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Writing Conclusions

The conclusion to your paper is important because it’s the final impression that you will make on your readers, and your last chance to drive home the main point of your essay for them. As with introductions, there is no one formula for creating a good conclusion, but it helps to keep the following elements in mind when creating one.

Conclusions Should:

Remind your reader of your thesis

Make sure to bring your reader back to the main idea of your paper by restating your thesis in an original way. Try to avoid using the same wording that you did in your introduction.

Synthesize the points in your paper

Good conclusions not only summarize the points your made, but also draw these points together and relate them to one another so that the reader can see the “bigger picture” you’ve drawn for them.

Clarify the context of your argument

Your conclusion is your chance to give your points context, and show the audience why they matter. Make sure your reader understands not only your argument, but why that argument is important.

Conclusions Should NOT:

Be a reworded version of your introduction

While some information from your introduction, such as a restatement of your thesis, will appear in your conclusion, you should also go beyond the scope of your introduction and provide your reader with context.

Introduce new information

The body of your paper is where you will support your thesis with facts and quotes. If you find yourself tempted to introduce new information in your conclusion, consider where that information might fit in the body of your paper instead.

Stop suddenly

Conclusions should give closure to the point you made in your paper, and tie up any loose ends for your reader. Don’t leave your audience hanging!

Creating context with your conclusion

One of the most important functions of the conclusion is to provide context for your argument. Your reader may finish your essay without a problem and understand your argument without understanding why that argument is important. Your introduction might point out the reason your topic matters, but your conclusion should also tackle these questions. Here are some strategies for making your reader see why your topic is important.

Tell your readers what you want them to do

Maybe you want your readers to change their minds about a topic, or feel more strongly about a cause. Maybe you’d like them to think differently about a piece of literature, or recognize a new layer of meaning in it. Whatever it is that you want your audience to do, the conclusion of your essay is the place to make that clear.

Explain why the topic is timely or important

Make sure your audience understands why the subject of your essay matters. Does it relate to important current events in the world? Can it help us understand a field or subject in a different way? Use the conclusion of your essay to answer these questions for your reader.

Remind your reader why the topic is relevant to them

How can your readers use the information in your paper, and apply it to their daily lives? Will the information in your essay help them at work, in the classroom, or in social situations? Show your reader how and why this topic relates to them.