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An expert's guide on how to write a conclusion for a research paper

For you to succeed in research writing, it is always ideal to think of the results you wish to achieve well in advance. This is why it is often advised that you should plan a research paper’s conclusion as soon as you have a topic. After creating your paper’s outline and familiarized yourself with a research sample, what you need to include in your conclusion will become clear.


The conclusion of a research is the last part of a paper, though not the easiest to write. Its purpose is to summarize your whole research paper and bring out the main purpose of the research. The best research conclusion should be as interesting as the introduction. Most students assume that the conclusion is unimportant, and this cannot be further from the truth. Anyone reading your paper is as interested in the conclusion as they were with the introduction and body. 


A weak conclusion will dent your otherwise fantastic research paper. It is mostly what the reader will remember about your writing. It should convince your readers about your research and make them want to research your topic further. 


Purpose of a research paper conclusion  


To succeed in writing the best conclusion, you need to understand how the introduction and body of your research paper will look. Having a mental image of what your paper is about will give you an easy idea of how to conclude it. Never begin a research paper without knowing exactly how you want it to look and what you want it to be about. 


The conclusion of a research paper explains the results in your research and analysis. It is meant to summarize your work, predict the future based on your research, and leave room for future research advancements on the topic. A good research paper can be advanced as you advance in your area of study. Your conclusion should show the whole picture of your research in a few paragraphs or pages if you want your work to stand out. This is why it is advisable to take this part of your writing seriously. 


Your conclusion should be appropriate. To achieve this:



  • Summarize any complex arguments to the reader in the conclusion

  • Talk about the significance of your results if you have not addressed it before 

  • Proceed to offer a general overview of your paper

  • Only discuss ideas and context that is in the paper. Never introduce new text or concepts to a conclusion.

  • Restate the topic of your research persuasively and succinctly. You can include your reflection on the evidence presented in your work. Ensure you offer introspective with a professional tone. 


General rules for writing a research paper conclusion 


When you successfully write perfectly structured research, you are able to demonstrate your understanding and in-depth analysis of the research problem.  



  • Your conclusion should always be in a simple language. Avoid being overly elaborate. 

  • Ensure you dive deep into the meaning of your results.

  • Show opportunities for further research on the topic. 


The research conclusion outline 


The conclusion of any research paper needs to include the following:



  • A thesis statement - this is a short statement that shows what your research is about. The best thesis statements are impersonal, clear, definitive, and arguable. 

  • A summary of your arguments. After the thesis statement, compose a summary of the data collected. 

  • Your observations and final sentence. Finish off your conclusion with your observations and a sentence that conveys the importance of your work. 


Step by step guide of writing a research paper conclusion


Restating the topic


At the beginning of your conclusion, you need to restate your topic and explain why it is important. Ensure you spend the least amount of time and space restating your topic. This is because a good research paper will have already made the importance of your topic clear, therefore not needing a strong defence towards the end. You can dedicate a sentence or two to restating your topic. 


For example, if you are writing a research paper on infectious disease epidemiology, a good topic restating would be ‘TB is an infectious disease that affects millions of people annually.’ If it is a humanities paper on the Italian Renaissance, you can write The Italian Renaissance was a blend of art and ideas focused on artists, thinkers, and writers in Florence.’ 


Restate the thesis statement 


Besides restating your topic, you also need to restate your thesis statement. This gives a focused view of the topic. It should rephrase the thesis statement you included at the beginning of your paper.


While it should not be too similar or identical, it should have the same meaning as the original thesis statement. Reword your thesis to complement your summary on the topic. 


For instance, going back to the epidemiology of an infectious disease example, you can write, ‘TB is an infectious disease that affects millions of people annually. Because of the alarming rate of the spread of this disease, especially in developing countries, medical experts are coming up with new ways of diagnosing, treating, and containment o the disease.’ 


Summarize your main points 


A summary of your points is a simple reminder to the reader about the information you conveyed in the body of your research paper. The best way to write a compelling summary is to re-read your topic sentence on all major sections and paragraphs in the paper’s body. Restate each of these main points clearly and briefly in the conclusion. Ensure you do not repeat the supporting details in your body. Avoid introducing new content in the conclusion, especially if the new information can affect the research and argument you presented in your paper.  


For example, going back to the epidemiology of an infectious disease example, you can write, ‘TB is an infectious disease that affects millions of people annually. Because of the alarming rate of the spread of this disease, especially in developing countries, medical experts are coming up with new ways of diagnosing, treating, and containment o the disease. In developing countries, especially in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of tuberculosis infections continues to soar. Some of the contributing factors include poor sanitation, crowded conditions, and lack of access to good medical care. Medical experts from different organizations like the WHO have started running campaigns to sensitive communities in these regions on TB as they deliver widespread testing and treatment. Even so, the very harsh nature of TB medication leads to noncompliance by some patients, which leads to multi-drug resistance of the disease.’


Adding up your points


If you are writing a research paper that is structured in an inductive manner where you haven’t fully explained the significance of your research in the body, you can further explain it in your conclusion. This is not a mandatory step for all research papers. If you feel that your points are well explained throughout the paper, there is no need to repeat this in the conclusion. Restating your topic and thesis statement should be enough. 


It is always advisable to address all crucial issues in the body of your paper. This will avoid the need to take away the primary purpose of the conclusion, which is to summarize your points for the reader and call them to action, as opposed to introducing new arguments. 


Make a call to action 


If you need to make a call of action, remember to do so in the conclusion. State to your readers the need for further research on the topic. It is important to note that a call to action is not always mandatory in a research paper. For instance, if you are writing a research paper on literal criticism, you are less likely to need a call to action compared to writing a paper on the effect of too much television on toddlers. 


Papers that require a call to action include those that address public or scientific issues. Going back to the TB example, a proper call to action can be ‘despite the continuous efforts by medical experts to diagnose and contain the spread of TB, there is need for more research in the development of new antibiotics that can treat even the most resistant strains of the disease while easing the side effects to the patient.’


Answering the ‘so what’ question 


As mentioned earlier, your paper's conclusion gives you an opportunity to explain the issues you address in a broader context. It is also the part of your writing where readers understand the topic fully and why it matters. This is why your conclusion should be used to answer the ‘so what’ question as the significance of your research is not always obvious to readers. 


For instance, if you are writing a paper on a history topic, you might need to discuss its relevance in today’s world and why it matters. Use the conclusion to make the reader understand how the information can be of help to them. 


Bring it full circle


It is essential to tie your research paper together by linking your introduction with your conclusion. You can do this by:



  • Answering a question asked at the beginning by restating the question and giving an answer in your conclusion. 

  • Starting your paper with an anecdote or story but not sharing the ending in your introduction. Give the end in your conclusion.


For instance, in the TB research paper example, you can give your paper a human spin by introducing a character with TB in the introduction and reference to the story in the end. 



  • Use similar images and concepts as used in the introduction in your conclusion. These images can also be used on other points throughout the paper.  


Ways of closing your conclusion to make it effective  


Close with logic 


If your research presents different sides of your topic, your conclusion should be used to state a logical opinion based on your evidence. Ensure there is enough information on your topic to back your statement while ensuring you do not go too deep into details. If, through your research, you failed to find a clear-cut answer to a question posed in your thesis statement, ensure you indicate it in your conclusion. 


Restart your initial hypothesis and state whether you still believe in it after your research or whether your opinion has swayed. If there is no clear-cut answer, indicate that it is possible to find a solution through further research to shed more light on the topic. 


Pose a question 


As opposed to handing your reader the conclusion, posing a question allows them to form their conclusion based on their understanding of your research. This move may not be ideal for some research papers. Most papers already have the data needed to make a case for an argument. The best papers to pose a question in the conclusion are those that touch on social issues like governance and poverty. The question needs to get back to the purpose of the paper. It is usually a version of a question you asked at the beginning of your research paper. It should be a question that can be answered by the evidence you have presented in the paper. You can summarize the answer after you state the question or leave it hanging for the reader. 


Make a suggestion 


If your conclusion includes a call to action, you need to give your readers a recommendation on how they can proceed with further research on your topic. You can also make recommendations without a call to action. For instance, when writing a paper on poverty in third world countries, you can suggest various ways the reader can assist in the problem without necessarily asking for further research. 


For the paper on TB treatment example, you can call the reader to action by asking them to donate to the WHO and other research foundations to support the development of better treatment for the disease. 


Common pitfalls to avoid when writing a conclusion to a research paper 


Do not say ‘in conclusion’ ‘in summary,’ ‘in closing’ or any other related terms


These saying will give your conclusion a stiff connotation and are unnatural when used in writings. Using these phrases to state your conclusion is repeating yourself and can be termed as fluff in your work. Such terms are often related to weak conclusions. A good conclusion should be able to stand on itself without being labelled as such. 


Do not wait until the end to state your thesis 


When writing a research paper, it is tempting to keep your thesis statement to give your conclusion a dramatic end. Doing so creates a paper that is less cohesive and unorganized. 


Always state your thesis statement in your introduction. Research papers are analytical discussions on relevant topics and should be free from any mystery. The best-written research paper will make your reader interested in reading it from the beginning to the end. It is best practice to start your paper with the thesis statement and end it with restating the thesis. 


Do not include new information 


If you have a new idea, topic, or evidence, do not save it for your conclusion. All significant information should be in your paper’s body. Adding supporting evidence in your body gives in a detailed appeal, which improves the quality of your research. The purpose of the conclusion is to narrow down your research without introducing new ideas. 


Do not change the tone of the paper


The tone in your research paper should be the same from the beginning to the end. A shift tone occurs when an academic paper is ended with a sentimental or emotional conclusion. Even if the topic is personal to you, never let it show in writing. The best you can do to give your paper a personal feel is to begin and end with a short story that compliments your topic, as shown above. 


Do not make apologies 


Avoid using words or statements that downplay your research or authority. Statements with apologetic remarks include ‘I may not be the expert’ or ‘this is only my opinion. ' You can avoid using such statements by avoiding writing in the first person. Writing in the first person is considered informal and does not fit in the formal tone required for research papers. 


Never forget that your conclusion is the last chance to make the perfect impression to your readers. Weak conclusions ruin the best-written papers. With the tips above, you can write the most compelling conclusions for all your research papers. If you are not sure about your ability to craft a pleading conclusion, you can seek research paper help services from a legitimate paper writing service such as Customwritershub.

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Published on: 03, Jul 2020
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