This is certainly one of the more questions that are challenging have ever asked me, because after looking through a large number of journal articles in my own Mendeley database, i possibly could not find many of them who used Discussion sections. I believe this notion associated with Discussion element of an journal that is academic (or book chapter, in many cases) originates from the IMRAD style of publishing, that is, papers which have at the very least listed here five sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Analysis and Discussion (hence the acronym).
Personally, I neither like, nor do I often write this kind of journal article. Even when I was a chemical engineer, I can’t recall as they all had a variation (merging Discussion with Results, or Results with Conclusion, or Discussion with Conclusion) that I read many papers in the IMRAD model,. When I said on Twitter, I read engineering, natural science and social science literatures. Thusly, the Discussion sections that I read vary QUITE A LOT.
All Discussion sections I’ve read are
- analytical, not descriptive,
- specific in their interpretation of research results,
- robust inside their linkage of research findings with theories, other empirical reports and literatures that are various
- proficient at explaining how a paper’s results may contradict earlier work, extend it, advance our understanding of X or Y phenomenon and, almost certainly:
- NOT in conclusion for the paper.
The thing I think is very important to remember when writing the Discussion portion of a paper, is always to really ANALYZE, not just describe. Link theories, methods, data, other work.
My post regarding the difference between analysis and description should allow you to write Discussion sections.