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Scientific Writing Online "Shortie": The Discussion Section

Course Objective:

People read papers in different ways. Some start with the abstract. Others go straight to the data, but many begin with the part they find the most interesting – the Discussion Section. Furthermore, when referees reject a paper, they often focus on weaknesses in the Discussion. Hence, writing a strong Discussion Section that makes the significance of your research contribution crystal clear is a skill you need to acquire.

In this webinar, we will look at the content and basic structure of the Discussion Section, various strategies to simplify the process of discussing your results and some technical language-related aspects.

Topics and Methology:

Module 1: Input by Trainer and Q&A

 Module 1a: The Discussion Section (1 hour)

  • Content and organization
  • Different ways of beginning
  • Using signaling language to highlight the answer to your question
  • Establishing the importance of your work
  • Using a chain of topic sentences to tell the story
  • Language-related questions and tone
  • Phrasebank of useful language

 Module 1b: Language and style: Writing clearly and concisely (1 hour)

  • Structure: forest followed by trees
  • Writing short, concise sentences
  • Improving word order
  • Internet resources

Module 2: Feedback (1 hour)

The group is divided into smaller groups of 3-4 students. Students share their texts and proofread them for mutual review before the session. In the session, the participants and trainer provide feedback on the texts and discuss corrections. Each student receives feedback on language and content.

It is possible to participate in Module 1 only.

Target audience:

Doctoral students, postdocs and clinician scientists. B2-Knowledge of English is required.

Maximum number of participants:

  • unlimited for Module 1
  • 24 participants for Module 2 (max. 6 groups, max. 4 participants per group)


Module 1: come prepared with questions on the topic
Module 2: write (part of) a discussion section (1/2-1 page A4). Your text will be proofread/edited by 2-3 other students and the trainer and discussed in the session.

Technology: zoom. Please check that your PC meets the requirements beforehand (microphone, camera, Internet connection).  


Next Workshop: To be annonced

For Module 1 0.3 CP and for both modules 1 CP for transferable skills training can be credited.


Ivonne Dietzel
Program Coordinator
Bldg. 907, Room 01-212
University Medical Center
Langenbeckstr. 1
55131 Mainz

Tel. +49 6131 17-7631