In a Geopyhsics paper going into a more general interest journal (say PNAS as a good example), with the headings,

  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion

I plan to have 3-4 paragraphs in which I compare my results with other results in the literature.

Should this section go in the results or discussion section of my paper? The comparisons are what will be of most interest to the majority of readers of the paper and my results are most relevant when viewed in the context of earlier results.

1 Answer 1


The results section is for your results. The discussion section is for discussing them - and this includes the significance in light of other results.

Keep the former purely for statements, the facts of the matter. The latter is where you move into interpretation (and expanding on very brief comments which are necessary for reading results reported).

  • Do any exceptions exist to this rule? Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 3:30
  • I assume that if you are reporting results, they are your own, or at least those of your coauthors. Mixing the work of your collaboration and that of others with no relation becomes highly complicated at best, confusing or hard to read most often, and quite possibly misleading. Better to make clear what is the fruit of your own work, and then make clear what is a comparison of that to others'.
    – Nij
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 4:02
  • I have no intention of misleading anyone. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 14:08
  • While I think that is true, what we intend to do is not always what happens.
    – Nij
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 20:46

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