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I am an early career researcher and have written a couple of papers already in statistics. Usually, I include a line or two on "possible extensions of our work" in the Discussion/Conclusions section. I am finishing a paper, where I cannot see a non-trivial direction for the extensions of the proposed work. I could easily say use G distribution instead of F, or to consider applications in other areas, but this sounds rather generic and trivial to me.

So, my question is, is it valid not to include possible extensions in the conclusion of a paper?

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Yes, it is certainly valid to not discuss possible extensions of your results in a paper.

In fact, often I advise coauthors against trying to discuss possible extensions. From my point of view, presenting possible extensions is only relevant enough to put into the paper, if it comes out intrinsically from discussing either the limitations or merits of the result, such as for example:

  • Regarding limitations of your results, if you can think of ways how they could be addressed / overcome, but these would be too costly or create other issues so that they are not reasonable to pursue for this paper, it would be good to still discuss these ways together with the limitations they could address. That can also serve to soften the impact of any limitations that you have.
  • If your paper solves problem A, but a similar or the same approach could also help in solving problem B, which should have been formulated or at least hinted at somewhere else, it is certainly good to discuss that within your contributions. This would also show.

Also, I would only present possible extension if they are relatively specific to your results, and could not have been designed without knowing the results that you present in the paper. If a researcher in your field could have come up with an "extension" even without knowing your results, and you think it is important in relation to your work, it may be better to discuss that in either the introduction or the discussion of related work.

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