How to write a discussion section for a qualitative research paper

Introduction Participant observation, for many years, has been a hallmark of both anthropological and sociological studies. In recent years, the field of education has seen an increase in the number of qualitative studies that include participant observation as a way to collect information.

How to write a discussion section for a qualitative research paper

Bibliography Definition 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 insights about the problem after you've taken the findings into consideration.

Writing in Psychology Discussion Section

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 The discussion section is often considered the most important part of your research paper because this is where you: 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, and Engage the reader in thinking critically about issues based upon an evidence-based interpretation of findings; it is not governed strictly by objective reporting of information.

San Francisco Edit, Structure and Writing Style 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; 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 finding] 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: 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: 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 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. For example, describing lessons learned, proposing recommendations that can help improve a situation, or highlighting best practices.


This can be framed as new research questions that emerged as a result of your analysis. 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 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.

how to write a discussion section for a qualitative research paper

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].Introduction. Methodology is perhaps the most challenging and laborious part of research work.

Essentially, the methodology helps to understand the broad philosophical approach behind methods of research you chose to employ for your study.

This means that your methodology chapter should clearly state whether you chose to use quantitative or qualitative data collection techniques or a mixture.

Weiyuan Zhang School of Professional and Continuing Education, The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Dr. Zhang Weiyuan is the Head and Chief Researcher of the Centre for Research in Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, and Head of the Centre for Cyber Learning, School of Professional and Continuing Education, the University of Hong Kong.

Writing the Discussion The discussion section is a framing section, like the Introduction, which returns to the significance argument set up in your introduction.

Importance of a Good Methodology Section

So reread your introduction carefully before writing the discussion; you will discuss how the hypothesis has been demonstrated by the new research and then show how the field's. The purpose of this guide is to provide advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social sciences.

[and, later, how you interpreted the results in the discussion section of your paper]. Bavdekar, Sandeep B. and Sneha Chandak. Note that negative results, and how you handle them, offer you the opportunity to write a.

how to write a discussion section for a qualitative research paper

Research comprises "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories.

Volume 6, No. 2, Art.

Writing a Discussion Section - Interprete the Results

43 – May Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method. Barbara B. Kawulich. Abstract: Observation, particularly participant observation, has been used in a variety of disciplines as a tool for collecting data about people, processes, and cultures in qualitative paper provides a look at various definitions of participant observation, the.

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