How to Write a Good Discussion Paper

How to Write a Good Discussion Paper: Step-by-Step Manual

From time to time, you can get the task of writing a discussion paper or including a discussion section into a more extensive academic piece. So, what does this task involve, and how can you cope with it quickly and hassle-free? Our experts throw the curtain off the art of discussion content writing in this handy guide to show you how this task can be managed with ease and convenience. From now on, you won’t wreck your brains over what to include in such an assignment and how to make it impressive.

So, if you want to know how to write a discussion for a research paper, welcome to the A-Z guide from real pros.

What Is a Discussion Paper

Let’s begin with the fundamentals – defining discussion as distinct research work and clarifying its purpose and structure. The purpose of a discussion paper is to provide a detailed overview of your study’s significance and position it within the broader body of available research. If you’ve done something completely new in your academic area, you need to clarify what fresh insights into the problem your study brings and how other experts previously approached this subject.

Please keep in mind that a discussion cannot be composed separately from the rest of the paper. It needs to tie all parts together, getting back to the introduction to revisit your study’s aims, objectives, and research questions, thus assessing whether you’ve managed to achieve them. Besides, it ties your study findings to the available literature cited in the literature review section, showing where your study lies on the spectrum of academic findings on the subject.

Your study may contradict earlier findings of other authors or confirm them; it may give additional insights into the topic by approaching the subject with a different study population or using a different research method. Any of these issues need to be carefully covered in your discussion section’s content, thus showing your readers that you have achieved what you wanted and have made sense of the obtained results.

How to Start a Discussion Paper

At the beginning of writing your discussion, you need to wrap everything you’ve already got together. For instance, you need to have a concise outline of literature considered in the review section, your list of research aims and questions, and a summary of findings. With these data at hand, you can bring them all together to structure an excellent discussion.

Besides, as soon as you start writing, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid sounding repetitive or too wordy. The discussion part should tie everything together without repetition or redundancy.
  • Don’t use jargon or overly complex terminology.
  • Make clear points about all findings and their relation to the broader body of research to avoid readers’ confusion.
  • Make your content logically flowing and coherent.
  • Use tenses consistently, with the past tense choice fitting the discussion of prior publications and the present tense choice needed for the established facts and inferences from the research data.
  • Optimize the structure of your discussion chapter to make it readable and clearly navigable.

They will improve your writing style and ensure that your discussion is readable, academically correct, and valuable for the audience.

How to Structure a Discussion Paper

Overall, the structure of any assignment depends on the topic, academic discipline, and intended outcome. However, all discussion papers should follow these structuring rules:

  1. This part of a larger academic paper should explain the results you’ve achieved in the process of analysis and research. Give detailed explanations for all findings, whether expected or unexpected, whether confirming or opposing the body of available evidence. You need to discuss all anticipated and unusual patterns and trends identified in the study process, thus making sense of the overall research.
  2. It’s critical to include references to previous research on your subject or related topics. These materials will illustrate the comparison between your findings and what other people have found on this issue. Besides, these studies provide the context and background information to illustrate your findings better.
  3. As a result of comparing what you’ve achieved and how it fits into the existing body of evidence, you can produce a deduction regarding your findings’ significance, value, and broader application. Focus on the lessons you’ve learned and what recommendations you can give to practitioners in your academic area.
  4. Discussions can also benefit from formulating hypotheses for further research based on what you’ve found. They may arise from the data you found, thus giving you and other researchers pointers for subsequent studies.

How to End a Discussion Paper

As soon as you have composed the body of your discussion, it’s time to summarize the findings and make a concise conclusion for it. Besides, every discussion may benefit from the inclusion of a generic deduction into it; this statement or claim should include your vision of how the findings may be applied more generally to avoid your academic discipline or professional practice.

A good example is to describe lessons learned and give theoretical and practical recommendations for resolving the problem you’ve researched. You can also turn to the best practices in a specific area of concern, giving your readers clear avenues for action.

Discussion Paper Outline

To give you a better idea of what a discussion paper looks like, we provide a general outline with a real-life example from one of our experts’ projects.


Restatement of research questions and problems.


This study examined how people’s exposure to home abuse affected their school attainment in later years. The main research questions were:

  1. Do people who experience home violence drop out from school more often than those who don’t?
  2. Do home abuse victims enroll in colleges/universities less often?
  3. Do home abuse victims associate their childhood traumas with poor educational attainment?


Here, you present study findings point-by-point.


The study’s findings suggest that the rate of dropouts is much higher among people with a history of child abuse. Those who reported suffering from violence at home in childhood tended to study worse at school and dropped out 34% more often than people without such experiences. As was initially expected, 89% of respondents associated their educational misfortunes with home abuse, though most of them spoke only about school, not about higher education. Besides, there was no statistically significant evidence for the enrolment rate in higher educational institutions and child abuse.


Now, it’s time to summarize the findings and give broader conclusions and deductions.

As the provided evidence shows, there is a strong relationship between lower school attainment, higher dropout, and child abuse. The relationship weakens with age, which may be explained by adolescents growing psychologically mature and often leaving their homes for college/university studies.

Discussion Paper Introduction

As soon as you clarify the topic for your discussion and gather some background data for it, it’s time to formulate the subject and share your assumptions with the readers. Be clear about what your study aims at, what questions you ask, and what you expect to find due to a thorough study.

Give a roadmap for further sections, clarifying what points you will consider in the body of your paper; it will serve as an analog of a thesis statement in your text.

Discussion Paper Body

The best technique for dealing with the discussion body’s content is to imagine it in the form of an inverted pyramid. You start the body from general information, which sets the context and gives your readers a quick recap of the topic’s background, condensing the content to more specific findings and claims.

Be sure to use the same terms, style, and verb tense in the discussion section that you used in the previous parts of the research paper to make the flow consistent and logical for the reader. Don’t assume that your readers remember everything; it’s always reasonable to restate the problem at the beginning, focusing on its solutions afterward.

The body of your discussion is meant to locate patterns, trends, and relationships in the collected data. Thus, it’s your primary task to place them in the right perspective and approach them from a proper angle, with respect to what background research says. It’s also helpful to include visuals, such as charts or tables, to help readers make sense of your data and approach it in a structured, comprehensive way.

It’s also vital to give credit to the unexpected findings. You could have formulated the wrong hypotheses, chosen the wrong research methods, or done something else wrongly. But even if you’ve done everything right, there is always room for unexpected, conflicting outcomes that still deserve the right to be reported.

Besides, reporting all data – both the one that fits your study and the one that gets beyond the scope of your assumptions – is an ethical academic approach guaranteeing your study’s validity. Otherwise, your findings will be biased and tweaked, equating to data manipulation.

Discussion Paper Conclusion

This part of your discussion should focus on the findings’ potential implications for this specific research and the broader study area. Explain why you believe the study was a success, what these findings suggest for your academic discipline, how they help in theoretical and practical terms, and how they advance people’s knowledge on the subject.

When dealing with recommendations, don’t offer apparent solutions that a person may derive from the content on their own. To prove that you have examined and researched data deeply, you need to give thought-provoking, advanced recommendations that are the subject of your intense academic effort.

Any Questions? Ask for Professional Advice!

As you’ve understood from our post, the discussion section is typically the most significant part of any larger assignment. It ties together everything you have done in your research process, combining the literature already published on your topic and your personal findings. Thus, when writing it, you need to demonstrate your ability to think critically about the subject you’re researching, develop workable solutions to the identified problems, and achieve a deeper understanding of the research problem at hand.

It’s vital to write an insightful, critical discussion section to inform your readers about the underlying meaning of your study and the way you contextualize the findings in the broader research area of your discipline. However, if you feel unable to accomplish this task independently, there’s nothing wrong with asking our experts for help.

We can always deliver to our promise and provide practical, academically correct content that will impress even the pickiest professor. So, don’t stop in the middle of your writing process if you are unsure of how to proceed; entrust the task to pros and enjoy high grades without torturing yourself with endless studies.

Inesse Goulding
About post author
As a former student myself, I appreciate the opportunity to help and guide young learners. I am your fearless partner in any academic emergency. My major is journalism, but I am always willing to help you with other pressing matters. Likes traveling, books, self-education, blogging, and academic writing. A diligent and hard-working writer, Inesse Goulding is an ever-positive personal who is always pleasant to talk to. Inesse is a profound editor and proofreader with a keen eye for impeccable grammar and engaging style. Also, Mrs. Goulding boasts a perfect English language, which makes her one of our most prolific and well-demanded writers. Let’s create something great together!
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