Keywords: dicussion section
Description: The discussion section is a framing section, like the Introduction, which returns to the significance argument set up in your introduction. So reread your introduction carefully before writing the
The discussion section is a framing section, like the Introduction, which returns to the significance argument set up in your introduction. 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 knowledge has been changed by the addition of this new data. While the introduction starts generally and narrows down to the specific hypothesis, the discussion starts with the interpretation of the results, then moves outwards to contextualize these findings in the general field.
The Discussion section is sort of an odd beast because it is here where you speculate, but must avoid rambling, guessing, or making logical leaps beyond what is reasonably supported for your data. The solution that has evolved over time is to set up the Discussion section as a "dialogue" between Results -- yours and everyone elses'. In other words, for every experimental result you want to talk about, you find results/models/conclusions from other publications bearing the relationship to your result that you want the reader to understand.
- Claim -- add new information to what is already known -- "we are the first to show"
- Corroborate -- support what is already known -- "similar/same as to X"
- Clarify -- extend or refine what is already known -- "because X, also Y" or "because X, not Y"
- Conflict -- counter or contradict what is already known -- "contrary to"
This is how the new data you've generated is "situated" in the field -- by your careful placement of what is new against that which is already known. Results can take the form of data, hypotheses, models, definitions, formulas, etc. (I imagine the Results section like a dance with swords -- sometimes you are engaging your partner with the pointy end and sometimes you are gliding alongside them).