Writing Conclusions

For this tip I’m going to talk about conclusions in academic papers.

The Basics:

The conclusion not only summarizes the thesis and main points of your paper, but it also shows how each point is connected to the whole. The thesis is the map to your paper so the conclusion both restates the path that you’ve been guided through and explains why it is important. When writing your conclusion always ask the “Why does this matter?” question. In this paragraph, you are telling people why they should care about everything you’ve just said to them. This is the most crucial aspect of the conclusion.  Why does your topic matter in the real world? Because the conclusion is the last part of your paper, naturally it is what readers will remember the most.  Leave them with thoughtful remarks about your topic, something that will impact them.

What to Include in a Conclusion:

1. Briefly summarize the thesis and main points of your paper.

2. Connect your conclusion to your hook. This is a fun way to bring finality to a piece by bringing it full circle. It is not always necessary but it’s a good tactic to use.

3. Answer the “Why does this matter?” question.

4. Finish your paper with a strong concluding sentence or sentences. This could be ending with a question, a warning, a call to action, a universalizing statement that ties your argument to larger world issues, a logical conclusion like “because of reasons a and b clearly the best solution is c,” etc.

What to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion:

• Do not start your conclusion paragraph with “In conclusion…” or “In summary…” Instead, start your conclusion with a smooth transition sentence from the previous paragraph.

• Do not add new information or sources that provide support or evidence for your claims into your conclusion. That information belongs in your body paragraphs. Remember, the purpose of your conclusion is to briefly summarize your main points and then discuss why it matters.

• Do not end your paper abruptly. End with a powerful, impactful sentence. Leave your reader with something to remember your paper by.

• Do not copy and paste your thesis. You can do this to start off in a draft, but make sure your final conclusion emphasizes your main points in connection with the evidence you provided and doesn’t just repeat your thesis in other words.

• Do not focus on a minor aspect of your paper in your conclusion. Focus on the main points.

• Do not end your paper with a cliffhanger. Unlike the movies, or your favorite book, conclusions must tie up all the loose ends.

• Do notend your paper by adding a concluding sentence to your final body paragraph.

Tata for now!

This is Christina, signing off until next time!

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