Q: How to write the Discussion section in a qualitative paper?

2 Answers to this question

The purpose of the Discussion section is to interpret the results presented in the paper. For a quantitative study, it would involve analyzing and interpreting the data presented in the Results section. For a qualitative paper, although there is no need for statistical analysis of data, there is still a need to interpret the results for your audience in the Discussion section. Here's how you should write this section:

1. Begin by discussing the research question and talking about whether it was answered in the research paper based on the results.

2. Highlight any unexpected and/or exciting results and link them to the research question

3. Point out some previous studies and draw comparisons on how your study is different

4. State any weaknesses, loopholes, or limitations of the study

5. Recommend how the study can be used to further the knowledge in your field.

For more detailed guidance, we have an excellent handbook titled Write a convincing discussion section – The key to journal acceptance. You will definitely find it helpful.


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Hi Shital! We know it's been a year since your queries on writing a qualitative paper. But we were wondering how the paper proceeded, and if you were able to successfully publish it. Would be great to hear how it went. :-)

Incidentally, it would also be great if you could provide your valuable inputs (given your background in data analysis) on this recent question by another researcher on how to evaluate qualitative data: How can I evaluate qualitative data from different sources consistently and stringently without becoming too subjective and making too many assumptions?

Incidentally, I manage the Q&A Forum and keep trying to see how researchers can help one another. :-)