Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The University of Sheffield's online course, Technical Report Writing for Engineers. Join the course to learn more.
Students measure a sample in a vice

The Discussion and Conclusion

This week, we’re going to look at the final sections of your report; the Discussion and the Conclusion. These are sections which provide an effective ending to your report by answering the question “What do your results actually mean?”.

The Discussion and Conclusion are two distinct sections, but writers sometimes struggle to separate the two.

  • The Discussion is where you will explain the significance of your results in the context of your report, other work within the organisation and the wider literature on the topic.

  • The Conclusion is a short review of what you have found from your experiment and will not contain any new information that has not already been introduced elsewhere in your report.

This week, we’ll look at each of these sections individually to make sure you understand which information goes where.

What will the reader get out of the discussion section?

From the Discussion section, your reader will know what your results mean, how confident you are in them and whether there are any errors or uncertainties in your data.

They will also learn whether your results answer the questions you set out in your Introduction.

Finally, the reader will understand how your results are relevant to wider engineering problems and the potential impact your research has for real-world applications.

What will the reader get out the conclusion section?

From your Conclusion, the reader should have a clear idea of what you found in your experiment and how this links back to your original aims and objectives.

If appropriate, they will also understand how your work could be built upon, applied or further validated.

What skills will I learn this week?

This week we’ll focus on how to use language to communicate your results clearly and appropriately; considering who the audience is and what tone is suitable.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Technical Report Writing for Engineers

The University of Sheffield