In Part 4 of this series we come to our final major section of the manuscript: The Discussion. The Discussion section is perhaps the most difficult section for most scientists to write. Beyond the straightforward reporting of the Methods and Results, it aims to synthesize the current findings with the available literature and, in doing so, interpreting the meaning and relevance of the findings as they pertain to the tested hypotheses.
Often, authors struggling with this section will attempt to inundate the reader with information in an attempt to mask their writing deficiencies. This is a major mistake and for this reason, brevity is likely a greater issue here than anywhere else in the manuscript. The best approach is to highlight the elements that do not belong in the Discussion.
The Discussion is not:
1. The Introduction Section.
-do not re-review the literature
-specify only those studies that allow you to directly interpret the current data
-do not discuss or reference studies merely because they are related
2. The Results section. Results should not be repeated.
-changes may be summarized
-p values and other test statistics should not be reported
-there should be no reference to figures or tables