Discussion Essays – from the University of Manchester

March 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Posted in Writing Task 2 | Leave a comment
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Discussions

The term discussion has a variety of meanings in English. In academic writing, however, it usually refers to two types of activity: a) considering both sides of an issue, or question, b) considering the results of research and the implications of these. Discussion sections in dissertations and research articles are probably the most complex in terms of their elements. The most common elements and some of the language that is typically associated with them are listed below:

 

Background information (reference to literature or to research aim/question)

A strong relationship between X and Y has been reported in the literature.Prior studies that have noted the importance of ……In reviewing the literature, no data was found on the association between X and Y. As mentioned in the literature review, …… Very little was found in the literature on the question of ….. This study set out with the aim of assessing the importance of X in ……The third question in this research was ……It was hypothesized that participants with a history of ……The present study was designed to determine the effect of ……

Statements of result (usually with reference to results section)

The results of this study show/indicate that …….This experiment did not detect any evidence for ……On the question of X, this study found that ……The current study found that ……The most interesting finding was that …… Another important finding was that …..The results of this study did not show that ……/did not show any significant increase in ……In the current study, comparing X with Y showed that the mean degree of ……In this study, Xs were found to cause ….. X provided the largest set of significant clusters of ……It is interesting to note that in all seven cases of this study……

Unexpected outcome

Surprisingly, X was found to …….One unanticipated finding was that ….. It is somewhat surprising that no X was noted in this condition …… What is surprising is that ……Contrary to expectations, this study did not find a significant difference between ……. However, the observed difference in between X and Y in this study was not significant. However, the ANOVA (one way) showed that these results were not statistically significant. This finding was unexpected and suggests that ……

Reference to previous research (support)

This study produced results which corroborate the findings of a great deal of the previous work in this field. These findings of the current study are consistent with those of Smith and Jones (2001) who found …… This finding supports previous research into this brain area which links X and Y.This study confirms that X is associated with ……This finding is in agreement with Smith’s (1999) findings which showed …….It is encouraging to compare this figure with that found by Jones (1993) who found that ….. There are similarities between the attitudes expressed by X in this study and those described by (Smith, 1987, 1995) and Jones (1986)These findings further support the idea of …..Increased activation in the PCC in this study corroborates these earlier findings. These results are consistent with those of other studies and suggest that ……The present findings seem to be consistent with other research which found ……This also accords with our earlier observations, which showed that ……

Reference to previous research (contradict)

However, the findings of the current study do not support the previous research.This study has been unable to demonstrate that ……However, this result has not previously been described.In contrast to earlier findings, however, no evidence of X was detected.Although, these results differ from some published studies (Smith, 1992; Jones, 1996), they are consistent with those of ……

Explanations for results:

There are several possible explanations for this result.These differences can be explained in part by the proximity of X and Y.A possible explanation for this might be that …..Another possible explanation for this is that …… This result may be explained by the fact that …../ by a number of different factors. It is difficult to explain this result, but it might be related to ……It seems possible that these results are due to …… The reason for this is not clear but it may have something to do with ……It may be that these students benefitted from ……This inconsistency/discrepancy may be due to ……This rather contradictory result may be due to ……These factors may explain the relatively good correlation between X and Y. There are, however, other possible explanations.The possible interference of X can not be ruled out. The observed increase in X could be attributed to ….. The observed correlation between X and Y might be explained in this way. …..     

Advising cautious interpretation

These data must be interpreted with caution because ……These results therefore need to be interpreted with caution.However, with a small sample size, caution must be applied, as the findings might not be transferable to ……

Suggesting general hypotheses

The value of X suggests that a weak link may exist between …..It is therefore likely that such connections exist between …..It can thus be suggested that ……It is possible to hypothesise that these conditions are less likely to occur in ……It is possible/likely/probable therefore that …… Hence, it could conceivably be hypothesised that ……These findings suggest that ……It may be the case therefore that these variations ……In general, therefore, it seems that ……It is possible, therefore, that …… Therefore, X could be a major factor, if not the only one, causing ……It can therefore be assumed that the …… 

Noting implications

This finding has important implications for developing …..An implication of this is the possibility that ……One of the issues that emerges from these findings is …… Some of the issues emerging from this finding relate specifically to …… 

Commenting on findings

However, these results were not very encouraging.These findings are rather disappointing.The test was successful as it was able to identify students who ……The present results are significant in at least major two respects.

Suggestions for future work

However, more research on this topic needs to be undertaken before the association between X and Y is more clearly understood.Further research should be done to investigate the ……Research questions that could be asked include …..Future studies on the current topic are therefore recommended.A further study with more focus on X is therefore suggested. Further studies, which take these variables into account, will need to be undertaken.Further work is required to establish this.In future investigations it might be possible to use a different X in which …… This is an important issue for future research.

 

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