Chapter 6: Discussion/Conclusion Section(s)

Chapter 6 Synopsis: Writing the Discussion/Conclusion

In this chapter, we learned how to finalize a research article. The four main goals and their strategies were discussed and exemplified along with some advice about what language you can use. To review, let’s look again at the four goals:

  1. Re-establish the territory
  2. Frame the principal findings
  3. Reshape the territory
  4. Establish additional territory

Through these goals, writers provide readers with extended analyses and interpretations of the results by evaluating their implications and situating them within the existing literature. While the two specific middle sections of a research paper focus mainly on what’s happening inside the research project, the Discussion/Conclusion section tends to expand the meaning beyond or outside of the research at hand. In other words, writers must indicate how the results add or relate to existing knowledge within the discipline, which points out the value of the work. The final section of the manuscript is also the last aspect of your work that your readers will examine, so it must convincingly finalize the scientific argument that has been unfolding through each section.

According to the Phrasebank website, Discussions/Conclusions usually carry the following functions:

  1. To review and compile ideas and arguments, which may include a kind of retrospective view of the main areas covered in the writing;
  2. To evaluate the research overall, which could also involve recommending improvements and considering coming trends.

Table reviewing the goals and strategies for discussion/conclusion sections. Outlined goals are "re-establishing a territory," "framing principal findings," "reshaping the territory," and "establishing additional territory"

Key Takeaways

There are many ways to think about how to go about your task; however, as with other sections, you should remember that each writer, discipline, and journal has a unique set of stylistic norms. As you’ve probably deduced by now, there is no one “correct” way but rather many different best practices to keep in mind.

Explore + Apply

Before you begin applying what you’ve learned in this chapter to your Discussion/Conclusion section, explore published writing in your discipline or in a target journal that you’ve identified. Look for the goals and strategies presented here to see where you might find similarities and differences that are discipline- or journal-specific. Next, try outlining your next Discussion/Conclusion section using the structuring and placement of those goals and strategies as a model.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Preparing to Publish Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Huffman; Elena Cotos; and Kimberly Becker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.