Need to write a discussion? Here's how to do it.....


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A series of slides giving you ideas about how to write an academic discussion.

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Need to write a discussion? Here's how to do it.....

  1. 1. Dr. Gerard Sharpling
  2. 2. What do you think is meant by the word ‘discuss’, in academic writing? What do you think a ‘discussion’ in a dissertation might contain?
  3. 3. ….is more than just having fun talking about something interesting and ‘passing the time of day’. A discussion must have an academic feel to it, and be backed up with references. Otherwise it will sound ‘naïve’ and simplistic. When discussing, you must do so with a purpose in mind. A discussion is teleological (goal-oriented).
  4. 4. It is possible to give your own opinions, but these should be backed up by appropriate academic references. Make sure your discussion is not just a ‘rant’ against the world – e.g. ‘I think everyone should be doing this or that’. Add references!
  5. 5. Do you have to write a separate discussion chapter in your dissertation, or will you be discussing as you go along? If you don’t know, how will you find out? A key area to establish: do you need to keep results and discussion separate?
  6. 6. The structure of a discussion section is not very predictable, and may depend on:      Type of dissertation written Tradition in particular fields Position within the dissertation What has been stated previously Research questions
  7. 7. Some writers organise their discussion according to their research questions. Consider whether this might be the best option. What are the disadvantages of this approach? There are no right or wrong answers, but you will need to think about the impact on the reader.
  8. 8. RESULTS DISCUSSIONS Less theoretical More theoretical Less abstract More abstract Less general More general Less integrated into field More integrated Less connected to the real world More connected Less concerned with implications More concerned with implications Less likely to discuss limitations More likely to discuss limitations
  9. 9.      MOVE 1: Background information MOVE 2: Summarizing and reporting key results MOVE 3: Commenting on key results MOVE 4: Stating the limitations of the study MOVE 5: Making recommendations for future implementation or research
  10. 10. In essence, it is good aim for something between the specific and general, for example:       Overall, In general, On the whole, In the main, With…exception(s).. The overall results indicate…
  11. 11. In the main [Generalization], we may see from this research that there is little certainty when predicting the fluctuation in oil prices. This confirms what Smith (2013) claims [Reinforcement] in his recent study, namely that such calculations are impossible to arrive at reliably.
  12. 12. Overall, the results indicate a strong level of satisfaction with distributed leadership within secondary schools in the UK. This finding bears out the views of x (2012), who has supported this type of managements structure within educational institutions.
  13. 13. Why do we include limitations in our discussion?
  14. 14. In conclusion, I am extremely sorry for my very poor dissertation because I ran out of time and could not consider the concept of power distance more fully in the time allowed. I hope it will not affect my mark?
  15. 15. The present dissertation has certain limitations. In particular, the nature of this research as small-scale and time bound meant that a fuller consideration of power distance lay beyond the scope of the dissertation. Nonetheless, it is felt that the data outlined reveals noteworthy information about workers’ attitudes to their managers.
  16. 16. [MOVE 2]While some researchers such as Jones (2013) contend that UK society has deteriorated and is effectively ‘broken’, [MOVE 2]this research suggests the opposite, namely that UK society is embracing positive change. [MOVE 4]Nonetheless, it should be remembered that this study is only small-scale, and the results are not completely generalizable. [MOVE 3]Yet the results still appear to indicate a useful and noteworthy trend.
  17. 17.      It should be noted that this study has been primarily concerned with…. The findings of this study are restricted to.. The limitations of this study are clear… We would like to point out that we have not… We are unable to determine from this data….
  18. 18. • • • • • Avoid chronological description Pick out the key features of the data Do not cut and paste material from other chapters. The discussion must sound different. Repackage the results Add some evaluative comments