the other hand references should be promptly put in place while writing the manuscript, Sorting, and placement of the references should not be left to the last moment. Indeed, it might be very difficult to remember relevant references to be placed in the ‘Discussion’ section. For the placement of references use of software programs detailed in other sections is a rational approach.
3. Which target journal should be selected?
In essence, the methodology to be followed in writing the ‘Discussion’ section is directly related to the selection of the target journal. Indeed, in compliance with the writing rules of the target journal, limitations made on the number of words after onset of the writing process, effects mostly the ‘Discussion’ section. Proper matching of the manuscript with the appropriate journal requires clear, and complete comprehension of the available data from scientific point of view. Previously, similar articles might have been published, however innovative messages, and new perspectives on the relevant subject will facilitate acceptance of the article for publication. Nowadays, articles questioning available information, rather than confirmatory ones attract attention. However during this process, classical information should not be questioned except for special circumstances. For example manuscripts which lead to the conclusions as “laparoscopic surgery is more painful than open surgery” or “laparoscopic surgery can be performed without prior training” will not be accepted or they will be returned by the editor of the target journal to the authors with the request of critical review. Besides the target journal to be selected should be ready to accept articles with similar concept. In fact editors of the journal will not reserve the limited space in their journal for articles yielding similar conclusions.
The title of the manuscript is as important as the structured sections * of the manuscript. The title can be the most striking or the newest outcome among results obtained.
Before writing down the manuscript, determination of 2–3 titles increases the motivation of the authors towards the manuscript. During writing process of the manuscript one of these can be selected based on the intensity of the discussion. However the suitability of the title to the agenda of the target journal should be investigated beforehand. For example an article bearing the title “Use of barbed sutures in laparoscopic partial nephrectomy shortens warm ischemia time” should not be sent to “Original Investigations and Seminars in Urologic Oncology” Indeed the topic of the manuscript is out of the agenda of this journal.
4. Do we have to get a pre-peer review about the written manuscript?
Before submission of the manuscript to the target journal the opinions of internal, and external referees should be taken. [ 1 ] Internal referees can be considered in 2 categories as “General internal referees” and “expert internal referees” General internal referees (ie. our colleagues from other medical disciplines) are not directly concerned with your subject matter but as mentioned above they critically review the manuscript as for simplicity, clarity, and effectiveness of its writing style. Expert internal reviewers have a profound knowledge about the subject, and they can provide guidance about the writing process of the manuscript (ie. our senior colleagues more experienced than us). External referees are our colleagues who did not contribute to data collection of our study in any way, but we can request their opinions about the subject matter of the manuscript. Since they are unrelated both to the author(s), and subject matter of the manuscript, these referees can review our manuscript more objectively. Before sending the manuscript to internal, and external referees, we should contact with them, and ask them if they have time to review our manuscript. We should also give information about our subject matter. Otherwise pre-peer review process can delay publication of the manuscript, and decrease motivation of the authors. In conclusion, whoever the preferred referee will be, these internal, and external referees should respond the following questions objectively. 1) Does the manuscript contribute to the literature?; 2) Does it persuasive? 3) Is it suitable for the publication in the selected journal? 4) Has a simple, clear, and effective language been used throughout the manuscript? In line with the opinions of the referees, the manuscript can be critically reviewed, and perfected. [ 1 ]**
Following receival of the opinions of internal, and external referees, one should concentrate priorly on indicated problems, and their solutions. Comments coming from the reviewers should be criticized, but a defensive attitude should not be assumed during this evaluation process. During this “incubation” period where the comments of the internal, and external referees are awaited, literature should be reviewed once more. Indeed during this time interval a new article which you should consider in the ‘Discussion’ section can be cited in the literature.
5. What are the common mistakes made related to the writing process of a manuscript?
Probably the most important mistakes made related to the writing process of a manuscript include lack of a clear message of the manuscript , inclusion of more than one main idea in the same text or provision of numerous unrelated results at the same time so as to reinforce the assertions of the manuscript. This approach can be termed roughly as “loss of the focus of the study” In conclusion, the author(s) should ask themselves the following question at every stage of the writing process:. “What is the objective of the study? If you always get clear-cut answers whenever you ask this question, then the study is proceeding towards the right direction. Besides application of a template which contains the intended clear-cut messages to be followed will contribute to the communication of net messages.
One of the important mistakes is refraining from critical review of the manuscript as a whole after completion of the writing process. Therefore, the authors should go over the manuscript for at least three times after finalization of the manuscript based on joint decision. The first control should concentrate on the evaluation of the appropriateness of the logic of the manuscript, and its organization, and whether desired messages have been delivered or not. Secondly, syutax, and grammar of the manuscript should be controlled. It is appropriate to review the manuscript for the third time 1 or 2 weeks after completion of its writing process. Thus, evaluation of the “cooled” manuscript will be made from a more objective perspective, and assessment process of its integrity will be facilitated.
Other erroneous issues consist of superfluousness of the manuscript with unnecessary repetitions, undue, and recurrent references to the problems adressed in the manuscript or their solution methods, overcriticizing or overpraising other studies, and use of a pompous literary language overlooking the main objective of sharing information. [ 4 ]
B) Approaches to the writing process of the ‘Discussion’ section:
1. how should the main points of ‘discussion’ section be constructed.
Generally the length of the ‘Discussion ‘ section should not exceed the sum of other sections (ıntroduction, material and methods, and results), and it should be completed within 6–7 paragraphs.. Each paragraph should not contain more than 200 words, and hence words should be counted repeteadly. The ‘Discussion’ section can be generally divided into 3 separate paragraphs as. 1) Introductory paragraph, 2) Intermediate paragraphs, 3) Concluding paragraph.
The introductory paragraph contains the main idea of performing the study in question. Without repeating ‘Introduction’ section of the manuscript, the problem to be addressed, and its updateness are analysed. The introductory paragraph starts with an undebatable sentence, and proceeds with a part addressing the following questions as 1) On what issue we have to concentrate, discuss or elaborate? 2) What solutions can be recommended to solve this problem? 3) What will be the new, different, and innovative issue? 4) How will our study contribute to the solution of this problem An introductory paragraph in this format is helpful to accomodate reader to the rest of the Discussion section. However summarizing the basic findings of the experimental studies in the first paragraph is generally recommended by the editors of the journal. [ 5 ]
In the last paragraph of the Discussion section “strong points” of the study should be mentioned using “constrained”, and “not too strongly assertive” statements. Indicating limitations of the study will reflect objectivity of the authors, and provide answers to the questions which will be directed by the reviewers of the journal. On the other hand in the last paragraph, future directions or potential clinical applications may be emphasized.
2. How should the intermediate paragraphs of the Discussion section be formulated?
The reader passes through a test of boredom while reading paragraphs of the Discussion section apart from the introductory, and the last paragraphs. Herein your findings rather than those of the other researchers are discussed. The previous studies can be an explanation or reinforcement of your findings. Each paragraph should contain opinions in favour or against the topic discussed, critical evaluations, and learning points.
Our management approach for intermediate paragraphs is “divide and conquer” tactics. Accordingly, the findings of the study are determined in order of their importance, and a paragraph is constructed for each finding ( Figure 1 ). Each paragraph begins with an “indisputable” introductory sentence about the topic to be discussed. This sentence basically can be the answer to the question “What have we found?” Then a sentence associated with the subject matter to be discussed is written. Subsequently, in the light of the current literature this finding is discussed, new ideas on this subject are revealed, and the paragraph ends with a concluding remark.
Divide and Conquer tactics
In this paragraph, main topic should be emphasized without going into much detail. Its place, and importance among other studies should be indicated. However during this procedure studies should be presented in a logical sequence (ie. from past to present, from a few to many cases), and aspects of the study contradictory to other studies should be underlined. Results without any supportive evidence or equivocal results should not be written. Besides numerical values presented in the Results section should not be repeated unless required.
Besides, asking the following questions, and searching their answers in the same paragraph will facilitate writing process of the paragraph. [ 1 ] 1) Can the discussed result be false or inadequate? 2) Why is it false? (inadequate blinding, protocol contamination, lost to follow-up, lower statistical power of the study etc.), 3) What meaning does this outcome convey?
3. What are the common mistakes made in writing the Discussion section?:
Probably the most important mistake made while writing the Discussion section is the need for mentioning all literature references. One point to remember is that we are not writing a review article, and only the results related to this paragraph should be discussed. Meanwhile, each word of the paragraphs should be counted, and placed carefully. Each word whose removal will not change the meaning should be taken out from the text.” Writing a saga with “word salads” *** is one of the reasons for prompt rejection. Indeed, if the reviewer thinks that it is difficult to correct the Discussion section, he/she use her/ his vote in the direction of rejection to save time (Uniform requirements for manuscripts: International Comittee of Medical Journal Editors [ http://www.icmje.org/urm_full.pdf ])
The other important mistake is to give too much references, and irrelevancy between the references, and the section with these cited references. [ 3 ] While referring these studies, (excl. introductory sentences linking indisputable sentences or paragraphs) original articles should be cited. Abstracts should not be referred, and review articles should not be cited unless required very much.
4. What points should be paid attention about writing rules, and grammar?
As is the case with the whole article, text of the Discussion section should be written with a simple language, as if we are talking with our colleague. [ 2 ] Each sentence should indicate a single point, and it should not exceed 25–30 words. The priorly mentioned information which linked the previous sentence should be placed at the beginning of the sentence, while the new information should be located at the end of the sentence. During construction of the sentences, avoid unnecessary words, and active voice rather than passive voice should be used.**** Since conventionally passive voice is used in the scientific manuscripts written in the Turkish language, the above statement contradicts our writing habits. However, one should not refrain from beginning the sentences with the word “we”. Indeed, editors of the journal recommend use of active voice so as to increase the intelligibility of the manuscript.
In conclusion, the major point to remember is that the manuscript should be written complying with principles of simplicity, clarity, and effectiveness. In the light of these principles, as is the case in our daily practice, all components of the manuscript (IMRAD) can be written concurrently. In the ‘Discussion’ section ‘divide and conquer’ tactics remarkably facilitates writing process of the discussion. On the other hand, relevant or irrelevant feedbacks received from our colleagues can contribute to the perfection of the manuscript. Do not forget that none of the manuscripts is perfect, and one should not refrain from writing because of language problems, and related lack of experience.
Instead of structured sections of a manuscript (IMRAD): Introduction, Material and Methods, Results, and Discussion
Instead of in the Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine posters to be submitted in congresses are time to time discussed in Wednesday meetings, and opinions of the internal referees are obtained about the weak, and strong points of the study
Instead of a writing style which uses words or sentences with a weak logical meaning that do not lead the reader to any conclusion
Instead of “white color”; “proven”; nstead of “history”; “to”. should be used instead of “white in color”, “definitely proven”, “past history”, and “in order to”, respectively ( ref. 2 )
Instead of “No instances of either postoperative death or major complications occurred during the early post-operative period” use “There were no deaths or major complications occurred during the early post-operative period.
Instead of “Measurements were performed to evaluate the levels of CEA in the serum” use “We measured serum CEA levels”