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How to write an excellent thesis conclusion [with examples]
At this point in your writing, you have most likely finished your introduction and the body of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper . While this is a reason to celebrate, you should not underestimate the importance of your conclusion. The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable.
A good conclusion will review the key points of the thesis and explain to the reader why the information is relevant, applicable, or related to the world as a whole. Make sure to dedicate enough of your writing time to the conclusion and do not put it off until the very last minute.
This article provides an effective technique for writing a conclusion adapted from Erika Eby’s The College Student's Guide to Writing a Good Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out .
While the thesis introduction starts out with broad statements about the topic, and then narrows it down to the thesis statement , a thesis conclusion does the same in the opposite order.
- Restate the thesis.
- Review or reiterate key points of your work.
- Explain why your work is relevant.
- Include a core take-away message for the reader.
- Restate the thesis
Tip: Don’t just copy and paste your thesis into your conclusion. Restate it in different words.
The best way to start a conclusion is simply by restating the thesis statement. That does not mean just copying and pasting it from the introduction, but putting it into different words.
You will need to change the structure and wording of it to avoid sounding repetitive. Also, be firm in your conclusion just as you were in the introduction. Try to avoid sounding apologetic by using phrases like "This paper has tried to show..."
The conclusion should address all the same parts as the thesis while making it clear that the reader has reached the end. You are telling the reader that your research is finished and what your findings are.
I have argued throughout this work that the point of critical mass for biopolitical immunity occurred during the Romantic period because of that era's unique combination of post-revolutionary politics and innovations in smallpox prevention. In particular, I demonstrated that the French Revolution and the discovery of vaccination in the 1790s triggered a reconsideration of the relationship between bodies and the state.
- Review or reiterate key points of your work
Tip: Try to reiterate points from your introduction in your thesis conclusion.
The next step is to review the main points of the thesis as a whole. Look back at the body of of your project and make a note of the key ideas. You can reword these ideas the same way you reworded your thesis statement and then incorporate that into the conclusion.
You can also repeat striking quotations or statistics, but do not use more than two. As the conclusion represents your own closing thoughts on the topic , it should mainly consist of your own words.
In addition, conclusions can contain recommendations to the reader or relevant questions that further the thesis. You should ask yourself:
- What you would ideally like to see your readers do in reaction to your paper?
- Do you want them to take a certain action or investigate further?
- Is there a bigger issue that your paper wants to draw attention to?
Also, try to reference your introduction in your conclusion. You have already taken a first step by restating your thesis. Now, check whether there are other key words, phrases or ideas that are mentioned in your introduction that fit into your conclusion. Connecting the introduction to the conclusion in this way will help readers feel satisfied.
I explored how Mary Wollstonecraft, in both her fiction and political writings, envisions an ideal medico-political state, and how other writers like William Wordsworth and Mary Shelley increasingly imagined the body politic literally, as an incorporated political collective made up of bodies whose immunity to political and medical ills was essential to a healthy state.
- Explain why your work is relevant
Tip: Make sure to explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research.
Although you can encourage readers to question their opinions and reflect on your topic, do not leave loose ends. You should provide a sense of resolution and make sure your conclusion wraps up your argument. Make sure you explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research and how your research intervenes within, or substantially revises, existing scholarly debates.
This project challenged conventional ideas about the relationship among Romanticism, medicine, and politics by reading the unfolding of Romantic literature and biopolitical immunity as mutual, co-productive processes. In doing so, this thesis revises the ways in which biopolitics has been theorized by insisting on the inherent connections between Romantic literature and the forms of biopower that characterize early modernity.
- A take-away for the reader
Tip: If you began your thesis with an anecdote or historical example, you may want to return to that in your conclusion.
End your conclusion with something memorable, such as:
- a call to action
- a recommendation
- a gesture towards future research
- a brief explanation of how the problem or idea you covered remains relevant
Ultimately, you want readers to feel more informed, or ready to act, as they read your conclusion.
Yet, the Romantic period is only the beginning of modern thought on immunity and biopolitics. Victorian writers, doctors, and politicians upheld the Romantic idea that a "healthy state" was a literal condition that could be achieved by combining politics and medicine, but augmented that idea through legislation and widespread public health measures. While many nineteenth-century efforts to improve citizens' health were successful, the fight against disease ultimately changed course in the twentieth century as global immunological threats such as SARS occupied public consciousness. Indeed, as subsequent public health events make apparent, biopolitical immunity persists as a viable concept for thinking about the relationship between medicine and politics in modernity.
- More resources on writing thesis conclusions
Need more advice? Read our 5 additional tips on how to write a good thesis conclusion.
- Frequently Asked Questions about writing an excellent thesis conclusion
The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable. To write a great thesis conclusion you should:
The basic content of a conclusion is to review the main points from the paper. This part represents your own closing thoughts on the topic. It should mainly consist of the outcome of the research in your own words.
The length of the conclusion will depend on the length of the whole thesis. Usually, a conclusion should be around 5-7% of the overall word count.
End your conclusion with something memorable, such as a question, warning, or call to action. Depending on the topic, you can also end with a recommendation.
In Open Access: Theses and Dissertations you can find thousands of completed works. Take a look at any of the theses or dissertations for real-life examples of conclusions that were already approved.
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Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step Guide
Published on October 30, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on April 13, 2023.
- Restate the problem statement addressed in the paper
- Summarize your overall arguments or findings
- Suggest the key takeaways from your paper
The content of the conclusion varies depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument through engagement with sources .
Table of contents
Step 1: restate the problem, step 2: sum up the paper, step 3: discuss the implications, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions.
The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem . You will have discussed this problem in depth throughout the body, but now the point is to zoom back out from the details to the bigger picture.
While you are restating a problem you’ve already introduced, you should avoid phrasing it identically to how it appeared in the introduction . Ideally, you’ll find a novel way to circle back to the problem from the more detailed ideas discussed in the body.
For example, an argumentative paper advocating new measures to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture might restate its problem as follows:
Meanwhile, an empirical paper studying the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues might present its problem like this:
“In conclusion …”
Avoid starting your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To conclude,” as this can come across as too obvious and make your writing seem unsophisticated. The content and placement of your conclusion should make its function clear without the need for additional signposting.
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Having zoomed back in on the problem, it’s time to summarize how the body of the paper went about addressing it, and what conclusions this approach led to.
Depending on the nature of your research paper, this might mean restating your thesis and arguments, or summarizing your overall findings.
Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments
In an argumentative paper, you will have presented a thesis statement in your introduction, expressing the overall claim your paper argues for. In the conclusion, you should restate the thesis and show how it has been developed through the body of the paper.
Briefly summarize the key arguments made in the body, showing how each of them contributes to proving your thesis. You may also mention any counterarguments you addressed, emphasizing why your thesis holds up against them, particularly if your argument is a controversial one.
Don’t go into the details of your evidence or present new ideas; focus on outlining in broad strokes the argument you have made.
Empirical paper: Summarize your findings
In an empirical paper, this is the time to summarize your key 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 you expected or hoped for, and explain the overall conclusion they led you to.
Having summed up your key arguments or findings, the conclusion ends by considering the broader implications of your research. This means expressing the key takeaways, practical or theoretical, from your paper—often in the form of a call for action or suggestions for future research.
Argumentative paper: Strong closing statement
An argumentative paper generally ends with a strong closing statement. In the case of a practical argument, make a call for action: What actions do you think should be taken by the people or organizations concerned in response to your argument?
If your topic is more theoretical and unsuitable for a call for action, 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.
Empirical paper: Future research directions
In a more empirical paper, you can close by either making recommendations for practice (for example, in clinical or policy papers), or suggesting directions for future research.
Whatever the scope of your own research, there will always be room for further investigation of related topics, and you’ll often discover new questions and problems during the research process .
Finish your paper on a forward-looking note by suggesting how you or other researchers might build on this topic in the future and address any limitations of the current paper.
Full examples of research paper conclusions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.
- Argumentative paper
- Empirical paper
While the role of cattle in climate change is by now common knowledge, countries like the Netherlands continually fail to confront this issue with the urgency it deserves. The evidence is clear: To create a truly futureproof agricultural sector, Dutch farmers must be incentivized to transition from livestock farming to sustainable vegetable farming. As well as dramatically lowering emissions, plant-based agriculture, if approached in the right way, can produce more food with less land, providing opportunities for nature regeneration areas that will themselves contribute to climate targets. Although this approach would have economic ramifications, from a long-term perspective, it would represent a significant step towards a more sustainable and resilient national economy. Transitioning to sustainable vegetable farming will make the Netherlands greener and healthier, setting an example for other European governments. Farmers, policymakers, and consumers must focus on the future, not just on their own short-term interests, and work to implement this transition now.
As social media becomes increasingly central to young people’s everyday lives, it is important to understand how different platforms affect their developing self-conception. By testing the effect of daily Instagram use among teenage girls, this study established that highly visual social media does indeed have a significant effect on body image concerns, with a strong correlation between the amount of time spent on the platform and participants’ self-reported dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, the strength of this effect was moderated by pre-test self-esteem ratings: Participants with higher self-esteem were less likely to experience an increase in body image concerns after using Instagram. This suggests that, while Instagram does impact body image, it is also important to consider the wider social and psychological context in which this usage occurs: Teenagers who are already predisposed to self-esteem issues may be at greater risk of experiencing negative effects. Future research into Instagram and other highly visual social media should focus on establishing a clearer picture of how self-esteem and related constructs influence young people’s experiences of these platforms. Furthermore, while this experiment measured Instagram usage in terms of time spent on the platform, observational studies are required to gain more insight into different patterns of usage—to investigate, for instance, whether active posting is associated with different effects than passive consumption of social media content.
If you’re unsure about the conclusion, it can be helpful to ask a friend or fellow student to read your conclusion and summarize the main takeaways.
- Do they understand from your conclusion what your research was about?
- Are they able to summarize the implications of your findings?
- Can they answer your research question based on your conclusion?
You can also get an expert to proofread and feedback your paper with a paper editing service .
The conclusion of a research paper has several key elements you should make sure to include:
- A restatement of the research problem
- A summary of your key arguments and/or findings
- A short discussion of the implications of your research
No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion . While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers 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 results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.
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What this handout is about.
This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.
Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.
Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.
Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.
Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.
Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.
Strategies for writing an effective conclusion
One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:
- Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, ask a friend to read it with you. Whenever you make a statement from your conclusion, ask the friend to say, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it. Here’s how it might go: You: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. Friend: So what? You: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen. Friend: Why should anybody care? You: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally. You can also use this strategy on your own, asking yourself “So What?” as you develop your ideas or your draft.
- Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.
- Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.
- Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.
- Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help her to apply your info and ideas to her own life or to see the broader implications.
- Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.
Strategies to avoid
- Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.
- Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.
- Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.
- Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.
- Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.
- Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.
Four kinds of ineffective conclusions
- The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward. People write this kind of conclusion when they can’t think of anything else to say. Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
- The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” him with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.
- The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.
- The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. New York: Dover.
Hamilton College. n.d. “Conclusions.” Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.hamilton.edu//academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/conclusions .
Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html.
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Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.
A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.
A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.
When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.
Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.
Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.
Descriptive thesis (not arguable)
While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.
This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.
Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)
Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.
This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.
Arguable thesis with analytical claim
While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.
This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.
Arguable thesis with normative claim
Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.
This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.
Questions to ask about your thesis
- Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?
- Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?
- Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?
- Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?
- Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
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How To Write The Conclusion Chapter
The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).
By: Jenna Crossley (PhD Cand). Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021
So, you’ve wrapped up your results and discussion chapters, and you’re finally on the home stretch – the conclusion chapter . In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to craft a high-quality conclusion chapter for your dissertation or thesis project.
Overview: Dissertation Conclusion Chapter
- What the thesis/dissertation conclusion chapter is
- What to include in your conclusion chapter
- How to structure and write up your conclusion chapter
- A few tips to help you ace the chapter
What exactly is the conclusion chapter?
The conclusion chapter is typically the final major chapter of a dissertation or thesis. As such, it serves as a concluding summary of your research findings and wraps up the document. While some publications such as journal articles and research reports combine the discussion and conclusion sections, these are typically separate chapters in a dissertation or thesis. As always, be sure to check what your university’s structural preference is before you start writing up these chapters.
So, what’s the difference between the discussion and the conclusion chapter?
Well, the two chapters are quite similar , as they both discuss the key findings of the study. However, the conclusion chapter is typically more general and high-level in nature. In your discussion chapter, you’ll typically discuss the intricate details of your study, but in your conclusion chapter, you’ll take a broader perspective, reporting on the main research outcomes and how these addressed your research aim (or aims) .
A core function of the conclusion chapter is to synthesise all major points covered in your study and to tell the reader what they should take away from your work. Basically, you need to tell them what you found , why it’s valuable , how it can be applied , and what further research can be done.
Whatever you do, don’t just copy and paste what you’ve written in your discussion chapter! The conclusion chapter should not be a simple rehash of the discussion chapter. While the two chapters are similar, they have distinctly different functions.
What should I include in the conclusion chapter?
To understand what needs to go into your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to understand what the chapter needs to achieve. In general, a good dissertation conclusion chapter should achieve the following:
- Summarise the key findings of the study
- Explicitly answer the research question(s) and address the research aims
- Inform the reader of the study’s main contributions
- Discuss any limitations or weaknesses of the study
- Present recommendations for future research
Therefore, your conclusion chapter needs to cover these core components. Importantly, you need to be careful not to include any new findings or data points. Your conclusion chapter should be based purely on data and analysis findings that you’ve already presented in the earlier chapters. If there’s a new point you want to introduce, you’ll need to go back to your results and discussion chapters to weave the foundation in there.
In many cases, readers will jump from the introduction chapter directly to the conclusions chapter to get a quick overview of the study’s purpose and key findings. Therefore, when you write up your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to assume that the reader hasn’t consumed the inner chapters of your dissertation or thesis. In other words, craft your conclusion chapter such that there’s a strong connection and smooth flow between the introduction and conclusion chapters, even though they’re on opposite ends of your document.
Need a helping hand?
How to write the conclusion chapter
Now that you have a clearer view of what the conclusion chapter is about, let’s break down the structure of this chapter so that you can get writing. Keep in mind that this is merely a typical structure – it’s not set in stone or universal. Some universities will prefer that you cover some of these points in the discussion chapter , or that you cover the points at different levels in different chapters.
Step 1: Craft a brief introduction section
As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the conclusions chapter needs to start with a brief introduction. In this introductory section, you’ll want to tell the reader what they can expect to find in the chapter, and in what order . Here’s an example of what this might look like:
This chapter will conclude the study by summarising the key research findings in relation to the research aims and questions and discussing the value and contribution thereof. It will also review the limitations of the study and propose opportunities for future research.
Importantly, the objective here is just to give the reader a taste of what’s to come (a roadmap of sorts), not a summary of the chapter. So, keep it short and sweet – a paragraph or two should be ample.
Step 2: Discuss the overall findings in relation to the research aims
The next step in writing your conclusions chapter is to discuss the overall findings of your study , as they relate to the research aims and research questions . You would have likely covered similar ground in the discussion chapter, so it’s important to zoom out a little bit here and focus on the broader findings – specifically, how these help address the research aims .
In practical terms, it’s useful to start this section by reminding your reader of your research aims and research questions, so that the findings are well contextualised. In this section, phrases such as, “This study aimed to…” and “the results indicate that…” will likely come in handy. For example, you could say something like the following:
This study aimed to investigate the feeding habits of the naked mole-rat. The results indicate that naked mole rats feed on underground roots and tubers. Further findings show that these creatures eat only a part of the plant, leaving essential parts to ensure long-term food stability.
Be careful not to make overly bold claims here. Avoid claims such as “this study proves that” or “the findings disprove existing the existing theory”. It’s seldom the case that a single study can prove or disprove something. Typically, this is achieved by a broader body of research, not a single study – especially not a dissertation or thesis which will inherently have significant and limitations. We’ll discuss those limitations a little later.
Step 3: Discuss how your study contributes to the field
Next, you’ll need to discuss how your research has contributed to the field – both in terms of theory and practice . This involves talking about what you achieved in your study, highlighting why this is important and valuable, and how it can be used or applied.
In this section you’ll want to:
- Mention any research outputs created as a result of your study (e.g., articles, publications, etc.)
- Inform the reader on just how your research solves your research problem , and why that matters
- Reflect on gaps in the existing research and discuss how your study contributes towards addressing these gaps
- Discuss your study in relation to relevant theories . For example, does it confirm these theories or constructively challenge them?
- Discuss how your research findings can be applied in the real world . For example, what specific actions can practitioners take, based on your findings?
Be careful to strike a careful balance between being firm but humble in your arguments here. It’s unlikely that your one study will fundamentally change paradigms or shake up the discipline, so making claims to this effect will be frowned upon . At the same time though, you need to present your arguments with confidence, firmly asserting the contribution your research has made, however small that contribution may be. Simply put, you need to keep it balanced .
Step 4: Reflect on the limitations of your study
Now that you’ve pumped your research up, the next step is to critically reflect on the limitations and potential shortcomings of your study. You may have already covered this in the discussion chapter, depending on your university’s structural preferences, so be careful not to repeat yourself unnecessarily.
There are many potential limitations that can apply to any given study. Some common ones include:
- Sampling issues that reduce the generalisability of the findings (e.g., non-probability sampling )
- Insufficient sample size (e.g., not getting enough survey responses ) or limited data access
- Low-resolution data collection or analysis techniques
- Researcher bias or lack of experience
- Lack of access to research equipment
- Time constraints that limit the methodology (e.g. cross-sectional vs longitudinal time horizon)
- Budget constraints that limit various aspects of the study
Discussing the limitations of your research may feel self-defeating (no one wants to highlight their weaknesses, right), but it’s a critical component of high-quality research. It’s important to appreciate that all studies have limitations (even well-funded studies by expert researchers) – therefore acknowledging these limitations adds credibility to your research by showing that you understand the limitations of your research design .
That being said, keep an eye on your wording and make sure that you don’t undermine your research . It’s important to strike a balance between recognising the limitations, but also highlighting the value of your research despite those limitations. Show the reader that you understand the limitations, that these were justified given your constraints, and that you know how they can be improved upon – this will get you marks.
Next, you’ll need to make recommendations for future studies. This will largely be built on the limitations you just discussed. For example, if one of your study’s weaknesses was related to a specific data collection or analysis method, you can make a recommendation that future researchers undertake similar research using a more sophisticated method.
Another potential source of future research recommendations is any data points or analysis findings that were interesting or surprising , but not directly related to your study’s research aims and research questions. So, if you observed anything that “stood out” in your analysis, but you didn’t explore it in your discussion (due to a lack of relevance to your research aims), you can earmark that for further exploration in this section.
Essentially, this section is an opportunity to outline how other researchers can build on your study to take the research further and help develop the body of knowledge. So, think carefully about the new questions that your study has raised, and clearly outline these for future researchers to pick up on.
Step 6: Wrap up with a closing summary
Quick tips for a top-notch conclusion chapter
Now that we’ve covered the what , why and how of the conclusion chapter, here are some quick tips and suggestions to help you craft a rock-solid conclusion.
- Don’t ramble . The conclusion chapter usually consumes 5-7% of the total word count (although this will vary between universities), so you need to be concise. Edit this chapter thoroughly with a focus on brevity and clarity.
- Be very careful about the claims you make in terms of your study’s contribution. Nothing will make the marker’s eyes roll back faster than exaggerated or unfounded claims. Be humble but firm in your claim-making.
- Use clear and simple language that can be easily understood by an intelligent layman. Remember that not every reader will be an expert in your field, so it’s important to make your writing accessible. Bear in mind that no one knows your research better than you do, so it’s important to spell things out clearly for readers.
Hopefully, this post has given you some direction and confidence to take on the conclusion chapter of your dissertation or thesis with confidence. If you’re still feeling a little shaky and need a helping hand, consider booking a free initial consultation with a friendly Grad Coach to discuss how we can help you with hands-on, private coaching.
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This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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Your guide on writing the concluding chapter of a research is really informative especially to the beginners who really do not know where to start. Im now ready to start. Keep it up guys
Really your team are doing great!
Very helpful guidelines, timely saved. Thanks so much for the tips.
This post was very helpful and informative. Thank you team.
A very enjoyable, understandable and crisp presentation on how to write a conclusion chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Jenna.
This was a very helpful article which really gave me practical pointers for my concluding chapter. Keep doing what you are doing! It meant a lot to me to be able to have this guide. Thank you so much.
Nice content dealing with the conclusion chapter, it’s a relief after the streneous task of completing discussion part.Thanks for valuable guidance
Thanks for your guidance
I get all my doubts clarified regarding the conclusion chapter. It’s really amazing. Many thanks.
Very helpful tips. Thanks so much for the guidance
Thank you very much for this piece. It offers a very helpful starting point in writing the conclusion chapter of my thesis.
It’s awesome! Most useful and timely too. Thanks a million times
Bundle of thanks for your guidance. It was greatly helpful.
Wonderful, clear, practical guidance. So grateful to read this as I conclude my research. Thank you.
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How to write an essay: Conclusion
- What's in this guide
- Essay structure
- Additional resources
The last section of an academic essay is the conclusion . The conclusion should reaffirm your answer to the question, and briefly summarise key arguments. It does not include any new points or new information. A conclusion has three sections. First, repeat the thesis statement. It won’t use the exact same words as in your introduction, but it will repeat the point: your overall answer to the question. Then set out your general conclusions , and a short explanation of why they are important.
Finally, draw together the question , the evidence in the essay body, and the conclusion. This way the reader knows that you have understood and answered the question. This part needs to be clear and concise.
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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
- An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
- An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
- An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Thesis Statement Examples
Example of an analytical thesis statement:
The paper that follows should:
- Explain the analysis of the college admission process
- Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
- Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement:
- Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
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Learn about the elements of a successful essay conclusion.
The conclusion is a very important part of your essay. Although it is sometimes treated as a roundup of all of the bits that didn’t fit into the paper earlier, it deserves better treatment than that! It's the last thing the reader will see, so it tends to stick in the reader's memory. It's also a great place to remind the reader exactly why your topic is important. A conclusion is more than just "the last paragraph"—it's a working part of the paper. This is the place to push your reader to think about the consequences of your topic for the wider world or for the reader's own life!
A good conclusion should do a few things:
Restate your thesis
Synthesize or summarize your major points
Make the context of your argument clear
Restating Your Thesis
You've already spent time and energy crafting a solid thesis statement for your introduction, and if you've done your job right, your whole paper focuses on that thesis statement. That's why it's so important to address the thesis in your conclusion! Many writers choose to begin the conclusion by restating the thesis, but you can put your thesis into the conclusion anywhere—the first sentence of the paragraph, the last sentence, or in between. Here are a few tips for rephrasing your thesis:
Remind the reader that you've proven this thesis over the course of your paper. For example, if you're arguing that your readers should get their pets from animal shelters rather than pet stores, you might say, "If you were considering that puppy in the pet-shop window, remember that your purchase will support 'puppy mills' instead of rescuing a needy dog, and consider selecting your new friend at your local animal shelter." This example gives the reader not only the thesis of the paper, but a reminder of the most powerful point in the argument!
Revise the thesis statement so that it reflects the relationship you've developed with the reader during the paper. For example, if you've written a paper that targets parents of young children, you can find a way to phrase your thesis to capitalize on that—maybe by beginning your thesis statement with, "As a parent of a young child…"
Don’t repeat your thesis word for word—make sure that your new statement is an independent, fresh sentence!
Summary or Synthesis
This section of the conclusion might come before the thesis statement or after it. Your conclusion should remind the reader of what your paper actually says! The best conclusion will include a synthesis, not just a summary—instead of a mere list of your major points, the best conclusion will draw those points together and relate them to one another so that your reader can apply the information given in the essay. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
Give a list of the major arguments for your thesis (usually, these are the topic sentences of the parts of your essay).
Explain how these parts are connected. For example, in the animal-shelter essay, you might point out that adopting a shelter dog helps more animals because your adoption fee supports the shelter, which makes your choice more socially responsible.
One of the most important functions of the conclusion is to provide context for your argument. Your reader may finish your essay without a problem and understand your argument without understanding why that argument is important. Your introduction might point out the reason your topic matters, but your conclusion should also tackle this questions. Here are some strategies for making your reader see why the topic is important:
Tell the reader what you want him or her to do. Is your essay a call to action? If so, remind the reader of what he/she should do. If not, remember that asking the reader to think a certain way is an action in itself. (In the above examples, the essay asks the reader to adopt a shelter dog—a specific action.)
Explain why this topic is timely or important. For example, the animal-shelter essay might end with a statistic about the number of pets in shelters waiting for adoption.
Remind the readers of why the topic matters to them personally. For example, it doesn’t matter much if you believe in the mission of animal shelters, if you're not planning to get a dog; however, once you're looking for a dog, it is much more important. The conclusion of this essay might say, "Since you’re in the market for a dog, you have a major decision to make: where to get one." This will remind the reader that the argument is personally important!
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How To Write Good thesis conclusions With Examples
A thesis conclusion is the last section of your thesis paper.
Your thesis conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see. It should be clear, and concise, and adhere to the main idea of your thesis.
In a good thesis conclusion, you restate your thesis statement and summarize your main points.
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You also discuss any limitations to your research and future directions for your work.
Finally, you reflect on the larger implications of your work.
A good conclusion makes your readers think about your work long after they have finished reading it.
In this thesis writing guide, we will go over how to write a good thesis conclusion with examples.
How to Write a Good Thesis Conclusion
Here are some tips for writing a good conclusion for a thesis paper:
Restate your thesis statement.
The first step to writing a strong conclusion is to restate your thesis statement. This will remind the reader of what your paper was about and leave them with a final thought on the topic. Be sure to restate your thesis in a different way than you did in your introduction so as not to sound repetitive. You might want to try rephrasing your original sentence or using different words altogether. However, be careful not to stray too far from your original argument or analysis as this can confuse readers.
Summarize your main points.
you should summarize or recap your main points so that readers are reminded of what you’ve already discussed in your paper. This is where it can be helpful to have transitional sentences at the beginning of each paragraph so that readers know what point you’ll be discussing next.
For example, “As shown by evidence X, Y, and Z…” or “In light of A, B, and C…” By introducing each main point with a transitional sentence, you’ll create cohesion and remind readers of what they’ve read while also leading them to the next point.
Remember to only include information that directly supports your thesis statement.
Do not introduce new information in your conclusion as this will only serve to confuse readers.
Leave a Great Final Impression
Finally, you want to leave readers with a lasting impression for them to remember your work long after they’ve finished reading it.
You might want to consider ending with a call-to-action, posing a question for further research, or making a counterargument if appropriate.
Whatever route you decide to take, make sure that it speaks directly to the overall purpose or message of your paper so that readers come away with something memorable.
Other tips include:
- Discuss any limitations to your research and future directions for your work.
- Reflect on the larger implications of your work.
- Be sure to proofread your conclusion for grammar and punctuation errors before you submit it!
Good Thesis Conclusions Examples
A good thesis conclusion should also leave the reader thinking about your paper long after they have finished reading it. If you are having trouble writing a good conclusion for your paper, check out these thesis conclusion examples for inspiration.
Thesis Conclusion Example #1:
In conclusion, inserting a periodontal sponge impregnated with doxycycline before surgically placing dental implants reduces implant failure and peri-implantitis rates in smokers by inhibiting alveolar bone loss and bacterial biofilms around the implant neck. This is an important finding because it can help reduce dental implant failure rates in smokers, which are currently higher than in non-smokers.
Thesis Conclusion Example #2:
The results of this study suggest that acute exposure to low levels of elemental mercury vapour does not result in significant neurobehavioral effects in young children. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of mercury exposure on brain development. Given the recent increase in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, we must continue to study the effects of mercury on human health so that we can take steps to protect vulnerable populations.
Thesis Conclusion Example #3:
This paper has shown that abortion rates are higher in countries where abortion is legal and accessible than in countries where it is illegal and inaccessible. It has also shown that making abortion illegal does not stop women from getting abortions but instead puts them at greater risk for developing complications like sepsis, hemorrhage, and infection. These findings underscore the importance of making abortion safe and legal so that women can get the care they need without putting their health and lives at risk.
A thesis conclusion is an important part of your thesis paper. In a good thesis conclusion, you restate your thesis statement and summarize your main points.
By following the tips above, you can make sure that the conclusion of your thesis paper is outstanding!
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How To Write a Thesis Conclusion – Example & Tips
A thesis conclusion is the last and the most crucial section of your thesis or dissertation. It is the summary of the dissertation. Put it this way: the conclusion paragraph is your entire dissertation wrapped in a few paragraphs. But, concluding a thesis is never easy for many people. Therefore, what is the best way for concluding a thesis or dissertation?
In this post, we will take a closer look at the dissertation conclusion to help you understand how to write a winning conclusion for a research paper as well as a thesis. We will narrow it down further to outline the best structure of a conclusion.
What is the Importance of the Conclusion Paragraph?
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Before digging deeper into the mechanics of how to write a conclusion for a research paper or thesis, you need to ask yourself the question: “Why is it important?”
Your dissertation conclusion is the last part that you work on after completing the research and the write-up. No matter the area of study you are focusing on, the conclusion can help you to achieve the following goals:
- Answering the research questions that you posed in the first chapter of the dissertation.
- The conclusion paragraph is the part where you reflect on the dissertation.
- In the conclusion, you draw the recommendations for additional studies in areas where you found gaps.
- When writing a dissertation conclusion, you demonstrate what new knowledge you are contributing to the field.
Note that just like the rest of the dissertation, you should not shy from asking your supervisor for a great dissertation conclusion example, especially from past students. This is very important because your department might have a preferred format for writing dissertation conclusions. You can also get a perfect example of a conclusion in the thesis as you research your topic.
When designing a conclusion format, it is important to differentiate it from the results and discussion parts of the thesis. This will help you to strike the perfect flow and win the readers’ affection.
The dissertation results chapter outlines the findings you generated from the research. You should use tables and graphs to demonstrate the findings of the study. The results chapter comes before the discussion.
In the discussion section, you delve deeper into the results you have just presented. You are simply deciphering the findings in line with your research questions. It is the discussion that will set the stage for approving or disproving the thesis statement that you outlined in the first chapter.
NOTE: In some colleges, the results and discussions are put together into one chapter. Therefore, it is very important to follow your college’s recommendation.
While the results and discussions focus more on the results, the conclusion wraps up the entire dissertation. If your dissertation ends at the discussion part, the reader will be left hanging. But writing the conclusion makes the dissertation feel complete and authentic.
As you think about how to write a conclusion, there is one question you need to get right: “How long should a conclusion be?” If you are writing a conclusion for a standard research paper or short thesis, one to three paragraphs should suffice. To put it in percentage, the conclusion should be about 5% of the overall word count. Therefore, you should start by establishing “how long should a thesis be”.
In most cases, the conclusion for empirical scientific research is generally short while that of humanities dissertations is longer. Here is the best format for how to end a research paper or thesis.
- Start by answering the thesis question: Your conclusion should commence by restating the main thesis question that you anticipate answering. Finally, you have the opportunity to answer the question. Ensure the answer is clear and concise.
- Reflect on the research that you have just finished: After stating the study question, you need to remind the marker or readers why the study was important. Why did you set off on the journey, what was the anticipation, and did the results confirm the expectation? Give an overview of steps that were used during the research and construction of your argument.
At this point, you might be wondering – do I summarize every chapter? The answer is ‘no.’ Instead, you should write more reflectively and answer whether the methodology used was effective in answering the study questions. Make sure also to mention the limitations you experienced during the study.
- Outline recommendations: Although you might have noted the areas that need further research when discussing results, the conclusion is a perfect place to elaborate. Its recommendations interweave well with personal reflections. Try to make recommendations specific. Here are some examples of how to frame recommendations:
Further studies are needed to establish the implications of …. From the conclusion, sociology researchers should consider ….. To understand the effects of the findings, further research can help to ….
- What was your contribution? This part of the conclusion is used to answer the question: “So what?” It provides the right impression of how the thesis contributed to the researcher’s field of study. To achieve this, you can use the following strategies:
Revisit the study problem statement and explain how the thesis helped to solve it. Refer to the study’s literature review to demonstrate how the dissertation has helped to fill the existing gap. If your dissertation is in humanities, you can demonstrate how the findings challenged or confirmed the current viewpoints, assumptions, or theories.
Note that the conclusion should not appear as a stand-alone chapter in the dissertation. Rather, it should articulately interweave with the rest of the paper. To perfect your skills, make sure to also check top conclusion paragraph examples from other students.
From this post on how to write a conclusion paragraph, there is no doubt that you should find it an easy and enjoyable process. After working so hard to complete the dissertation, the conclusion paragraph is simply aimed at wrapping everything up. To get the best conclusions, you should also read top-rated conclusion paragraph examples to see how experts do it. But we must agree that even with this simplified demonstration, crafting the perfect conclusion paragraph is no easy task. It takes time and practice.
There are times when students, even after working on the biggest chunk of their dissertations, feel inadequate to write the conclusions. Often, the process can be complicated when you are required to follow specific models such as MLA or APA conclusions. Even if you have the best conclusion examples and working hard to hone your writing skills, a tight deadline or other engagements might make it hard to craft the best. If you feel inadequate about writing a Harvard or MLA format conclusion because of any reason, do not hesitate to seek writing help.
Writing help is offered by expert writers who understand the structure of Ph.D. conclusion chapters to guarantee you the best grades. No matter your area of study, the experts are cheap and will get you the best. In addition to helping you write the conclusion, they can also provide you with the best sample of a conclusion paragraph for practice. What a great way to sharpen your skills in dissertation writing?
Do not let writing a thesis conclusion stress you: Use this post to make it fun!
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How to Write a Good Thesis Conclusion
So much time and energy go into choosing and writing the thesis statement, it’s easy to overlook the importance of your thesis conclusion. After months of research, carefully compiling the abstract, selecting your sources, and developing your critical analysis, the conclusion may seem obvious to you, the author. Many students assume that the reader doesn’t need much more than a simple repeat of the original thesis statement by the end of the thesis. In this case, the opposite is true: the thesis conclusion should be one of the most substantial parts of your paper; it will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Why do you need a strong conclusion?
Just like the beginning of your thesis and the supporting research serve a purpose, a strong conclusion achieves several objectives. Here are just a few reasons you need a solid conclusion to create a well-rounded thesis.
- It answers questions raised in your research
- It demonstrates how you have achieved your aims and objectives
- It explains any significance to your findings
- It details the contribution your study makes to your field
- It explains any limitations to your research
- It lays the foundation for further study
Tips for drafting a memorable conclusion
So, how do you finish your thesis paper as strongly as you started it? Following these simple steps can help build a thorough conclusion.
- Establish authority
The whole point of a thesis paper is to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field. Before you earn a master’s degree, you need to prove that you are indeed a master in your field of study. Do not hesitate or use vague language. Be bold. Be firm. Be an expert.
- See the big picture
Your thesis conclusion is not the time for further analysis. If you have done your job correctly, all the supporting evidence you need already was presented in the body of your document. Now is the time to state the significance of your work. Think of your conclusion as the final piece of the puzzle. Once it is in place, it brings clarity to the entire picture.
- Avoid repetition
Repetitive speech is one of the most common errors in academic papers. While repeating thoughts is sometimes a valuable way to emphasize the importance of specific findings, constantly repeating thoughts and ideas can make it look like you are not well-versed in your thesis topic. Summarize your topic quickly in the conclusion before bringing the big picture into focus. The goal is to recap, not repeat.
The Sections of a Thesis
The information in each section of your thesis will not only point to the research, but it will introduce the reader to the significant points that support your original statement. Analyzing the research of others is an essential skill for master’s degree candidates, and every section of your thesis should incorporate a nod to your qualitative methodology. Taking those observations and using them to support a conclusion about a chosen topic within your field of study is the actual test of success. By including these points in each section, you’re building up a logical conclusion.
A final word on conclusions
The graduate school at your university probably has specific requirements regarding the format of your paper, table of contents, list of figures, and so on, so it is important to view their documentation before writing your conclusion and submitting the paper to an academic editing service .
Writing a Conclusion
Writing a conclusion is an important part of any piece of writing. It is often possible to get a good overview of an assignment by looking briefly at the conclusion. However, writing a conclusion can be quite difficult. This is because it can often be hard to find something interesting or useful to say in the conclusion. Conclusions should be attractive and interesting but often they are rather dull and "formula written".
Although formulae for writing conclusions are tempting to use, it is always best to avoid set phrases such as "Therefore, let us conclude that..." which are clichés, and do not help to end your work in the best light.
Helpful information, advice and materials for writing conclusions
1. What are the typical ingredients in a conclusion?
2. What are the differences between writing conclusions to essays and to dissertations/theses?
3. See a sample conclusion
4. Try a practice activity
5. Check out further advice on writing conclusions
6. Download a checklist to help you edit your written work
What are the typical 'ingredients' of a conclusion?
Trzeciak and Mackay (1994) ( Study skills for academic writing. New York: Prentice Hall ) observe a number of useful "ingredients" that form part of a conclusion. Again (as with introductions) it will not always be necessary or desirable to include all the elements they mention. However, you will probably want to use some of these in some combination, in order to conclude your work.
- A summary of the main part of the text
- A deduction made on the basis of the main body
- Your personal opinion on what has been discussed
- A statement about the limitations of the work
- A comment about the future based on what has been discussed
- The implications of the work for future research
- Important facts and figures not mentioned in the main body
Pallant (2009) sees five basic ingredients of a conclusion as follows, though these will not always be used in the same conclusion:
- A summary of the main points (being careful not to repeat exactly what you have written before)
- Concluding statements
These recommendations probably apply more to discussion essays than they do to other kinds of assessed writing at university. For example, if you are writing a business plan or discussing a law scenario, or answering an examination question, you may not need the above elements, unless the question specifically asks you for them or unless it is known that it is expected of you in the discipline you are working in.
However, you will generally need a final section to indicate that you are 'rounding off' the discusion. Always be very careful to check what the conventions are in the discipline you are working in, and ideally, it is best to look at examples of past students' work so that you can see what you are aiming for.
What are the differences between writing conclusions to essays and to dissertations/theses?
When writing longer pieces of work, it is still very important to observe some of the principles above. For instance, you will still want to ensure that your conclusion really does conclude , and does not just go off at a tangent to discuss something that is unrelated to the thesis. Some people believe (mistakenly) that a conclusion is the place for you to relax and 'say whatever you want'. This is incorrect. If you do this, you will be likely to be marked down.
There are also likely to be some key differences in your approach when writing conclusions. Certainly, conclusions will be even more important in a dissertation or thesis, purely because of the length of the piece. Among the differences you will notice are the following:
- As well as having an overall conclusion to your dissertation or thesis, each chapter should also have a conclusion (as well as an introduction). The reason for this is that in a longer piece of writing, it becomes more important to remind the reader of what you have done and why you have done it, before you move onto the next stage.
- The conclusion of a dissertation or thesis is not an opportunity to engage in a personal 'rant'. You must draw out key aspects of the literature you have studied, along with your recommendations , and say how they are justified or contradicted by your research.
- It is a good idea in a chapter conclusion to remind the reader what happened in the chapter (e.g. In this chapter, the literature relating to the teaching of vocabulary was considered.). After this, you need to build a bridge linking this chapter with the next one. (e.g. This will be further discussed in the next chapter.)
- In a dissertation or thesis, there is likely to be a longer section on the limitations of your research . Important though this is, however, you also need to be sure to sell your research in the conclusion - so it is best not to be too negative or over-modest about your achievements at this point. The key to many dissertations and theses is the need to emphasise the contribution that it makes to research.
- In a dissertation or thesis, it is more likely that you will have a section on the need for future research . In an MA or MSc dissertation you may like to suggest something that could be developed from your work as a PhD thesis. In a PhD thesis you may like to indicate some potential for post-doctoral work.
Further advice on writing conclusions
When writing an assignment, be careful of the following points:
- The topic you are writing about may not always require a full conclusion (this is particularly the case if your work is heavily analytical or mathematical, or not very discursive.) Remember not all assignments require discussion. Check what the expectations are in your own department. Ask your tutor if you are not sure.
- Even if you do not need a full conclusion, remember that any assignment nearly always needs to be rounded off in some way and brought to an end. Consider this: will the reader know that you have finished your work? (Or will they just think that you have run out of time - or energy)?
- Keep in mind the balance of your assignment. The conclusion should be clear and relatively brief.
- In discussion-type assignments, it is often a better idea to raise questions and problems in the conclusion than to provide over-simplified/ naive answers to the assignment title. Examiners will usually be very wary of essays, theses or dissertations that presume to solve all the world's problems in a simplistic and trivial way. Remember, life is never that simple. However, remember not to introduce any new material in the conclusion.
- There is no need to go over everything again that you have already mentioned; this would be unnecessarily boring and tedious.
- Make sure that the conclusion is based on what you have said before. It is often tempting to go off at a tangent and to say things that are completely unrelated to the topic. Be wary of this.
- It is permissible to give your opinion in the conclusion but try to do so subtly and try not to sound too pompous or authoritarian . Usually your viewpoint will be obvious from your discussion, so there is no need to conclude with statements such as: In conclusion, I think Hamlet is a great play. Allow your enthusiasm for the topic to show in how you discuss it. Make sure that you do not use the conclusion as an opportunity to engage in an over-generalised an unfocussed 'rant'.
- Be careful with tenses. In a conclusion, you will usually want to use the present perfect (e.g. The aim of this dissertation has been to....) followed by the simple past (Chapter 1 provided an overview of...).
- Be very careful about using the word "conclusion" anywhere other than the conclusion itself! This can mislead the reader. If you use the word conclusion several times in an essay, the reader will give up trying to work out where the conclusion really is.
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Guide to Writing Introductions and Conclusions
First and last impressions are important in any part of life, especially in writing. This is why the introduction and conclusion of any paper – whether it be a simple essay or a long research paper – are essential. Introductions and conclusions are just as important as the body of your paper. The introduction is what makes the reader want to continue reading your paper. The conclusion is what makes your paper stick in the reader’s mind.
Your introductory paragraph should include:
1) Hook: Description, illustration, narration or dialogue that pulls the reader into your paper topic. This should be interesting and specific.
2) Transition: Sentence that connects the hook with the thesis.
3) Thesis: Sentence (or two) that summarizes the overall main point of the paper. The thesis should answer the prompt question.
The examples below show are several ways to write a good introduction or opening to your paper. One example shows you how to paraphrase in your introduction. This will help you understand the idea of writing sequences using a hook, transition, and thesis statement.
» Thesis Statement Opening
This is the traditional style of opening a paper. This is a “mini-summary” of your paper.
» Opening with a Story (Anecdote)
A good way of catching your reader’s attention is by sharing a story that sets up your paper. Sharing a story gives a paper a more personal feel and helps make your reader comfortable.
This example was borrowed from Jack Gannon’s The Week the World Heard Gallaudet (1989):
Astrid Goodstein, a Gallaudet faculty member, entered the beauty salon for her regular appointment, proudly wearing her DPN button. (“I was married to that button that week!” she later confided.) When Sandy, her regular hairdresser, saw the button, he spoke and gestured, “Never! Never! Never!” Offended, Astrid turned around and headed for the door but stopped short of leaving. She decided to keep her appointment, confessing later that at that moment, her sense of principles had lost out to her vanity. Later she realized that her hairdresser had thought she was pushing for a deaf U.S. President. Hook: a specific example or story that interests the reader and introduces the topic.
Transition: connects the hook to the thesis statement
Thesis: summarizes the overall claim of the paper
» Specific Detail Opening
Giving specific details about your subject appeals to your reader’s curiosity and helps establish a visual picture of what your paper is about.
» Open with a Quotation
Another method of writing an introduction is to open with a quotation. This method makes your introduction more interactive and more appealing to your reader.
» Open with an Interesting Statistic
Statistics that grab the reader help to make an effective introduction.
» Question Openings
Possibly the easiest opening is one that presents one or more questions to be answered in the paper. This is effective because questions are usually what the reader has in mind when he or she sees your topic.
Source : *Writing an Introduction for a More Formal Essay. (2012). Retrieved April 25, 2012, from http://flightline.highline.edu/wswyt/Writing91/handouts/hook_trans_thesis.htm
The conclusion to any paper is the final impression that can be made. It is the last opportunity to get your point across to the reader and leave the reader feeling as if they learned something. Leaving a paper “dangling” without a proper conclusion can seriously devalue what was said in the body itself. Here are a few effective ways to conclude or close your paper. » Summary Closing Many times conclusions are simple re-statements of the thesis. Many times these conclusions are much like their introductions (see Thesis Statement Opening).
» Close with a Logical Conclusion
This is a good closing for argumentative or opinion papers that present two or more sides of an issue. The conclusion drawn as a result of the research is presented here in the final paragraphs.
» Real or Rhetorical Question Closings
This method of concluding a paper is one step short of giving a logical conclusion. Rather than handing the conclusion over, you can leave the reader with a question that causes him or her to draw his own conclusions.
» Close with a Speculation or Opinion This is a good style for instances when the writer was unable to come up with an answer or a clear decision about whatever it was he or she was researching. For example:
» Close with a Recommendation
A good conclusion is when the writer suggests that the reader do something in the way of support for a cause or a plea for them to take action.
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- Knowledge Base
- How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion
How to Write a Dissertation Conclusion | Checklist and Examples
Published on 9 September 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on 10 October 2022.
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
- Summarise and reflect on your research process
- Make recommendations for future work on your 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: summarise and reflect on your research, step 3: make future recommendations, step 4: emphasise your contributions to your field, step 5: wrap up your thesis or dissertation, full conclusion example, conclusion checklist, 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 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 synthesise 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 generalisability 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.
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:
- 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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George, T. & McCombes, S. (2022, October 10). How to Write a Dissertation Conclusion | Checklist and Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 3 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/conclusion/
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