Results and Discussion in Qualitative Research: An In-depth Analysis


Qualitative research is a unique research approach that aims to understand the subjective experiences, perspectives, and meanings that individuals assign to certain phenomena. Unlike quantitative research, which focuses on numerical data and statistical analysis, qualitative research emphasizes exploring the richness, complexity, and context of human experiences.

In qualitative research, the results and discussion sections play a crucial role in presenting and interpreting the findings of the study. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of how these sections are structured and their significance in qualitative research, with an example to illustrate their application.

Results Section in Qualitative Research

The results section of qualitative research aims to present the findings in a concise and organized manner without interpretations or explanations. It focuses on describing what has been discovered during data collection and analysis.

A well-written results section should include detailed descriptions, vivid quotes from participants, and patterns that emerge from the data. Typically, it is divided into subheadings that reflect the main themes or categories that have emerged from the analysis.

For example, let's consider a qualitative study exploring the experience of living with a chronic illness. The researcher may have conducted interviews with individuals diagnosed with the illness and then transcribed and analyzed those interviews.

In the results section, the researcher may present the key themes that have emerged from the data, such as managing daily routines, medical interventions, emotional well-being, or societal support. Each theme would be supported by relevant quotes from the participants, providing a holistic understanding of their experiences.

Discussion Section in Qualitative Research

While the results section presents the findings, the discussion section in qualitative research provides an opportunity to interpret, contextualize, and make sense of the results. It is where researchers can delve into the meaning and implications of their findings and how they relate to existing literature or theories.

In qualitative research, the discussion section is often seen as the heart and soul of the study, as it allows researchers to reflect on the complexities and nuances that emerged from the data. It provides a space for researchers to explore the broader significance of their findings and highlight any limitations or biases that may have influenced the study.

Drawing from the example above, the discussion section could explore the ways in which participants manage their daily routines in light of the chronic illness. It could discuss how these routines impact their overall quality of life and shed light on potential areas for intervention or support.

Furthermore, the discussion section could compare and contrast the study's findings with existing literature, identifying similarities, contradictions, or gaps. Researchers may also reflect on the potential implications of their findings for policy or practice, revealing avenues for further research.

Integration of Results and Discussion

While the results and discussion sections are distinct, they are closely intertwined in qualitative research. A seamless integration of these sections ensures a comprehensive understanding of the study's findings, their interpretation, and their implications.

A well-organized qualitative research article should transition fluidly between presenting the results and discussing their implications. This connection is established by providing rich descriptions and quotes in the results section, which are then further explored and critically analyzed in the discussion section.


Results and discussion sections in qualitative research are essential components that contribute to the depth and richness of the study. The results section presents the findings objectively, while the discussion section offers a space to interpret and contextualize these findings.

When writing these sections, researchers should strive for clarity, coherence, and transparency. By sharing their discoveries and illuminating the significance of their work, researchers can contribute to the existing body of knowledge, facilitate further inquiry, and enhance our understanding of the complex social and human experiences.

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