Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
Writing the Discussion and Conclusion
From Qualitative Research to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types
The substance of the discussion depends on how the findings were presented. If in the section on findings, researchers support their findings with previous published research, the discussion section may be deleted. However, if only the findings were presented, then the discussion should present the findings and support them with those of previous published studies. The discussion section focuses on explaining the findings and their interpretations. Researchers report the findings in a complete and accurate manner. Qualitative researchers need to avoid speculating about the meaning of their findings or interpreting the participants’ meaning without support from the data (Burnard, 2004).
Most published qualitative research articles have a concluding section to (a) relate the findings to the previous studies, (b) formulate innovative conclusions, (c) reaffirm the limitations of the study, and (d) provide recommendations or implications based on the findings of the study. Since all studies have limitations, qualitative researchers need to provide a statement (or restatement) of the limitations of the present study to caution other qualitative researchers who might consider replicating the study and provide recommendations for practice, policy, or future research (Drisko, 2005). For more about writing this section, see Lather (2013).
Activity 8.4: Triangulation in Qualitative Research
Usually, qualitative researchers use multiple data sources (a process called triangulation) or another person to code data to address threats to validity. In the qualitative study you’ve imagined, identify some mechanisms for increasing credibility and confirmability.
In the conclusion section, researchers summarize their findings and make practical recommendations based on their findings and interpretations. They may evaluate their study, share the limitations, and address the questions that were not answered. All conclusions need to be based on the data that were collected and appropriate original data that were described to support interpretations and the possibility that the findings of the study can be transferred to other contexts or settings. Qualitative researchers need to justify this transferability. The conclusions section of a qualitative research report also makes recommendations for future research.
For an example of a qualitative study, watch “Sample Qualitative Research Outline” PowerPoint posted on YouTube by Rey Ty (2008) www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfjD-hj91Qc.