The discussion (and conclusion) section is probably the most difficult and challenging to write because you have to think carefully about the specific results you obtained in your experiment and interpret them and generalise from them. In this way you relate your own results to the store of scientific knowledge. Remember your discussion is an argument about how you see your results. The information you put in the discussion should answer the following questions:

  1. Have you fulfilled the aims of your experiment? (Can you accept or reject your hypothesis?)
  2. How do your results compare with those of previous researchers?
  3. Why did you get the results you got? You may have to explain inconsistent or unexpected results. You may have to discuss variation within the data (replicates) and the degree of effect obtained within the investigation (difference from controls).
  4. What problems did you encounter in carrying out the experiment and how could you overcome these in future investigations? You may find that the methods were not entirely appropriate so you might indicate how the investigation can be improved?
  5. What is significant or important about your results? What are the implications of your results?
  6. What further areas of investigation, if any, can you suggest? What recommendations can you make?
  7. What is your overall conclusion?
click here to see what john and peter say...

Peter suggests a way of improving the introduction and discussion (1m 5s):

Peter talks about the problems of writing the discussion (17s):

John discusses the problems of managing the literature (50s):

John talks about the challenges of writing concisely (49s):

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