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Writing tip: how to compose a research paper conclusion paragraph


The purpose of the conclusion is to restate your key argument. It should remind your reader of the strengths of your particular argument and what supporting evidence you included. Your conclusion should not be a repetitive summary. It should be a forum where you succinctly restate the thesis and the supporting evidence.

You can to reflect on the evidence that you presented inside of your paper and reflect on the greater implication of your thesis. Ask yourself:

  • What is the significance of what you found out in your paper?
  • How do your findings relate to the bigger picture?
  • What are the implications of your conclusion?
  • Did you encounter any limitations during your research?
  • Were there any factors that may have impacted the topic of your paper but fell outside of the scope?
  • Can you offer any suggestions for future research related to your topic?

Your conclusion needs to match your introduction in that it should cover the same things you covered in the introduction. For example: if you opened with a startling statistic, you should close with one. If you covered four of the body paragraphs in your introduction, you need to cover the same four in your conclusion.

You want to avoid ever presenting new information or a new idea that you did not cover in the rest of your paper. Many students have one statistic or one point they really want heard, but there isn’t enough supporting evidence, or it just didn’t fall within the scope of the essay, and so instead of letting it go, they really, really want to include it and end up throwing it into the conclusion as a sort of dramatic surprise. This takes away from the rest of the paper severely and should be avoided at all costs.

When writing your conclusion, make sure you keep it roughly the same length as your introduction. It, like your introduction, should be between ten and fifteen percent of your total paper length. Obviously a longer research paper will have a longer concluding paragraph compared to a short 5-paragraph essay. Try and keep this in mind while writing. Cover the same information you did in the introduction, but with the new evidence incorporated slightly. Avoid making a dramatic finish that is not in alignment with the tone of the rest of your essay. Keep it academic and professional.

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