How to Write a Discussion Section for Your Essay: Checklist and Writing Tips

The discussion part of your essay carries all the weight of your research. It is where you summarize your results and interpret your findings. Typically, this is the section where a person will understand what your essay is all about. With a good discussion, you can show off your mastery of the research topic or hypothesis.

But, not everyone knows how to write a concise discussion section. You can consider a few elements to ensure you do not struggle much and that your thoughts are well organized. Here is how to write a winning discussion section:

write discussion section

Divide your Section into Paragraphs

When writing the discussion section of your essay, consider dividing it into paragraphs instead of writing it as one block. Ideally, this section of a research paper should have an introductory paragraph, intermediate paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. They should not exceed 7 and should not be longer than the other sections of a research essay.

Although you divide this part into several paragraphs, you should not repeat the previous parts of your paper. For example, the first part of your discussion paragraph should not be a repetition of the ‘Introduction’ part of the essay. Instead, it should introduce readers to the research findings and analysis.

Explanation of the Results

Readers cannot understand your findings unless you explain. Here, you refer to your hypothesis or research topic. Mention whether or not the findings align with your hypothesis or assumptions. Of course, you will base your explanation on the data collected to ensure your explanation is accurate.

If there were unique and unexpected findings, mention them in this section. After all, a research paper can have interesting twists. The findings, however, should be relevant to the area of study, and you should be able to explain how. Also, you are open to welcoming other researchers to do further research for such findings.

Acknowledge the Limitations

In all honesty, there is nothing like a perfect research paper. As you prepare to write a discussion paper, do not forget to mention the limitations of the research. They do not prove your incompetency, but areas that have let you down during your research. They can include specific methodological choices, sample selection, etc.

It is not a part where you apologize for your research’s limitations. It shows a lack of authority and confidence in your findings. You should explain that despite the limitations, they did not affect your research and that the findings are solid.

Referencing Previous Studies

A great discussion paper format includes a literature review section. This part includes other researches relevant to yours. This part of the paper should contain citations from these studies. They help with supporting your study and should be used in comparing or contrasting findings.


Some institutions reserve this for the conclusion part. But, it can also be written in the discussion section. Recommendations are deducted from the findings of your study. You can show how they can be applicable based on your research. Check this discussion paper example of a great recommendation ‘future studies should include….’ The recommendation should also be specific for relevance.


This forms part of the concluding paragraph of an essay. It should be short with no new information added. It should summarize your research in a short and precise way without losing meaning. A hypothesis is like a ‘take-away statement’ of your research. 


Writing Tips for the Discussion Section

Now you have a checklist of writing the discussion section of your paper, let us look at some tips to help you write great:

Avoid Speculations

When you write a discussion essay, it should be a reflection of authority. It means everything on that paper should be reliable and helpful to the reader. So, this section should focus on finding and previous studies.

For example, if essay was targeted at a specific region, you should not extend the findings to make recommendations on a global level. It would be wrong since different areas will provide different outcomes. Instead, consider suggesting further studies in other regions.

Do Not Overstate Your Findings

Always remember to be practical. Your essay is meant to be read by people seeking solutions to different problems. When interpreting the findings, avoid the temptation of overstating them. This can include huge promises such as totally solving the existing problem.

Remember, your research is subjective, and despite finding it perfect, other researchers can find major flaws. So, focus on your data and interpret it in a realistic without forgetting the limitations of the study.

Be Concise

Keep your research relevant by focusing on the main idea. The discussion part is not where you start introducing new ideas that were not part of the study. It would be a turn-off to readers who are genuinely interested in your study.

Unnecessary information act as a distraction to your findings. When added, it compromises the quality of this section and can make it lose its relevance.

Avoid Using Jargon

Remember to keep the discussion part engaging. Not all readers understand jargon since these are often used by industry experts. To ensure this section is inclusive, avoid using jargon. Use simple language that the majority can understand. A simple language does not reflect a lack of authority but is a sign of mastery of the topic under research.

Avoid Repetition

Repetition is as bad as introducing new ideas in the discussion section. It shows a lack of content and understanding of the research. Repetition includes re-writing other sections of your essay, such as the abstract, literature review, or introduction.

To ensure your discussion paper paragraph remains relevant, focus on the paper’s main objectives. Let the findings guide you, and this way, your research paper will look great and make sense to readers. 

Use an Inverted Funnel Approach to Discuss Your Findings

Like we mentioned earlier, your discussion section should not be longer than other sections of your essay when combined. To ensure you write a discussion essay that wins, consider using an inverted funnel/pyramid to discuss your research findings.

So what kind of writing approach is this? It involves interpreting the findings in general. Then you expand those findings by referencing and comparing them to the existing knowledge in your literature review section. It means you start with a shallow interpretation and expand it to a wide explanation.

Choose Your Words Wisely

Avoid being overly positive or negative about your findings. It can make your readers raise eyebrows. Instead, consider using moderate words that feel more realistic. Examples of moderate words include:

  • The findings demonstrate that…
  • The study shows…
  • May…
  • Suggest…

Sometimes, subjects used as samples may exhibit different or skewed behaviors while under study. So, it is wrong to use ‘prove’ because other researchers can get slightly or totally different results to yours depending on various factors.

Do you find writing the discussion part of your papers intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. Once you understand what should be included in this part, it becomes fun and easy. Consider reading and understanding this checklist and tips before writing your next research paper and see where you go wrong. Write an impressive discussion section hassle-free.