An Example

Lewin et al. (2001) provide numerous quotations from the discussion sections of several research articles to support the above 'moves' analysis. In terms of Slatcher and Pennebaker's (2006) paper referred to earlier, we may note the following sentences contained in the six paragraphs of their discussion section:

Move 1: Restating the findings and accomplishments:

— Par. 1: 'The very simple act of writing about their romantic relation ship changed the way in which participants communicated . . . ,

— Par. 2: 'Taken together these findings shed light on processes underlying interactions in close relationships . . .';

— Par. 3: 'An advantage of the current design is that . . .';

— Par. 6: 'Unlike previous expressive-writing studies, this is the first to demonstrate . . .'. Move 2: Evaluating how the results fit in with previous research:

— Par. 3: 'In particular, the findings relating to increases in emotion words illuminate previous research [3 references provided]'. Move 3: Stating the limitations:

— Par. 5: 'There are some potential limitations in this study. First

. . . Second . . .'. Move 4: Warding off alternative explanations:

— Par. 5. '. . . make this an unlikely possibility'. Move 5: Stating implications:

— Par. 4: ... [this finding] 'has clear implications for clinicians';

— Par. 5: '. . . future studies should address this issue'.

These quotations illustrate that the five moves are present, but they are not as clearly sequenced or indicated as might be implied from the list above. Authors seem more flexible in how they tackle their discussions, although the moves listed are usually present.

Discussion sections are difficult to write because their aim is to discuss and comment on the findings, rather than just to report them. Day and Gastel (2006) suggest that journal editors reject many papers because of their weak discussions. They recommend that discussions should end with a short summary regarding the significance of the work, which, they claim, is not always adequately considered.

Woods (1999) recommends:

1 that writers should keep notes about what it might be useful to include in the discussion as ideas occur to them when they are writing other sections; and

2 that it might be wise to set aside a day or two to tackle this section of the paper.

This, he says, will make the task less daunting.

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