This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor. Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. The conclusion of a research paper needs to summarize the content and purpose of the paper without seeming too wooden or dry.
Every basic conclusion must share several key elements, but there are also several tactics you can play around with to craft a more effective conclusion and several you should avoid in order to prevent yourself from weakening your paper’s conclusion. Here are some writing tips to keep in mind when creating the conclusion for your next research paper. You should briefly restate the topic as well as explaining why it is important. Do not spend a great amount of time or space restating your topic. A good research paper will make the importance of your topic apparent, so you do not need to write an elaborate defense of your topic in the conclusion.
Usually a single sentence is all you need to restate your topic. An example would be if you were writing a paper on the epidemiology of an infectious disease, you might say something like «Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. Yet another example from the humanities would be a paper about the Italian Renaissance: «The Italian Renaissance was an explosion of art and ideas centered around artists, writers, and thinkers in Florence. Aside from the topic, the conclusion of a research paper should also restate or rephrase your thesis statement.
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A thesis is a narrowed, focused view on the topic at hand. This statement should be rephrased from the thesis you included in your introduction. It should not be identical or too similar to the sentence you originally used. Try re-wording your thesis statement in a way that complements your summary of the topic of your paper in your first sentence of your conclusion. An example of a good thesis statement, going back to the paper on tuberculosis, would be «Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease.
Essentially, you need to remind your reader what you told them in the body of the paper. A good way to go about this is to re-read the topic sentence of each major paragraph or section in the body of your paper. Find a way to briefly restate each point mentioned in each topic sentence in your conclusion. Do not repeat any of the supporting details used within your body paragraphs. Under most circumstances, you should avoid writing new information in your conclusion. This is especially true if the information is vital to the argument or research presented in your paper.
For example, in the TB paper you could summarize the information. Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of TB infections is soaring. If your paper proceeds in an inductive manner and you have not fully explained the significance of your points yet, you need to do so in your conclusion. Note that this is not needed for all research papers.
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