Posted on June 24th, 2018 by Ángel Hernando Gómez
Author Ángel Hernando Gómez – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion
Although one of the parts in which a scientific manuscript is structured, as it is included in the IMR&D format (Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion) for the organization of the scientific article among the researchers, is the Discussion, too often we find that this is omitted. And we do not only talk about Final Master’s works or other research reports, where it rarely appears, but in many of the research articles that are subject to evaluation in scientific journals.
All the articles that present the results of an investigation have to end in a section of discussion of results and conclusions. These sections of the article should not be confused as they answer three clear questions, what was found? For the Results section, what is the meaning of what I found? When we are referring to the Discussion section and what are the most important findings of our work? We should not confuse the discussion of results with conclusions because they answer two different questions. Nor should we confuse it with the results because what they do is to expose the data obtained, that is, present the findings in the most objective possible way without any type of opinion or interpretation.
For the elaboration of the discussion we use phrases of the type: “The results obtained confirm … and are in line with …”, “We also found in our research that … there are several works that have previously shown this relationship …”, ” Our proposal has similarities … “,” … which coincides with what was found in most of the works … “,” In addition, as noted in our study and recommend other works … “,” Neither it can be said that these results are unexpected, since that there is an accumulated empirical evidence … “Phrases like these or similar allow us to situate the results found within the previous theoretical framework.
When we correctly perform the Discussion section, what we do is to interpret the results obtained and their implications. We compare our results with the previous ones that we have presented in the Introduction section, in which we have established the “state of the art” of the subject on which we are investigating. Basically what we do in this section is to compare the results obtained in our work with the previous ones that have produced on our subject, this allows us to situate them in the context of the research background, that is, to place our data among the current ideas on what has been investigated (which obviously must have been identified when we have made the theoretical framework).
When making the Discussion we must establish, clearly and in the case that this is so, what data contradict our results or that previous investigations, of those presented in the theoretical framework, could be refuted. It is also necessary to indicate if our results are in line with those previously found and if they complement or update some of these investigations. And, of course, in case that it occurs, what are the news that we have found after analyzing our results. Therefore, in the Discussion we make comparisons, we contrast our results with the objectives and/or hypothesis that we had set out and with the theoretical model that sustains our research and we interpret those results and, if possible, we make generalizations.
Some publications also introduce in this section the Conclusions (appear under the heading “Discussion and conclusions”), in these what we do is a recapitulation of the main findings, can not be limited to a list of phrases as we include them in the summary, but will try to make a clear statement about the novelties that our research brings. We should not confuse the discussion of results with conclusions, nor, as we have said, repeat textually what we have already said in the summary. In the conclusions we expose the main contributions of our research and these depend, obviously, on the results and the analysis that we have made of these taking into account both the previous theoretical framework and the objectives that we had set. In this section there is a fundamental contribution of the researcher since they are obtained from something more than the simple registered data. It is necessary to highlight the main contributions of our research, for this we use phrases of the type: “The results of this study allow us to draw some conclusions facing of a possible intervention. The first is to verify … “,” Therefore, a first conclusion that can be drawn from the study facing the intervention … “,” In light of the results of this study it can be concluded … “,” Another result of this study that is worth highlighting … “, etc.
We finish this section (Discussion or Discussion and conclusions) with the limitations found when carrying out our research and with the new research proposals, that is, with the pending research agenda. Also, if this is the case, the source or funding sources of the study and / or the acknowledgments are listed.