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Report Writing
The Structure of Scientific Report

Examples of discussion sections

An excerpt from the discussion section of a chemistry report

The activity of the salivary amylase enzyme in this experiment increased with temperature up to 37°C. This was probably an effect on the reaction itself, as the rate of chemical reactions generally increases as temperature increases because there is more energy in the system at higher temperatures (Stryer, 1995, p. 46). Most enzymes are denatured at temperatures above 50°C (Perkins, 1964); however, in this experiment, the activity of the amylase was highest at 70°C. This may be explained by the variation in temperature that is experienced in the mouth during eating, which may require a high degree of heat-resistance in the amylase enzyme ... State the major results again

Interpretation/explanation based on what is known (cite references)

unexpected result

Attempt to explain how/why the result occurred

Adapted from Dr Wendy Russell, Biology 103, University of Wollongong

An excerpt from the Discussion section of a psychology report

Both the alternative hypotheses for consensus and distinctiveness information were supported: high consensus and high distinctiveness information creates an external attribution while low consensus and low distinctiveness information causes an internal attribution. Thus, when information is high in consensus or distinctiveness an attribution is made to the situation and not the person while for information low in either of these characteristics the opposite is true. In terms of the consistency of the provided information, the null hypothesis was supported: the provision of high or low levels of information does not correspond to the attribution made.

The results of the experiment in terms of consistency oppose the trend suggested in the literature by researchers such as McBeatty (1989) and Orbit et al. (1997). McBeatty suggested consistency was the dominant feature of information that affected the nature of the attribution made, while Orbit et al found that consistency information had a string tie to circumstance or person-situation attributions. The results of the content analysis of this study did not support this finding ... By not presenting consensus, distinctiveness and consistency information simultaneously, the present research design has successfully avoided the criticism of ‘lacking real world characteristics’ directed at other research testing Kelley’s covariation theory, research such as Pike & Bewer (1992) and Fergis, Nok & Layman (1996). Although these studies show attributions can be made using all this information, it does not prove that they normally are ... The design of the present experiment means ... .
Restatement of main findings

Reflection about the results of the present research in light of findings reported the literature


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