Principles of Discussion in Qualitative Educational Research

Principles of Discussion in Qualitative Educational Research

Shaoan Zhang (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0445-0.ch017
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The purpose of this chapter is to offer perspectives of basic principles of writing discussion section in a qualitative research article or dissertation. The first portion of the chapter explains how to link the discussion of the findings to each component: brief summary of the findings, contribution to previous studies, contribution to the theory, implications, and limitations. The explanation includes examples that help readers get a glimpse of the connection. Built on the aforementioned explanation, this chapter also raises the common problems related to each element and further discusses the challenges for novice scholars. The second portion of the chapter focuses on scholars' expected development of knowledge and abilities for meaningfully connecting these five elements. Additionally, the importance of seeing findings through a holistic lens is discussed and meaningful implications for educational research, practice, and/or policy are provided.
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Section 1: Five Compoments Of Discussion

The discussion in qualitative educational research papers includes an explanation of the methods and findings, connection with the reviewed studies, implications for practice, policy and/or the theories, and the limitations of the study. The elements of the discussion should be consistent and integrated with all previous sections in such a way that each element offers information about the significance of the study from different angles. Additionally, the discussion should be presented in such a way that readers should be able to understand how each section of the study is meaningfully interrelated. As a result, the audience should get the answer to the “So what?” question. For example, it should be evident how the study contributes to the theory, methods, and findings of their research (Drotar, 2008; Sternberg & Gordeva, 2006). In this section the five elements that should be present in the discussion section are discussed.

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