ADVANCING UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATION

The Discussion can end with arguments for the importance of the conclusions.


"Closure," where a story resolves conflicts and mysteries before ending, is satisfying. Often stories achieve closure by ending where the story began (Campbell, 1991). The same principle can help the Discussion bring closure to readers of scientific papers.


In our framework, the first paragraph of the Introduction made an argument for the importance of the research. Therefore, arguing for importance in the last paragraph of the Discussion can help provide closure to a scientific paper.


An immediate argument for the importance of the research is a summary of how the conclusions help to fill the gap in understanding identified in the Introduction. If the Introduction successfully argued that the research topic was important, then testing hypotheses to help fill the gap in understanding is also important.


However, it is often acceptable to make additional arguments for the importance of the research findings in the Discussion. Examples of topics include potential contributions of study conclusions to guiding ongoing or future research, and potential applications of study conclusions (to clinical practice, injury prevention, technology development, public policy, etc.).


Arguments for potential contributions or applications of research should not be overly speculative or vague. Instead, strong arguments for the importance of research explain specific contributions, and defend the potential contributions with references.


One short paragraph is typically appropriate for making a final argument for the importance of the research.

The final paragraph of the Discussion can bring closure to the paper by presenting arguments for the importance of the conclusions. Contributions to future research or application outside of science are common ways to support the importance of study findings.