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Geology Writing Guide

Disucssion

  • Begin by providing an explanation of how your findings address the research question you presented in your introduction.  Support this with a summary of your results.
  • Then provide a more in-depth explanation of your results.  Don’t repeat the narrative of your results section but expand the explanation to include a more detailed interpretation.  This might include the following elements:
    • Explain how your work has advanced understanding about the topic (i.e. What is new about your work and why is that important?)
    • Introduce your ideas according to their level of importance, from the most specific to the more general.
    • Explain result that did not support your thesis.  Are there errors or limitations that contributed to this?  Don’t focus on limitations.  Instead, focus on what can be learned or added to our understanding of the topic you are writing about.
    • Are there unexpected findings?  Explain
  • Put your interpretations in the context of what is considered to be established understanding about your topic and the discipline.  This is done by comparing and contrasting your findings with those presented in earlier studies done by others that you cited in your introduction. 
  • End your discussion section with a summary
  • Write using your original thoughts.  Don’t repeat what others are saying, but point out links and/or conflicts with established knowledge.
    • The more original thought you add to your discussion and the more you integrate previous knowledge into your argument, the better you will do on the paper. This is why papers written at the last minute do not score well. You need time to think, to pull ideas together, and to reflect on what you’ve learned. You also may need to go back to your introduction and add some material if your ideas warrant that.
  • For more help, see:  Hofmann, A. H., 2014, Scientific writing and communication: papers, proposals, and presentations: New York, Oxford University Press, 728 p.   Penfield Library Q 223 .H63 2014
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