Entry Quiz

Use this quiz to find out what you already know about writing a discussion.

Compare the paired extracts in each set and decide which is appropriate for a discussion stage. Then click the Submit button to get your feedback.

Question 1

Extract a

The results show that the enzyme activity of alcohol dehydrogenase increased.

Extract b

The enzyme activity showed a 10min lag before increasing exponentially 100-fold over the next 30 min (see Figure 1).

Extract a is appropriate Extract b appropriate

Extract a does not tell the reader about the increase i.e.: how much, over how long, was there a lag etc.

Question 2

Extract c

Some participants had eaten breakfast on the day of testing, despite requirements and this would have affected actual blood cholesterol measurements. The medical histories of subjects were not taken into account, in particular the subjects' information on heart-disease and hypercholesterolemia should have been verified and those subjects omitted from the sample.

Extract d

Some participants had eaten breakfast on the day of testing, despite requirements. The medical histories of subjects were not taken into account. As a result of these problems, this study should be repeated to address these issues.

Extract c is appropriate Extract d is appropriate

Extract d does not explain why or how the results would be affected by eating breakfast on the day of testing or not taking medical histories into account.

Question 3

Extract e

The results show that the plasma cholesterol concentration of subjects on a low cholesterol diet appeared to decrease (by 15% on average). However, this result is based on an even smaller sample than the original as one subject had to be eliminated due to non-compliance. Large decreases in cholesterol levels may have been a result of subjects' exercise regimes as well as diet. However, this could not be verified as medical histories were not recorded accurately enough.

Extract f

The results show that the plasma cholesterol concentration of the subjects on a low cholesterol diet appeared to decrease. Subject 5's cholesterol decreased from 3.71 mM to 3.53.mM, Subject 6's level from 5.54 mM to 5.35 mM, Subject 7's level from 7.73 mM to 5.90 mM and Subject 8's level from 9.01 mM to 7.36 mM. There was one individual (Subject 5) who had lost the diet diary, and hence the results of that subject were not included in the analysis of the results. Subject 7 - showed a marked decrease in blood cholesterol concentration. This subject had gout and kidney stones.

Extract e is appropriate Extract f is appropriate

Extract e is appropriate because it summarises the trend in the results as an average and then discusses the validity of this average result in the light of having to omit data due to non-compliance. It discusses unexpected results in general terms and links this to the way medical histories were taken.
Extract f is inappropriate because it states the exact decrease in cholesterol concentration for each individual subject ie: repeats the numerical results and it discusses the idiosyncrasies of individual results. In addition, there is no link made between the results (their validity, accuracy etc) and the discussion of subject 5 and 7. Also, when subject 7 is discussed, no logical connection is made between a marked decrease in cholesterol concentration and having gout and kidney stones.

Question 4

Extract g

In this study the results are confounded by the fact that the compliance of the participants was not monitored. Subjects were only given an indication of which foods were high in cholesterol, but the foods that they selected and the portion sizes that they ate were not controlled. Clearly, this study should be repeated to address these issues. However, as has been found in previous studies, a diet which is high in cholesterol increases the plasma cholesterol concentration.

Extract h

In a future study, it is recommended that meals of known cholesterol content are prepared for the subjects and that their compliance with the dietary regime be monitored effectively; and that each subject acts as his/her own control by consuming both diets in a randomised, cross-over sequence. Even then, any conclusions pertaining to the influence of dietary cholesterol on plasma cholesterol concentrations would be limited to Caucasian, middle-aged omnivores.

Extract g is appropriateExtract h is appropriate

Extract g does not tell the reader how the study should be repeated and the conclusion is stated in a definite way.
Extract h is appropriate as it tells the reader how the study should be repeated and the conclusion is stated with clear limitations.

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