The purpose of the discussion section
To evaluate and interpret the results and how they relate to your hypothesis.
• How might my study help to resolve the original problem or question?
• What conclusions and theoretical implications might I be able to draw from my study?
• What will I have contributed to the field?
The discussion section should be shaped opposite to your introduction section. (Instead of moving broad narrow, it should be narrow broad as you move from the beginning to end). Basically, you start by discussing the specific results of your study and then move on to discuss implications for the field and directions for future research.) See more details below
Paragraph 1 Restate your hypothesis (or hypotheses) and summarize your findings
•Restate the goal of the study or major research questions
•Clearly restate your original hypothesis
•In summary form, restate your findings/results for EACH hypothesis. Be sure you note whether or not the findings do or do not support your hypotheses
In accordance with the original hypothesis, the present study found a strong, positive relationship between happiness and number of dogs.
Contrary to the hypothesis, the present study found a negative relationship between happiness and number of dogs.
•Briefly summarize your findings/results and what they mean but do not include numbers or statistics here, just comment in your own language on how your variables were related -- no “statistical language” or notation
-As the number of dogs increased, individuals’ self-reported happiness also tended to increase.
Paragraph 2: Compare and contrast your findings with previous research (.50 point). In the introduction section, you made predictions about your expected findings based on a background research on your topic. NOW—in the discussion, you will tell the reader how accurate your predictions were.
•Start by mentioning what was new/different about your study and how it adds to the previous research.
•Then, refer back to the past research you cite in your introduction section (CITE THE RESEARCH AGAIN HERE) and explicitly state IF your findings were in agreement with what you would expect, given this existing research.
•If your findings differ from what you would expect previous findings, discuss WHY that may be (speculate as to the reasons for different findings). For example, some reasons WHY there may be a difference between your research finding and previous research could be
-differences in study design (e.g. if existing research has mostly been correlational and your study is experimental),
-differences in measures used (e.g. if you measured your variables differently than some of the existing research on your topic),
-differences participant backgrounds (e.g. if previous research has mostly been conducted in adults, and your study was conducted in children).