8.1 The 6 information types that linguistic research has uncovered in published Discussions

Linguistic research by Dr Margaret Cargill shows that the Discussion section of published research papers contains 6 types of information, as listed below.*

*Cargill M and O’Connor P 2013 Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps

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The six information types in a Discussion

d1. A reference to the main purpose or hypothesis of the study, or a summary of the main activity (or findings) of the study. Examples can be seen in the red-highlighted text in the PDF from published research papers below.

d2. A restatement or review of the most important findings, generally in order of their significance (see yellow-highlighted text below), including…

  • whether they support the original hypothesis, or how they contribute to the main activity of the study, to answering the research questions or to meeting the research objectives; and
  • whether they agree with the findings of other researchers.

d3. Explanations for the findings, supported by references to relevant literature, and/or speculations about the findings, also supported by literature citation. Examples can be seen in green below.

d4. Limitations of the study that restrict the generalizability of the findings beyond the conditions of the current study. These limitations may be explicitly or implicitly stated. You can see some examples in blue highlighted text in the following PDF.

d5. Implications of the study (generalizations from the results, what they mean in the context of the broader field). Please see pink highlight for examples, below.

d6. Recommendations for future research and/or practical applications. Examples below are highlighted in grey.

Information types d2 to d5 are often repeated for each result or outcome that is discussed.

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