Thesis Writing - How to Write the Results and Discussion

Upon finishing research and statistics as basic subjects, successfully passing the core and specialization subjects in the course curriculum and passing the comprehensive examination for those taking advanced graduate courses, students face the challenging task of thesis writing. Ideally, before reaching their last year in college or the graduate school, students should already have identified their research topics and browsed the literature to focus on specific problems or issues that have not yet been resolved by their predecessors in their respective fields of specialization. They have to go through the different stages of the research process in order to earn their degrees.
Thesis Writing as Academic Requirement
Thesis writing as one of the academic requirements before a degree is granted has become the norm in colleges and universities in many parts of the world. There are schools, however, that offer master's degree courses that do not require thesis writing.
However, those seeking a doctorate degree as the ultimate goal of their educational career should finish a master's degree to properly equip them for the much more rigorous treatise of their chosen topic. Among those items that are critical in preparing a thesis is writing the results and discussion sections. It is in this part of the research process where the expertise of the student in his chosen field of specialization is demonstrated.
Dealing with the Results and Discussion Section
It takes constant practice and deep, insightful thinking to come up with a good results and discussion write-up, but there are basic elements that should be borne in mind in writing this essential portion of the thesis. These sections, especially the discussion section, are oftentimes superficially presented by beginning researchers; thus, the purpose of the research paper is sometimes not adequately met.
Some schools prefer that both results and discussion be written altogether as one section while some prefer that the results section be written separately from the discussion section. Whichever of this two is appropriate for a certain institution and to distinguish one from the other, the contents of the results section and the discussion section are discussed separately below.
Contents of the Results Section
The results section is that part of the research paper where the student presents the outcome of his research after applying the detailed procedures outlined in the methods section. It is in the results section where the researcher presents a summary of his findings based on the objectives set beforehand, the relevant observations in the course of experimentation or survey, and analyzed data that can be presented in the form of tables, graphs, or illustrations.
In writing the results of the study, the researcher should organize the findings in such a way that the reader will be able to follow the findings in their logical order. It is not just a random presentation of the outcome of the study but one that corresponds with the research objectives set forth in the introduction. There should be a one-to-one correspondence between the objectives and the results of the study.
Contents of the Discussion Section
Many students inadvertently omit this part of research writing thinking that presenting the results will be sufficient enough to meet the objectives of the study. This is not so, as the discussion section is entirely different from the results section although one can creatively enmesh the discussion with the results.
What then are the contents of the discussion section?
It is in this part of the research paper where the researcher explains the results of the research investigation. This is the section where the researcher relates his findings with previous findings and where he draws conclusions; whether to affirm, confirm, or refute the arguments presented in studies that were reviewed before conducting the study. Thus, it is here where the hypothesis of the study is either accepted or rejected. Also, the importance or significance of these results in the specific field he is working on is pointed out.
Finally, to be adept in writing the results and discussion, students need to devote time in reading published scientific articles as these articles have already withstood meticulous screening by journal editors. This will give them useful insights such that they will be able to write their research paper in a scholarly manner.
© 2013 Patrick A. Regoniel
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