Writing a Conclusion

An effective concluding paragraph should provide closure for a paper, leaving the reader feeling satisfied that the thesis has been fully explained. Probably the shortest paragraph of an essay, the conclusion should be brief and to the point. The conclusion should provide a restatement of the thesis, a summary of the author's conclusions, and perhaps a solution to the problem, if this is the writer's intent.  However, a good writer avoids a blatant repetition of the thesis statement which can leave a reader feeling annoyed an disappointed after reading an otherwise interesting paper.  Repeating the thesis, word for word, in the conclusion seems lazy and is not very interesting.  It is best to restate the ideas using different language, perhaps even to create a sort of dramatic effect that comes from repetition.  Good conclusions might have a dramatic quality -- rather like a grand finale. The conclusion should leave the reader with an overall sense of how the writer feels about the subject.  Concluding statements which refer back to the introductory paragraph are appropriate here. Frequently, the ideas in the body of an essay lead to some significant conclusion that can be stated and explained in this final paragraph.  Finally, this is not the place to introduce ideas you forgot to mention in the body of the paper!

Some effective techniques for creating a conclusion are:

bulletrestate the seriousness of a problem
bulletsummarize your thesis or proposed solution
bulletrecap the most important points of the paper
bulletbring a chronologically organized paper up to the present and suggest future directions

Call for awareness: If  writing about new issues, an ending with a call for awareness seems fitting.


Unanswered questions/Implications for further study: What issues can be resolved in this essay, and what questions remain about the issue?


pose some questions to your reader, encouraging him to continue thinking about the thesis


Rationale: Why is this an important thing to study? (This is mainly for people doing comparison papers.)


Call for action/What you can do: Kind of like a call for awareness, but with specific directions for the audience on how they can get involved and combat this problem.

What NOT to do in a concluding paragraph:

bulletDO NOT use cliches which sound good but mean nothing
bulletDO NOT introduce new arguments, evidence, or details
bulletDO NOT apologize for doing a poor job of presenting the material
bulletDO NOT qualify or blunt the impact of points made earlier

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