Conclusion vs. Discussion

What's the Difference?

The conclusion and discussion sections are both important components of a research paper or academic article, but they serve different purposes. The conclusion is a concise summary of the main findings and implications of the study. It provides closure to the paper by restating the research question, summarizing the key results, and offering final thoughts or recommendations. On the other hand, the discussion section is a more detailed analysis and interpretation of the results. It allows the author to delve deeper into the significance of the findings, compare them with previous research, and explore potential limitations or future directions. While the conclusion provides a brief overview, the discussion section offers a more comprehensive and critical analysis of the study's outcomes.


DefinitionA final decision or judgment reached after considering the evidence or arguments.An analysis and interpretation of the results, including their implications and limitations.
PlacementUsually placed at the end of a research paper or report.Usually placed after the results section and before the conclusion section.
ContentSummarizes the main findings and answers the research question or hypothesis.Explores the significance of the results, compares them to previous studies, and provides explanations or theories.
LengthTypically shorter than the discussion section.Typically longer than the conclusion section.
ObjectiveTo provide a concise summary and final decision based on the research.To analyze and interpret the results, discuss their implications, and suggest further research.
FocusMainly focuses on the research question and findings.Mainly focuses on the interpretation, explanation, and contextualization of the findings.

Further Detail


When it comes to academic writing, two important sections that often appear at the end of a research paper or thesis are the Conclusion and Discussion. While both sections serve the purpose of summarizing and analyzing the findings of a study, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the key differences between the Conclusion and Discussion sections, highlighting their unique characteristics and functions.


The Conclusion section is typically the final part of a research paper or thesis. Its primary purpose is to provide a concise summary of the main findings and outcomes of the study. In this section, the researcher presents a clear and straightforward answer to the research question or hypothesis that was initially posed. The Conclusion section aims to tie together all the loose ends and provide a sense of closure to the reader.

One of the key attributes of the Conclusion section is its brevity. Unlike the Discussion section, which allows for more in-depth analysis and exploration, the Conclusion is usually limited to a few paragraphs. It focuses on summarizing the key points and findings without delving into extensive explanations or interpretations.

In addition to summarizing the findings, the Conclusion section often highlights the significance and implications of the research. It may discuss the practical applications of the study's results, suggest areas for further research, or propose recommendations based on the findings. The Conclusion section serves as a final opportunity for the researcher to leave a lasting impression on the reader and emphasize the importance of their work.

Furthermore, the Conclusion section is written in a more formal and objective tone. It avoids personal opinions or subjective interpretations and instead presents the findings in a straightforward manner. The language used in the Conclusion section is often concise and precise, focusing on the key takeaways from the study.


The Discussion section, on the other hand, provides a platform for a more detailed analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It allows the researcher to delve into the complexities of the data, explore potential explanations, and consider alternative perspectives. The Discussion section aims to contextualize the results within the broader scientific or academic discourse.

Unlike the Conclusion section, which is more focused on summarizing and providing closure, the Discussion section encourages critical thinking and reflection. It often begins by restating the research question or hypothesis and then proceeds to analyze the findings in light of the existing literature. The researcher may compare their results with previous studies, identify similarities or differences, and discuss potential reasons for any discrepancies.

Moreover, the Discussion section provides an opportunity for the researcher to address any limitations or weaknesses of the study. It acknowledges potential sources of bias, methodological constraints, or areas where further research is needed. By openly discussing these limitations, the researcher demonstrates their awareness of the study's boundaries and contributes to the overall transparency and credibility of the research.

Another important attribute of the Discussion section is its exploratory nature. It allows the researcher to speculate on the underlying mechanisms or processes that may have influenced the results. This speculative aspect of the Discussion section can spark new ideas and hypotheses, paving the way for future research and scientific advancements.

Furthermore, the Discussion section often concludes with a summary of the main findings and their implications. However, unlike the Conclusion section, this summary is usually more detailed and may include additional insights or interpretations that were not explicitly mentioned earlier in the paper. The Discussion section aims to leave the reader with a deeper understanding of the research and its broader implications.

Conclusion vs. Discussion

While both the Conclusion and Discussion sections serve important roles in academic writing, they differ in terms of their purpose, length, tone, and level of analysis. The Conclusion section provides a concise summary of the main findings and their significance, focusing on closure and leaving a lasting impression. In contrast, the Discussion section allows for a more detailed analysis, interpretation, and exploration of the research findings, encouraging critical thinking and reflection.

It is important to note that the Conclusion section should not introduce new information or ideas that have not been previously discussed in the paper. Its purpose is to summarize and reiterate the main points, providing a sense of closure. On the other hand, the Discussion section allows for the introduction of new insights, interpretations, and potential avenues for future research.

Both sections require careful consideration and attention to detail. The Conclusion section should be concise, objective, and focused on summarizing the key findings, while the Discussion section should be more exploratory, critical, and reflective. By understanding the unique attributes of each section, researchers can effectively communicate their research findings and contribute to the broader academic discourse.

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