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Writing a Scientific Paper: DISCUSSION

Discussion of how to understand and write different sections of a scientific paper. Discussions of how to write Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Data, and Discussion.

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Writing a "good" discussion section

This is is usually the hardest section to write. You are trying to bring out the true meaning of your data without being too long. Do not use words to conceal your facts or reasoning. Also do not repeat your results, this is a discussion.

• Present principles, relationships and generalizations shown by the results
• Point out exceptions or lack of correlations. Define why you think this is so.
• Show how your results agree or disagree with previously published works
• Discuss the theoretical implications of your work as well as practical applications
• State your conclusions clearly. Summarize your evidence for each conclusion.
• Discuss the significance of the results

Peer Review


 The peer review process is the quality control step in the publication of ideas.  Papers that are submitted to a journal for publication are sent out to several scientists (peers) who look carefully at the paper to see if it is "good science".  These reviewers then recommend to the editor of a journal whether or not a paper should be published. Most journals have publication guidelines. Ask for them and follow them exactly.
 Peer reviewers examine the soundness of the materials and methods section.  Are the materials and methods used written clearly enough for another scientist to reproduce the experiment?  Other areas they look at are: originality of research, significance of research question studied, soundness of the discussion and interpretation, correct spelling and use of technical terms, and length of the article.