The Discussion is where you evaluate your findings. It should contain the following elements:
1. Reference to purpose or hypothesis of study (usually past tense) ‘The principle of … was not followed in conducting the research. We originally assumed that physical decrements would be more apparent in speed jobs than in skill jobs. However we saw that … and that there was a …’
2. Review of important findings. ‘We found that … Results showed that participants might be... if … ' 'This seemed to show that …’
3. Possible explanations for or speculations about findings. ‘Results seem to indicate that there was a …' ' This suggests that …' ' On the other hand, there may be a …’
4. Limitations of study (usually present tense) ‘While there is little chance of …' ' The study is not concerned with establishing … the aim is not to … but to … ' 'We do not attempt to … only to look at …’
Conclusions and limitations
In the Conclusion you must provide clear, unexaggerated, objective statements summarising the information given in the body of the report. No new matter may be introduced at this stage. The conclusions should be full enough so that they can serve as an adequate basis for the recommendations to follow. The Limitations of the study can be added in this section. Here you identify, in an unbiased and objective way, what your report could have done better, any flaws in methodology or problems associated with the gathering of data. For example, if you were reporting on a case study you might highlight that, because the company was going through a takeover, the managers and employees may have been behaving differently—and their responses may have been different—from their normal behaviours and typical responses.
Recommendations are personal. They are statements provided by the writer on:
a) what is to be done
b) who is to do it
c) how it is to be achieved
Sometimes, alternative courses of action are proposed, then reasons are given for the chosen recommendations. Recommendations should be specific, clearly and simply written and based on the conclusions. The most important should be given first, then the others in descending order of importance.