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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

What Has Your Research Shown?

❶While restating your thesis statement, tell your readers whether you still believe it or results of the research pushed you to change your opinion.

Idea of a Research Paper Conclusion

Structure of Your Conclusion
How to start a conclusion
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It should go without saying that the conclusion should be one of the last, if not the very last, part of the paper that is written, with the possible exception of prefaces, forewords, and appendices.

The conclusion merely summarizes the ideas, information, and arguments that have already been presented. The writer is not conducting research or formulating a thesis in the conclusion.

Rather, the writer is simply restating the findings of research that has already been done. At this point, the topic does not need to be explained in excessive detail. The reader is already familiar with the topic. This aspect of the conclusion should essentially a repeat of the thesis statement that was included in the original introduction, most likely at the end of the opening paragraph. What is the primary idea the writer is attempting to convey to the reader?

This idea should be clearly stated in the conclusion. The conclusion to a research paper should revisit the core arguments offered by opposing points of view with a brief explanation of why the writer considers these arguments to be mistaken. Once again, it is important to focused and concise. The writer is not rewriting their paper in the conclusion, but only summarizing its main parts.

A good rule of thumb for scholars is to remember that there is rarely any such thing as a settled argument when it comes to intellectual debates. The writer might include a reference to additional questions they encountered while writing the paper or conducting the research. There might also be mention of aspects of the research and related questions that the writer feels the paper did not address effectively.

This is one of many, many issues that are controversial among historians and political scientists. The United States finally withdrew all of its troops from Vietnam in This was an important event for the antiwar movement and for the American people.

The withdrawal occurred amidst the growing Watergate scandal, and served as one more indication of the failure of the Nixon presidency.

The end of American involvement in Vietnam represented the culmination of the dedication given to their cause by the great many antiwar activists who participated in the movement. It further represented a definitive moment in the generational conflict between young American and their elders that emerged during the s as American participation in the war escalated.

This victory and the conflict from which it emerged would continue to shape American society and politics in the ensuing decades as conservative forces regrouped, and went on the offensive, resulting in the Reagan Revolution of the s. Notice that the above paragraph simply states an opinion.

It is not clear from this paragraph what the topic of the paper or its central thesis actually is. Nor is it clear how a thesis is supported by research and argument in the body of the paper. The paragraph conveys the impression that the debate concerning the issues involved is settled, and that there are no further ideas or questions that need to be addressed.

Lastly, the paragraph ends very abruptly and leaves the reader with the feeling that the paper is incomplete. For four decades, historians and political scientists have debated the degree to which the anti-Vietnam War movement was the catalyst that ultimately brought about the withdrawal of the United States from Vietnam in The highly visible and vocal antiwar movement of the period reflected this growing popular antiwar sentiment.

It has been argued that the militancy of many within the antiwar movement had an alienating effect on the wider body of the American public that actually diminished antiwar sentiment, and postponed the end of American involvement. However, research indicates the intensification of antiwar feelings among Americans actually expanded during precisely the time that the antiwar movement was taking a more militant turn.

Yet a legacy of this era was an escalation of cultural conflict that generated a conservative backlash during later decades. Further research is needed concerning the question of to what degree the Reagan Revolution of the s was an effective regrouping of conservative forces that suffered defeat during the Nixon presidency, and to what degree the growing conservative militancy of later years paralleled the militancy of the antiwar movement of the late s and early s.

Observe that the concluding paragraph provided above clearly restates the topic of the paper the role of the antiwar movement in ending American involvement in Vietnam. The thesis of the paper is also restated the growth of the antiwar movement reflected public opinion of the era. Counterarguments are acknowledged the antiwar movement had an alienating effect on the general public that weakened antiwar sentiment.

The rebuttal to this argument is summarized in the paragraph, but questions raised by the debate are recognized and suggested as topics for further research. The conclusion should provide the reader with a sense of finality. The reader should feel that writer has made the point they wish to make, and supported their thesis by effectively arguing their case. Ultius is the trusted provider of content solutions for consumers around the world. Go to Homepage current My Account my. Core offerings Browse by service type Start your search By selecting a service type.

Research Paper Conclusion Step 9: Research Paper Rough Draft 1: Types of Papers 3: 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.

Aside from the topic, you should also restate or rephrase your thesis statement. 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.

Briefly summarize your main points. Essentially, you need to remind your reader what you told them in the body of the 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. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of TB infections is soaring. Crowded conditions, poor sanitation, and lack of access to medical care are all compounding factors in the spread of the disease. Medical experts, such as those from the World Health Organization are now starting campaigns to go into communities in developing countries and provide diagnostic testing and treatments.

However, the treatments for TB are very harsh and have many side effects. This leads to patient non-compliance and spread of multi-drug resistant strains of the disease. Add the points up. 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. If you already fully explained what the points in your paper mean or why they are significant, you do not need to go into them in much detail in your conclusion.

Simply restating your thesis or the significance of your topic should suffice. It is always best practice to address important issues and fully explain your points in the body of your paper. The point of a conclusion to a research paper is to summarize your argument for the reader and, perhaps, to call the reader to action if needed. Make a call to action when appropriate.

Note that a call for action is not essential to all conclusions. A research paper on literary criticism, for instance, is less likely to need a call for action than a paper on the effect that television has on toddlers and young children.

A paper that is more likely to call readers to action is one that addresses a public or scientific need. This is a very serious disease that is spreading quickly and with antibiotic resistant forms. A call to action in this research paper would be a follow-up statement that might be along the lines of "Despite new efforts to diagnose and contain the disease, more research is needed to develop new antibiotics that will treat the most resistant strains of tuberculosis and ease the side effects of current treatments.

The conclusion of a paper is your opportunity to explain the broader context of the issue you have been discussing. It is also a place to help readers understand why the topic of your paper truly matters.

For example, if you are writing a history paper, then you might discuss how the historical topic you discussed matters today. If you are writing about a foreign country, then you might use the conclusion to discuss how the information you shared may help readers understand their own country.

Part 1 Quiz How should you summarize the main points of the paper in your conclusion? Reread the topic sentence of each paragraph or section.

Briefly restate each point. Do not include your supporting arguments. Avoid introducing new information. All of the above. Stick with a basic synthesis of information. Since this sort of conclusion is so basic, it is vital that you aim to synthesize the information rather than merely summarizing it. Instead of merely repeating things you already said, rephrase your thesis and supporting points in a way that ties them all together. By doing so, you make your research paper seem like a "complete thought" rather than a collection of random and vaguely related ideas.

Bring things full circle. There are several ways to do this. Ask a question in your introduction. In your conclusion, restate the question and provide a direct answer. Write an anecdote or story in your introduction but do not share the ending. Instead, write the conclusion to the anecdote in the conclusion of your paper. For example, if you wanted to get more creative and put a more humanistic spin on a paper on tuberculosis you might start your introduction with a story about a person with the disease, and refer to that story in your conclusion.

For example, you could say something like this before you re-state your thesis in your conclusion: The images may or may not appear at other points throughout the research paper.

If your research paper presented multiple sides of an issue, use your conclusion to state a logical opinion formed by your evidence. Include enough information about your topic to back the statement up but do not get too carried away with excess detail. If your research did not provide you with a clear-cut answer to a question posed in your thesis, do not be afraid to indicate as much.

Restate your initial hypothesis and indicate whether you still believe it or if the research you performed has begun swaying your opinion.

Indicate that an answer may still exist and that further research could shed more light on the topic at hand. Instead of handing the reader the conclusion, you are asking the reader to form his or her own conclusion.

This may not be appropriate for all types of research papers. Most research papers, such as one on effective treatment for diseases, will have the information to make the case for a particular argument already in the paper. A good example of a paper that might ask a question of the reader in the ending is one about a social issue, such as poverty or government policy. Ask a question that will directly get at the heart or purpose of the paper.

This question is often the same question, or some version of it, that you may have started out with when you began your research. Make sure that the question can be answered by the evidence presented in your paper. If desired, you can briefly summarize the answer after stating the question. You could also leave the question hanging for the reader to answer, though. If you are including a call to action in your conclusion, you could provide your reader with a recommendation on how to proceed with further research.

Even without a call to action, you can still make a recommendation to your reader. For instance, if you are writing about a topic like third-world poverty, you can various ways for the reader to assist in the problem without necessarily calling for more research. Another example would be, in a paper about treatment for drug resistant tuberculosis, you could suggest making a donation to the World Health Organization or research foundations which are developing new treatments for the disease.

Part 2 Quiz True or False: Avoid saying "in conclusion" or similar sayings. This includes "in summary" or "in closing. Moreover, using a phrase like "in conclusion" to begin your conclusion is a little too straight-forward and tends to lead to a weak conclusion. A strong conclusion can stand on its own without being labelled as such.

Do not wait until the conclusion to state your thesis. While it may be tempting to save your thesis in order to create a dramatic end to your paper, doing so will create a paper that seems less cohesive and more unorganized. Always state the main argument or thesis in the introduction. A research paper is an analytical discussion of an academic topic, not a mystery novel. A good, effective research paper will allow your reader to follow your main argument from start to finish.

This is why it is best practice to start your paper with an introduction that states your main argument, and to end the paper with a conclusion that re-states your thesis for re-iteration. Leave out new information. All significant information should be introduced in the body of the paper.

Supporting evidence expands the topic of your paper by making it appear more detailed. A conclusion should narrow the topic to a more general point. A conclusion should only summarize what you have already stated in the body of your paper.

You may make a suggestion for further research or a call to action, but you should not bring in any new evidence or facts in the conclusion. Avoid changing the tone of the paper. The tone of your research paper should be consistent the entire way through. Most often, a shift in tone occurs when a research paper with an academic tone is give an emotional or sentimental conclusion.

Even if the topic of the paper is of personal significance for you, you should not indicate as much in your paper.

If you want to give your paper a more humanistic slant, you could start and end your paper with a story or anecdote that would give your topic more personal meaning to the reader.

This tone should be consistent throughout the paper, however. Do not make statements that downplay your authority or discoveries. Apologetic statements include phrases like "I may not be an expert" or "This is only my opinion. Avoid any statements in the first-person. First person is generally considered to be very informal and does not fit with the formal tone of a research paper. Part 3 Quiz How can you maintain a consistent tone throughout your paper? Write only in the first person.

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Well, you should feel comforted that there are easy ways to succeed in writing up the conclusion paragraph to your research paper. Idea of a Research Paper Conclusion. Before you can write an effective conclusion paragraph, you need to understand its purpose. A conclusion is your last chance to impress your ideas upon the reader.

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Strategies for writing an effective conclusion. One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion: Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or .

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper. Publication Date: 22 Feb The conclusion is the last, yet not the easiest part of a research paper. It must summarize the whole paper and explain its main purpose. This section also shouldn’t sound too dry. How to write an effective conclusion for a research paper. Need help with writing a research paper? Get help. Writing a conclusion: hints and tricks. Make this guidance a part of writing a conclusion paper, and you will complete your task as successfully as possible. There is no need to invent new rules or seek help as we have already.

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A research paper that is very long, such as a dissertation or a graduate thesis, may need a conclusion that extends for several pages. However, the conclusion to paper that is written for an ordinary research assignment may need only a few paragraphs in order to generate an effective conclusion. Writing a conclusion is the final part of the research paper, drawing everything together and tying it into your initial research. This article is a part of the guide.