Some journals expect the Discussion to have the following structure and order (with some flexibility):

  • summary of results
  • strengths and weaknesses
  • interpretation/context/comparison with previous studies
  • implications

This makes sense: discuss the study strengths and limitations before interpreting the results and discussing their wider context and implications.

But how about putting the "strengths and weaknesses" after "interpretation/comparison", or even at the end after "implications" (and before the conclusions)? It this less logical/convincing?

2 Answers 2


I think this mainly depends on the journal, and of course the specific study in question.

While the first order certainly does make sense, the second approach coule also be viable for certain studies.

An example would be a study where a somewhat small sample was conducted, and the results show a significance of some kind. You could go on and discuss the reason/interpretations for the significance, and later mention that to quantify/verify the effect, further studies with a larger sample size should be carried out.

Again, this is highly dependend on the study and the format, so if a journal specifically asks for the first approach, you might want to follow their guidelines.


Personally, I have seen a reasonable amount of diversity (in same journals) in how discussion was organized. As long as it flowed, nobody kvetched. Even to the extent of if you want to do Results and Discussion separate or same section (I always preferred same, but if I had a need wouldn't have worried to vary the pattern).

P.s. If you could tell us the journal and the field, it would help. Also is your question/concern based on actual experiences of being asked to revise org structure or more conceptual of a concern?

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