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How to Make a Solid Research Paper Conclusion

A good conclusion should summarize the essence of your paper, and leave your readers with a clear idea of what they have learned from it. There are time-proven techniques you can use to write an efficient conclusion and avoid the most common mistakes.

Basic Elements

A research paper conclusion should include:

  • A restatement of your topic. Use one sentence to remind your readers what your research subject was and why it is important.
  • A restatement of your thesis. Rephrase the thesis statement you used in your introduction.
  • Brief summary of main points. This is necessary if your paper is long. By the time your readers reach the conclusion, they might forget what exactly was discussed in the body of the text. However, if your research paper is short (less than 7-10 pages), it is better to omit this step.
  • A call to action or another powerful final strike. Your last sentence is the thing your readers will remember, so it is extremely important. Write what you would like them to walk away with.

Tips for an Effective Conclusion

  • Synthesize your ideas rather than merely repeat or summarize them. Tie all important points together.
  • State your opinion. It should be based on the research evidence you cited in the body of your paper.
  • Review your position. If you took any initial stance, be sure to mention whether you still stand with it, or have changed your opinion as you discovered new facts in the course of your research work.
  • Recognize your limitations. You might not be able to fully answer your research question. If it’s the case, state the need of further research in this field in your last sentence. This will make you sound like a researcher, not a confused student.
  • Give recommendations on how to solve the problem you have discussed.
  • Include a direct answer to the research question that was stated in your introduction. This way, you will form a “full circle” of thought and reasoning in your paper.
  • Keep the tone consistent with what it was throughout your paper. Do not let your conclusion become too emotional or sentimental and ruin the impression of research objectivity you tried to build.

Things to Avoid

  • Do not begin your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To sum up.” They are overused and irritating to many readers. If your conclusion is strong, it does not need labelling to stand out. A better way to start is a brief restatement of your topic and research thesis.
  • Do not add any new information.
  • Do not quote or paraphrase the works of others.

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