Writing the Discussion section strikes fear and anxiety in less experienced researchers. This trepidation manifests as long, meandering, and unfocused Discussions. Unsure of what to include, they often resort to needlessly restating all of the information from the entire study. Rather than an unnecessary summary of content that belongs elsewhere, Discussions should add value to your paper. Since editors often observe that authors frequently misunderstand or simply do not know what belongs in the Discussion, we created this guide that explains, paragraph by paragraph, what you need to cover. We hope to lessen the confusion and angst produced by Discussion writing.
The Discussion in Four Parts
I. Avoid the pervasive fallacies of opening with a comprehensive literature review, rehashing the the Introduction or Results, or straying from your essential teaching point(s). Do include what you found and explain why it is significant in one to two paragraphs. This seemingly simple endeavor enumerates a crucial revelation: how your findings will help patients.
II. In the subsequent one to two paragraphs, disclose what others found and whether your results are better, different, or confirmatory.
III. Reviewers might feel annoyed or angry that your study may not consider certain criteria. To pre-empt this reaction, incorporate one paragraph detailing the limitations of your study. Even the best designed studies have constraints. Acknowledging them and moving on appears responsible and thoughtful.
IV. Optional: Conclude with a final paragraph about, in light of your results, what comes next. What questions linger, new avenues for investigation emerge, or implications for future research merit consideration?
Your Unfair Advantage
In fact, we believe that you should feel the most confident about penning the Discussion section because, at that point in the manuscript, you have become the world’s foremost expert on your topic. You immersed yourself in this research and became immensely knowledgeable. Instead of experiencing apprehension, remember that you are the authority.
Following the formula above should make generating a Discussion more approachable and successful. At Superior Medical Editing, we love sharing insights gained over years of experience with Radiology researchers. Keep checking our blog for more articles, and feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org about topics you would like to see covered.