‘Operation GTFO’- Tips for finishing a discussion draft

Writing discussions is perhaps my least favourite part of the scientific writing process. Actually, it is probably a tie between the discussion and the abstract. I love reading discussions but when it comes to writing my own, I get terrible writer’s block. Writing my discussion for study 2 has been particularly tedious due to having to re-run all my statistics and tear apart my first discussion. However, I now have a draft!

I don’t want to pretend that I am a discussion-writing expert now, because I am most definitely not, but I did want to share my five tips for how I have come to having a complete draft of my discussion for study 2.

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  1. Start writing the discussion in a new document so you can have it side by side with your results section. This means you don’t have to keep scrolling up to see what is in your results.
  2. Start by putting in headings, even if you won’t keep them in your final draft. This allows you to determine the structure of the discussion and guide you.
  3. Just use dot points to jot down what you found and what you want to discuss- these can (and should) be really rough to start with.
  4. Leave your discussion notes and move onto other work you have, then come back to the draft the next day and start turning the dot points into acceptable (not polished) scientific writing
  5. Send off a non-polished version to your supervisors. I have found that often after my work has been drafted by my supervisors there are little tweaks to do in my results section which can change my discussion. Therefore, I let my supervisors know that my discussion isn’t perfect, but that I want to check the results, structure, and story flow first. I find that this will save you time in the long term.
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