Discussion and conclusion

In the Discussion and Conclusion sections, authors should interpret the results, place them in context of previous findings, and explain what they mean for future research, as well as for possible real-life applications. If the author has not made these points as clear as they should be, note this in your review.

Other questions to ask include:

  • Does the Discussion fit with the aims of the study stated in the Introduction?
  • Are there any alternative interpretations of the data that the authors should have considered in their Discussion?
  • Is there any general background that belongs in the Introduction section rather than the Discussion?
  • Have the authors adequately compared their findings with the findings of other studies?
  • Do the authors present data in the Discussion? All relevant data should be presented in the Results section, although important or interesting results can be summarized as part of the Discussion. For example, a sentence such as “Group B’s one-year survival rate was significantly higher than Group A’s,” is acceptable in the Discussion. But a sentence such as, “Group B’s one-year survival rate (1200 / 2000, 60%) was higher than Group A’s (800 / 2000, 40%) (P ‹ 0.05),” belongs in the Results section.
  • Do the authors mention how the study’s results might influence future research?
  • Are the limitations of the study noted? If not, what limitations have you found?
  • Are the authors’ conclusions supported by their data? Have the authors overstated the importance of their findings?