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One of the most common questions we receive at the Writing Center is “what am I supposed to do in my conclusion?” This is a difficult question to answer because there’s no one right answer to what belongs in a conclusion. How you conclude your paper will depend on where you started—and where you traveled. It will also depend on the conventions and expectations of the discipline in which you are writing. For example, while the conclusion to a STEM paper could focus on questions for further study, the conclusion of a literature paper could include a quotation from your central text that can now be understood differently in light of what has been discussed in the paper. You should consult your instructor about expectations for conclusions in a particular discipline.
With that in mind, here are some general guidelines you might find helpful to use as you think about your conclusion.
Begin with the “what”
In a short paper—even a research paper—you don’t need to provide an exhaustive summary as part of your conclusion. But you do need to make some kind of transition between your final body paragraph and your concluding paragraph. This may come in the form of a few sentences of summary. Or it may come in the form of a sentence that brings your readers back to your thesis or main idea and reminds your readers where you began and how far you have traveled.
So, for example, in a paper about the relationship between ADHD and rejection sensitivity, Vanessa Roser begins by introducing readers to the fact that researchers have studied the relationship between the two conditions and then provides her explanation of that relationship. Here’s her thesis: “While socialization may indeed be an important factor in RS, I argue that individuals with ADHD may also possess a neurological predisposition to RS that is exacerbated by the differing executive and emotional regulation characteristic of ADHD.”
In her final paragraph, Roser reminds us of where she started by echoing her thesis: “This literature demonstrates that, as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”
Highlight the “so what”
At the beginning of your paper, you explain to your readers what’s at stake—why they should care about the argument you’re making. In your conclusion, you can bring readers back to those stakes by reminding them why your argument is important in the first place. You can also draft a few sentences that put those stakes into a new or broader context.
In the conclusion to her paper about ADHD and RS, Roser echoes the stakes she established in her introduction—that research into connections between ADHD and RS has led to contradictory results, raising questions about the “behavioral mediation hypothesis.”
She writes, “as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”
Leave your readers with the “now what”
After the “what” and the “so what,” you should leave your reader with some final thoughts. If you have written a strong introduction, your readers will know why you have been arguing what you have been arguing—and why they should care. And if you’ve made a good case for your thesis, then your readers should be in a position to see things in a new way, understand new questions, or be ready for something that they weren’t ready for before they read your paper.
In her conclusion, Roser offers two “now what” statements. First, she explains that it is important to recognize that the flawed behavioral mediation hypothesis “seems to place a degree of fault on the individual. It implies that individuals with ADHD must have elicited such frequent or intense rejection by virtue of their inadequate social skills, erasing the possibility that they may simply possess a natural sensitivity to emotion.” She then highlights the broader implications for treatment of people with ADHD, noting that recognizing the actual connection between rejection sensitivity and ADHD “has profound implications for understanding how individuals with ADHD might best be treated in educational settings, by counselors, family, peers, or even society as a whole.”
To find your own “now what” for your essay’s conclusion, try asking yourself these questions:
- What can my readers now understand, see in a new light, or grapple with that they would not have understood in the same way before reading my paper? Are we a step closer to understanding a larger phenomenon or to understanding why what was at stake is so important?
- What questions can I now raise that would not have made sense at the beginning of my paper? Questions for further research? Other ways that this topic could be approached?
- Are there other applications for my research? Could my questions be asked about different data in a different context? Could I use my methods to answer a different question?
- What action should be taken in light of this argument? What action do I predict will be taken or could lead to a solution?
- What larger context might my argument be a part of?
What to avoid in your conclusion
- a complete restatement of all that you have said in your paper.
- a substantial counterargument that you do not have space to refute; you should introduce counterarguments before your conclusion.
- an apology for what you have not said. If you need to explain the scope of your paper, you should do this sooner—but don’t apologize for what you have not discussed in your paper.
- fake transitions like “in conclusion” that are followed by sentences that aren’t actually conclusions. (“In conclusion, I have now demonstrated that my thesis is correct.”)
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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.
Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.
Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.
Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.
Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.
Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.
Strategies for writing an effective conclusion
One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:
- Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, ask a friend to read it with you. Whenever you make a statement from your conclusion, ask the friend to say, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it. Here’s how it might go: You: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. Friend: So what? You: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen. Friend: Why should anybody care? You: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally. You can also use this strategy on your own, asking yourself “So What?” as you develop your ideas or your draft.
- Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.
- Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.
- Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.
- Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help her to apply your info and ideas to her own life or to see the broader implications.
- Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.
Strategies to avoid
- Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.
- Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.
- Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.
- Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.
- Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.
- Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.
Four kinds of ineffective conclusions
- The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward. People write this kind of conclusion when they can’t think of anything else to say. Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
- The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” him with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.
- The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.
- The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. New York: Dover.
Hamilton College. n.d. “Conclusions.” Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.hamilton.edu//academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/conclusions .
Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html.
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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Last Updated: June 29, 2023 Approved
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 42 testimonials and 82% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,246,917 times.
The conclusion of a research paper needs to summarize the content and purpose of the paper without seeming too wooden or dry. Every basic conclusion must share several key elements, but there are also several tactics you can play around with to craft a more effective conclusion and several you should avoid to prevent yourself from weakening your paper's conclusion. Here are some writing tips to keep in mind when creating a conclusion for your next research paper.
Writing a basic conclusion.
- Do not spend a great amount of time or space restating your topic.
- A good research paper will make the importance of your topic apparent, so you do not need to write an elaborate defense of your topic in the conclusion.
- Usually a single sentence is all you need to restate your topic.
- An example would be if you were writing a paper on the epidemiology of infectious disease, you might say something like "Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year."
- Yet another example from the humanities would be a paper about the Italian Renaissance: "The Italian Renaissance was an explosion of art and ideas centered around artists, writers, and thinkers in Florence."
- A thesis is a narrowed, focused view on the topic at hand.
- This statement should be rephrased from the thesis you included in your introduction. It should not be identical or too similar to the sentence you originally used.
- Try re-wording your thesis statement in a way that complements your summary of the topic of your paper in your first sentence of your conclusion.
- An example of a good thesis statement, going back to the paper on tuberculosis, would be "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease ."
- A good way to go about this is to re-read the topic sentence of each major paragraph or section in the body of your paper.
- Find a way to briefly restate each point mentioned in each topic sentence in your conclusion. Do not repeat any of the supporting details used within your body paragraphs.
- Under most circumstances, you should avoid writing new information in your conclusion. This is especially true if the information is vital to the argument or research presented in your paper.
- For example, in the TB paper you could summarize the information. "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of TB infections is soaring. Crowded conditions, poor sanitation, and lack of access to medical care are all compounding factors in the spread of the disease. Medical experts, such as those from the World Health Organization are now starting campaigns to go into communities in developing countries and provide diagnostic testing and treatments. However, the treatments for TB are very harsh and have many side effects. This leads to patient non-compliance and spread of multi-drug resistant strains of the disease."
- Note that this is not needed for all research papers.
- If you already fully explained what the points in your paper mean or why they are significant, you do not need to go into them in much detail in your conclusion. Simply restating your thesis or the significance of your topic should suffice.
- It is always best practice to address important issues and fully explain your points in the body of your paper. The point of a conclusion to a research paper is to summarize your argument for the reader and, perhaps, to call the reader to action if needed.
- Note that a call for action is not essential to all conclusions. A research paper on literary criticism, for instance, is less likely to need a call for action than a paper on the effect that television has on toddlers and young children.
- A paper that is more likely to call readers to action is one that addresses a public or scientific need. Let's go back to our example of tuberculosis. This is a very serious disease that is spreading quickly and with antibiotic-resistant forms.
- A call to action in this research paper would be a follow-up statement that might be along the lines of "Despite new efforts to diagnose and contain the disease, more research is needed to develop new antibiotics that will treat the most resistant strains of tuberculosis and ease the side effects of current treatments."
- For example, if you are writing a history paper, then you might discuss how the historical topic you discussed matters today. If you are writing about a foreign country, then you might use the conclusion to discuss how the information you shared may help readers understand their own country.
Making Your Conclusion as Effective as Possible
- Since this sort of conclusion is so basic, you must aim to synthesize the information rather than merely summarizing it.
- Instead of merely repeating things you already said, rephrase your thesis and supporting points in a way that ties them all together.
- By doing so, you make your research paper seem like a "complete thought" rather than a collection of random and vaguely related ideas.
- Ask a question in your introduction. In your conclusion, restate the question and provide a direct answer.
- Write an anecdote or story in your introduction but do not share the ending. Instead, write the conclusion to the anecdote in the conclusion of your paper.
- For example, if you wanted to get more creative and put a more humanistic spin on a paper on tuberculosis, you might start your introduction with a story about a person with the disease, and refer to that story in your conclusion. For example, you could say something like this before you re-state your thesis in your conclusion: "Patient X was unable to complete the treatment for tuberculosis due to severe side effects and unfortunately succumbed to the disease."
- Use the same concepts and images introduced in your introduction in your conclusion. The images may or may not appear at other points throughout the research paper.
- Include enough information about your topic to back the statement up but do not get too carried away with excess detail.
- If your research did not provide you with a clear-cut answer to a question posed in your thesis, do not be afraid to indicate as much.
- Restate your initial hypothesis and indicate whether you still believe it or if the research you performed has begun swaying your opinion.
- Indicate that an answer may still exist and that further research could shed more light on the topic at hand.
- This may not be appropriate for all types of research papers. Most research papers, such as one on effective treatment for diseases, will have the information to make the case for a particular argument already in the paper.
- A good example of a paper that might ask a question of the reader in the ending is one about a social issue, such as poverty or government policy.
- Ask a question that will directly get at the heart or purpose of the paper. This question is often the same question, or some version of it, that you may have started with when you began your research.
- Make sure that the question can be answered by the evidence presented in your paper.
- If desired you can briefly summarize the answer after stating the question. You could also leave the question hanging for the reader to answer, though.
- Even without a call to action, you can still make a recommendation to your reader.
- For instance, if you are writing about a topic like third-world poverty, you can various ways for the reader to assist in the problem without necessarily calling for more research.
- Another example would be, in a paper about treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis, you could suggest donating to the World Health Organization or research foundations that are developing new treatments for the disease.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
- These sayings usually sound stiff, unnatural, or trite when used in writing.
- Moreover, using a phrase like "in conclusion" to begin your conclusion is a little too straightforward and tends to lead to a weak conclusion. A strong conclusion can stand on its own without being labeled as such.
- Always state the main argument or thesis in the introduction. A research paper is an analytical discussion of an academic topic, not a mystery novel.
- A good, effective research paper will allow your reader to follow your main argument from start to finish.
- This is why it is best practice to start your paper with an introduction that states your main argument and to end the paper with a conclusion that re-states your thesis for re-iteration.
- All significant information should be introduced in the body of the paper.
- Supporting evidence expands the topic of your paper by making it appear more detailed. A conclusion should narrow the topic to a more general point.
- A conclusion should only summarize what you have already stated in the body of your paper.
- You may suggest further research or a call to action, but you should not bring in any new evidence or facts in the conclusion.
- Most often, a shift in tone occurs when a research paper with an academic tone gives an emotional or sentimental conclusion.
- Even if the topic of the paper is of personal significance for you, you should not indicate as much in your paper.
- If you want to give your paper a more humanistic slant, you could start and end your paper with a story or anecdote that would give your topic more personal meaning to the reader.
- This tone should be consistent throughout the paper, however.
- Apologetic statements include phrases like "I may not be an expert" or "This is only my opinion."
- Statements like this can usually be avoided by refraining from writing in the first-person.
- Avoid any statements in the first-person. First-person is generally considered to be informal and does not fit with the formal tone of a research paper.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/04/
- ↑ http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/18_Writing_Conclusion.asp
- ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html#conclusion
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/conclusions/
- ↑ http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/conclude.html
About This Article
To write a conclusion for a research paper, start by restating your thesis statement to remind your readers what your main topic is and bring everything full circle. Then, briefly summarize all of the main points you made throughout your paper, which will help remind your readers of everything they learned. You might also want to include a call to action if you think more research or work needs to be done on your topic by writing something like, "Despite efforts to contain the disease, more research is needed to develop antibiotics." Finally, end your conclusion by explaining the broader context of your topic and why your readers should care about it, which will help them understand why your topic is relevant and important. For tips from our Academic co-author, like how to avoid common pitfalls when writing your conclusion, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.
Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:
In a general way,
- Restate your topic and why it is important,
- Restate your thesis/claim,
- Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
- Call for action or overview future research possibilities.
Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don't try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang(!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.
The preacher's maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:
Tell what you're going to tell them (introduction).
Tell them (body).
Tell them what you told them (conclusion).
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper: Your Guide
What Is a Conclusion in Research Papers
A conclusion in research paper is the final piece of the puzzle, the last chapter in the story, the grand finale of a long and arduous journey. It is the point where the researcher can finally step back and say, 'I have found what I was looking for.' But it is more than just a summary of the findings. A conclusion is a reflection on the entire research process, a chance for the researcher to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their methodology and to make recommendations for future research. It is a time to celebrate successes, acknowledge limitations, and offer suggestions for improvement.
You may know how to start a research paper ; however, making a compelling ending requires a thorough understanding too. A conclusion is an opportunity to connect the research findings to a larger context, discuss how the results contribute to the broader field of study and suggest possible applications in real-world scenarios. It is a moment of closure but also a starting point for new avenues of inquiry.
So, let's delve into the following sections to find out how to write a conclusion for a research paper that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Related article: ' HOW TO START A RESEARCH PAPER '
Outline for a Research Paper Conclusion
When wondering how to make a research paper outline , the first step is to get familiar with the general structure. Here we prepared a research paper conclusion example, so let's take a close look at what information to include in a conclusion outline:
I. Summary of main findings
- Briefly summarize the main findings of the research, including any significant results or discoveries made.
II. Restate the research question/objective
- Restate the thesis statement or objective and indicate whether it was answered or achieved.
III. Discuss the implications of the findings
- Discuss the implications of the findings and explain why they matter, including any practical applications or theoretical implications.
IV. Acknowledge limitations and suggest future research
- Acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the study and suggest directions for future research, including any areas where further investigation is needed.
V. Concluding statement
- Conclude your final paragraph with a statement that ties together the main points of the conclusion research paper and emphasizes their significance.
Here is the full guide on ' HOW TO MAKE A RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE '
Tips on How to Make a Conclusion in Research
By following these tips, you won't have to wonder 'how to make a conclusion in research' anymore and will effectively highlight its significance.
- Emphasize the significance of the findings: When discussing the implications, emphasize the practical or theoretical implications. Use language that emphasizes the importance of the findings and how they contribute to the broader field of study. For example, 'The study findings have important implications for clinical practice and highlight the need for further research in this area.'
- Tie back to the introduction: When concluding, tie the findings back to the introduction by reminding readers of the original purpose of the research. This helps to provide closure to the research and emphasizes the significance of the findings. For example, 'This study has successfully answered the research question of whether stress is a risk factor for heart disease in middle-aged adults, and provides important insights into the relationship between stress and cardiovascular health.'
- Avoid introducing new information: It's important to avoid introducing new information in the conclusion, as this can confuse readers and detract from the key arguments of the research. Stick to summarizing the main findings, discussing the implications, acknowledging limitations, and suggesting future research possibilities.
- Use clear and concise language: When making a conclusion, use clear and concise language. Avoid using technical jargon or overly complex language; instead, focus on using language accessible to a broad audience.
- End with a strong concluding statement: End your paper's conclusion with a strong concluding statement that ties together the main points and emphasizes their significance. This provides closure to the research and leaves readers with a lasting impression. Here is a conclusion in research example: 'Overall, the findings of this study provide important insights into the relationship between X and Y and highlight the need for further research in this area.'
How to Develop a Compelling Conclusion
Here are some main points to help you not just summarize the key thoughts of your work, but to go deeper to warrant a better grade:
- If you have been writing about a contemporary problem, talk about what can happen if the problem is not solved, but do not add new information. Do not bring in new evidence or new facts.
- Don’t hesitate to offer or to recommend some course of action.
- Use relevant quotations or expert opinions to make your conclusion more authoritative.
- Repeat a key statistic, fact, or even a visual image that represents the main point of your paper.
- Express personal reflection. You can even talk about your own life experiences.
- Interpret the results in your own way to give them a fresh perspective. Do not be afraid to be a researcher who introduces something new—even for the most common problems.
- Finish your conclusions with a short, but powerful message which will help others remember your study. This message is something that can differentiate you from others.
- Do not say "in conclusion" or similar sayings. This includes "in summary" or "in closing." Why? These sayings sound a bit unnatural and stiff. They make your work appear too formal and pragmatic. A strong conclusion does not need the word - “In conclusion”. It will stand on its own.
- Use the same consistent tone through your entire paper. It sounds unnatural if you suddenly use an absolutely different tone or style of presenting the information.
- Check your entire paper to make sure that you have not left any really important points behind.
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How to Make a Conclusion Effective Rhetorically
Here are some unique tips on how to start conclusion in research rhetorically from our law essay writing :
- Use rhetorical questions : Rhetorical questions are a powerful tool that can help to engage readers and prompt them to think critically about the research. For example, 'What impact will these findings have on the field of X? How can we use these findings to improve clinical practice?'
- Use strong language: Using strong, impactful language can help emphasize the research's significance and leave a lasting impression on readers. For example, 'These findings have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach X, and could have far-reaching implications for future research in this area.'
- Use repetition: Repetition can be an effective rhetorical tool that can help to reinforce key points and leave a lasting impression on readers. For example, repeating a phrase such as 'These findings underscore the importance of...' can help emphasize the research's significance.
- Use anecdotes : Using anecdotes or stories can help to make the research more relatable and engaging for readers. For example, sharing a personal story or case study that illustrates the research's practical applications can help emphasize its significance.
- Use vivid imagery : It can help bring the research to life and make it more memorable for readers. For example, using descriptive language to describe the impact of the research, such as 'This study sheds new light on X, illuminating a path forward for researchers in this field.'
Making a Conclusion Effective Logically
By using these logical strategies from our custom dissertation writing , you can make your research paper conclusion more coherent, persuasive, and effective.
- Use logical transitions : To make the conclusion flow smoothly and logically, use transition words and phrases such as 'therefore,' 'thus,' 'consequently,' and 'in conclusion.' This helps to signal to readers that the conclusion is a logical extension of the research that has been presented.
- Summarize key findings in order : To make the conclusion logical, summarize the key findings of the research in the order in which they were presented. This helps readers follow the research's progression and understand how the various findings fit together.
- Address potential counterarguments: Researchers can demonstrate a thorough and logical approach to their research by acknowledging and addressing these potential criticisms.
- Use quantitative data: This helps provide concrete evidence for the conclusions being drawn and makes the research more convincing.
- Provide a clear and concise summary: This helps readers understand the main takeaways from the research and provides a logical conclusion.
Things to Avoid in the Conclusion of Your Research Paper
By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure that their conclusions are clear, concise, and effective in summarizing their research's main findings and implications.
- Don't introduce new information: The conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or data that was not discussed in the main body of the paper. Stick to summarizing the key findings and insights that were already presented.
- Don't repeat information : While it's important to summarize key findings in the example of conclusion in research paper, don't simply repeat information already presented earlier. Instead, focus on synthesizing and connecting the various findings in a new way.
- Don't make unsupported claims: Avoid making sweeping or unsupported claims in the conclusion. Make sure that all conclusions are backed up by the data and evidence presented in the main body of the paper.
- Don't be overly emotional: While being passionate about your research topic is important, avoid being overly emotional or sentimental in the conclusion. Stick to a professional and objective tone.
- Don't end abruptly: Don't end the conclusion of research paper abruptly without providing a clear sense of closure. Instead, summarize the main points and insights, and consider ending with a call to action or a suggestion for future research.
Research Paper Conclusion Example
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about how to summarize a research paper. There are two things left: to take a look at the research paper conclusion example from our custom dissertation writing team.
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Now that you know what is a conclusion in research, you can agree that it requires careful consideration and planning. By following the general rules and tips outlined in this article, researchers can write paper that effectively summarizes the key findings and insights of their research in a logical and rhetorically effective manner.
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A paragraph is a group of related sentences that support one main idea. In general, paragraphs consist of three parts: the topic sentence, body sentences, and the concluding or the bridge sentence to the next paragraph or section. Paragraphs show where the subdivisions of a research paper begin and end and, thus, help the reader see the organization of the essay and grasp its main points.
Arnaudet, Martin L. and Mary Ellen Barrett. Paragraph Development: A Guide for Students of English . 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents, 1990.
Importance of Constructing Good Paragraphs
Paragraphs are the building blocks of papers . Without well-written paragraphs that flow logically from one idea to the next and that inform and help support in some meaningful way the central research problem being investigated, your paper will not be viewed as credible and, well, you'll probably receive a poor grade.
Here are some suggestions for troubleshooting common problems associated with developing paragraphs:
1. The paragraph has no controlling idea . Imagine each paragraph as having three general layers of text. The core content is in the middle. It includes all the evidence you need to make the point. However, this evidence needs to be introduced by a topic sentence in some way or your readers don't know what to do with all the evidence you have given them. Therefore, the beginning of the paragraph explains the controlling idea of the paragraph. The last part of the paragraph tells the reader how the paragraph relates to the broader argument and often provides a transition to the next idea. Once you have mastered the use of topic sentences, you may decide that the topic sentence for a particular paragraph really should not be the first sentence of the paragraph. This is fine—the topic sentence can actually go at the beginning, middle, or end of a paragraph; what's important is that it is there to inform readers what the main idea of the paragraph is and how it relates back to the broader thesis of your paper.
2. The paragraph has more than one controlling idea . This is the most common reason why a paragraph is too long. If a paragraph is more than a page long, it likely contains more than one controlling idea. In this case, consider eliminating sentences that relate to the second idea, with the thought that maybe they don't really inform and help support the central research problem, or split the paragraph into two or more paragraphs, each with only one controlling idea.
3. Transitions are needed within the paragraph . You are probably familiar with the idea that transitions may be needed between paragraphs or sections in a paper. Sometimes they are also helpful within the body of a single paragraph. Within a paragraph, transitions are often single words or short phrases that help to establish relationships between ideas and to create a logical progression of those ideas in a paragraph. This is especially true within paragraphs that discuss multiple examples or discuss complex ideas, issues, or concepts.
Arnaudet, Martin L. and Mary Ellen Barrett. Paragraph Development: A Guide for Students of English . 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents, 1990; Paragraph Development: Importance of Constructing Good Paragraphs. AP English Literature and Composition. Edublogs, 2012; Paragraphing. Centre for Applied Linguistics. University of Warwick.
Structure and Writing Style
I. General Structure
Most paragraphs in an essay parallel the general three-part structure of each section of a research paper and, by extension, the overall research paper, with an introduction, a body that includes facts and analysis, and a conclusion. You can see this structure in paragraphs whether they are narrating, describing, comparing, contrasting, or analyzing information. Each part of the paragraph plays an important role in communicating the meaning you intend to covey to the reader.
Introduction : the first section of a paragraph; should include the topic sentence and any other sentences at the beginning of the paragraph that give background information or provide a transition.
Body : follows the introduction; discusses the controlling idea, using facts, arguments, analysis, examples, and other information.
Conclusion : the final section; summarizes the connections between the information discussed in the body of the paragraph and the paragraph’s controlling idea. For long paragraphs, you may also want to include a bridge sentence that introduces the next paragraph or section of the paper. In some instances, the bridge sentence can be written in the form of a question. However, use this rhetorical device sparingly, otherwise, ending a lot of paragraphs with a question to lead into the next paragraph sounds cumbersome.
NOTE: This general structure does not imply that you should not be creative in your writing. Arranging where each element goes in a paragraph can make a paper more engaging for the reader. However, do not be too creative in experimenting with the narrative flow of paragraphs. To do so may distract from the main arguments of your research and weaken the quality of your academic writing.
II. Development and Organization
Before you can begin to determine what the composition of a particular paragraph will be, you must consider what is the most important idea that you are trying to convey to your reader. This is the "controlling idea," or the thesis statement from which you compose the remainder of the paragraph. In other words, your paragraphs should remind your reader that there is a recurrent relationship between your controlling idea and the information in each paragraph. The research problem functions like a seed from which your paper, and your ideas, will grow. The whole process of paragraph development is an organic one—a natural progression from a seed idea to a full-blown research study where there are direct, familial relationships in the paper between all of your controlling ideas and the paragraphs which derive from them. The decision about what to put into your paragraphs begins with brainstorming about how you want to pursue the research problem . There are many techniques for brainstorming but, whichever one you choose, this stage of paragraph development cannot be skipped because it lays a foundation for developing a set of paragraphs [representing a section of your paper] that describes a specific element of your overall analysis. Each section is described further in this writing guide. Given these factors, every paragraph in a paper should be :
- Unified —All of the sentences in a single paragraph should be related to a single controlling idea [often expressed in the topic sentence of the paragraph].
- Clearly related to the research problem —The sentences should all refer to the central idea, or the thesis, of the paper.
- Coherent —The sentences should be arranged in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan for development.
- Well-developed —Every idea discussed in the paragraph should be adequately explained and supported through evidence and details that work together to explain the paragraph's controlling idea.
There are many different ways you can organize a paragraph . However, the organization you choose will depend on the controlling idea of the paragraph. Ways to organize a paragraph in academic writing include:
- Narrative : Tell a story. Go chronologically, from start to finish.
- Descriptive : Provide specific details about what something looks or feels like. Organize spatially, in order of appearance, or by topic.
- Process : Explain step by step how something works. Perhaps follow a sequence—first, second, third.
- Classification : Separate into groups or explain the various parts of a topic.
- Illustrative : Give examples and explain how those examples prove your point.
Arnaudet, Martin L. and Mary Ellen Barrett. Paragraph Development: A Guide for Students of English . 2nd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents, 1990; On Paragraphs. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Organization: General Guidelines for Paragraphing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; The Paragraph. The Writing Center. Pasadena City College; Paragraph Structure. Effective Writing Center. University of Maryland; Paragraphs. Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College; Paragraphs. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Paragraphs. University Writing Center. Texas A&M University; Paragraphs and Topic Sentences. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Weissberg, Robert C. “Given and New: Paragraph Development Models from Scientific English.” TESOL Quarterly 18 (September 1984): 485-500.
Coherence of Ideas is What Matters, Not Length!
Do not think of developing paragraphs in terms of their length. Length and appearance do not determine whether a part in your paper is a paragraph. It is the unity and coherence of ideas represented in a sentence or among sentences that constitutes to a good paragraph.
Bahl, Vik. Paragraph Development. English 127 Research Writing syllabus. Green River Community College.
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How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion Section
What is a conclusion in a research paper?
The conclusion in a research paper is the final paragraph or two in a research paper. In scientific papers, the conclusion usually follows the Discussion section , summarizing the importance of the findings and reminding the reader why the work presented in the paper is relevant.
However, it can be a bit confusing to distinguish the conclusion section/paragraph from a summary or a repetition of your findings, your own opinion, or the statement of the implications of your work. In fact, the conclusion should contain a bit of all of these other parts but go beyond it—but not too far beyond!
The structure and content of the conclusion section can also vary depending on whether you are writing a research manuscript or an essay. This article will explain how to write a good conclusion section, what exactly it should (and should not) contain, how it should be structured, and what you should avoid when writing it.
Table of Contents:
What does a good conclusion section do, what to include in a research paper conclusion.
- Conclusion in an Essay
- Research Paper Conclusion
- Conclusion Paragraph Outline and Example
- What Not to Do When Writing a Conclusion
The conclusion of a research paper has several key objectives. It should:
- Restate your research problem addressed in the introduction section
- Summarize your main arguments, important findings, and broader implications
- Synthesize key takeaways from your study
The specific content in the conclusion depends on whether your paper presents the results of original scientific research or constructs an argument through engagement with previously published sources.
You presented your general field of study to the reader in the introduction section, by moving from general information (the background of your work, often combined with a literature review ) to the rationale of your study and then to the specific problem or topic you addressed, formulated in the form of the statement of the problem in research or the thesis statement in an essay.
In the conclusion section, in contrast, your task is to move from your specific findings or arguments back to a more general depiction of how your research contributes to the readers’ understanding of a certain concept or helps solve a practical problem, or fills an important gap in the literature. The content of your conclusion section depends on the type of research you are doing and what type of paper you are writing. But whatever the outcome of your work is, the conclusion is where you briefly summarize it and place it within a larger context. It could be called the “take-home message” of the entire paper.
What to summarize in the conclusion
Your conclusion section needs to contain a very brief summary of your work , a very brief summary of the main findings of your work, and a mention of anything else that seems relevant when you now look at your work from a bigger perspective, even if it was not initially listed as one of your main research questions. This could be a limitation, for example, a problem with the design of your experiment that either needs to be considered when drawing any conclusions or that led you to ask a different question and therefore draw different conclusions at the end of your study (compared to when you started out).
Once you have reminded the reader of what you did and what you found, you need to go beyond that and also provide either your own opinion on why your work is relevant (and for whom, and how) or theoretical or practical implications of the study , or make a specific call for action if there is one to be made.
How to Write an Essay Conclusion
Academic essays follow quite different structures than their counterparts in STEM and the natural sciences. Humanities papers often have conclusion sections that are much longer and contain more detail than scientific papers. There are three main types of academic essay conclusions.
The most typical conclusion at the end of an analytical/explanatory/argumentative essay is a summarizing conclusion . This is, as the name suggests, a clear summary of the main points of your topic and thesis. Since you might have gone through a number of different arguments or subtopics in the main part of your essay, you need to remind the reader again what those were, how they fit into each other, and how they helped you develop or corroborate your hypothesis.
For an essay that analyzes how recruiters can hire the best candidates in the shortest time or on “how starving yourself will increase your lifespan, according to science”, a summary of all the points you discussed might be all you need. Note that you should not exactly repeat what you said earlier, but rather highlight the essential details and present those to your reader in a different way.
If you think that just reminding the reader of your main points is not enough, you can opt for an externalizing conclusion instead, that presents new points that were not presented in the paper so far. These new points can be additional facts and information or they can be ideas that are relevant to the topic and have not been mentioned before.
Such a conclusion can stimulate your readers to think about your topic or the implications of your analysis in a whole new way. For example, at the end of a historical analysis of a specific event or development, you could direct your reader’s attention to some current events that were not the topic of your essay but that provide a different context for your findings.
In an editorial conclusion , another common type of conclusion that you will find at the end of papers and essays, you do not add new information but instead present your own experiences or opinions on the topic to round everything up. What makes this type of conclusion interesting is that you can choose to agree or disagree with the information you presented in your paper so far. For example, if you have collected and analyzed information on how a specific diet helps people lose weight, you can nevertheless have your doubts on the sustainability of that diet or its practicability in real life—if such arguments were not included in your original thesis and have therefore not been covered in the main part of your paper, the conclusion section is the place where you can get your opinion across.
How to Conclude an Empirical Research Paper
An empirical research paper is usually more concise and succinct than an essay, because, if it is written well, it focuses on one specific question, describes the method that was used to answer that one question, describes and explains the results, and guides the reader in a logical way from the introduction to the discussion without going on tangents or digging into not absolutely relevant topics.
Summarize the findings
In a scientific paper, you should include a summary of the findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth results and discussion already), but do clearly express the answers to the research questions you investigated.
Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones anticipated, and explain the conclusion they led you to. Explain these findings in as few words as possible.
Instead of beginning with “ In conclusion, in this study, we investigated the effect of stress on the brain using fMRI …”, you should try to find a way to incorporate the repetition of the essential (and only the essential) details into the summary of the key points. “ The findings of this fMRI study on the effect of stress on the brain suggest that …” or “ While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study show that, surprisingly… ” would be better ways to start a conclusion.
You should also not bring up new ideas or present new facts in the conclusion of a research paper, but stick to the background information you have presented earlier, to the findings you have already discussed, and the limitations and implications you have already described. The one thing you can add here is a practical recommendation that you haven’t clearly stated before—but even that one needs to follow logically from everything you have already discussed in the discussion section.
Discuss the implications
After summing up your key arguments or findings, conclude the paper by stating the broader implications of the research , whether in methods , approach, or findings. Express practical or theoretical takeaways from your paper. This often looks like a “call to action” or a final “sales pitch” that puts an exclamation point on your paper.
If your research topic is more theoretical in nature, your closing statement should express the significance of your argument—for example, in proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research.
Future research example
Future research into education standards should focus on establishing a more detailed picture of how novel pedagogical approaches impact young people’s ability to absorb new and difficult concepts. Moreover, observational studies are needed to gain more insight into how specific teaching models affect the retention of relationships and facts—for instance, how inquiry-based learning and its emphasis on lateral thinking can be used as a jumping-off point for more holistic classroom approaches.
Research Conclusion Example and Outline
Let’s revisit the study on the effect of stress on the brain we mentioned before and see what the common structure for a conclusion paragraph looks like, in three steps. Following these simple steps will make it easy for you to wrap everything up in one short paragraph that contains all the essential information:
One: Short summary of what you did, but integrated into the summary of your findings:
While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study in 25 university students going through mid-term exams show that, surprisingly, one’s attitude to the experienced stress significantly modulates the brain’s response to it.
Note that you don’t need to repeat any methodological or technical details here—the reader has been presented with all of these before, they have read your results section and the discussion of your results, and even (hopefully!) a discussion of the limitations and strengths of your paper. The only thing you need to remind them of here is the essential outcome of your work.
Two: Add implications, and don’t forget to specify who this might be relevant for:
Students could be considered a specific subsample of the general population, but earlier research shows that the effect that exam stress has on their physical and mental health is comparable to the effects of other types of stress on individuals of other ages and occupations. Further research into practical ways of modulating not only one’s mental stress response but potentially also one’s brain activity (e.g., via neurofeedback training) are warranted.
This is a “research implication”, and it is nicely combined with a mention of a potential limitation of the study (the student sample) that turns out not to be a limitation after all (because earlier research suggests we can generalize to other populations). If there already is a lot of research on neurofeedback for stress control, by the way, then this should have been discussed in your discussion section earlier and you wouldn’t say such studies are “warranted” here but rather specify how your findings could inspire specific future experiments or how they should be implemented in existing applications.
Three: The most important thing is that your conclusion paragraph accurately reflects the content of your paper. Compare it to your research paper title , your research paper abstract , and to your journal submission cover letter , in case you already have one—if these do not all tell the same story, then you need to go back to your paper, start again from the introduction section, and find out where you lost the logical thread. As always, consistency is key.
Problems to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion
- Do not suddenly introduce new information that has never been mentioned before (unless you are writing an essay and opting for an externalizing conclusion, see above). The conclusion section is not where you want to surprise your readers, but the take-home message of what you have already presented.
- Do not simply copy your abstract, the conclusion section of your abstract, or the first sentence of your introduction, and put it at the end of the discussion section. Even if these parts of your paper cover the same points, they should not be identical.
- Do not start the conclusion with “In conclusion”. If it has its own section heading, that is redundant, and if it is the last paragraph of the discussion section, it is inelegant and also not really necessary. The reader expects you to wrap your work up in the last paragraph, so you don’t have to announce that. Just look at the above example to see how to start a conclusion in a natural way.
- Do not forget what your research objectives were and how you initially formulated the statement of the problem in your introduction section. If your story/approach/conclusions changed because of methodological issues or information you were not aware of when you started, then make sure you go back to the beginning and adapt your entire story (not just the ending).
Consider Receiving Academic Editing Services
When you have arrived at the conclusion of your paper, you might want to head over to wordvice.ai to receive a free grammar check for any academic content.
After drafting, you can also receive English editing and proofreading services , including paper editing services for your journal manuscript. If you need advice on how to write the other parts of your research paper , or on how to make a research paper outline if you are struggling with putting everything you did together, then head over to the Wordvice academic resources pages , where we have a lot more articles and videos for you.
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Writing a research paper is tedious, and after all that work, you’d think the conclusion would be the easy part. In reality, this is often one of the most difficult sections of a research paper to write, since you have to neatly tie up pages and pages of research in a short amount of time.
To help you with this, we’ve put together some instructions and tips on how to write a research paper conclusion. We’ll also talk about what conclusions are, why they’re important, and different ways you can format them.
Research paper conclusions serve to close the argument the introduction opened and restate the main points of the research paper.
There are three research paper conclusion formats: summarization, reflective, and projective.
Your research paper conclusion should be concise, straightforward, and accurate.
How To Write A Research Paper Conclusion
6 tips for writing a research paper conclusion, different formats of research paper conclusions, what is the conclusion of a research paper, why is writing a conclusion important for a research paper, research paper conclusion faq.
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Many students understand that the conclusion is a crucial part of their research paper, but they don’t know how to go about writing one.
Follow the steps below for how to write a research paper conclusion.
Open With The Research Topic. To begin a conclusion paragraph, use the first sentence to reiterate the comprehensive subject matter that your paper covered. Since this is just a sentence-long retelling of your research topic and why it’s important, it doesn’t have to be specific, but it does need clarity.
Dragonflies are a magnificently complex insect whose advanced physical mechanics and vast species differences make them a notable study in the scientific community.
Focus On Your Specific Thesis. Every research paper focuses on targetted intricacies within a larger topic. Now that the more extensive topic of the research paper has been mentioned, the next sentence or two highlights the specific thesis presented.
Don’t merely copy and paste the introduction of your thesis from the first paragraph. Restate it in different words that illicit a more in-depth understanding from the reader .
The overall characteristics found only within the Odonata family unites the dragonfly under a singular title. All species of dragonfly faced the same path towards the modern structure known today, and therefore, they are all similar in one way or another. However, there are also significant differences apparent to the naked eye between a species that shares so much of the same structure.
Summarize And Connect Main Points. Throughout a research paper, the writer presents points to support the initial thesis claim. Very briefly summarize and tie together these points in a way that supports your thesis. This is the place to restate your research findings.
By examining the striped meadowhawk and migrant hawker dragonflies, it is shown that habitat governs many aspects pertaining to that specific species’ lifestyle. It is also proven that color and patterns perceived on this insect serve a greater purpose of individualizing and distinguishing between these two species.
Bring It All Together. It sounds redundant to say you need to conclude your conclusion, but that’s the final step. You’ve done the mini recap of your research paper through the beginning sentences of your essay. Close the conclusion by making a final encouragement for an action, idea, or fact.
The dragonfly is a unique insect with uniting factors and specialization. However, the most attributed aspect to this insect as a whole is the enormity of their differences. The evolved genetic features attributed to various species of dragonflies both individualize them and apply unification to the insect as a whole.
Consider What Conclusion Format To Use Carefully. The way you structure a conclusion has a massive effect on how impactful it will be to a reader.
Some types of writing can work well with a variety of conclusion formats, but others will confuse a paper’s message. For example, using a reflective style conclusion on a scientific research paper comes across as too opinion-based for a topic that’s shrouded in measurable fact.
Don’t Make It Too Complex. It’s best to use plain language when summarizing the information presented in a research paper or making a claim. Many students are tempted to use impressive wording and complex writing in a research paper conclusion to present themselves as experts in the subject , but it only gives the reader a headache.
Conclusions Should Be Concise . Research papers give the writer pages of leeway to make all the drawn-out points that they need, but conclusions don’t offer as much room. An essay’s conclusion needs to be short by definition because it’s merely a last takeaway for the reader. A research paper conclusion is a final paragraph, not the entire page .
Double Check Your Information. There’s nothing worse for a research paper’s validity than confidently making a claim in the conclusion that turns out to be false. It’s fundamental that all the facts and information your detail in a research paper are backed up with credible sources listed neatly on the works cited page.
Empathize With The Reader. Whether you’re submitting a research paper for an introductory university class or publishing a scholarly journal, you still need to keep the reader in mind when writing a conclusion. Think about who you’re communicating with through your research paper and what you’re hoping to accomplish with it.
Do Research . One way to fix the problem if you’re unsure of what makes an essay conclusion compelling is researching the topic. Reading articles (like this one) is helpful because they give you a clear demonstration of how to create a conclusion, but applying this structure to your own work can be difficult. A case of easier said than done.
Based on the goal or subject of your research paper, the structure of your conclusion changes. Pick a type of conclusion that will strengthen the point of your essay. Below are examples of different formats to use when writing research paper conclusions.
Summarization. The summarization conclusion is most commonly used for research papers that are presenting a series of concrete facts.
It’s the form of conclusion that most people are familiar with. Using the summary technique requires a succinct compiling of the most critical points you’ve made in an essay.
Summarization Conclusion Formatting Works Best For:
History and Science Studies
Structuring An Argument
Reflective. A conclusion that uses a reflective structure takes the information outlined in the research paper to arrive at a grander insight about the topic at hand. This type of conclusion is popular when you’re attempting to change the reader’s viewpoint with a paper.
Reflective Conclusion Formatting Works Best For:
English and Political Studies
Projective. When using a projective conclusion, the writer applies their work presented earlier in the thesis to eventual outcomes that can arise. It is called a projective conclusion because it is more results-based than summarizing facts or establishing an overarching lesson.
Projective Conclusion Formatting Works Best For:
Narrative Works (Sometimes)
The conclusion of a research paper ties together all the prior information you’ve covered. It leaves the reader with a final thought about the research paper and the message it’s trying to convey.
Unlike the body paragraphs of a research paper, which aim at specificity and focus on developing a single concept or piece of information, conclusions are broader. The goal is to gloss over what’s already been stated earlier in the essay to solidify it with the reader.
The conclusion also serves a different purpose than the introduction . An introductory paragraph is for establishing what the reader will be learning more about. It opens the metaphorical door towards understanding a research endeavor or topic. The conclusion closes the argument that the introductory paragraph opens.
Including a conclusion is an important part of writing a research paper because it creates an organized summarization of information and outlines inferences about the subject studied. It provides an additional layer of clarity in a short written work.
Research papers are often lengthy and dull, so it’s easy for a reader’s attention to stray. A conclusion brings the reader back and offers them the most critical takeaways from the paper.
How long should a good conclusion be?
A good conclusion should be one paragraph or three to five sentences long. Your research paper conclusion should be concise, which means you don’t need to take up a whole page for just your conclusion. Instead, try to stick to about one paragraph in length.
What are the general rules in crafting conclusions in your research paper?
The general rules for crafting conclusions for your research paper include:
Choose the right conclusion format.
Keep it simple.
Keep the reader’s needs (or requirements) in mind.
Remind the reader of your thesis.
Summarize and connect main points.
End with a concluding sentence.
What is a better way to say, “In conclusion”?
A better way to say, “In conclusion,” is “Therefore,” “Finally,” or “Lastly.” Other good words include, “As expressed” or “As a result.” You can also simply launch into your concluding paragraph if a transition isn’t needed.
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Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.
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How to End a Research Paper: Ways to Sum Up Your Paper
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Writing the conclusion for a research paper can be a challenging task for students. Quite often they don’t know how to write a strong conclusion. Follow the tips below to write a great academic paper and impress scholars with a proper presentation of your ideas.
Ways to Conclude Research Paper
Research paper conclusion should convey a sense of completeness and closure. Check the following tips to know how to end a research paper:
Restate the main topic of your paper and provide explanation why it is important.
Restate the thesis of your paper. You should paraphrase the thesis statement at the beginning of your paper.
Sum up all main points of your paper. You have to remind the reader what has already been said, outline research paper ideas. Remember not to include any kind of new information in a closing paragraph.
Explain the significance of your arguments and ideas in case you haven’t done it in previous paragraphs.
A call for action is a great move at the end of a paper thus showing that there is a need to conduct further research.
You can end research in a simple synthesis of information that paraphrases thesis and main points of your work.
Link the conclusion with the beginning of your paper. Learn how to begin an essay and know the ways how to write a strong conclusion. For instance, you can use a question at the beginning of the paper and answer it at the end.
You can also conclude a paper with quotation from the primary reference source that underpins your main points.
Make it logical. If you paper discusses several aspects of the issue, present a logical opinion based on the evidence you have in the last paragraph of your paper.
Writing a conclusion means to present an outline of a paper in other words. Learn how to end a research paper with a team of professionals from College-writers.com . We know how to make it right.
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Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.
The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:
- Present your topic and get the reader interested
- Provide background or summarize existing research
- Position your own approach
- Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
- Give an overview of the paper’s structure
The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.
Table of contents
Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.
The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.
The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.
For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:
A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:
Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.
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This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.
In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.
Argumentative paper: Background information
After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.
Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .
Empirical paper: Describing previous research
For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.
This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.
Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.
The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.
Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance
In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.
Empirical paper: Relate to the literature
In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:
- What research gap is your work intended to fill?
- What limitations in previous work does it address?
- What contribution to knowledge does it make?
You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.
Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.
The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).
Argumentative paper: Thesis statement
The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.
Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis
The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.
Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.
A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.
- This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
- We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.
If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.
For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:
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The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.
In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.
If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.
- This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
- This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …
Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.
The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.
The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:
- A hook to catch the reader’s interest
- Relevant background on the topic
- Details of your research problem
and your problem statement
- A thesis statement or research question
- Sometimes an overview of the paper
Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
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Caulfield, J. (2023, March 27). Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide. Scribbr. Retrieved November 5, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/research-paper-introduction/
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