Importance of Conclusion in Academic Writing
August 29, 2021| Category: Writing Tips
A conclusion is an essential part of any academic paper, no matter of what type or format it is. The conclusion usually provides a lasting impression on the reader and sums up the findings and ideas of writing. Another function of the conclusion is to highlight or re-emphasize the most essential points of the discussion.
So, specifically, when a paper is fairly long, the conclusion can remind the readers of the most important parts outlined in the paper. To write the conclusion properly, one has to step back from the writing process and then reiterate the main points and arguments. For the majority of academic writing assignments and research papers, the conclusion takes one paragraph. In cases of such extended papers as dissertations or thesis papers, the conclusion may be organized as a chapter. One of the crucial aspects of the conclusion is that it should not introduce any new ideas. Instead, it should bring the final clarity to the arguments and evidence provided.
What Should You Know about Conclusions?
Both introductions and conclusions may be difficult to write even though they do not belong to the main body of the paper. Nonetheless, they are worth your time and efforts since they make a lasting impression on the reader.
A conclusive paragraph is usually the last opportunity to say the last word on the given topic. Besides, the conclusion provides you with a chance to reflect on the analyzed ideas and thoughts you have in your paper. Moreover, the conclusion is a synthesis of the ideas and arguments you have expressed. Last but not the least, the conclusion makes the final impression on your readers, so it is the main thing your target audience will remember about your writing.
A conclusion can be regarded a successful one if it makes your reader content with what they have read. In other words, your target audience should be happy that they have spent time reading your paper. Besides, the conclusion should provide clarity that a reader could have missed while reading the main body.
Professional Strategies towards Effective Conclusion Writing
Check out the following steps and guidelines that could help you provide a successful conclusion for any academic paper:
- Ask yourself, “So what?” If you hesitate whether your conclusion is meaningful or interesting, try reading it out loud with your friend. When interacting with your friend, suggest playing a “So what” game. Every time you read some statement or a sentence from the conclusion, ask your friend to respond “So what?” to it or a phrase like “Why should I care?”
Take a look at the example of how it should go:
You: It should be mentioned that obtaining higher education was essential to Doug. Your friend: So what? You: It was important for him, as the education he acquired played a key role in getting more freedoms and rights. Your friend: Why should I care? You: During the times he grew up, not everybody could obtain education, so these people could easily become slaves. As a result, they were kept under control.
- Go back to the central theme or the main topics outlined in the introductory paragraph. It will signify the full circle you make by joining the initially introduced idea with the one you are concluding your paper. This strategy helps you to re-emphasize the central ideas as well as provide proof of what has been discussed in the paper.
- Synthesize information discussed in the paper. Synthesis is not the same as a summary, so be sure to critically analyze the facts but not repeat the same information.
- Provide a call to action, a solution to the problem or food for thought. These actions can redirect your readers` focus and thinking beyond the paper. Specifically, they may think about the ideas from the paper but in relation to real-life examples.
- Pinpoint to further implications of the paper/findings. This tip is particularly useful if you are providing a conclusion to some research paper or a coursework project.
What to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion?
- Avoid unnecessary wording and transitions, namely “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “to sum up,” “in summary,” etc.
- Do not repeat the thesis in the same words.
- Do not leave reiteration of the thesis without any comments.
- Avoid introducing new ideas.
- Do not provide any comments, emotional appeals, and so on that are out of context.
- Do not leave unsupported evidence such as statistics, quotations, graphs, and numerical data that are not synthesized.
Kinds of Ineffective Conclusions
1. “This is my story and I adhere to it” conclusion. This type of conclusion is about merely restating the thesis and leaving no synthesis of the obtained findings. It does not provide any call to action or does not shed light on any further implications either. It seems that people write this conclusion when they have nothing to write about.
2. “Sherlock Holmes” conclusion. That’s the example of a conclusion where a thesis is introduced in the paper for the first time. It seems that nothing was revealed in the main body and it is left to be given out in conclusion. People who choose this strategy consider that it is better to wow the audience in the end rather than spread this intrigue evenly throughout the paper.
3. The “We shall stand against it,” “We are Girl Power,” “America the Mighty,” etc. conclusion types. This is the conclusion that appeals to emotions or sentiments. In some cases, it may even be heart-breaking to read such conclusion for some people. Rather than ending the paper with an emotional phrase, you would rather provide some logical and comprehensive commentaries.
4. “Grab bag” conclusion. It can be considered ineffective since it puts forward additional information that was not mentioned in the main body due to some reasons. For example, it may have been simply off-topic or irrelevant there, but the writer still wanted to mention it. Specifically, for some writers, it is difficult to omit details that were obtained in the process of rigorous and thorough research. However, it is important to realize that such “extra details” can even confuse your readers.
Everyone talks about the importance of introductory paragraphs, as they make the first impression. However, conclusions are not less important. They make a lasting impression and make your readers remember what you have written about.