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Write Like a ChemistA Guide and Resource$
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Marin S Robinson, Fredricka L Stoller, Molly Constanza-Robinson, and James K Jones

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195367423.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 October 2021

Writing the Discussion Section

Writing the Discussion Section

Chapter:
(p.163) 5 Writing the Discussion Section
Source:
Write Like a Chemist
Author(s):

Marin S Robinson

Fredricka L Stoller

Molly Constanza-Robinson

James K Jones

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195367423.003.0011

This chapter focuses on the Discussion section, the last part of the standard IMRD structure for a journal article. The Discussion section, as mentioned in chapter 4, can stand alone or can be part of a combined Results and Discussion (R&D) section. In either case, it serves the same major purpose: to interpret the results of the study. In this chapter, we analyze excerpts from various Discussion sections, including those that accompany results presented in chapter 4 (excerpts 4B“4G). Upon completion of this chapter, you should be able to do the following: ◾ Organize a Discussion section following the major moves ◾ Interpret your results (but avoid overinterpretation) ◾ Describe the greater importance of your findings ◾ Follow appropriate writing conventions As you work through this chapter, you will write a Discussion section for your own paper. The Writing on Your Own tasks throughout the chapter will guide you step by step as you do the following: 5A Read the literature 5B Prepare to write 5C Draft your Discussion section 5D Practice peer review 5E Fine-tune your Discussion section In the Discussion section of a journal article, authors interpret their data, address why and how questions (e.g., Why was the reaction faster? How did the mechanism proceed?), and, ultimately, extend their findings to a larger context (e.g., What value will these findings have to the scientific community?). Ideally, the Discussion section explains the story revealed by the data, postulates reasons for the observed behaviors, and furthers our fundamental understanding of the underlying science. Although interpretation is the primary goal of the Discussion section, authors must be careful not to overinterpret their data, misinterpret their results, overstate their assumptions, or stray too far from scientific evidence. The excerpts selected for this chapter illustrate ways to avoid these pitfalls. Similarly, the excerpts illustrate that the language of the Discussion section is typified by restraint and understatement. Such words as fact, truth, and prove are rarely used in a Discussion section. Hedging words, such as theory and evidence, are much more common, as are such verbs as appear, indicate, seem, and suggest.

Keywords:   Hyphenated two-word modifiers, Journal articles, conclusions, Take-home message, Two-word modifiers, hyphenation

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