General Contribution

General contribution. Remind readers of the research contribution mentioned in the introduction and expand upon it, e.g. clarify what others contributed and what was original. Then move on to discuss the contribution of the work in general, such as potential or applications. Don’t leave readers unsure of what a paper contributes but answer the question What value does this paper add?

Potential. Potential is the probability that the work can lead to other research or useful applications. It may address a concern that many other people have raised, and so have publicity potential. Research that is ordinary in itself may have extra-ordinary potential.

Applications. Applications are how the research could impact current practice and answer the question asked of all research “So what?” To discover new knowledge is one thing but to apply it is another. It may help to return to the problem that began the research and consider how it is affected. To generalize findings to practical situations takes effort but media interest is often based on the potential applications of research rather than its theory contribution. Don’t underestimate the applications, e.g. as part of their PhD research, Larry Page and Sergey Brin devised a mathematical way to count and qualify backlinks to measure a web page’s rank, so that “the Web would become a more valuable place.” Only when testing the results did they realize its application to Internet search and thus Google was borne. Discuss possible practical applications of the research.

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