11 Practical Tips for Writing Effective Essay and Research Paper Conclusions

A complete essay or research paper usually has three major parts: an introduction, main body, and a suitable conclusion. Generally, the conclusion is the summary of an essay, paper or any other type of presentation. It is also seen as the last paragraph in a short essay. The conclusion is one of the most important and sensitive parts of your essay and academic research paper, as some readers and reviewers quickly go through your conclusion when they want to know the central idea of your essay. So having a concise, persuasive and self-complete conclusion can motivate them to go through the main body of your work as well as anticipate more essays that might come from you subsequently.

Knowing the importance of writing good essay conclusions and the disappointment that comes with messy/ill-structured conclusions, we have put out some of the most important and practical tips you need in writing effective essay and research paper conclusions.

1) Understand the Type and Context of the Essay Conclusion.

Different essay types demand a different approach in writing; be it the introduction, body or conclusion. Knowing the structure requirement of the essay you are writing will enable you to know how to write the conclusion. For instance, in writing the conclusion for a research paper you need to draw inference from the shreds of evidence and facts you established during the course of your research whereas in an argumentative essay you draw a conclusion by buttressing your view for or against an opinion which is usually premeditated. So try to understand the requirements for the kind of essay you are writing on. The way you structure your essay conclusion is normally a reflection of the type of essay you are writing which can be any of the following:

  •  Narrative Essay: Narrative essay is simply an essay that tells stories. In writing a conclusion for this type of essay you need to be able to tell the significance and moral lessons from the story as well as any call to action of the story.
  •  Analytic and Analysis Essay. In this type of essay, there is a dissection or explanation of something be it literary work, process or idea bit by bit to enhance understanding.
  •  Expository: An expository essay tends to explain, illustrate and clarify a topic or idea to the readers.
  •  Argumentative: argumentative essays present arguments about both sides of an issue. In concluding argumentative essays try to rephrase the thesis statement, recall major points and draw concluding remarks.
  •  Research Paper and thesis: these are usually academic documents and their conclusions are drawn from established facts or inferences during the course of the research.

2. Reiterate Your Introductory Paragraphs and Restate your thesis statement.

When writing a research paper or thesis, it is very imperative that you reiterate your thesis statement. You would always want your readers to feel that you support what you stated at the beginning in your thesis statement by reiterating such in your conclusion. In other creative writings other than research paper and thesis, the rules below can guide you:

  •  For shorter essays, reiterate your introductory paragraphs.
  •  For longer papers, use key points from each paragraph to conclude.
  •  For very long papers and books, use major points from each chapter or theme to conclude.

3) Write Your Conclusions with Specific Points.

In writing an essay you begin on a general note and continue to buttress your views with different examples. But as you come to the conclusion, try as much as possible to end with specific points. You can use the following as a guide:

  •  Get the major idea from each paragraph of your essay body if it is a short essay piece- this can be found in the topic sentence for the paragraphs.
  •  Get the central idea from each chapter of your work for longer paper and books.
  •  Conclude all your main thoughts. Do not leave any thought floating.

4) Do not bring up new ideas or views in your conclusion.

You should be able to summarize the points you have already stressed in the body of your essay. Sometimes, it is at this stage of writing that a glaring new idea will flash through your thought. Resist the temptation! If there be a need, try to edit the body of your work and include such view inasmuch as there is the connectivity. But do not introduce a fresh idea that you have not discussed in the work into the conclusion. You know what? Your conclusion by structure and design is supposed to summarize and authenticate the central idea of your write up. Now when you introduce new ideas or views at this part of your essay, it can make your essay look poor and less impressive through the following ways:

  •  By making your conclusion longer than necessary.
  •  Some of the views might tend to contradict the major ideas you have already established in the body of the essay already—this can be very dangerous for your readers!
  •  It exposes your writing inefficiency to your potential readers thereby affecting the authority of your ideas as a writer or an author.

5) Try To Connect All the Major Ideas in Your Essay.

Your conclusion should be able to coherently explain how the major ideas in the essay fit together. Some writers start up with different artistic styles and as they progress through the body of their essays they may introduce some seemingly contradicting views in each of the chapters or paragraphs in their essay. For example, a writer may start by talking about the pleasant and peaceful nature of the seashore and in the next paragraph, he discusses the noisy atmosphere experienced in a market area. Before he concludes his essay or write-up, he should be able to establish the linkage between the two contradictory scenarios by providing the lesson inherent in their differences.

6) Always Try To End Your Essay Conclusion on a Positive Note.

Your conclusion should be able to make your readers fulfilled and happy to have read your work. Always try to conclude your essay on a positive note- your readers will be glad and more appreciative of your works. The way you conclude your work can enlighten or shatter the mood of your readers which will affect the impression they will have about any of your written works. Imagine spending quality time and creative skill to produce great work with great ideas but ending your work in a messy, poorly-structured conclusion. Within seconds it can shatter the impression that your previous opinions and ideas must have had on your readers. What a bizarre! Avoid it.

7) Avoid Using Transition Words And Phrases To Conclude.

If you are giving an oral presentation or speech it sounds appropriate to say ‘in summary’, ‘in conclusion’, ‘conclusively’ etc. But when you want to end your essay, transition words and phrases like ‘in conclusion’, ‘in summary’, ‘to close’ is not really needed. Your readers should be able to know through the tone and compressive nature of your writing that you are concluding.

8) Provide a Sense of Closure and Completeness.

Conclusion in an essay just as the name implies should have a sense of closure and completeness. Do not reintroduce a fresh idea. Provide the needed answer to every question you established during the body of your essay. Try to bring every argument to closure for argumentative essay and draw conclusions or results drawn from the facts established in the body of the write up for research papers.

9) Proof- Read your Essay Conclusion.

Before you turn out your writing work, proofread your work. Proofreading eliminates errors from your essay, ridding your essay of grammar, spelling mistakes and typographical errors. It provides the final polish to your words, ensuring clarity of message and gives you the assurance that what you intended to write was actually what you ended up communicating across through your writing.

10) Make Your Essay Conclusion Inclusive.

Include all your points rather than emphasizing on one particular point or make use of the central idea of the essay to conclude. If you are to conclude by summarizing each of the points you expressed in the essay, please do not make the mistake of concentrating on one point to the detriment of other points. This can be a subtle message indicating that your opinion was centered on only that particular point. However, an exception to this can be in an essay where this particular point alone served as your central idea.

11) Control the Length of Your Essay Conclusion

The length of your work or the number of paragraphs should determine the number of sentences in your conclusion. The conclusion is an abridged version of your writing work and should as much as possible be much lower in volume compared to your entire essay. You neither need to include details nor start explaining already established facts all over again. For short essays, if possible use the central idea or the topic sentence from each paragraph of your essay work to draw a conclusion.

The conclusion is a very vital part of your essay and should be carefully written because this leaves the final impression on your readers regarding the authority of your work. Sometimes it can be the only view or idea that will remain with your readers long after they have finished reading your essay or research paper.

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