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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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- How to Write Discussions and Conclusions
The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.
What makes an effective discussion?
When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.
A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:
- the results of your research,
- a discussion of related research, and
- a comparison between your results and initial hypothesis.
Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.
You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.
Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Was my hypothesis correct?
- If my hypothesis is partially correct or entirely different, what can be learned from the results?
- How do the conclusions reshape or add onto the existing knowledge in the field? What does previous research say about the topic?
- Why are the results important or relevant to your audience? Do they add further evidence to a scientific consensus or disprove prior studies?
- How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done?
- What is the “take-home” message you want your reader to leave with?
How to structure a discussion
Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:
While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results!
- Read the journal’s guidelines on the discussion and conclusion sections. If possible, learn about the guidelines before writing the discussion to ensure you’re writing to meet their expectations.
- Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion.
- Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and limitations of the research.
- State whether the results prove or disprove your hypothesis. If your hypothesis was disproved, what might be the reasons?
- Introduce new or expanded ways to think about the research question. Indicate what next steps can be taken to further pursue any unresolved questions.
- If dealing with a contemporary or ongoing problem, such as climate change, discuss possible consequences if the problem is avoided.
- Be concise. Adding unnecessary detail can distract from the main findings.
- Rewrite your abstract. Statements with “we investigated” or “we studied” generally do not belong in the discussion.
- Include new arguments or evidence not previously discussed. Necessary information and evidence should be introduced in the main body of the paper.
- Apologize. Even if your research contains significant limitations, don’t undermine your authority by including statements that doubt your methodology or execution.
- Shy away from speaking on limitations or negative results. Including limitations and negative results will give readers a complete understanding of the presented research. Potential limitations include sources of potential bias, threats to internal or external validity, barriers to implementing an intervention and other issues inherent to the study design.
- Overstate the importance of your findings. Making grand statements about how a study will fully resolve large questions can lead readers to doubt the success of the research.
Snippets of Effective Discussions:
Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach
Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears
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How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion
Published on September 6, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on July 18, 2023.
The conclusion is the very last part of your thesis or dissertation . It should be concise and engaging, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your main findings, as well as the answer to your research question .
In it, you should:
- Clearly state the answer to your main research question
- Summarize and reflect on your research process
- Make recommendations for future work on your thesis or dissertation topic
- Show what new knowledge you have contributed to your field
- Wrap up your thesis or dissertation
Table of contents
Discussion vs. conclusion, how long should your conclusion be, step 1: answer your research question, step 2: summarize and reflect on your research, step 3: make future recommendations, step 4: emphasize your contributions to your field, step 5: wrap up your thesis or dissertation, full conclusion example, conclusion checklist, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.
While your conclusion contains similar elements to your discussion section , they are not the same thing.
Your conclusion should be shorter and more general than your discussion. Instead of repeating literature from your literature review , discussing specific research results , or interpreting your data in detail, concentrate on making broad statements that sum up the most important insights of your research.
As a rule of thumb, your conclusion should not introduce new data, interpretations, or arguments.
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Depending on whether you are writing a thesis or dissertation, your length will vary. Generally, a conclusion should make up around 5–7% of your overall word count.
An empirical scientific study will often have a short conclusion, concisely stating the main findings and recommendations for future research. A humanities dissertation topic or systematic review , on the other hand, might require more space to conclude its analysis, tying all the previous sections together in an overall argument.
Your conclusion should begin with the main question that your thesis or dissertation aimed to address. This is your final chance to show that you’ve done what you set out to do, so make sure to formulate a clear, concise answer.
- Don’t repeat a list of all the results that you already discussed
- Do synthesize them into a final takeaway that the reader will remember.
An empirical thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:
A case study –based thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:
In the second example, the research aim is not directly restated, but rather added implicitly to the statement. To avoid repeating yourself, it is helpful to reformulate your aims and questions into an overall statement of what you did and how you did it.
Your conclusion is an opportunity to remind your reader why you took the approach you did, what you expected to find, and how well the results matched your expectations.
To avoid repetition , consider writing more reflectively here, rather than just writing a summary of each preceding section. Consider mentioning the effectiveness of your methodology , or perhaps any new questions or unexpected insights that arose in the process.
You can also mention any limitations of your research, but only if you haven’t already included these in the discussion. Don’t dwell on them at length, though—focus on the positives of your work.
- While x limits the generalizability of the results, this approach provides new insight into y .
- This research clearly illustrates x , but it also raises the question of y .
You may already have made a few recommendations for future research in your discussion section, but the conclusion is a good place to elaborate and look ahead, considering the implications of your findings in both theoretical and practical terms.
- Based on these conclusions, practitioners should consider …
- To better understand the implications of these results, future studies could address …
- Further research is needed to determine the causes of/effects of/relationship between …
When making recommendations for further research, be sure not to undermine your own work. Relatedly, while future studies might confirm, build on, or enrich your conclusions, they shouldn’t be required for your argument to feel complete. Your work should stand alone on its own merits.
Just as you should avoid too much self-criticism, you should also avoid exaggerating the applicability of your research. If you’re making recommendations for policy, business, or other practical implementations, it’s generally best to frame them as “shoulds” rather than “musts.” All in all, the purpose of academic research is to inform, explain, and explore—not to demand.
Make sure your reader is left with a strong impression of what your research has contributed to the state of your field.
Some strategies to achieve this include:
- Returning to your problem statement to explain how your research helps solve the problem
- Referring back to the literature review and showing how you have addressed a gap in knowledge
- Discussing how your findings confirm or challenge an existing theory or assumption
Again, avoid simply repeating what you’ve already covered in the discussion in your conclusion. Instead, pick out the most important points and sum them up succinctly, situating your project in a broader context.
The end is near! Once you’ve finished writing your conclusion, it’s time to wrap up your thesis or dissertation with a few final steps:
- It’s a good idea to write your abstract next, while the research is still fresh in your mind.
- Next, make sure your reference list is complete and correctly formatted. To speed up the process, you can use our free APA citation generator .
- Once you’ve added any appendices , you can create a table of contents and title page .
- Finally, read through the whole document again to make sure your thesis is clearly written and free from language errors. You can proofread it yourself , ask a friend, or consider Scribbr’s proofreading and editing service .
Here is an example of how you can write your conclusion section. Notice how it includes everything mentioned above:
The current research aimed to identify acoustic speech characteristics which mark the beginning of an exacerbation in COPD patients.
The central questions for this research were as follows: 1. Which acoustic measures extracted from read speech differ between COPD speakers in stable condition and healthy speakers? 2. In what ways does the speech of COPD patients during an exacerbation differ from speech of COPD patients during stable periods?
All recordings were aligned using a script. Subsequently, they were manually annotated to indicate respiratory actions such as inhaling and exhaling. The recordings of 9 stable COPD patients reading aloud were then compared with the recordings of 5 healthy control subjects reading aloud. The results showed a significant effect of condition on the number of in- and exhalations per syllable, the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable, and the ratio of voiced and silence intervals. The number of in- and exhalations per syllable and the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable were higher for COPD patients than for healthy controls, which confirmed both hypotheses.
However, the higher ratio of voiced and silence intervals for COPD patients compared to healthy controls was not in line with the hypotheses. This unpredicted result might have been caused by the different reading materials or recording procedures for both groups, or by a difference in reading skills. Moreover, there was a trend regarding the effect of condition on the number of syllables per breath group. The number of syllables per breath group was higher for healthy controls than for COPD patients, which was in line with the hypothesis. There was no effect of condition on pitch, intensity, center of gravity, pitch variability, speaking rate, or articulation rate.
This research has shown that the speech of COPD patients in exacerbation differs from the speech of COPD patients in stable condition. This might have potential for the detection of exacerbations. However, sustained vowels rarely occur in spontaneous speech. Therefore, the last two outcome measures might have greater potential for the detection of beginning exacerbations, but further research on the different outcome measures and their potential for the detection of exacerbations is needed due to the limitations of the current study.
I have clearly and concisely answered the main research question .
I have summarized my overall argument or key takeaways.
I have mentioned any important limitations of the research.
I have given relevant recommendations .
I have clearly explained what my research has contributed to my field.
I have not introduced any new data or arguments.
You've written a great conclusion! Use the other checklists to further improve your dissertation.
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In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.
The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.
While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.
All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.
For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:
- Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the discussion section and results section
- Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion …”)
- Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g., “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)
Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.
The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:
- A restatement of your research question
- A summary of your key arguments and/or results
- A short discussion of the implications of your research
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How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)
The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial section that plays a significant role in the overall impact and effectiveness of your research paper. However, this is also the section that typically receives less attention compared to the introduction and the body of the paper. The conclusion serves to provide a concise summary of the key findings, their significance, their implications, and a sense of closure to the study. Discussing how can the findings be applied in real-world scenarios or inform policy, practice, or decision-making is especially valuable to practitioners and policymakers. The research paper conclusion also provides researchers with clear insights and valuable information for their own work, which they can then build on and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
The research paper conclusion should explain the significance of your findings within the broader context of your field. It restates how your results contribute to the existing body of knowledge and whether they confirm or challenge existing theories or hypotheses. Also, by identifying unanswered questions or areas requiring further investigation, your awareness of the broader research landscape can be demonstrated.
Remember to tailor the research paper conclusion to the specific needs and interests of your intended audience, which may include researchers, practitioners, policymakers, or a combination of these.
Table of Contents
What is a conclusion in a research paper, summarizing conclusion, editorial conclusion, externalizing conclusion, importance of a good research paper conclusion, how to write a conclusion for your research paper, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions.
A conclusion in a research paper is the final section where you summarize and wrap up your research, presenting the key findings and insights derived from your study. The research paper conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or data that was not discussed in the main body of the paper. When working on how to conclude a research paper, remember to stick to summarizing and interpreting existing content. The research paper conclusion serves the following purposes: 1
- Warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.
- Recommend specific course(s) of action.
- Restate key ideas to drive home the ultimate point of your research paper.
- Provide a “take-home” message that you want the readers to remember about your study.
Types of conclusions for research papers
In research papers, the conclusion provides closure to the reader. The type of research paper conclusion you choose depends on the nature of your study, your goals, and your target audience. I provide you with three common types of conclusions:
A summarizing conclusion is the most common type of conclusion in research papers. It involves summarizing the main points, reiterating the research question, and restating the significance of the findings. This common type of research paper conclusion is used across different disciplines.
An editorial conclusion is less common but can be used in research papers that are focused on proposing or advocating for a particular viewpoint or policy. It involves presenting a strong editorial or opinion based on the research findings and offering recommendations or calls to action.
An externalizing conclusion is a type of conclusion that extends the research beyond the scope of the paper by suggesting potential future research directions or discussing the broader implications of the findings. This type of conclusion is often used in more theoretical or exploratory research papers.
The conclusion in a research paper serves several important purposes:
- Offers Implications and Recommendations : Your research paper conclusion is an excellent place to discuss the broader implications of your research and suggest potential areas for further study. It’s also an opportunity to offer practical recommendations based on your findings.
- Provides Closure : A good research paper conclusion provides a sense of closure to your paper. It should leave the reader with a feeling that they have reached the end of a well-structured and thought-provoking research project.
- Leaves a Lasting Impression : Writing a well-crafted research paper conclusion leaves a lasting impression on your readers. It’s your final opportunity to leave them with a new idea, a call to action, or a memorable quote.
Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper is essential to leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you create and know what to put in the conclusion of a research paper: 2
- Research Statement : Begin your research paper conclusion by restating your research statement. This reminds the reader of the main point you’ve been trying to prove throughout your paper. Keep it concise and clear.
- Key Points : Summarize the main arguments and key points you’ve made in your paper. Avoid introducing new information in the research paper conclusion. Instead, provide a concise overview of what you’ve discussed in the body of your paper.
- Address the Research Questions : If your research paper is based on specific research questions or hypotheses, briefly address whether you’ve answered them or achieved your research goals. Discuss the significance of your findings in this context.
- Significance : Highlight the importance of your research and its relevance in the broader context. Explain why your findings matter and how they contribute to the existing knowledge in your field.
- Implications : Explore the practical or theoretical implications of your research. How might your findings impact future research, policy, or real-world applications? Consider the “so what?” question.
- Future Research : Offer suggestions for future research in your area. What questions or aspects remain unanswered or warrant further investigation? This shows that your work opens the door for future exploration.
- Closing Thought : Conclude your research paper conclusion with a thought-provoking or memorable statement. This can leave a lasting impression on your readers and wrap up your paper effectively. Avoid introducing new information or arguments here.
- Proofread and Revise : Carefully proofread your conclusion for grammar, spelling, and clarity. Ensure that your ideas flow smoothly and that your conclusion is coherent and well-structured.
Remember that a well-crafted research paper conclusion is a reflection of the strength of your research and your ability to communicate its significance effectively. It should leave a lasting impression on your readers and tie together all the threads of your paper. Now you know how to start the conclusion of a research paper and what elements to include to make it impactful, let’s look at a research paper conclusion sample.
The research paper conclusion is a crucial part of your paper as it provides the final opportunity to leave a strong impression on your readers. In the research paper conclusion, summarize the main points of your research paper by restating your research statement, highlighting the most important findings, addressing the research questions or objectives, explaining the broader context of the study, discussing the significance of your findings, providing recommendations if applicable, and emphasizing the takeaway message. The main purpose of the conclusion is to remind the reader of the main point or argument of your paper and to provide a clear and concise summary of the key findings and their implications. All these elements should feature on your list of what to put in the conclusion of a research paper to create a strong final statement for your work.
A strong conclusion is a critical component of a research paper, as it provides an opportunity to wrap up your arguments, reiterate your main points, and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here are the key elements of a strong research paper conclusion: 1. Conciseness : A research paper conclusion should be concise and to the point. It should not introduce new information or ideas that were not discussed in the body of the paper. 2. Summarization : The research paper conclusion should be comprehensive enough to give the reader a clear understanding of the research’s main contributions. 3 . Relevance : Ensure that the information included in the research paper conclusion is directly relevant to the research paper’s main topic and objectives; avoid unnecessary details. 4 . Connection to the Introduction : A well-structured research paper conclusion often revisits the key points made in the introduction and shows how the research has addressed the initial questions or objectives. 5. Emphasis : Highlight the significance and implications of your research. Why is your study important? What are the broader implications or applications of your findings? 6 . Call to Action : Include a call to action or a recommendation for future research or action based on your findings.
The length of a research paper conclusion can vary depending on several factors, including the overall length of the paper, the complexity of the research, and the specific journal requirements. While there is no strict rule for the length of a conclusion, but it’s generally advisable to keep it relatively short. A typical research paper conclusion might be around 5-10% of the paper’s total length. For example, if your paper is 10 pages long, the conclusion might be roughly half a page to one page in length.
In general, you do not need to include citations in the research paper conclusion. Citations are typically reserved for the body of the paper to support your arguments and provide evidence for your claims. However, there may be some exceptions to this rule: 1. If you are drawing a direct quote or paraphrasing a specific source in your research paper conclusion, you should include a citation to give proper credit to the original author. 2. If your conclusion refers to or discusses specific research, data, or sources that are crucial to the overall argument, citations can be included to reinforce your conclusion’s validity.
The conclusion of a research paper serves several important purposes: 1. Summarize the Key Points 2. Reinforce the Main Argument 3. Provide Closure 4. Offer Insights or Implications 5. Engage the Reader. 6. Reflect on Limitations
Remember that the primary purpose of the research paper conclusion is to leave a lasting impression on the reader, reinforcing the key points and providing closure to your research. It’s often the last part of the paper that the reader will see, so it should be strong and well-crafted.
- Makar, G., Foltz, C., Lendner, M., & Vaccaro, A. R. (2018). How to write effective discussion and conclusion sections. Clinical spine surgery, 31(8), 345-346.
- Bunton, D. (2005). The structure of PhD conclusion chapters. Journal of English for academic purposes , 4 (3), 207-224.
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Research Paper Conclusion: Know How To Write It
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Table of Contents
The conclusion of your research paper is often where many readers begin. Thus, it’s imperative that your conclusion leaves the reader with a clear and concise understanding of your final impressions and ideas. It is a time to recap the key points in your paper and summarize your data in simple terms. It may also be used as a platform and an opportunity to call for further action that may be needed.
The conclusion will vary depending on the structure of your paper. If you are presenting original data in an objective format, that conclusion looks a lot different from one where a strong argument as to a future direction is presented. But, there is a similar pattern and structure to a good conclusion regardless of its content.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
How do you start a conclusion for a research paper? It needs to be written as if it is a summary of your work. The audience should be considered to be your colleagues, but the tone should be more conversational than technical, so don’t get bogged down with details. Keep it clear, with straightforward terminology. This is the place to put forward your thoughts about the significance of your results. What does your research point to? If more research is needed, this is the time to indicate what direction you believe it needs to go. If you are presenting a strong conclusion, then defend.
Begin by clarifying your goals and restating the main points of your thesis. Don’t get into numbers or details, leave that for the body of your paper. Now is the time to put forth your conclusions by analyzing the significance of your findings. What importance is your research to the subject at hand? What further information is needed?
This is the time to be thought-provoking. Yes, briefly and clearly summarize your work, but don’t simply repeat it, add meaning to it. Expand on your findings in a way that challenges the reader to consider the implications of your research. Try to show the bigger picture, so the reader can see why your research matters in the real world.
Don’t simply repeat yourself or focus on minor details, the conclusion is the time to paint with broad strokes and point the way forward. Allow yourself to go beyond the narrow confines of the details and into the powerful conclusion of your work. Here is the time to give it meaning and significance.
Conclusion Format for Research Paper
A common format for a research paper begins with first explaining the topic and then the purpose of your research. This can be as short as one or two sentences. Then, you summarize your findings in clear language that emphasizes the importance of your research. After summarizing your main points, it’s important to defend the unique importance of your findings. If you are putting forth an argument, it’s essential to stress the consequences of the action and its relevance to real-world problems. Present your findings in a way that expresses the broader associations they have in your field. Make a case for the practical implications of your findings. If appropriate, you should end your conclusion with a call to action that may pave the way for future research projects.
Example of Conclusion in Research
Below is a sample conclusion that you can use as a model. Notice how it includes the aspects mentioned above.
Clean air and water is critical to environmental balance and public health. Since 2009, water pollution has contributed to a marked decrease in wildlife aquatic populations, as well as a decrease of safe drinking water. Corn production in the nation’s Midwest region has resulted in an exponential increase in pollutants contaminating freshwater aquifers and above-ground supplies. This has resulted in catastrophic fish die-off, increased instances of respiratory illness in rural communities, as well as a shortage of clean and safe potable drinking water. Environmental scientists continue to measure water quality, and trying to find ways to counteract pollution runoff from agricultural activities. Further research and innovation is needed to increase clean and safe water supplies, continue to support agricultural needs related to water supply shortages, and maintain a healthy environment for flora, fauna and human populations.
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Elsevier’s Language Editing Plus service can help ensure that your conclusion is well-written, and articulates your research. Via our most comprehensive editing package, you can count on a thorough language review by native-English speakers who are PhDs or PhD candidates. We’ll check for effective logic and flow of your manuscript, as well as document formatting for your chosen journal, reference checks, and much more.
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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.
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- ↑ 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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Home » Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples
Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples
Table of Contents
Research Paper Conclusion
A research paper conclusion is the final section of a research paper that summarizes the key findings, significance, and implications of the research. It is the writer’s opportunity to synthesize the information presented in the paper, draw conclusions, and make recommendations for future research or actions.
The conclusion should provide a clear and concise summary of the research paper, reiterating the research question or problem, the main results, and the significance of the findings. It should also discuss the limitations of the study and suggest areas for further research.
Parts of Research Paper Conclusion
The parts of a research paper conclusion typically include:
Restatement of the Thesis
The conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement from the introduction in a different way. This helps to remind the reader of the main argument or purpose of the research.
Summary of Key Findings
The conclusion should summarize the main findings of the research, highlighting the most important results and conclusions. This section should be brief and to the point.
Implications and Significance
In this section, the researcher should explain the implications and significance of the research findings. This may include discussing the potential impact on the field or industry, highlighting new insights or knowledge gained, or pointing out areas for future research.
Limitations and Recommendations
It is important to acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the research and to make recommendations for how these could be addressed in future studies. This shows that the researcher is aware of the potential limitations of their work and is committed to improving the quality of research in their field.
The conclusion should end with a strong concluding statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a call to action, a recommendation for further research, or a final thought on the topic.
How to Write Research Paper Conclusion
Here are some steps you can follow to write an effective research paper conclusion:
- Restate the research problem or question: Begin by restating the research problem or question that you aimed to answer in your research. This will remind the reader of the purpose of your study.
- Summarize the main points: Summarize the key findings and results of your research. This can be done by highlighting the most important aspects of your research and the evidence that supports them.
- Discuss the implications: Discuss the implications of your findings for the research area and any potential applications of your research. You should also mention any limitations of your research that may affect the interpretation of your findings.
- Provide a conclusion : Provide a concise conclusion that summarizes the main points of your paper and emphasizes the significance of your research. This should be a strong and clear statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
- Offer suggestions for future research: Lastly, offer suggestions for future research that could build on your findings and contribute to further advancements in the field.
Remember that the conclusion should be brief and to the point, while still effectively summarizing the key findings and implications of your research.
Example of Research Paper Conclusion
Here’s an example of a research paper conclusion:
In conclusion, our study aimed to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Our findings suggest that there is a significant association between social media use and increased levels of anxiety and depression among college students. This highlights the need for increased awareness and education about the potential negative effects of social media use on mental health, particularly among college students.
Despite the limitations of our study, such as the small sample size and self-reported data, our findings have important implications for future research and practice. Future studies should aim to replicate our findings in larger, more diverse samples, and investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the association between social media use and mental health. In addition, interventions should be developed to promote healthy social media use among college students, such as mindfulness-based approaches and social media detox programs.
Overall, our study contributes to the growing body of research on the impact of social media on mental health, and highlights the importance of addressing this issue in the context of higher education. By raising awareness and promoting healthy social media use among college students, we can help to reduce the negative impact of social media on mental health and improve the well-being of young adults.
Purpose of Research Paper Conclusion
The purpose of a research paper conclusion is to provide a summary and synthesis of the key findings, significance, and implications of the research presented in the paper. The conclusion serves as the final opportunity for the writer to convey their message and leave a lasting impression on the reader.
The conclusion should restate the research problem or question, summarize the main results of the research, and explain their significance. It should also acknowledge the limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research or action.
Overall, the purpose of the conclusion is to provide a sense of closure to the research paper and to emphasize the importance of the research and its potential impact. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main findings and why they matter. The conclusion serves as the writer’s opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.
When to Write Research Paper Conclusion
The conclusion of a research paper should be written after the body of the paper has been completed. It should not be written until the writer has thoroughly analyzed and interpreted their findings and has written a complete and cohesive discussion of the research.
Before writing the conclusion, the writer should review their research paper and consider the key points that they want to convey to the reader. They should also review the research question, hypotheses, and methodology to ensure that they have addressed all of the necessary components of the research.
Once the writer has a clear understanding of the main findings and their significance, they can begin writing the conclusion. The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, and should reiterate the main points of the research while also providing insights and recommendations for future research or action.
Characteristics of Research Paper Conclusion
The characteristics of a research paper conclusion include:
- Clear and concise: The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, summarizing the key findings and their significance.
- Comprehensive: The conclusion should address all of the main points of the research paper, including the research question or problem, the methodology, the main results, and their implications.
- Future-oriented : The conclusion should provide insights and recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the research.
- Impressive : The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader, emphasizing the importance of the research and its potential impact.
- Objective : The conclusion should be based on the evidence presented in the research paper, and should avoid personal biases or opinions.
- Unique : The conclusion should be unique to the research paper and should not simply repeat information from the introduction or body of the paper.
Advantages of Research Paper Conclusion
The advantages of a research paper conclusion include:
- Summarizing the key findings : The conclusion provides a summary of the main findings of the research, making it easier for the reader to understand the key points of the study.
- Emphasizing the significance of the research: The conclusion emphasizes the importance of the research and its potential impact, making it more likely that readers will take the research seriously and consider its implications.
- Providing recommendations for future research or action : The conclusion suggests practical recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the study.
- Providing closure to the research paper : The conclusion provides a sense of closure to the research paper, tying together the different sections of the paper and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.
- Demonstrating the writer’s contribution to the field : The conclusion provides the writer with an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.
Limitations of Research Paper Conclusion
While the conclusion of a research paper has many advantages, it also has some limitations that should be considered, including:
- I nability to address all aspects of the research: Due to the limited space available in the conclusion, it may not be possible to address all aspects of the research in detail.
- Subjectivity : While the conclusion should be objective, it may be influenced by the writer’s personal biases or opinions.
- Lack of new information: The conclusion should not introduce new information that has not been discussed in the body of the research paper.
- Lack of generalizability: The conclusions drawn from the research may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, limiting the generalizability of the study.
- Misinterpretation by the reader: The reader may misinterpret the conclusions drawn from the research, leading to a misunderstanding of the findings.
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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.
If you liked the sample, you might also be interested in a research proposal example APA . And if you'd rather have experts handle the writing for you, contact us today! We provide writing, editing, and proofreading help to anyone who needs a quick solution to academic stress. Just send us your request and we will write paper asap.
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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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper: Examples & Tips
You might be wondering about how to write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper. It may seem like your readers should understand your main arguments by the end, so there is no need for it. However, there are several aspects that prove the importance of a conclusion section in research.
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Its first and primary function is, of course, a summary of all the main ideas and evidence in the paper. Sometimes research can be quite lengthy so putting all the thoughts you want to share in one place is very handy. Moreover, the conclusion shows how important your work is and suggests new ways of looking at the problem.
Our guide and research paper conclusion example are here to help you with your assignment!
- ❗ Importance of a Conclusion
- 👣 Writing Steps
- 📑 Conclusion Types & Examples
- ❌ Common Mistakes
❗ importance of a conclusion in a research paper.
A conclusion intends to remind the readers about the main arguments and findings of the whole paper. However, it also highlights the significance of the work. Both these functions help create a long-lasting, memorable impression from your research paper , so always include this part and try to think of the ways to make it even more effective.
Since having a strong concluding paragraph is so crucial for the overall success, you might want to check out a step-by-step guide on writing it. It can assure you don’t miss any vital moments. Moreover, you need to find out what conclusion type would be the best!
👣 How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper Step by Step
Below are only a few simple steps that can allow you to write the most persuasive research paper.
📑 Types & Examples of Research Paper Conclusions
You may be assigned to write a persuasive or argumentative paper. Or your professor might ask you to develop an analytical or comparative research paper.
Should you write their conclusions in the same way? The answer is “No”. When you write different types of assignments, you need different conclusions.
Argumentative Research Paper Conclusion
To write an excellent argumentative paper conclusion, you need to highlight the most persuasive and strong arguments you have — no need to add many details. In addition, don’t forget you should include the essential components of the conclusion, such as paraphrasing your thesis statement, which points out your opinion on the chosen topic. If you used a strong thesis statement generator , it won’t be hard to do.
Argumentative Research Paper Conclusion Example
Right now, Earth is facing the issue of the sixth extinction, which causes numerous species to fade every day. There are at least three ideas people might use to prevent their total extinction in the next fifty years. More ways of recycling, new approaches to plastic production, and conservation of species could be life-saving.
Analytical Research Paper Conclusion
First, you should restate your thesis statement and summarize the critical points of your arguments. The main difference between the analytical research paper conclusion and other types is that there should definitely be a highlight of a broader context. It means you can add some meaning to the findings.
Analytical Research Paper Conclusion Example
Elon Musk has made a revolution in the way we pay, drive, and even fly. His ideas come only from the desire to make things easier, but eventually, they change the world. Musk first thought about PayPal when he was a student, and now it’s one of the most popular online payment systems. The same with Tesla cars.
Comparative Research Paper Conclusion
An effective comparative paper conclusion requires some analytical skills. You need to be very careful in looking through facts to clearly formulate your findings. Moreover, the sources need to be trustworthy. And, as usual, you need to add a paraphrased thesis statement and a few words about the importance of your study research.
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Comparative Research Paper Conclusion Example
Electric cars are proven to be more efficient and effective than gas cars. Not only do they produce fewer emissions, but the drivers reach their destination point faster. Moreover, gas cars are more expensive to maintain. It all derives from the specifics of the electric cars’ engines, which are much simpler.
❌ Common Mistakes You Should Avoid
Are you ready to pass your writing? Wait! Have you checked it for the most common mistakes? If no, below are several general errors you should avoid.
- The Conclusion – Organizing Academic Research Papers
- Conclusions – UNC Writing Center
- Conclusions // Purdue Writing Lab
- Writing the conclusion – Research & Learning Online
- Writing a Research Paper – The Writing Center – UW–Madison
- How to Structure & Organize Your Paper
- Writing Conclusions: Writing Guides
- Ending the Essay: Conclusions
- Tips for Writing Policy Papers – Stanford Law School
- A Process Approach to Writing Research Papers
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Very, very useful website for students. I appreciate people who kindly share brilliant writing tips with others! Thanks a lot!
Great article! It helped me to complete my research papers conclusion that was a real nightmare for me! Thank you so much for it!
I was on my way to completing my research paper and going to finish the conclusion by copy-pasting the introduction. Thank God, I wanted to read some articles on conclusion writing. After reading your post on this question, I completed my conclusion following your instructions. Believe my research paper is worth an excellent mark!
In response to a comment from Lynn: Thank you for noting this unfortunate mistake in the text. Obviously, we spend a lot of time compiling, writing, and editing materials, but there’s always room for a simple human error! Thanks again, and have a great day! 🙂
This helped a lot, thanks =)
This helped me so much! Thank you!
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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 Write an Effective Conclusion For a Research Paper
28 Apr 2021
❓What is a Research Conclusion?
📃Types of Conclusions
☝️How to Start
✒️How to Write
❌What to Avoid
📑Plan and Organize
💡Hints and Tricks
Summing up your main ideas and concluding your research paper is intriguing and arduous. What do you do if a deadline is quickly approaching and you still have a blank sheet of paper? If you want to receive a positive mark and impress a professor, you should do tremendous mental work and write a conclusion being fully concentrated and attentive. Alternatively, if you are facing a tight deadline, consider seeking professional help and paying for research papers to help you save time and energy.
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What is the Conclusion of the Research Paper?
On learning how to write a conclusion for a research paper, you must flex the gyrus and draft a final result of the work and know The content of academic research papers conclusions presume a summary of your ideas. It proves your topic with strong and fair-minded arguments. A derivative is built on an analysis of the fundamental thesis and paragraphs.
When doing your research paper , an academic focus on an illation because it sees first-rate ideas and estimates the student's diligence in writing an academic research paper. Writing an effective research paper conclusion demands the author's endeavours and understanding of its structure and significance.
When writing a conclusion, knowing the research problem, and writing the center of the research's conclusion, writers should review their work and ensure that their message is clear and well-supported by the data presented. A reasonable conclusion should be as brief and persuasive as possible, as it is the last chance for the author to make a good impression on the reader.
Discipline encourages personal reflection, So to write an effective conclusion for a research paper, authors should reiterate their main argument and take their findings further by providing a call to action. By tying up all loose ends, a research paper conclusion should leave the reader feeling satisfied and reassured that the author was able to successfully answer the questions posed in the introduction of the paper.
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Types of conclusions for research papers
A research paper's conclusion can make or break the quality of the paper. A strong conclusion will draw together the key findings, key arguments, and supporting evidence. Concluding paragraphs and several key elements of your research provide the reader with a sense of closure. Research papers have several types of conclusions, each designed to impact the reader differently.
The most common type of conclusion is a summary of the research main points covered in the research process. This type of writing conclusions should be concise and clear and written in a way that is easy to understand. The clear summary should include the main arguments in the body of the paper, the following strategies, and key statistics makes a brief summary. It should also reiterate the document's purpose and any conclusions you may have drawn.
Demonstrating Key Points
Another type of conclusion is a good conclusion. This type of conclusion provides the reader new understanding with an overview of the paper's main points, important supporting evidence, and further thoughts on how the research could be used in other contexts. Reasonable conclusions may also provide suggestions for further investigation or solutions to the problems identified by your analysis.
Call to Action
A compelling conclusion leaves the reader feeling satisfied and engaged. It should summarise the most important information covered in the paper and offer further insight into new directions for further research. A compelling conclusion should include a call to action, reader understanding, a relevant quotation, and a thought-provoking statement about the implications of the investigation.
Well-written Compelling Conclusion
Finally, a well-written conclusion ties key points and everything together and gives readers a clear picture of what was discussed in the paper. This type of conclusion should be concise, engaging, and inspiring, and you may have your own life experiences. A well-written conclusion should be brief and meaningfully bring all major concluding points together.
When writing a research paper's conclusion, it is important to create a strong, compelling, and well-written piece that brings together all of the main points discussed in the body of the paper.
Each type of conclusion serves its purpose and can help ensure that your research paper makes a lasting impression on your readers. It may also be a weak conclusion if you don't follow the writing tip and general rules.
How to Start a Conclusion of a Research Paper?
While drafting an illation, formulating it is a terrifying issue. As a rule, you must avoid starting it with cliché phrases such as "To conclude" or "In conclusion." These phrases are tiring and boring. Including them, in conclusion, may cost you to lose a reader's attention and spoil the impression of the work. To write a peculiar conclusion, you may return to the thesis statement and tell-tale section heading and answer the questions given.
You can do this by connecting the research context to current issues and explaining how the research contributes to understanding specific problems in that field. This way, you can give a clear overview of your research topic, research question , empirical research conducted, and its findings. The tone for your conclusion should be assertive and confident, summarising everything stated earlier in the paper. The conclusion should also tie all threads together from your introduction, body paragraphs, and synthesis of sources.
How to Write a Conclusion in a Research Paper?
When writing a conclusion for your research paper, it's important to remember that conclusions are meant to summarize your paper's main points. A conclusion should provide closure and a literature review and emphasize the main idea of your paper while also tying any loose ends together. You can craft a compelling conclusion using writing rhetoric and the writing process.
For guidance in writing a conclusion for a research paper, several resources are available to help you. The college writing center, university college writing centre, writing tutorial services, and writing lab all assist in writing a conclusion for a research paper. The Louis community college and Indiana university and their innovative teaching help you craft new idea and visual image of research paper conclusions.
Following certain rules and writing style is important when writing a conclusion for a research paper. Start your conclusion by summarizing the main points of your paper and providing a strong statement of the challenges encountered in your paper's main idea. Also, refrain from including new information in your conclusion; do not restate your thesis or research topic. Finally, read through your conclusion once or twice before you submit it.
By following these guidelines and utilizing your available resources, you can write an effective conclusion for a research paper.
Detect plagiarism in your paper for free
What to avoid including in your conclusion.
When you are writing the conclusion for a research paper, it is important to remember the main purpose of the conclusion and the type of paper you are writing. Some of the key elements to avoid including in a conclusion are:
- Making any new claims or introducing new material that does not directly relate to your points in the paper.
- Adding your opinion on the topic or speculating on future research.
- Redundantly summarizing what has already been stated in the paper.
- Unrelated tangents or long anecdotes.
- Drawing overly-general conclusions and lab reports that do not fully reflect the evidence presented in the paper. It shows negative aspects to a conclusion.
Instead, the conclusion should emphasize your key findings positively and show how your paper contributes to the larger discipline. It should also encourage personal reflection, such as how this topic might relate to our lives or society. Remember, a good conclusion should leave a lasting impression and make your readers think about the implications of your research for a long time afterward.
Research Paper Conclusion Example
Writing a conclusion for a research paper effectively ties all the evidence together and provides a comprehensive conclusion definition. A compelling conclusion will take the evidence presented and explain why it is important, emphasizing why the research should be taken seriously.
The research paper's conclusion should combine and use all evidence to support the paper's conclusion. It is important to refrain from introducing any new ideas or evidence in this section. The conclusion should also be brief and emphasize the points made throughout the paper and oral presentations. Remember to restate the main points and draw the reader's attention to key takeaways.
When writing a research paper conclusion, consider how best to summarize the evidence and how it ties into the paper's topic. Make sure to offer a comprehensive explanation as to why the arguments presented support the conclusion. This will create an effective conclusion that provides readers with a clear understanding of your research.
A good research paper conclusion example summarizes the main points in the essay's main body and expresses them clearly and compellingly. A good conclusion should leave the reader feeling closure and understanding about what they've read, not what is not understood to them. A compelling conclusion should also provide a clear conclusion definition and use the thesis statement throughout the paper to support the paper's conclusion.
Plan a Conclusion and Organize the Thesis
The conclusion of a research report has its own rules of composition that must respect. A decision is written briefly with a statement of problems with rational and well-thought-out ways of solving them. Including a description of the expected results of actions to be carried out, proposing an implementation in practice. The structure of a conclusion includes such elements as:
- The actuality of the topic.
- Conclusions on sections of work.
- The general conclusion of the work.
- Guidance for solving the posed problem.
After stating the conclusions from your paper, it is important to guide how to solve the issue at hand. This can include potential policy implementations or interventions, potential areas of future research or further exploration into existing evidence, or even personal recommendations if appropriate.
Do not introduce any new material. It's important not to introduce any new material when writing your conclusion—instead, simply reference points discussed earlier in your paper and make sure everything ties together logically. Avoid bringing up any unrelated or extraneous information; your paper should stay focused on your chosen topic until the end.
Include implications or applications of your findings. Depending on the type of research you conducted, suggest applications of your findings or implications for future research. In either case, do not make sweeping conclusions about wide-reaching implications from limited evidence; instead, focus more on specific implications directly related to your collected data.
Mention limitations or unanswered questions.
Know how to structure your paper
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Writing a Conclusion: Hints and Tricks
Here are some tips on how to write a conclusion for a research paper:
- Primarily, start characterizing your attitude to the topic and substantiating its relevance. Afterward, explain the difficulties you've encountered during the analysis. The outcome of this paragraph should be riveting and informative. A professor should convince himself that the student approached the analysis with enthusiasm.
- Secondly, read all your tasks recollected in the introduction and describe in detail the process of achieving them while writing the thesis. In the concluding paragraph, scribe a brief statement of the ideas resolved based on the evidence contained within the paper. Describe how you coped with the task and summarize your main conclusions.
- Thirdly, make a short description of each section. This helps draw an illation and finish statements giving voice to your ideas. Remember that every paragraph should be linked to the previous one.
After that, deduce the general statements of the work, reinforcing them with reliable facts and arguments. Also, you can indicate the principal points of the thesis but refrain from introducing new ideas that have yet to be highlighted in the introduction.
After writing a conclusion about the theoretical part, proceed to a practical summary. Feel at ease talking about your calculations and suggestions. Remember not to restate precisely the conclusions made in the preceding sections.
Instead, focus on reiterating the findings of your study and place special emphasis on their practical implications.
Lastly, close off the paper by revisiting the issue addressed in your introduction. Connecting the beginning and end of your essay is essential if you want it to feel complete. Additionally, take advantage of the opportunity to address any unanswered questions or objections arising from your results. Refrain from leaving any questions unanswered or unresolved. Doing so will leave the reader feeling satisfied, and they will remember it as they take their next steps into researching a similar topic.
To learn how to write a conclusion for a research paper, follow the tips mentioned above. Make this guidance a part of writing a conclusion paper, and you will complete your task as successfully as possible. There is no need to invent new rules or seek help, as we have already provided it. Our team of experts at PapersOwl also provides professional PowerPoint presentation writing services to help you create an eye-catching presentation. Use our help, and we will do the work for you! With our help, you can save time and effort and get the best results.
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- USC Libraries
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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper
- Academic Writing Style
- Purpose of Guide
- Design Flaws to Avoid
- Independent and Dependent Variables
- Glossary of Research Terms
- Reading Research Effectively
- Narrowing a Topic Idea
- Broadening a Topic Idea
- Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
- Choosing a Title
- Making an Outline
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- The Research Problem/Question
- Theoretical Framework
- Citation Tracking
- Content Alert Services
- Evaluating Sources
- Primary Sources
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- Tiertiary Sources
- Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
- Qualitative Methods
- Quantitative Methods
- Using Non-Textual Elements
- Limitations of the Study
- Common Grammar Mistakes
- Writing Concisely
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Footnotes or Endnotes?
- Further Readings
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- USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
Academic writing refers to a style of expression that researchers use to define the intellectual boundaries of their disciplines and specific areas of expertise. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, use of the third-person rather than first-person perspective (usually), a clear focus on the research problem under investigation, and precise word choice. Like specialist languages adopted in other professions, such as, law or medicine, academic writing is designed to convey agreed meaning about complex ideas or concepts within a community of scholarly experts and practitioners.
Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020.
Importance of Good Academic Writing
The accepted form of academic writing in the social sciences can vary considerable depending on the methodological framework and the intended audience. However, most college-level research papers require careful attention to the following stylistic elements:
I. The Big Picture Unlike creative or journalistic writing, the overall structure of academic writing is formal and logical. It must be cohesive and possess a logically organized flow of ideas; this means that the various parts are connected to form a unified whole. There should be narrative links between sentences and paragraphs so that the reader is able to follow your argument. The introduction should include a description of how the rest of the paper is organized and all sources are properly cited throughout the paper.
II. Tone The overall tone refers to the attitude conveyed in a piece of writing. Throughout your paper, it is important that you present the arguments of others fairly and with an appropriate narrative tone. When presenting a position or argument that you disagree with, describe this argument accurately and without loaded or biased language. In academic writing, the author is expected to investigate the research problem from an authoritative point of view. You should, therefore, state the strengths of your arguments confidently, using language that is neutral, not confrontational or dismissive.
III. Diction Diction refers to the choice of words you use. Awareness of the words you use is important because words that have almost the same denotation [dictionary definition] can have very different connotations [implied meanings]. This is particularly true in academic writing because words and terminology can evolve a nuanced meaning that describes a particular idea, concept, or phenomenon derived from the epistemological culture of that discipline [e.g., the concept of rational choice in political science]. Therefore, use concrete words [not general] that convey a specific meaning. If this cannot be done without confusing the reader, then you need to explain what you mean within the context of how that word or phrase is used within a discipline.
IV. Language The investigation of research problems in the social sciences is often complex and multi- dimensional . Therefore, it is important that you use unambiguous language. Well-structured paragraphs and clear topic sentences enable a reader to follow your line of thinking without difficulty. Your language should be concise, formal, and express precisely what you want it to mean. Do not use vague expressions that are not specific or precise enough for the reader to derive exact meaning ["they," "we," "people," "the organization," etc.], abbreviations like 'i.e.' ["in other words"], 'e.g.' ["for example"], or 'a.k.a.' ["also known as"], and the use of unspecific determinate words ["super," "very," "incredible," "huge," etc.].
V. Punctuation Scholars rely on precise words and language to establish the narrative tone of their work and, therefore, punctuation marks are used very deliberately. For example, exclamation points are rarely used to express a heightened tone because it can come across as unsophisticated or over-excited. Dashes should be limited to the insertion of an explanatory comment in a sentence, while hyphens should be limited to connecting prefixes to words [e.g., multi-disciplinary] or when forming compound phrases [e.g., commander-in-chief]. Finally, understand that semi-colons represent a pause that is longer than a comma, but shorter than a period in a sentence. In general, there are four grammatical uses of semi-colons: when a second clause expands or explains the first clause; to describe a sequence of actions or different aspects of the same topic; placed before clauses which begin with "nevertheless", "therefore", "even so," and "for instance”; and, to mark off a series of phrases or clauses which contain commas. If you are not confident about when to use semi-colons [and most of the time, they are not required for proper punctuation], rewrite using shorter sentences or revise the paragraph.
VI. Academic Conventions Citing sources in the body of your paper and providing a list of references as either footnotes or endnotes is a key feature of academic writing. It is essential to always acknowledge the source of any ideas, research findings, data, paraphrased, or quoted text that you have used in your paper as a defense against allegations of plagiarism. Even more important, the scholarly convention of citing sources allow readers to identify the resources you used in writing your paper so they can independently verify and assess the quality of findings and conclusions based on your review of the literature. Examples of other academic conventions to follow include the appropriate use of headings and subheadings, properly spelling out acronyms when first used in the text, avoiding slang or colloquial language, avoiding emotive language or unsupported declarative statements, avoiding contractions [e.g., isn't], and using first person and second person pronouns only when necessary.
VII. Evidence-Based Reasoning Assignments often ask you to express your own point of view about the research problem. However, what is valued in academic writing is that statements are based on evidence-based reasoning. This refers to possessing a clear understanding of the pertinent body of knowledge and academic debates that exist within, and often external to, your discipline concerning the topic. You need to support your arguments with evidence from scholarly [i.e., academic or peer-reviewed] sources. It should be an objective stance presented as a logical argument; the quality of the evidence you cite will determine the strength of your argument. The objective is to convince the reader of the validity of your thoughts through a well-documented, coherent, and logically structured piece of writing. This is particularly important when proposing solutions to problems or delineating recommended courses of action.
VIII. Thesis-Driven Academic writing is “thesis-driven,” meaning that the starting point is a particular perspective, idea, or position applied to the chosen topic of investigation, such as, establishing, proving, or disproving solutions to the questions applied to investigating the research problem. Note that a problem statement without the research questions does not qualify as academic writing because simply identifying the research problem does not establish for the reader how you will contribute to solving the problem, what aspects you believe are most critical, or suggest a method for gathering information or data to better understand the problem.
IX. Complexity and Higher-Order Thinking Academic writing addresses complex issues that require higher-order thinking skills applied to understanding the research problem [e.g., critical, reflective, logical, and creative thinking as opposed to, for example, descriptive or prescriptive thinking]. Higher-order thinking skills include cognitive processes that are used to comprehend, solve problems, and express concepts or that describe abstract ideas that cannot be easily acted out, pointed to, or shown with images. Think of your writing this way: One of the most important attributes of a good teacher is the ability to explain complexity in a way that is understandable and relatable to the topic being presented during class. This is also one of the main functions of academic writing--examining and explaining the significance of complex ideas as clearly as possible. As a writer, you must adopt the role of a good teacher by summarizing complex information into a well-organized synthesis of ideas, concepts, and recommendations that contribute to a better understanding of the research problem.
Academic Writing. Writing Center. Colorado Technical College; Hartley, James. Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Guide . New York: Routledge, 2008; Murray, Rowena and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Roy. Improve Your Writing Skills . Manchester, UK: Clifton Press, 1995; Nygaard, Lynn P. Writing for Scholars: A Practical Guide to Making Sense and Being Heard . Second edition. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2015; Silvia, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007; Style, Diction, Tone, and Voice. Writing Center, Wheaton College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
Understanding Academic Writing and Its Jargon
The very definition of research jargon is language specific to a particular community of practitioner-researchers . Therefore, in modern university life, jargon represents the specific language and meaning assigned to words and phrases specific to a discipline or area of study. For example, the idea of being rational may hold the same general meaning in both political science and psychology, but its application to understanding and explaining phenomena within the research domain of a each discipline may have subtle differences based upon how scholars in that discipline apply the concept to the theories and practice of their work.
Given this, it is important that specialist terminology [i.e., jargon] must be used accurately and applied under the appropriate conditions . Subject-specific dictionaries are the best places to confirm the meaning of terms within the context of a specific discipline. These can be found by either searching in the USC Libraries catalog by entering the disciplinary and the word dictionary [e.g., sociology and dictionary] or using a database such as Credo Reference [a curated collection of subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, guides from highly regarded publishers] . It is appropriate for you to use specialist language within your field of study, but you should avoid using such language when writing for non-academic or general audiences.
Problems with Opaque Writing
A common criticism of scholars is that they can utilize needlessly complex syntax or overly expansive vocabulary that is impenetrable or not well-defined. When writing, avoid problems associated with opaque writing by keeping in mind the following:
1. Excessive use of specialized terminology . Yes, it is appropriate for you to use specialist language and a formal style of expression in academic writing, but it does not mean using "big words" just for the sake of doing so. Overuse of complex or obscure words or writing complicated sentence constructions gives readers the impression that your paper is more about style than substance; it leads the reader to question if you really know what you are talking about. Focus on creating clear, concise, and elegant prose that minimizes reliance on specialized terminology.
2. Inappropriate use of specialized terminology . Because you are dealing with concepts, research, and data within your discipline, you need to use the technical language appropriate to that area of study. However, nothing will undermine the validity of your study quicker than the inappropriate application of a term or concept. Avoid using terms whose meaning you are unsure of--do not just guess or assume! Consult the meaning of terms in specialized, discipline-specific dictionaries by searching the USC Libraries catalog or the Credo Reference database [see above].
Additional Problems to Avoid
In addition to understanding the use of specialized language, there are other aspects of academic writing in the social sciences that you should be aware of. These problems include:
- Personal nouns . Excessive use of personal nouns [e.g., I, me, you, us] may lead the reader to believe the study was overly subjective. These words can be interpreted as being used only to avoid presenting empirical evidence about the research problem. Limit the use of personal nouns to descriptions of things you actually did [e.g., "I interviewed ten teachers about classroom management techniques..."]. Note that personal nouns are generally found in the discussion section of a paper because this is where you as the author/researcher interpret and describe your work.
- Directives . Avoid directives that demand the reader to "do this" or "do that." Directives should be framed as evidence-based recommendations or goals leading to specific outcomes. Note that an exception to this can be found in various forms of action research that involve evidence-based advocacy for social justice or transformative change. Within this area of the social sciences, authors may offer directives for action in a declarative tone of urgency.
- Informal, conversational tone using slang and idioms . Academic writing relies on excellent grammar and precise word structure. Your narrative should not include regional dialects or slang terms because they can be open to interpretation. Your writing should be direct and concise using standard English.
- Wordiness. Focus on being concise, straightforward, and developing a narrative that does not have confusing language . By doing so, you help eliminate the possibility of the reader misinterpreting the design and purpose of your study.
- Vague expressions (e.g., "they," "we," "people," "the company," "that area," etc.). Being concise in your writing also includes avoiding vague references to persons, places, or things. While proofreading your paper, be sure to look for and edit any vague or imprecise statements that lack context or specificity.
- Numbered lists and bulleted items . The use of bulleted items or lists should be used only if the narrative dictates a need for clarity. For example, it is fine to state, "The four main problems with hedge funds are:" and then list them as 1, 2, 3, 4. However, in academic writing, this must then be followed by detailed explanation and analysis of each item. Given this, the question you should ask yourself while proofreading is: why begin with a list in the first place rather than just starting with systematic analysis of each item arranged in separate paragraphs? Also, be careful using numbers because they can imply a ranked order of priority or importance. If none exists, use bullets and avoid checkmarks or other symbols.
- Descriptive writing . Describing a research problem is an important means of contextualizing a study. In fact, some description or background information may be needed because you can not assume the reader knows the key aspects of the topic. However, the content of your paper should focus on methodology, the analysis and interpretation of findings, and their implications as they apply to the research problem rather than background information and descriptions of tangential issues.
- Personal experience. Drawing upon personal experience [e.g., traveling abroad; caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease] can be an effective way of introducing the research problem or engaging your readers in understanding its significance. Use personal experience only as an example, though, because academic writing relies on evidence-based research. To do otherwise is simply story-telling.
NOTE: Rules concerning excellent grammar and precise word structure do not apply when quoting someone. A quote should be inserted in the text of your paper exactly as it was stated. If the quote is especially vague or hard to understand, consider paraphrasing it or using a different quote to convey the same meaning. Consider inserting the term "sic" in brackets after the quoted text to indicate that the quotation has been transcribed exactly as found in the original source, but the source had grammar, spelling, or other errors. The adverb sic informs the reader that the errors are not yours.
Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Murray, Rowena and Sarah Moore. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach . New York: Open University Press, 2006; Johnson, Eileen S. “Action Research.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education . Edited by George W. Noblit and Joseph R. Neikirk. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); Oppenheimer, Daniel M. "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly." Applied Cognitive Psychology 20 (2006): 139-156; Ezza, El-Sadig Y. and Touria Drid. T eaching Academic Writing as a Discipline-Specific Skill in Higher Education . Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2020; Pernawan, Ari. Common Flaws in Students' Research Proposals. English Education Department. Yogyakarta State University; Style. College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.
Structure and Writing Style
I. Improving Academic Writing
To improve your academic writing skills, you should focus your efforts on three key areas: 1. Clear Writing . The act of thinking about precedes the process of writing about. Good writers spend sufficient time distilling information and reviewing major points from the literature they have reviewed before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines can help you clearly organize your thoughts. Effective academic writing begins with solid planning, so manage your time carefully. 2. Excellent Grammar . Needless to say, English grammar can be difficult and complex; even the best scholars take many years before they have a command of the major points of good grammar. Take the time to learn the major and minor points of good grammar. Spend time practicing writing and seek detailed feedback from professors. Take advantage of the Writing Center on campus if you need help. Proper punctuation and good proofreading skills can significantly improve academic writing [see sub-tab for proofreading you paper ].
Refer to these three basic resources to help your grammar and writing skills:
- A good writing reference book, such as, Strunk and White’s book, The Elements of Style or the St. Martin's Handbook ;
- A college-level dictionary, such as, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ;
- The latest edition of Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form .
3. Consistent Stylistic Approach . Whether your professor expresses a preference to use MLA, APA or the Chicago Manual of Style or not, choose one style manual and stick to it. Each of these style manuals provide rules on how to write out numbers, references, citations, footnotes, and lists. Consistent adherence to a style of writing helps with the narrative flow of your paper and improves its readability. Note that some disciplines require a particular style [e.g., education uses APA] so as you write more papers within your major, your familiarity with it will improve.
II. Evaluating Quality of Writing
A useful approach for evaluating the quality of your academic writing is to consider the following issues from the perspective of the reader. While proofreading your final draft, critically assess the following elements in your writing.
- It is shaped around one clear research problem, and it explains what that problem is from the outset.
- Your paper tells the reader why the problem is important and why people should know about it.
- You have accurately and thoroughly informed the reader what has already been published about this problem or others related to it and noted important gaps in the research.
- You have provided evidence to support your argument that the reader finds convincing.
- The paper includes a description of how and why particular evidence was collected and analyzed, and why specific theoretical arguments or concepts were used.
- The paper is made up of paragraphs, each containing only one controlling idea.
- You indicate how each section of the paper addresses the research problem.
- You have considered counter-arguments or counter-examples where they are relevant.
- Arguments, evidence, and their significance have been presented in the conclusion.
- Limitations of your research have been explained as evidence of the potential need for further study.
- The narrative flows in a clear, accurate, and well-organized way.
Boscoloa, Pietro, Barbara Arféb, and Mara Quarisaa. “Improving the Quality of Students' Academic Writing: An Intervention Study.” Studies in Higher Education 32 (August 2007): 419-438; Academic Writing. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Academic Writing Style. First-Year Seminar Handbook. Mercer University; Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Cornell University; Candlin, Christopher. Academic Writing Step-By-Step: A Research-based Approach . Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing Ltd., 2016; College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Style . College Writing. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Invention: Five Qualities of Good Writing. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College; Sword, Helen. Stylish Academic Writing . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012; What Is an Academic Paper? Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.
Considering the Passive Voice in Academic Writing
In the English language, we are able to construct sentences in the following way: 1. "The policies of Congress caused the economic crisis." 2. "The economic crisis was caused by the policies of Congress."
The decision about which sentence to use is governed by whether you want to focus on “Congress” and what they did, or on “the economic crisis” and what caused it. This choice in focus is achieved with the use of either the active or the passive voice. When you want your readers to focus on the "doer" of an action, you can make the "doer"' the subject of the sentence and use the active form of the verb. When you want readers to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself, you can make the effect or the action the subject of the sentence by using the passive form of the verb.
Often in academic writing, scholars don't want to focus on who is doing an action, but on who is receiving or experiencing the consequences of that action. The passive voice is useful in academic writing because it allows writers to highlight the most important participants or events within sentences by placing them at the beginning of the sentence.
Use the passive voice when:
- You want to focus on the person, place, or thing affected by the action, or the action itself;
- It is not important who or what did the action;
- You want to be impersonal or more formal.
Form the passive voice by:
- Turning the object of the active sentence into the subject of the passive sentence.
- Changing the verb to a passive form by adding the appropriate form of the verb "to be" and the past participle of the main verb.
NOTE: Consult with your professor about using the passive voice before submitting your research paper. Some strongly discourage its use!
Active and Passive Voice. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Diefenbach, Paul. Future of Digital Media Syllabus. Drexel University; Passive Voice. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.
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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of introductions, offer strategies for creating effective introductions, and provide some examples of less effective introductions to avoid.
The role of introductions
Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.
Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of Chapel Hill, television, e-mail, and The Daily Tar Heel and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you give your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. (See our handout on conclusions .)
Note that what constitutes a good introduction may vary widely based on the kind of paper you are writing and the academic discipline in which you are writing it. If you are uncertain what kind of introduction is expected, ask your instructor.
Why bother writing a good introduction?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The opening paragraph of your paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.
Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper. Your introduction conveys a lot of information to your readers. You can let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.
Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper. Opening with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a vivid example can get your readers to see why your topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join you for an engaging intellectual conversation (remember, though, that these strategies may not be suitable for all papers and disciplines).
Strategies for writing an effective introduction
Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:
Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction—start off with a big picture sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it. (See our handout on understanding assignments for additional information on the hidden clues in assignments.)
Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. Imagine that you’re researching Chapel Hill. If what you want to find out is whether Chapel Hill is at roughly the same latitude as Rome, it might make sense to hit that little “minus” sign on the online map until it has zoomed all the way out and you can see the whole globe. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Chapel Hill to Wrightsville Beach, it might make more sense to zoom in to the level where you can see most of North Carolina (but not the rest of the world, or even the rest of the United States). And if you are looking for the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive so that you can find the Writing Center’s main office, you may need to zoom all the way in. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!
Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.
Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.
Open with something that will draw readers in. Consider these options (remembering that they may not be suitable for all kinds of papers):
- an intriguing example —for example, Douglass writes about a mistress who initially teaches him but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery.
- a provocative quotation that is closely related to your argument —for example, Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other.” (Quotes from famous people, inspirational quotes, etc. may not work well for an academic paper; in this example, the quote is from the author himself.)
- a puzzling scenario —for example, Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.
- a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote —for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”
- a thought-provoking question —for example, given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?
Pay special attention to your first sentence. Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and polished way.
How to evaluate your introduction draft
Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.
Five kinds of less effective introductions
1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder.
Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.
2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your question and will be reading many essays in response to it—he or she does not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question.
Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. Anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what Webster says. If you want to open with a discussion of an important term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Instructors may see a great many papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.
Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”
4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. Instructors often find them extremely annoying.
Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.
5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.
Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave , in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.
And now for the conclusion…
Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!
Just as your introduction helps readers make the transition to your topic, your conclusion needs to help them return to their daily lives–but with a lasting sense of how what they have just read is useful or meaningful. Check out our handout on conclusions for tips on ending your paper as effectively as you began it!
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.
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How to Write a Conclusion for an Argumentative Essay
- 27th October 2023
You’ve spent hours researching and writing a compelling argumentative essay – now it’s finally time to write the conclusion. The conclusion may be the most significant part of your essay because it’s your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader. Intimidated? Don’t be! In this post, we’ll show you how to write a strong conclusion for an argumentative essay.
Restate the Thesis and Summarize the Key Points
Begin by reiterating your thesis statement to emphasize your main point. However, to avoid sounding repetitive, it’s best to paraphrase the thesis and not use the exact wording from the introductory paragraph. You can also briefly recap the key points you’ve made throughout your essay. You don’t need to dive into too much detail here; the conclusion should be a concise reminder of your most critical arguments and avoid unnecessary repetition or commentary. Keep in mind that the conclusion is not the place to provide information or arguments you haven’t included in the body of your essay.
Emphasize the Significance of Your Arguments
The conclusion of your essay is a good place to highlight the importance of your argument and the implications of your findings. Briefly explain why your essay topic is significant and how your perspective relates to the wider context. For example, if you’re writing on the rising cost of medicine, you can discuss how this topic relates to the broader fields of health care and pharmaceutical sales.
Briefly Address Counterarguments
If you’ve discussed counterarguments in your essay, briefly acknowledge them in the conclusion. You can simply mention that although there are opposing views, you’ve supported your argument with the evidence presented in your essay.
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Maintain a Consistent Tone
Keep the tone of your conclusion consistent with the rest of the essay. For example, if your essay has been primarily formal and academic, maintain that tone in the conclusion (e.g., avoid closing with an informal anecdote or a witty observation).
End With a Thought-Provoking Statement
End your conclusion with a thought-provoking statement or call to action . This could involve a recommendation or prediction, or you could pinpoint areas for further research or action related to the topic. For example, if your topic is the impact of technology on education, you could end your essay by recommending further research into the long-term effects of technology use on students beyond elementary school.
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Writing with MLA Style
Congratulations to the students whose essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style! Essays were selected as examples of excellent student writing that use MLA style for citing sources. Essays have been lightly edited.
If your institution subscribes to MLA Handbook Plus , you can access annotated versions of the essays selected in 2022 and 2023.
Writing with MLA Style: 2023 Edition
The following essays were selected for the 2023 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2023 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut (chair); Rachel Ihara, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York; and Tarshia L. Stanley, Wagner College.
Caroline Anderson (Pepperdine University)
“ L’Appel du Vide : Making Spaces for Sinful Exploration in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”
Hunter Daniels (University of South Carolina, Aiken)
“Biblical Legalism and Cultural Misogyny in The Tragedy of Mariam ”
Aspen English (Southern Utah University)
“Putting the ‘Comm’ in Comics: A Communication-Theory-Informed Reading of Graphic Narratives”
Raul Martin (Lamar University)
“The Book-Object Binary: Access and Sustainability in the Academic Library”
Grace Quasebarth (Salve Regina University)
“Finding a Voice: The Loss of Machismo Criticisms through Translation in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits ”
Writing with MLA Style: 2022 Edition
The following essays were selected for the 2022 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2022 selection committee was composed of Ellen C. Carillo, University of Connecticut; Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware (chair); and Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago.
Kaile Chu (New York University, Shanghai)
“Miles Apart: An Investigation into Dedicated Online Communities’ Impact on Cultural Bias”
Sietse Hagen (University of Groningen)
“The Significance of Fiction in the Debate on Dehumanizing Media Portrayals of Refugees”
Klara Ismail (University of Exeter)
“Queering the Duchess: Exploring the Body of the Female Homosexual in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi ”
Yasmin Mendoza (Whittier College)
“Banning without Bans”
Niki Nassiri (Stony Brook University)
“Modern-Day US Institutions and Slavery in the Twenty-First Century”
Samantha Wilber (Palm Beach Atlantic University)
“‘Pero, tu no eres facil’: The Poet X as Multicultural Bildungsroman”
Writing with MLA Style: 2019 Edition
The following essays were selected for the 2019 edition of Writing with MLA Style. The 2019 selection committee was composed of Jessica Edwards, University of Delaware; Deborah H. Holdstein, Columbia College Chicago (chair); and Liana Silva, César E. Chavez High School, Houston, Texas.
Catherine Charlton (University of King’s College, Nova Scotia)
“‘Coal Is in My Blood’: Public and Private Representations of Community Identity in Springhill, Nova Scotia”
Alyiah Gonzales (California Polytechnic State University)
“Disrupting White Normativity in Langston Hughes’s ‘I, Too’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’”
Meg Matthias (Miami University, Ohio)
“Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment”
Jennifer Nguyen (Chaminade University of Honolulu)
“The Vietnam War, the American War: Literature, Film, and Popular Memory”
Emily Schlepp (Northwest University)
“A Force of Love: A Deconstructionist Reading of Characters in Dickens’s Great Expectations ”
Using ChatGPT to assist with writing a research paper
Enhance your academic writing with AI! Explore how ChatGPT helps you draft your methods section, brainstorm counterargument ideas, and write a compelling conclusion.
Are you struggling with writing the methods section of your research paper? Learn how ChatGPT can make this task easier with these steps:
Step 1: Brainstorm
Start by creating a bullet-point list of key details about your research methodology. Don't worry about language or structure at this stage; focus on getting the information down.
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Input your bullet points and ask ChatGPT to provide detailed descriptions. This approach saves time and effort and ensures a comprehensive description of your methodology.
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You can also use ChatGPT to develop counterarguments and the conclusion of your scientific paper.
Input your arguments and ask ChatGPT to create counterarguments that strengthen your main argument and show different sides of the topic.
Start by drafting your conclusion, and then ask ChatGPT to rewrite your paragraph as a conclusion. Incorporate counterarguments in your conclusion to provide a well-rounded viewpoint and strengthen your argument.
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