Chapter 6: Discussion/Conclusion Section(s)
The first goal in the Discussion and Conclusion section is called Re-establishing the Territory. The name of this goal should sound familiar to you if you think back to Chapter 3 and our discussion of the goals for the Introduction section, where the first aim is to Establish the Knowledge Territory. Now that you have come to the final section of your manuscript, you will revisit this idea of “territory,” as the functions of these two sections’ goals are similar. The Discussion/Conclusion Goal 1 (Re-establish the Territory) functions to remind the reader how your research fits into the bigger picture, or territory, of the field. Effective writers use this goal to provide a foundation for the Discussion and better contextualize the argument that follows.
Strategies for Discussion/Conclusion Communicative Goal 1: Re-establishing the Territory
- Drawing on general background
- Drawing on study-specific background
- Announcing principal findings
- Previewing content
Discussion/Conclusion Goal 1 Strategy: Drawing on General Background
Drawing on general background means that a writer prepares the reader for the upcoming discussion of the research results in broader/more general terms. To do this, you must incorporate your understanding of the theories and frameworks that underlie your study. You can do this with information from your own background knowledge, with citations, or with a combination of both tactics to provide needed informational background and a conceptual frame of reference for the reader, to remind the reader of the problem, issue, gap, etc. that motivated the study, and to show how the current study fits in the targeted knowledge/research space.
Here are two examples of how you can accomplish this strategy:
- It is not inconceivable, then, that whilst the sector perhaps rightly distinguishes a wide variety of professional tasks, the homogeneous nature of its personnel places too heavy a burden on all their shoulders – and hence on the sole training program for the job. The fact is that in countries like the theUnited Kingdom (see Peeters, 2008) and the United States (Hyson &Biggar, 2006), which have long had a variety of training schemes leading to a variety of qualifications – associate, foundation, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, at both initial licensure and advanced level – there is clearly greater differentiation in the nature and level of content standards (see also Busch-Rossnagel & Worman, 1985) 
- A relationship between carbohydrates and rooting of cuttings has been reported (Bartolini et al. 1996, 2000; Murai et al. 1999), but high carbohydrate content has not always been associated with high rooting and sprouting potential, as this study showed. Hansen et al. (1978) and Veierskov et al. (1982) observed a negative correlation between carbohydrates and rooting (when light was given to alter stock plant carbohydrate content).
If you are referring back to literature (whether it is in the literature review in your Introduction, or not), you can use specific wording (sentence starters) to indicate to your reader that you are re-establishing the territory. Here are some suggestions from the Academic Phrasebank website:
|Support Previous Findings||Contradict Previous Findings|
|These results …||
Another way to accomplish this strategy is to contribute background information by making reference back to the research question or aim/objective, as exemplified in these sentence starters from the Academic Phrasebank website:
Discussion/Conclusion Goal 1 Strategy: Drawing on Study-Specific Background
Drawing on study-specific background is similar to the previous strategy in that it attempts to justify and further reflect on the results. This strategy reiterates relevant study specifics (e.g., methods, approaches, experimentation, procedures, analysis, hypotheses/research questions, etc.) to help the reader understand how the results were obtained, remind the reader of study specifics relevant to the results, and/or claims discussed further, clarify the connection between certain study specifics and respective results, and/or re-emphasize the reliability of discussed findings.
Consider the following examples:
- This analysis considered the efficacy of a suite of even- and uneven-aged treatments to address fire hazard in Colorado based on their ability to reduce crown fire initiation and spread. The treatment simulations were performed over a broad area using available forest inventory data and consistent assumptions about surface fuels and weather conditions. 
- Since we consider sinusoidal bottom contours we describe the hydraulic jumps in terms of the Froude number at the inclination angle of the channel. This results in hydraulic jumps at Froude numbers smaller than 1 in the fit of Fig. 10.
The Academic Phrasebank website offers a few suggestions for sentence starters useful to employing this strategy:
Discussion/Conclusion Goal 1 Strategy: Announcing Principal Findings
Announcing principal findings is a way to highlight results by explaining, synthesizing, and/or reviewing what you discovered. The purpose is to emphasize takeaways, show how you’ve accomplished the objectives of the research, and/or demonstrate which specific discoveries occupy the identified niche in the sub-area of your discipline or field.
- The processes involved in aerial pathogen movement can be divided into five stages of (i) preconditioning in a source area, (ii) release, (iii) horizontal transport, (iv) deposition, and (v) impact at the receptor area (Isard and Gage, 2001). Ecological and environmental factors that influence organisms during each stage of the dispersal process are important for understanding the movement of plant pathogens and the development of plant disease epidemics (Aylor, 1986; Madden, 1992). However, there is limited information about some of these processes, especially for the deposition of plant pathogen propagules from the atmosphere onto susceptible host plant tissues.
- A major finding of this study is that short and long-term androstenedione supplementation did not increase the serum testosterone concentration in young men with normal serum testosterone levels.
The Academic Phrasebank website provides these suggestions for starting out sentences in which you plan to discuss or draw conclusions about your findings:
Discussion/Conclusion Goal 1 Strategy: Previewing Content
Previewing content designates the organization of your writing. This helps to guide the reader through your ideas, clarify how you envision the content fulfilling your communicative goals, and point out noteworthy features of the research.
The following are examples of how you can realize this strategy:
- Next, we provide evidence that AAP2 functions in xylem-phloem transfer of amino acids. 
- Results underscore the promise of the WG vocabulary intervention for LM learners. There are multiple implications and discussion points – practical and theoretical – to address when interpreting the results of this pilot study. WG was implemented for only 15-20 min a day, and yet the treatment group students, more of whom were formerly identified as limited English proficient, gained knowledge of a substantially larger number of words than the contrast group. 
The first communicative goal in the Discussion and Conclusion section is called Re-establishing the Territory, and there are four strategies that can be used to successfully accomplish this goal:
- Drawing on general background, and/or
- Drawing on study-specific background, and/or
- Announcing principal findings, and/or
- Previewing content.
Note the use of and/or at the end of each strategy, an indication — as in other chapters — that it is not always necessary to utilize each individual strategy as these are variable by writer, discipline, and journal.
- Fukkink, R. G. (2010). Missing pages? A study of textbooks for Dutch early childhood teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(3), 371-376. ↵
- Tsipouridis, G., Thomidis, T., & Bladenopoulou, S. (2006). Seasonal variation in sprouting of GF677 peach× almond (Prunus persica× Prunus aygdalus) hybrid root cuttings. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 34(1), 45-50. ↵
- Huggett Jr, R. J., Abt, K. L., & Shepperd, W. (2008). Efficacy of mechanical fuel treatments for reducing wildfire hazard. Forest Policy and Economics, 10(6), 408-414. ↵
- Wierschem, A., & Aksel, N. (2004). Hydraulic jumps and standing waves in gravity-driven flows of viscous liquids in wavy open channels. Physics of Fluids, 16(11), 3868-3877. ↵
- Dufault, N., Isard, S., “A portable rainfall simulator for evaluating the wet deposition of plant pathogens”, Applied Engineering in Agriculture 26(1):71-78, 2010 ↵
- King, D. S., Sharp, R. L., Vukovich, M. D., Brown, G. A., Reifenrath, T. A., Uhl, N. L., & Parsons, K. A. (1999). Effect of oral androstenedione on serum testosterone and adaptations to resistance training in young men: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 281(21), 2020-2028. ↵
- Zhang, L., Tan, Q., Lee, R., Trethewy, A., Lee, Y. H., & Tegeder, M. (2010). Altered xylem-phloem transfer of amino acids affects metabolism and leads to increased seed yield and oil content in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell, 22(11), 3603-3620. ↵
- Mancilla-Martinez, Jeannette. (2010). Word meanings matter: Cultivating English vocabulary knowledge in fifth-grade Spanish-speaking language minority learners. TESOL Quarterly, 44(4), 669-699. ↵