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Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on October 30, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on April 13, 2023.

  • Restate the problem statement addressed in the paper
  • Summarize your overall arguments or findings
  • Suggest the key takeaways from your paper

Research paper conclusion

The content of the conclusion varies depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument through engagement with sources .

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Table of contents

Step 1: restate the problem, step 2: sum up the paper, step 3: discuss the implications, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions.

The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem . You will have discussed this problem in depth throughout the body, but now the point is to zoom back out from the details to the bigger picture.

While you are restating a problem you’ve already introduced, you should avoid phrasing it identically to how it appeared in the introduction . Ideally, you’ll find a novel way to circle back to the problem from the more detailed ideas discussed in the body.

For example, an argumentative paper advocating new measures to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture might restate its problem as follows:

Meanwhile, an empirical paper studying the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues might present its problem like this:

“In conclusion …”

Avoid starting your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To conclude,” as this can come across as too obvious and make your writing seem unsophisticated. The content and placement of your conclusion should make its function clear without the need for additional signposting.

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conclusion of research proposal sample

Having zoomed back in on the problem, it’s time to summarize how the body of the paper went about addressing it, and what conclusions this approach led to.

Depending on the nature of your research paper, this might mean restating your thesis and arguments, or summarizing your overall findings.

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

In an argumentative paper, you will have presented a thesis statement in your introduction, expressing the overall claim your paper argues for. In the conclusion, you should restate the thesis and show how it has been developed through the body of the paper.

Briefly summarize the key arguments made in the body, showing how each of them contributes to proving your thesis. You may also mention any counterarguments you addressed, emphasizing why your thesis holds up against them, particularly if your argument is a controversial one.

Don’t go into the details of your evidence or present new ideas; focus on outlining in broad strokes the argument you have made.

Empirical paper: Summarize your findings

In an empirical paper, this is the time to summarize your key findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth results and discussion already), but do clearly express the answers to the research questions you investigated.

Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones you expected or hoped for, and explain the overall conclusion they led you to.

Having summed up your key arguments or findings, the conclusion ends by considering the broader implications of your research. This means expressing the key takeaways, practical or theoretical, from your paper—often in the form of a call for action or suggestions for future research.

Argumentative paper: Strong closing statement

An argumentative paper generally ends with a strong closing statement. In the case of a practical argument, make a call for action: What actions do you think should be taken by the people or organizations concerned in response to your argument?

If your topic is more theoretical and unsuitable for a call for action, your closing statement should express the significance of your argument—for example, in proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research.

Empirical paper: Future research directions

In a more empirical paper, you can close by either making recommendations for practice (for example, in clinical or policy papers), or suggesting directions for future research.

Whatever the scope of your own research, there will always be room for further investigation of related topics, and you’ll often discover new questions and problems during the research process .

Finish your paper on a forward-looking note by suggesting how you or other researchers might build on this topic in the future and address any limitations of the current paper.

Full examples of research paper conclusions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

While the role of cattle in climate change is by now common knowledge, countries like the Netherlands continually fail to confront this issue with the urgency it deserves. The evidence is clear: To create a truly futureproof agricultural sector, Dutch farmers must be incentivized to transition from livestock farming to sustainable vegetable farming. As well as dramatically lowering emissions, plant-based agriculture, if approached in the right way, can produce more food with less land, providing opportunities for nature regeneration areas that will themselves contribute to climate targets. Although this approach would have economic ramifications, from a long-term perspective, it would represent a significant step towards a more sustainable and resilient national economy. Transitioning to sustainable vegetable farming will make the Netherlands greener and healthier, setting an example for other European governments. Farmers, policymakers, and consumers must focus on the future, not just on their own short-term interests, and work to implement this transition now.

As social media becomes increasingly central to young people’s everyday lives, it is important to understand how different platforms affect their developing self-conception. By testing the effect of daily Instagram use among teenage girls, this study established that highly visual social media does indeed have a significant effect on body image concerns, with a strong correlation between the amount of time spent on the platform and participants’ self-reported dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, the strength of this effect was moderated by pre-test self-esteem ratings: Participants with higher self-esteem were less likely to experience an increase in body image concerns after using Instagram. This suggests that, while Instagram does impact body image, it is also important to consider the wider social and psychological context in which this usage occurs: Teenagers who are already predisposed to self-esteem issues may be at greater risk of experiencing negative effects. Future research into Instagram and other highly visual social media should focus on establishing a clearer picture of how self-esteem and related constructs influence young people’s experiences of these platforms. Furthermore, while this experiment measured Instagram usage in terms of time spent on the platform, observational studies are required to gain more insight into different patterns of usage—to investigate, for instance, whether active posting is associated with different effects than passive consumption of social media content.

If you’re unsure about the conclusion, it can be helpful to ask a friend or fellow student to read your conclusion and summarize the main takeaways.

  • Do they understand from your conclusion what your research was about?
  • Are they able to summarize the implications of your findings?
  • Can they answer your research question based on your conclusion?

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conclusion of research proposal sample

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The conclusion of a research paper has several key elements you should make sure to include:

  • A restatement of the research problem
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or findings
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion . While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

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How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial section that plays a significant role in the overall impact and effectiveness of your research paper. However, this is also the section that typically receives less attention compared to the introduction and the body of the paper. The conclusion serves to provide a concise summary of the key findings, their significance, their implications, and a sense of closure to the study. Discussing how can the findings be applied in real-world scenarios or inform policy, practice, or decision-making is especially valuable to practitioners and policymakers. The research paper conclusion also provides researchers with clear insights and valuable information for their own work, which they can then build on and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.

The research paper conclusion should explain the significance of your findings within the broader context of your field. It restates how your results contribute to the existing body of knowledge and whether they confirm or challenge existing theories or hypotheses. Also, by identifying unanswered questions or areas requiring further investigation, your awareness of the broader research landscape can be demonstrated.

Remember to tailor the research paper conclusion to the specific needs and interests of your intended audience, which may include researchers, practitioners, policymakers, or a combination of these.

Table of Contents

What is a conclusion in a research paper, summarizing conclusion, editorial conclusion, externalizing conclusion, importance of a good research paper conclusion, how to write a conclusion for your research paper, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions.

A conclusion in a research paper is the final section where you summarize and wrap up your research, presenting the key findings and insights derived from your study. The research paper conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or data that was not discussed in the main body of the paper. When working on how to conclude a research paper, remember to stick to summarizing and interpreting existing content. The research paper conclusion serves the following purposes: 1

  • Warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.
  • Recommend specific course(s) of action.
  • Restate key ideas to drive home the ultimate point of your research paper.
  • Provide a “take-home” message that you want the readers to remember about your study.

conclusion of research proposal sample

Types of conclusions for research papers

In research papers, the conclusion provides closure to the reader. The type of research paper conclusion you choose depends on the nature of your study, your goals, and your target audience. I provide you with three common types of conclusions:

A summarizing conclusion is the most common type of conclusion in research papers. It involves summarizing the main points, reiterating the research question, and restating the significance of the findings. This common type of research paper conclusion is used across different disciplines.

An editorial conclusion is less common but can be used in research papers that are focused on proposing or advocating for a particular viewpoint or policy. It involves presenting a strong editorial or opinion based on the research findings and offering recommendations or calls to action.

An externalizing conclusion is a type of conclusion that extends the research beyond the scope of the paper by suggesting potential future research directions or discussing the broader implications of the findings. This type of conclusion is often used in more theoretical or exploratory research papers.

The conclusion in a research paper serves several important purposes:

  • Offers Implications and Recommendations : Your research paper conclusion is an excellent place to discuss the broader implications of your research and suggest potential areas for further study. It’s also an opportunity to offer practical recommendations based on your findings.
  • Provides Closure : A good research paper conclusion provides a sense of closure to your paper. It should leave the reader with a feeling that they have reached the end of a well-structured and thought-provoking research project.
  • Leaves a Lasting Impression : Writing a well-crafted research paper conclusion leaves a lasting impression on your readers. It’s your final opportunity to leave them with a new idea, a call to action, or a memorable quote.

conclusion of research proposal sample

Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper is essential to leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you create and know what to put in the conclusion of a research paper: 2

  • Research Statement : Begin your research paper conclusion by restating your research statement. This reminds the reader of the main point you’ve been trying to prove throughout your paper. Keep it concise and clear.
  • Key Points : Summarize the main arguments and key points you’ve made in your paper. Avoid introducing new information in the research paper conclusion. Instead, provide a concise overview of what you’ve discussed in the body of your paper.
  • Address the Research Questions : If your research paper is based on specific research questions or hypotheses, briefly address whether you’ve answered them or achieved your research goals. Discuss the significance of your findings in this context.
  • Significance : Highlight the importance of your research and its relevance in the broader context. Explain why your findings matter and how they contribute to the existing knowledge in your field.
  • Implications : Explore the practical or theoretical implications of your research. How might your findings impact future research, policy, or real-world applications? Consider the “so what?” question.
  • Future Research : Offer suggestions for future research in your area. What questions or aspects remain unanswered or warrant further investigation? This shows that your work opens the door for future exploration.
  • Closing Thought : Conclude your research paper conclusion with a thought-provoking or memorable statement. This can leave a lasting impression on your readers and wrap up your paper effectively. Avoid introducing new information or arguments here.
  • Proofread and Revise : Carefully proofread your conclusion for grammar, spelling, and clarity. Ensure that your ideas flow smoothly and that your conclusion is coherent and well-structured.

Remember that a well-crafted research paper conclusion is a reflection of the strength of your research and your ability to communicate its significance effectively. It should leave a lasting impression on your readers and tie together all the threads of your paper. Now you know how to start the conclusion of a research paper and what elements to include to make it impactful, let’s look at a research paper conclusion sample.

conclusion of research proposal sample

The research paper conclusion is a crucial part of your paper as it provides the final opportunity to leave a strong impression on your readers. In the research paper conclusion, summarize the main points of your research paper by restating your research statement, highlighting the most important findings, addressing the research questions or objectives, explaining the broader context of the study, discussing the significance of your findings, providing recommendations if applicable, and emphasizing the takeaway message. The main purpose of the conclusion is to remind the reader of the main point or argument of your paper and to provide a clear and concise summary of the key findings and their implications. All these elements should feature on your list of what to put in the conclusion of a research paper to create a strong final statement for your work.

A strong conclusion is a critical component of a research paper, as it provides an opportunity to wrap up your arguments, reiterate your main points, and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here are the key elements of a strong research paper conclusion: 1. Conciseness : A research paper conclusion should be concise and to the point. It should not introduce new information or ideas that were not discussed in the body of the paper. 2. Summarization : The research paper conclusion should be comprehensive enough to give the reader a clear understanding of the research’s main contributions. 3 . Relevance : Ensure that the information included in the research paper conclusion is directly relevant to the research paper’s main topic and objectives; avoid unnecessary details. 4 . Connection to the Introduction : A well-structured research paper conclusion often revisits the key points made in the introduction and shows how the research has addressed the initial questions or objectives. 5. Emphasis : Highlight the significance and implications of your research. Why is your study important? What are the broader implications or applications of your findings? 6 . Call to Action : Include a call to action or a recommendation for future research or action based on your findings.

The length of a research paper conclusion can vary depending on several factors, including the overall length of the paper, the complexity of the research, and the specific journal requirements. While there is no strict rule for the length of a conclusion, but it’s generally advisable to keep it relatively short. A typical research paper conclusion might be around 5-10% of the paper’s total length. For example, if your paper is 10 pages long, the conclusion might be roughly half a page to one page in length.

In general, you do not need to include citations in the research paper conclusion. Citations are typically reserved for the body of the paper to support your arguments and provide evidence for your claims. However, there may be some exceptions to this rule: 1. If you are drawing a direct quote or paraphrasing a specific source in your research paper conclusion, you should include a citation to give proper credit to the original author. 2. If your conclusion refers to or discusses specific research, data, or sources that are crucial to the overall argument, citations can be included to reinforce your conclusion’s validity.

The conclusion of a research paper serves several important purposes: 1. Summarize the Key Points 2. Reinforce the Main Argument 3. Provide Closure 4. Offer Insights or Implications 5. Engage the Reader. 6. Reflect on Limitations

Remember that the primary purpose of the research paper conclusion is to leave a lasting impression on the reader, reinforcing the key points and providing closure to your research. It’s often the last part of the paper that the reader will see, so it should be strong and well-crafted.

  • Makar, G., Foltz, C., Lendner, M., & Vaccaro, A. R. (2018). How to write effective discussion and conclusion sections. Clinical spine surgery, 31(8), 345-346.
  • Bunton, D. (2005). The structure of PhD conclusion chapters.  Journal of English for academic purposes ,  4 (3), 207-224.

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17 Research Proposal Examples

research proposal example sections definition and purpose, explained below

A research proposal systematically and transparently outlines a proposed research project.

The purpose of a research proposal is to demonstrate a project’s viability and the researcher’s preparedness to conduct an academic study. It serves as a roadmap for the researcher.

The process holds value both externally (for accountability purposes and often as a requirement for a grant application) and intrinsic value (for helping the researcher to clarify the mechanics, purpose, and potential signficance of the study).

Key sections of a research proposal include: the title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research design and methods, timeline, budget, outcomes and implications, references, and appendix. Each is briefly explained below.

Watch my Guide: How to Write a Research Proposal

Get your Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

Research Proposal Sample Structure

Title: The title should present a concise and descriptive statement that clearly conveys the core idea of the research projects. Make it as specific as possible. The reader should immediately be able to grasp the core idea of the intended research project. Often, the title is left too vague and does not help give an understanding of what exactly the study looks at.

Abstract: Abstracts are usually around 250-300 words and provide an overview of what is to follow – including the research problem , objectives, methods, expected outcomes, and significance of the study. Use it as a roadmap and ensure that, if the abstract is the only thing someone reads, they’ll get a good fly-by of what will be discussed in the peice.

Introduction: Introductions are all about contextualization. They often set the background information with a statement of the problem. At the end of the introduction, the reader should understand what the rationale for the study truly is. I like to see the research questions or hypotheses included in the introduction and I like to get a good understanding of what the significance of the research will be. It’s often easiest to write the introduction last

Literature Review: The literature review dives deep into the existing literature on the topic, demosntrating your thorough understanding of the existing literature including themes, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the literature. It serves both to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and, to demonstrate how the proposed study will fit alongside the literature on the topic. A good literature review concludes by clearly demonstrating how your research will contribute something new and innovative to the conversation in the literature.

Research Design and Methods: This section needs to clearly demonstrate how the data will be gathered and analyzed in a systematic and academically sound manner. Here, you need to demonstrate that the conclusions of your research will be both valid and reliable. Common points discussed in the research design and methods section include highlighting the research paradigm, methodologies, intended population or sample to be studied, data collection techniques, and data analysis procedures . Toward the end of this section, you are encouraged to also address ethical considerations and limitations of the research process , but also to explain why you chose your research design and how you are mitigating the identified risks and limitations.

Timeline: Provide an outline of the anticipated timeline for the study. Break it down into its various stages (including data collection, data analysis, and report writing). The goal of this section is firstly to establish a reasonable breakdown of steps for you to follow and secondly to demonstrate to the assessors that your project is practicable and feasible.

Budget: Estimate the costs associated with the research project and include evidence for your estimations. Typical costs include staffing costs, equipment, travel, and data collection tools. When applying for a scholarship, the budget should demonstrate that you are being responsible with your expensive and that your funding application is reasonable.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: A discussion of the anticipated findings or results of the research, as well as the potential contributions to the existing knowledge, theory, or practice in the field. This section should also address the potential impact of the research on relevant stakeholders and any broader implications for policy or practice.

References: A complete list of all the sources cited in the research proposal, formatted according to the required citation style. This demonstrates the researcher’s familiarity with the relevant literature and ensures proper attribution of ideas and information.

Appendices (if applicable): Any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview guides, or consent forms, that provide further information or support for the research proposal. These materials should be included as appendices at the end of the document.

Research Proposal Examples

Research proposals often extend anywhere between 2,000 and 15,000 words in length. The following snippets are samples designed to briefly demonstrate what might be discussed in each section.

1. Education Studies Research Proposals

See some real sample pieces:

  • Assessment of the perceptions of teachers towards a new grading system
  • Does ICT use in secondary classrooms help or hinder student learning?
  • Digital technologies in focus project
  • Urban Middle School Teachers’ Experiences of the Implementation of
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Experiences of students of color in service learning

Consider this hypothetical education research proposal:

The Impact of Game-Based Learning on Student Engagement and Academic Performance in Middle School Mathematics

Abstract: The proposed study will explore multiplayer game-based learning techniques in middle school mathematics curricula and their effects on student engagement. The study aims to contribute to the current literature on game-based learning by examining the effects of multiplayer gaming in learning.

Introduction: Digital game-based learning has long been shunned within mathematics education for fears that it may distract students or lower the academic integrity of the classrooms. However, there is emerging evidence that digital games in math have emerging benefits not only for engagement but also academic skill development. Contributing to this discourse, this study seeks to explore the potential benefits of multiplayer digital game-based learning by examining its impact on middle school students’ engagement and academic performance in a mathematics class.

Literature Review: The literature review has identified gaps in the current knowledge, namely, while game-based learning has been extensively explored, the role of multiplayer games in supporting learning has not been studied.

Research Design and Methods: This study will employ a mixed-methods research design based upon action research in the classroom. A quasi-experimental pre-test/post-test control group design will first be used to compare the academic performance and engagement of middle school students exposed to game-based learning techniques with those in a control group receiving instruction without the aid of technology. Students will also be observed and interviewed in regard to the effect of communication and collaboration during gameplay on their learning.

Timeline: The study will take place across the second term of the school year with a pre-test taking place on the first day of the term and the post-test taking place on Wednesday in Week 10.

Budget: The key budgetary requirements will be the technologies required, including the subscription cost for the identified games and computers.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: It is expected that the findings will contribute to the current literature on game-based learning and inform educational practices, providing educators and policymakers with insights into how to better support student achievement in mathematics.

2. Psychology Research Proposals

See some real examples:

  • A situational analysis of shared leadership in a self-managing team
  • The effect of musical preference on running performance
  • Relationship between self-esteem and disordered eating amongst adolescent females

Consider this hypothetical psychology research proposal:

The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Stress Reduction in College Students

Abstract: This research proposal examines the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on stress reduction among college students, using a pre-test/post-test experimental design with both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods .

Introduction: College students face heightened stress levels during exam weeks. This can affect both mental health and test performance. This study explores the potential benefits of mindfulness-based interventions such as meditation as a way to mediate stress levels in the weeks leading up to exam time.

Literature Review: Existing research on mindfulness-based meditation has shown the ability for mindfulness to increase metacognition, decrease anxiety levels, and decrease stress. Existing literature has looked at workplace, high school and general college-level applications. This study will contribute to the corpus of literature by exploring the effects of mindfulness directly in the context of exam weeks.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n= 234 ) will be randomly assigned to either an experimental group, receiving 5 days per week of 10-minute mindfulness-based interventions, or a control group, receiving no intervention. Data will be collected through self-report questionnaires, measuring stress levels, semi-structured interviews exploring participants’ experiences, and students’ test scores.

Timeline: The study will begin three weeks before the students’ exam week and conclude after each student’s final exam. Data collection will occur at the beginning (pre-test of self-reported stress levels) and end (post-test) of the three weeks.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: The study aims to provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing stress among college students in the lead up to exams, with potential implications for mental health support and stress management programs on college campuses.

3. Sociology Research Proposals

  • Understanding emerging social movements: A case study of ‘Jersey in Transition’
  • The interaction of health, education and employment in Western China
  • Can we preserve lower-income affordable neighbourhoods in the face of rising costs?

Consider this hypothetical sociology research proposal:

The Impact of Social Media Usage on Interpersonal Relationships among Young Adults

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effects of social media usage on interpersonal relationships among young adults, using a longitudinal mixed-methods approach with ongoing semi-structured interviews to collect qualitative data.

Introduction: Social media platforms have become a key medium for the development of interpersonal relationships, particularly for young adults. This study examines the potential positive and negative effects of social media usage on young adults’ relationships and development over time.

Literature Review: A preliminary review of relevant literature has demonstrated that social media usage is central to development of a personal identity and relationships with others with similar subcultural interests. However, it has also been accompanied by data on mental health deline and deteriorating off-screen relationships. The literature is to-date lacking important longitudinal data on these topics.

Research Design and Methods: Participants ( n = 454 ) will be young adults aged 18-24. Ongoing self-report surveys will assess participants’ social media usage, relationship satisfaction, and communication patterns. A subset of participants will be selected for longitudinal in-depth interviews starting at age 18 and continuing for 5 years.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of five years, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide insights into the complex relationship between social media usage and interpersonal relationships among young adults, potentially informing social policies and mental health support related to social media use.

4. Nursing Research Proposals

  • Does Orthopaedic Pre-assessment clinic prepare the patient for admission to hospital?
  • Nurses’ perceptions and experiences of providing psychological care to burns patients
  • Registered psychiatric nurse’s practice with mentally ill parents and their children

Consider this hypothetical nursing research proposal:

The Influence of Nurse-Patient Communication on Patient Satisfaction and Health Outcomes following Emergency Cesarians

Abstract: This research will examines the impact of effective nurse-patient communication on patient satisfaction and health outcomes for women following c-sections, utilizing a mixed-methods approach with patient surveys and semi-structured interviews.

Introduction: It has long been known that effective communication between nurses and patients is crucial for quality care. However, additional complications arise following emergency c-sections due to the interaction between new mother’s changing roles and recovery from surgery.

Literature Review: A review of the literature demonstrates the importance of nurse-patient communication, its impact on patient satisfaction, and potential links to health outcomes. However, communication between nurses and new mothers is less examined, and the specific experiences of those who have given birth via emergency c-section are to date unexamined.

Research Design and Methods: Participants will be patients in a hospital setting who have recently had an emergency c-section. A self-report survey will assess their satisfaction with nurse-patient communication and perceived health outcomes. A subset of participants will be selected for in-depth interviews to explore their experiences and perceptions of the communication with their nurses.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including rolling recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing within the hospital.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the significance of nurse-patient communication in supporting new mothers who have had an emergency c-section. Recommendations will be presented for supporting nurses and midwives in improving outcomes for new mothers who had complications during birth.

5. Social Work Research Proposals

  • Experiences of negotiating employment and caring responsibilities of fathers post-divorce
  • Exploring kinship care in the north region of British Columbia

Consider this hypothetical social work research proposal:

The Role of a Family-Centered Intervention in Preventing Homelessness Among At-Risk Youthin a working-class town in Northern England

Abstract: This research proposal investigates the effectiveness of a family-centered intervention provided by a local council area in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth. This case study will use a mixed-methods approach with program evaluation data and semi-structured interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data .

Introduction: Homelessness among youth remains a significant social issue. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in addressing this problem and identify factors that contribute to successful prevention strategies.

Literature Review: A review of the literature has demonstrated several key factors contributing to youth homelessness including lack of parental support, lack of social support, and low levels of family involvement. It also demonstrates the important role of family-centered interventions in addressing this issue. Drawing on current evidence, this study explores the effectiveness of one such intervention in preventing homelessness among at-risk youth in a working-class town in Northern England.

Research Design and Methods: The study will evaluate a new family-centered intervention program targeting at-risk youth and their families. Quantitative data on program outcomes, including housing stability and family functioning, will be collected through program records and evaluation reports. Semi-structured interviews with program staff, participants, and relevant stakeholders will provide qualitative insights into the factors contributing to program success or failure.

Timeline: The study will be conducted over a period of six months, including recruitment, data collection, analysis, and report writing.

Budget: Expenses include access to program evaluation data, interview materials, data analysis software, and any related travel costs for in-person interviews.

Expected Outcomes and Implications: This study aims to provide evidence for the effectiveness of family-centered interventions in preventing youth homelessness, potentially informing the expansion of or necessary changes to social work practices in Northern England.

Research Proposal Template

Get your Detailed Template for Writing your Research Proposal Here (With AI Prompts!)

This is a template for a 2500-word research proposal. You may find it difficult to squeeze everything into this wordcount, but it’s a common wordcount for Honors and MA-level dissertations.

Your research proposal is where you really get going with your study. I’d strongly recommend working closely with your teacher in developing a research proposal that’s consistent with the requirements and culture of your institution, as in my experience it varies considerably. The above template is from my own courses that walk students through research proposals in a British School of Education.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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  • USC Libraries
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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 9. The Conclusion
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

The conclusion is intended to help the reader understand why your research should matter to them after they have finished reading the paper. A conclusion is not merely a summary of the main topics covered or a re-statement of your research problem, but a synthesis of key points and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. For most college-level research papers, one or two well-developed paragraphs is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, more paragraphs may be required in summarizing key findings and their significance.

Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University.

Importance of a Good Conclusion

A well-written conclusion provides you with important opportunities to demonstrate to the reader your understanding of the research problem. These include:

  • Presenting the last word on the issues you raised in your paper . Just as the introduction gives a first impression to your reader, the conclusion offers a chance to leave a lasting impression. Do this, for example, by highlighting key findings in your analysis that advance new understanding about the research problem, that are unusual or unexpected, or that have important implications applied to practice.
  • Summarizing your thoughts and conveying the larger significance of your study . The conclusion is an opportunity to succinctly re-emphasize  the "So What?" question by placing the study within the context of how your research advances past research about the topic.
  • Identifying how a gap in the literature has been addressed . The conclusion can be where you describe how a previously identified gap in the literature [described in your literature review section] has been filled by your research.
  • Demonstrating the importance of your ideas . Don't be shy. The conclusion offers you the opportunity to elaborate on the impact and significance of your findings. This is particularly important if your study approached examining the research problem from an unusual or innovative perspective.
  • Introducing possible new or expanded ways of thinking about the research problem . This does not refer to introducing new information [which should be avoided], but to offer new insight and creative approaches for framing or contextualizing the research problem based on the results of your study.

Bunton, David. “The Structure of PhD Conclusion Chapters.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4 (July 2005): 207–224; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Kretchmer, Paul. Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  General Rules

The function of your paper's conclusion is to restate the main argument . It reminds the reader of the strengths of your main argument(s) and reiterates the most important evidence supporting those argument(s). Do this by stating clearly the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem you investigated in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found in the literature. Make sure, however, that your conclusion is not simply a repetitive summary of the findings. This reduces the impact of the argument(s) you have developed in your essay.

When writing the conclusion to your paper, follow these general rules:

  • Present your conclusions in clear, simple language. Re-state the purpose of your study, then describe how your findings differ or support those of other studies and why [i.e., what were the unique or new contributions your study made to the overall research about your topic?].
  • Do not simply reiterate your findings or the discussion of your results. Provide a synthesis of arguments presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem and the overall objectives of your study.
  • Indicate opportunities for future research if you haven't already done so in the discussion section of your paper. Highlighting the need for further research provides the reader with evidence that you have an in-depth awareness of the research problem and that further investigations should take place.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is presented well:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If, prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from the data. 

The conclusion also provides a place for you to persuasively and succinctly restate the research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with all the information about the topic . Depending on the discipline you are writing in, the concluding paragraph may contain your reflections on the evidence presented. However, the nature of being introspective about the research you have conducted will depend on the topic and whether your professor wants you to express your observations in this way.

NOTE : If asked to think introspectively about the topics, do not delve into idle speculation. Being introspective means looking within yourself as an author to try and understand an issue more deeply, not to guess at possible outcomes or make up scenarios not supported by the evidence.

II.  Developing a Compelling Conclusion

Although an effective conclusion needs to be clear and succinct, it does not need to be written passively or lack a compelling narrative. Strategies to help you move beyond merely summarizing the key points of your research paper may include any of the following strategies:

  • If your essay deals with a critical, contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem proactively.
  • Recommend a specific course or courses of action that, if adopted, could address a specific problem in practice or in the development of new knowledge.
  • Cite a relevant quotation or expert opinion already noted in your paper in order to lend authority and support to the conclusion(s) you have reached [a good place to look is research from your literature review].
  • Explain the consequences of your research in a way that elicits action or demonstrates urgency in seeking change.
  • Restate a key statistic, fact, or visual image to emphasize the most important finding of your paper.
  • If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point by drawing from your own life experiences.
  • Return to an anecdote, an example, or a quotation that you presented in your introduction, but add further insight derived from the findings of your study; use your interpretation of results to recast it in new or important ways.
  • Provide a "take-home" message in the form of a succinct, declarative statement that you want the reader to remember about your study.

III. Problems to Avoid

Failure to be concise Your conclusion section should be concise and to the point. Conclusions that are too lengthy often have unnecessary information in them. The conclusion is not the place for details about your methodology or results. Although you should give a summary of what was learned from your research, this summary should be relatively brief, since the emphasis in the conclusion is on the implications, evaluations, insights, and other forms of analysis that you make. Strategies for writing concisely can be found here .

Failure to comment on larger, more significant issues In the introduction, your task was to move from the general [the field of study] to the specific [the research problem]. However, in the conclusion, your task is to move from a specific discussion [your research problem] back to a general discussion [i.e., how your research contributes new understanding or fills an important gap in the literature]. In short, the conclusion is where you should place your research within a larger context [visualize your paper as an hourglass--start with a broad introduction and review of the literature, move to the specific analysis and discussion, conclude with a broad summary of the study's implications and significance].

Failure to reveal problems and negative results Negative aspects of the research process should never be ignored. These are problems, deficiencies, or challenges encountered during your study should be summarized as a way of qualifying your overall conclusions. If you encountered negative or unintended results [i.e., findings that are validated outside the research context in which they were generated], you must report them in the results section and discuss their implications in the discussion section of your paper. In the conclusion, use your summary of the negative results as an opportunity to explain their possible significance and/or how they may form the basis for future research.

Failure to provide a clear summary of what was learned In order to be able to discuss how your research fits within your field of study [and possibly the world at large], you need to summarize briefly and succinctly how it contributes to new knowledge or a new understanding about the research problem. This element of your conclusion may be only a few sentences long.

Failure to match the objectives of your research Often research objectives in the social sciences change while the research is being carried out. This is not a problem unless you forget to go back and refine the original objectives in your introduction. As these changes emerge they must be documented so that they accurately reflect what you were trying to accomplish in your research [not what you thought you might accomplish when you began].

Resist the urge to apologize If you've immersed yourself in studying the research problem, you presumably should know a good deal about it [perhaps even more than your professor!]. Nevertheless, by the time you have finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you have produced. Repress those doubts! Don't undermine your authority by saying something like, "This is just one approach to examining this problem; there may be other, much better approaches that...." The overall tone of your conclusion should convey confidence to the reader.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8; Concluding Paragraphs. College Writing Center at Meramec. St. Louis Community College; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Freedman, Leora  and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Leibensperger, Summer. Draft Your Conclusion. Academic Center, the University of Houston-Victoria, 2003; Make Your Last Words Count. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin Madison; Miquel, Fuster-Marquez and Carmen Gregori-Signes. “Chapter Six: ‘Last but Not Least:’ Writing the Conclusion of Your Paper.” In Writing an Applied Linguistics Thesis or Dissertation: A Guide to Presenting Empirical Research . John Bitchener, editor. (Basingstoke,UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 93-105; Tips for Writing a Good Conclusion. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Kretchmer, Paul. Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; Writing Conclusions. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Writing: Considering Structure and Organization. Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Writing Tip

Don't Belabor the Obvious!

Avoid phrases like "in conclusion...," "in summary...," or "in closing...." These phrases can be useful, even welcome, in oral presentations. But readers can see by the tell-tale section heading and number of pages remaining to read, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your readers if you belabor the obvious.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8.

Another Writing Tip

New Insight, Not New Information!

Don't surprise the reader with new information in your conclusion that was never referenced anywhere else in the paper and, as such, the conclusion rarely has citations to sources. If you have new information to present, add it to the discussion or other appropriate section of the paper. Note that, although no actual new information is introduced, the conclusion, along with the discussion section, is where you offer your most "original" contributions in the paper; the conclusion is where you describe the value of your research, demonstrate that you understand the material that you’ve presented, and locate your findings within the larger context of scholarship on the topic, including describing how your research contributes new insights or valuable insight to that scholarship.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

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Grad Coach

How To Write The Conclusion Chapter

The what, why & how explained simply (with examples).

By: Jenna Crossley (PhD Cand). Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021

So, you’ve wrapped up your results and discussion chapters, and you’re finally on the home stretch – the conclusion chapter . In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to craft a high-quality conclusion chapter for your dissertation or thesis project.

Overview: Dissertation Conclusion Chapter

  • What the thesis/dissertation conclusion chapter is
  • What to include in your conclusion chapter
  • How to structure and write up your conclusion chapter
  • A few tips  to help you ace the chapter

What exactly is the conclusion chapter?

The conclusion chapter is typically the final major chapter of a dissertation or thesis. As such, it serves as a concluding summary of your research findings and wraps up the document. While some publications such as journal articles and research reports combine the discussion and conclusion sections, these are typically separate chapters in a dissertation or thesis. As always, be sure to check what your university’s structural preference is before you start writing up these chapters.

So, what’s the difference between the discussion and the conclusion chapter?

Well, the two chapters are quite similar , as they both discuss the key findings of the study. However, the conclusion chapter is typically more general and high-level in nature. In your discussion chapter, you’ll typically discuss the intricate details of your study, but in your conclusion chapter, you’ll take a   broader perspective, reporting on the main research outcomes and how these addressed your research aim (or aims) .

A core function of the conclusion chapter is to synthesise all major points covered in your study and to tell the reader what they should take away from your work. Basically, you need to tell them what you found , why it’s valuable , how it can be applied , and what further research can be done.

Whatever you do, don’t just copy and paste what you’ve written in your discussion chapter! The conclusion chapter should not be a simple rehash of the discussion chapter. While the two chapters are similar, they have distinctly different functions.  

Discussion chapter vs conclusion chapter

What should I include in the conclusion chapter?

To understand what needs to go into your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to understand what the chapter needs to achieve. In general, a good dissertation conclusion chapter should achieve the following:

  • Summarise the key findings of the study
  • Explicitly answer the research question(s) and address the research aims
  • Inform the reader of the study’s main contributions
  • Discuss any limitations or weaknesses of the study
  • Present recommendations for future research

Therefore, your conclusion chapter needs to cover these core components. Importantly, you need to be careful not to include any new findings or data points. Your conclusion chapter should be based purely on data and analysis findings that you’ve already presented in the earlier chapters. If there’s a new point you want to introduce, you’ll need to go back to your results and discussion chapters to weave the foundation in there.

In many cases, readers will jump from the introduction chapter directly to the conclusions chapter to get a quick overview of the study’s purpose and key findings. Therefore, when you write up your conclusion chapter, it’s useful to assume that the reader hasn’t consumed the inner chapters of your dissertation or thesis. In other words, craft your conclusion chapter such that there’s a strong connection and smooth flow between the introduction and conclusion chapters, even though they’re on opposite ends of your document.

Need a helping hand?

conclusion of research proposal sample

How to write the conclusion chapter

Now that you have a clearer view of what the conclusion chapter is about, let’s break down the structure of this chapter so that you can get writing. Keep in mind that this is merely a typical structure – it’s not set in stone or universal. Some universities will prefer that you cover some of these points in the discussion chapter , or that you cover the points at different levels in different chapters.

Step 1: Craft a brief introduction section

As with all chapters in your dissertation or thesis, the conclusions chapter needs to start with a brief introduction. In this introductory section, you’ll want to tell the reader what they can expect to find in the chapter, and in what order . Here’s an example of what this might look like:

This chapter will conclude the study by summarising the key research findings in relation to the research aims and questions and discussing the value and contribution thereof. It will also review the limitations of the study and propose opportunities for future research.

Importantly, the objective here is just to give the reader a taste of what’s to come (a roadmap of sorts), not a summary of the chapter. So, keep it short and sweet – a paragraph or two should be ample.

Step 2: Discuss the overall findings in relation to the research aims

The next step in writing your conclusions chapter is to discuss the overall findings of your study , as they relate to the research aims and research questions . You would have likely covered similar ground in the discussion chapter, so it’s important to zoom out a little bit here and focus on the broader findings – specifically, how these help address the research aims .

In practical terms, it’s useful to start this section by reminding your reader of your research aims and research questions, so that the findings are well contextualised. In this section, phrases such as, “This study aimed to…” and “the results indicate that…” will likely come in handy. For example, you could say something like the following:

This study aimed to investigate the feeding habits of the naked mole-rat. The results indicate that naked mole rats feed on underground roots and tubers. Further findings show that these creatures eat only a part of the plant, leaving essential parts to ensure long-term food stability.

Be careful not to make overly bold claims here. Avoid claims such as “this study proves that” or “the findings disprove existing the existing theory”. It’s seldom the case that a single study can prove or disprove something. Typically, this is achieved by a broader body of research, not a single study – especially not a dissertation or thesis which will inherently have significant and limitations. We’ll discuss those limitations a little later.

Dont make overly bold claims in your dissertation conclusion

Step 3: Discuss how your study contributes to the field

Next, you’ll need to discuss how your research has contributed to the field – both in terms of theory and practice . This involves talking about what you achieved in your study, highlighting why this is important and valuable, and how it can be used or applied.

In this section you’ll want to:

  • Mention any research outputs created as a result of your study (e.g., articles, publications, etc.)
  • Inform the reader on just how your research solves your research problem , and why that matters
  • Reflect on gaps in the existing research and discuss how your study contributes towards addressing these gaps
  • Discuss your study in relation to relevant theories . For example, does it confirm these theories or constructively challenge them?
  • Discuss how your research findings can be applied in the real world . For example, what specific actions can practitioners take, based on your findings?

Be careful to strike a careful balance between being firm but humble in your arguments here. It’s unlikely that your one study will fundamentally change paradigms or shake up the discipline, so making claims to this effect will be frowned upon . At the same time though, you need to present your arguments with confidence, firmly asserting the contribution your research has made, however small that contribution may be. Simply put, you need to keep it balanced .

Keep it balanced

Step 4: Reflect on the limitations of your study

Now that you’ve pumped your research up, the next step is to critically reflect on the limitations and potential shortcomings of your study. You may have already covered this in the discussion chapter, depending on your university’s structural preferences, so be careful not to repeat yourself unnecessarily.

There are many potential limitations that can apply to any given study. Some common ones include:

  • Sampling issues that reduce the generalisability of the findings (e.g., non-probability sampling )
  • Insufficient sample size (e.g., not getting enough survey responses ) or limited data access
  • Low-resolution data collection or analysis techniques
  • Researcher bias or lack of experience
  • Lack of access to research equipment
  • Time constraints that limit the methodology (e.g. cross-sectional vs longitudinal time horizon)
  • Budget constraints that limit various aspects of the study

Discussing the limitations of your research may feel self-defeating (no one wants to highlight their weaknesses, right), but it’s a critical component of high-quality research. It’s important to appreciate that all studies have limitations (even well-funded studies by expert researchers) – therefore acknowledging these limitations adds credibility to your research by showing that you understand the limitations of your research design .

That being said, keep an eye on your wording and make sure that you don’t undermine your research . It’s important to strike a balance between recognising the limitations, but also highlighting the value of your research despite those limitations. Show the reader that you understand the limitations, that these were justified given your constraints, and that you know how they can be improved upon – this will get you marks.

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

Next, you’ll need to make recommendations for future studies. This will largely be built on the limitations you just discussed. For example, if one of your study’s weaknesses was related to a specific data collection or analysis method, you can make a recommendation that future researchers undertake similar research using a more sophisticated method.

Another potential source of future research recommendations is any data points or analysis findings that were interesting or surprising , but not directly related to your study’s research aims and research questions. So, if you observed anything that “stood out” in your analysis, but you didn’t explore it in your discussion (due to a lack of relevance to your research aims), you can earmark that for further exploration in this section.

Essentially, this section is an opportunity to outline how other researchers can build on your study to take the research further and help develop the body of knowledge. So, think carefully about the new questions that your study has raised, and clearly outline these for future researchers to pick up on.

Step 6: Wrap up with a closing summary

Quick tips for a top-notch conclusion chapter

Now that we’ve covered the what , why and how of the conclusion chapter, here are some quick tips and suggestions to help you craft a rock-solid conclusion.

  • Don’t ramble . The conclusion chapter usually consumes 5-7% of the total word count (although this will vary between universities), so you need to be concise. Edit this chapter thoroughly with a focus on brevity and clarity.
  • Be very careful about the claims you make in terms of your study’s contribution. Nothing will make the marker’s eyes roll back faster than exaggerated or unfounded claims. Be humble but firm in your claim-making.
  • Use clear and simple language that can be easily understood by an intelligent layman. Remember that not every reader will be an expert in your field, so it’s important to make your writing accessible. Bear in mind that no one knows your research better than you do, so it’s important to spell things out clearly for readers.

Hopefully, this post has given you some direction and confidence to take on the conclusion chapter of your dissertation or thesis with confidence. If you’re still feeling a little shaky and need a helping hand, consider booking a free initial consultation with a friendly Grad Coach to discuss how we can help you with hands-on, private coaching.

conclusion of research proposal sample

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

You Might Also Like:

How to write the discussion chapter

17 Comments

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Really your team are doing great!

Solomon Abeba

Very helpful guidelines, timely saved. Thanks so much for the tips.

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This post was very helpful and informative. Thank you team.

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A very enjoyable, understandable and crisp presentation on how to write a conclusion chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Jenna.

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Abueng

Bundle of thanks for your guidance. It was greatly helpful.

Rebecca

Wonderful, clear, practical guidance. So grateful to read this as I conclude my research. Thank you.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Last Updated: June 29, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . 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. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 42 testimonials and 82% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,252,395 times.

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 to prevent yourself from weakening your paper's conclusion. Here are some writing tips to keep in mind when creating a conclusion for your next research paper.

Sample Conclusions

Writing a basic conclusion.

Step 1 Restate the topic.

  • 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 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."

Step 2 Restate your thesis.

  • 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 ."

Step 3 Briefly summarize your main points.

  • 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. 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. 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."

Step 4 Add the points up.

  • Note that this is not needed for all research papers.
  • 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.

Step 5 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. Let's go back to our example of tuberculosis. 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."

Step 6 Answer the “so what” question.

  • 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.

Making Your Conclusion as Effective as Possible

Step 1 Stick with a basic synthesis of information.

  • Since this sort of conclusion is so basic, you must 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.

Step 2 Bring things full circle.

  • 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: "Patient X was unable to complete the treatment for tuberculosis due to severe side effects and unfortunately succumbed to the disease."
  • Use the same concepts and images introduced in your introduction in your conclusion. The images may or may not appear at other points throughout the research paper.

Step 3 Close with logic.

  • 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.

Step 4 Pose a question.

  • 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 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.

Step 5 Make a suggestion.

  • 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 donating to the World Health Organization or research foundations that are developing new treatments for the disease.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Step 1 Avoid saying

  • These sayings usually sound stiff, unnatural, or trite when used in writing.
  • Moreover, using a phrase like "in conclusion" to begin your conclusion is a little too straightforward and tends to lead to a weak conclusion. A strong conclusion can stand on its own without being labeled as such.

Step 2 Do not wait until the conclusion to state your thesis.

  • 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.

Step 3 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 suggest further research or a call to action, but you should not bring in any new evidence or facts in the conclusion.

Step 4 Avoid changing the tone of the paper.

  • Most often, a shift in tone occurs when a research paper with an academic tone gives 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.

Step 5 Make no apologies.

  • Apologetic statements include phrases like "I may not be an expert" or "This is only my opinion."
  • Statements like this can usually be avoided by refraining from writing in the first-person.
  • Avoid any statements in the first-person. First-person is generally considered to be informal and does not fit with the formal tone of a research paper.

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  • ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/04/
  • ↑ http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/18_Writing_Conclusion.asp
  • ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html#conclusion
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/conclusions/
  • ↑ http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/conclude.html

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a conclusion for a research paper, start by restating your thesis statement to remind your readers what your main topic is and bring everything full circle. Then, briefly summarize all of the main points you made throughout your paper, which will help remind your readers of everything they learned. You might also want to include a call to action if you think more research or work needs to be done on your topic by writing something like, "Despite efforts to contain the disease, more research is needed to develop antibiotics." Finally, end your conclusion by explaining the broader context of your topic and why your readers should care about it, which will help them understand why your topic is relevant and important. For tips from our Academic co-author, like how to avoid common pitfalls when writing your conclusion, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Research Proposal

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • Types of Structured Group Activities
  • Group Project Survival Skills
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Essays
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Bibliography

The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. The design elements and procedures for conducting the research are governed by standards within the predominant discipline in which the problem resides, so guidelines for research proposals are more exacting and less formal than a general project proposal. Research proposals contain extensive literature reviews. They must provide persuasive evidence that a need exists for the proposed study. In addition to providing a rationale, a proposal describes detailed methodology for conducting the research consistent with requirements of the professional or academic field and a statement on anticipated outcomes and/or benefits derived from the study's completion.

Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005.

How to Approach Writing a Research Proposal

Your professor may assign the task of writing a research proposal for the following reasons:

  • Develop your skills in thinking about and designing a comprehensive research study;
  • Learn how to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to ensure a research problem has not already been answered [or you may determine the problem has been answered ineffectively] and, in so doing, become better at locating scholarship related to your topic;
  • Improve your general research and writing skills;
  • Practice identifying the logical steps that must be taken to accomplish one's research goals;
  • Critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem; and,
  • Nurture a sense of inquisitiveness within yourself and to help see yourself as an active participant in the process of doing scholarly research.

A proposal should contain all the key elements involved in designing a completed research study, with sufficient information that allows readers to assess the validity and usefulness of your proposed study. The only elements missing from a research proposal are the findings of the study and your analysis of those results. Finally, an effective proposal is judged on the quality of your writing and, therefore, it is important that your writing is coherent, clear, and compelling.

Regardless of the research problem you are investigating and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions:

  • What do you plan to accomplish? Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to research.
  • Why do you want to do it? In addition to detailing your research design, you also must conduct a thorough review of the literature and provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of study. Be sure to answer the "So What?" question.
  • How are you going to do it? Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you're having trouble formulating a research problem to propose investigating, go here .

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Failure to be concise; being "all over the map" without a clear sense of purpose.
  • Failure to cite landmark works in your literature review.
  • Failure to delimit the contextual boundaries of your research [e.g., time, place, people, etc.].
  • Failure to develop a coherent and persuasive argument for the proposed research.
  • Failure to stay focused on the research problem; going off on unrelated tangents.
  • Sloppy or imprecise writing, or poor grammar.
  • Too much detail on minor issues, but not enough detail on major issues.

Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal .  The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Sanford, Keith. Information for Students: Writing a Research Proposal . Baylor University; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal . International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books . The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal . University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Structure and Writing Style

Beginning the Proposal Process

As with writing a regular academic paper, research proposals are generally organized the same way throughout most social science disciplines. Proposals vary between ten and twenty-five pages in length. However, before you begin, read the assignment carefully and, if anything seems unclear, ask your professor whether there are any specific requirements for organizing and writing the proposal.

A good place to begin is to ask yourself a series of questions:

  • What do I want to study?
  • Why is the topic important?
  • How is it significant within the subject areas covered in my class?
  • What problems will it help solve?
  • How does it build upon [and hopefully go beyond] research already conducted on the topic?
  • What exactly should I plan to do, and can I get it done in the time available?

In general, a compelling research proposal should document your knowledge of the topic and demonstrate your enthusiasm for conducting the study. Approach it with the intention of leaving your readers feeling like--"Wow, that's an exciting idea and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!"

In general your proposal should include the following sections:

I.  Introduction

In the real world of higher education, a research proposal is most often written by scholars seeking grant funding for a research project or it's the first step in getting approval to write a doctoral dissertation. Even if this is just a course assignment, treat your introduction as the initial pitch of an idea or a thorough examination of the significance of a research problem. After reading the introduction, your readers should not only have an understanding of what you want to do, but they should also be able to gain a sense of your passion for the topic and be excited about the study's possible outcomes. Note that most proposals do not include an abstract [summary] before the introduction.

Think about your introduction as a narrative written in one to three paragraphs that succinctly answers the following four questions :

  • What is the central research problem?
  • What is the topic of study related to that problem?
  • What methods should be used to analyze the research problem?
  • Why is this important research, what is its significance, and why should someone reading the proposal care about the outcomes of the proposed study?

II.  Background and Significance

This section can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it's important. Approach writing this section with the thought that you can’t assume your readers will know as much about the research problem as you do. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is relevant to help explain the goals for your study.

To that end, while there are no hard and fast rules, you should attempt to address some or all of the following key points:

  • State the research problem and give a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the study than what you stated in the introduction. This is particularly important if the problem is complex or multifaceted .
  • Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing. Answer the "So What? question [i.e., why should anyone care].
  • Describe the major issues or problems to be addressed by your research. Be sure to note how your proposed study builds on previous assumptions about the research problem.
  • Explain how you plan to go about conducting your research. Clearly identify the key sources you intend to use and explain how they will contribute to your analysis of the topic.
  • Set the boundaries of your proposed research in order to provide a clear focus. Where appropriate, state not only what you will study, but what is excluded from the study.
  • If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts or terms.

III.  Literature Review

Connected to the background and significance of your study is a section of your proposal devoted to a more deliberate review and synthesis of prior studies related to the research problem under investigation . The purpose here is to place your project within the larger whole of what is currently being explored, while demonstrating to your readers that your work is original and innovative. Think about what questions other researchers have asked, what methods they have used, and what is your understanding of their findings and, where stated, their recommendations. Do not be afraid to challenge the conclusions of prior research. Assess what you believe is missing and state how previous research has failed to adequately examine the issue that your study addresses. For more information on writing literature reviews, GO HERE .

Since a literature review is information dense, it is crucial that this section is intelligently structured to enable a reader to grasp the key arguments underpinning your study in relation to that of other researchers. A good strategy is to break the literature into "conceptual categories" [themes] rather than systematically describing groups of materials one at a time. Note that conceptual categories generally reveal themselves after you have read most of the pertinent literature on your topic so adding new categories is an on-going process of discovery as you read more studies. How do you know you've covered the key conceptual categories underlying the research literature? Generally, you can have confidence that all of the significant conceptual categories have been identified if you start to see repetition in the conclusions or recommendations that are being made.

To help frame your proposal's literature review, here are the "five C’s" of writing a literature review:

  • Cite , so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your research problem.
  • Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, and findings expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
  • Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches, and controversies expressed in the literature: what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate?
  • Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates, argues, etc.] .
  • Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how does your own work draw upon, depart from, synthesize, or add a new perspective to what has been said in the literature?

IV.  Research Design and Methods

This section must be well-written and logically organized because you are not actually doing the research, yet, your reader must have confidence that it is worth pursuing . The reader will never have a study outcome from which to evaluate whether your methodological choices were the correct ones. Thus, the objective here is to convince the reader that your overall research design and methods of analysis will correctly address the problem and that the methods will provide the means to effectively interpret the potential results. Your design and methods should be unmistakably tied to the specific aims of your study.

Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. Consider not only methods that other researchers have used but methods of data gathering that have not been used but perhaps could be. Be specific about the methodological approaches you plan to undertake to obtain information, the techniques you would use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which you commit yourself [i.e., the trustworthiness by which you can generalize from your study to other people, places, events, and/or periods of time].

When describing the methods you will use, be sure to cover the following:

  • Specify the research operations you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results of these operations in relation to the research problem. Don't just describe what you intend to achieve from applying the methods you choose, but state how you will spend your time while applying these methods [e.g., coding text from interviews to find statements about the need to change school curriculum; running a regression to determine if there is a relationship between campaign advertising on social media sites and election outcomes in Europe ].
  • Keep in mind that a methodology is not just a list of tasks; it is an argument as to why these tasks add up to the best way to investigate the research problem. This is an important point because the mere listing of tasks to be performed does not demonstrate that, collectively, they effectively address the research problem. Be sure you explain this.
  • Anticipate and acknowledge any potential barriers and pitfalls in carrying out your research design and explain how you plan to address them. No method is perfect so you need to describe where you believe challenges may exist in obtaining data or accessing information. It's always better to acknowledge this than to have it brought up by your reader.

V.  Preliminary Suppositions and Implications

Just because you don't have to actually conduct the study and analyze the results, doesn't mean you can skip talking about the analytical process and potential implications . The purpose of this section is to argue how and in what ways you believe your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge in the subject area under investigation. Depending on the aims and objectives of your study, describe how the anticipated results will impact future scholarly research, theory, practice, forms of interventions, or policymaking. Note that such discussions may have either substantive [a potential new policy], theoretical [a potential new understanding], or methodological [a potential new way of analyzing] significance.   When thinking about the potential implications of your study, ask the following questions:

  • What might the results mean in regards to the theoretical framework that underpins the study?
  • What suggestions for subsequent research could arise from the potential outcomes of the study?
  • What will the results mean to practitioners in the natural settings of their workplace?
  • Will the results influence programs, methods, and/or forms of intervention?
  • How might the results contribute to the solution of social, economic, or other types of problems?
  • Will the results influence policy decisions?
  • In what way do individuals or groups benefit should your study be pursued?
  • What will be improved or changed as a result of the proposed research?
  • How will the results of the study be implemented, and what innovations will come about?

NOTE :  This section should not delve into idle speculation, opinion, or be formulated on the basis of unclear evidence . The purpose is to reflect upon gaps or understudied areas of the current literature and describe how your proposed research contributes to a new understanding of the research problem should the study be implemented as designed.

VI.  Conclusion

The conclusion reiterates the importance or significance of your proposal and provides a brief summary of the entire study . This section should be only one or two paragraphs long, emphasizing why the research problem is worth investigating, why your research study is unique, and how it should advance existing knowledge.

Someone reading this section should come away with an understanding of:

  • Why the study should be done,
  • The specific purpose of the study and the research questions it attempts to answer,
  • The decision to why the research design and methods used where chosen over other options,
  • The potential implications emerging from your proposed study of the research problem, and
  • A sense of how your study fits within the broader scholarship about the research problem.

VII.  Citations

As with any scholarly research paper, you must cite the sources you used in composing your proposal. In a standard research proposal, this section can take two forms, so consult with your professor about which one is preferred.

  • References -- lists only the literature that you actually used or cited in your proposal.
  • Bibliography -- lists everything you used or cited in your proposal, with additional citations to any key sources relevant to understanding the research problem.

In either case, this section should testify to the fact that you did enough preparatory work to make sure the project will complement and not duplicate the efforts of other researchers. Start a new page and use the heading "References" or "Bibliography" centered at the top of the page. Cited works should always use a standard format that follows the writing style advised by the discipline of your course [i.e., education=APA; history=Chicago, etc] or that is preferred by your professor. This section normally does not count towards the total page length of your research proposal.

Develop a Research Proposal: Writing the Proposal . Office of Library Information Services. Baltimore County Public Schools; Heath, M. Teresa Pereira and Caroline Tynan. “Crafting a Research Proposal.” The Marketing Review 10 (Summer 2010): 147-168; Jones, Mark. “Writing a Research Proposal.” In MasterClass in Geography Education: Transforming Teaching and Learning . Graham Butt, editor. (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), pp. 113-127; Juni, Muhamad Hanafiah. “Writing a Research Proposal.” International Journal of Public Health and Clinical Sciences 1 (September/October 2014): 229-240; Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences . Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2005; Procter, Margaret. The Academic Proposal . The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Punch, Keith and Wayne McGowan. "Developing and Writing a Research Proposal." In From Postgraduate to Social Scientist: A Guide to Key Skills . Nigel Gilbert, ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006), 59-81; Wong, Paul T. P. How to Write a Research Proposal . International Network on Personal Meaning. Trinity Western University; Writing Academic Proposals: Conferences, Articles, and Books . The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Writing a Research Proposal . University Library. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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How to Write a Dissertation Conclusion | Checklist and Examples

Published on 9 September 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on 10 October 2022.

The conclusion is the very last part of your thesis or dissertation . It should be concise and engaging, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your main findings, as well as the answer to your research question .

In it, you should:

  • Clearly state the answer to your main research question
  • Summarise and reflect on your research process
  • Make recommendations for future work on your topic
  • Show what new knowledge you have contributed to your field
  • Wrap up your thesis or dissertation

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Table of contents

Discussion vs. conclusion, how long should your conclusion be, step 1: answer your research question, step 2: summarise and reflect on your research, step 3: make future recommendations, step 4: emphasise your contributions to your field, step 5: wrap up your thesis or dissertation, full conclusion example, conclusion checklist, frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.

While your conclusion contains similar elements to your discussion section , they are not the same thing.

Your conclusion should be shorter and more general than your discussion. Instead of repeating literature from your literature review , discussing specific research results , or interpreting your data in detail, concentrate on making broad statements that sum up the most important insights of your research.

As a rule of thumb, your conclusion should not introduce new data, interpretations, or arguments.

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Depending on whether you are writing a thesis or dissertation, your length will vary. Generally, a conclusion should make up around 5–7% of your overall word count.

An empirical scientific study will often have a short conclusion, concisely stating the main findings and recommendations for future research. A humanities topic or systematic review , on the other hand, might require more space to conclude its analysis, tying all the previous sections together in an overall argument.

Your conclusion should begin with the main question that your thesis or dissertation aimed to address. This is your final chance to show that you’ve done what you set out to do, so make sure to formulate a clear, concise answer.

  • Don’t repeat a list of all the results that you already discussed
  • Do synthesise them into a final takeaway that the reader will remember.

An empirical thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

A case study –based thesis or dissertation conclusion may begin like this:

In the second example, the research aim is not directly restated, but rather added implicitly to the statement. To avoid repeating yourself, it is helpful to reformulate your aims and questions into an overall statement of what you did and how you did it.

Your conclusion is an opportunity to remind your reader why you took the approach you did, what you expected to find, and how well the results matched your expectations.

To avoid repetition , consider writing more reflectively here, rather than just writing a summary of each preceding section. Consider mentioning the effectiveness of your methodology , or perhaps any new questions or unexpected insights that arose in the process.

You can also mention any limitations of your research, but only if you haven’t already included these in the discussion. Don’t dwell on them at length, though – focus on the positives of your work.

  • While x limits the generalisability of the results, this approach provides new insight into y .
  • This research clearly illustrates x , but it also raises the question of y .

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You may already have made a few recommendations for future research in your discussion section, but the conclusion is a good place to elaborate and look ahead, considering the implications of your findings in both theoretical and practical terms.

  • Based on these conclusions, practitioners should consider …
  • To better understand the implications of these results, future studies could address …
  • Further research is needed to determine the causes of/effects of/relationship between …

When making recommendations for further research, be sure not to undermine your own work. Relatedly, while future studies might confirm, build on, or enrich your conclusions, they shouldn’t be required for your argument to feel complete. Your work should stand alone on its own merits.

Just as you should avoid too much self-criticism, you should also avoid exaggerating the applicability of your research. If you’re making recommendations for policy, business, or other practical implementations, it’s generally best to frame them as ‘shoulds’ rather than ‘musts’. All in all, the purpose of academic research is to inform, explain, and explore – not to demand.

Make sure your reader is left with a strong impression of what your research has contributed to the state of your field.

Some strategies to achieve this include:

  • Returning to your problem statement to explain how your research helps solve the problem
  • Referring back to the literature review and showing how you have addressed a gap in knowledge
  • Discussing how your findings confirm or challenge an existing theory or assumption

Again, avoid simply repeating what you’ve already covered in the discussion in your conclusion. Instead, pick out the most important points and sum them up succinctly, situating your project in a broader context.

The end is near! Once you’ve finished writing your conclusion, it’s time to wrap up your thesis or dissertation with a few final steps:

  • It’s a good idea to write your abstract next, while the research is still fresh in your mind.
  • Next, make sure your reference list is complete and correctly formatted. To speed up the process, you can use our free APA citation generator .
  • Once you’ve added any appendices , you can create a table of contents and title page .
  • Finally, read through the whole document again to make sure your thesis is clearly written and free from language errors. You can proofread it yourself , ask a friend, or consider Scribbr’s proofreading and editing service .

Here is an example of how you can write your conclusion section. Notice how it includes everything mentioned above:

V. Conclusion

The current research aimed to identify acoustic speech characteristics which mark the beginning of an exacerbation in COPD patients.

The central questions for this research were as follows: 1. Which acoustic measures extracted from read speech differ between COPD speakers in stable condition and healthy speakers? 2. In what ways does the speech of COPD patients during an exacerbation differ from speech of COPD patients during stable periods?

All recordings were aligned using a script. Subsequently, they were manually annotated to indicate respiratory actions such as inhaling and exhaling. The recordings of 9 stable COPD patients reading aloud were then compared with the recordings of 5 healthy control subjects reading aloud. The results showed a significant effect of condition on the number of in- and exhalations per syllable, the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable, and the ratio of voiced and silence intervals. The number of in- and exhalations per syllable and the number of non-linguistic in- and exhalations per syllable were higher for COPD patients than for healthy controls, which confirmed both hypotheses.

However, the higher ratio of voiced and silence intervals for COPD patients compared to healthy controls was not in line with the hypotheses. This unpredicted result might have been caused by the different reading materials or recording procedures for both groups, or by a difference in reading skills. Moreover, there was a trend regarding the effect of condition on the number of syllables per breath group. The number of syllables per breath group was higher for healthy controls than for COPD patients, which was in line with the hypothesis. There was no effect of condition on pitch, intensity, center of gravity, pitch variability, speaking rate, or articulation rate.

This research has shown that the speech of COPD patients in exacerbation differs from the speech of COPD patients in stable condition. This might have potential for the detection of exacerbations. However, sustained vowels rarely occur in spontaneous speech. Therefore, the last two outcome measures might have greater potential for the detection of beginning exacerbations, but further research on the different outcome measures and their potential for the detection of exacerbations is needed due to the limitations of the current study.

Checklist: Conclusion

I have clearly and concisely answered the main research question .

I have summarized my overall argument or key takeaways.

I have mentioned any important limitations of the research.

I have given relevant recommendations .

I have clearly explained what my research has contributed to my field.

I have  not introduced any new data or arguments.

You've written a great conclusion! Use the other checklists to further improve your dissertation.

In a thesis or dissertation, the discussion is an in-depth exploration of the results, going into detail about the meaning of your findings and citing relevant sources to put them in context.

The conclusion is more shorter and more general: it concisely answers your main research question and makes recommendations based on your overall findings.

While it may be tempting to present new arguments or evidence in your thesis or disseration conclusion , especially if you have a particularly striking argument you’d like to finish your analysis with, you shouldn’t. Theses and dissertations follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the discussion section and results section .) The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

For a stronger dissertation conclusion , avoid including:

  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5-7% of your overall word count.

The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation should include the following:

  • A restatement of your research question
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or results
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

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  • Indian J Dermatol
  • v.62(5); Sep-Oct 2017

Summary and Synthesis: How to Present a Research Proposal

Maninder singh setia.

From the MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Saumya Panda

1 Department of Dermatology, KPC Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

This concluding module attempts to synthesize the key learning points discussed during the course of the previous ten sets of modules on methodology and biostatistics. The objective of this module is to discuss how to present a model research proposal, based on whatever was discussed in the preceding modules. The lynchpin of a research proposal is the protocol, and the key component of a protocol is the study design. However, one must not neglect the other areas, be it the project summary through which one catches the eyes of the reviewer of the proposal, or the background and the literature review, or the aims and objectives of the study. Two critical areas in the “methods” section that cannot be emphasized more are the sampling strategy and a formal estimation of sample size. Without a legitimate sample size, none of the conclusions based on the statistical analysis would be valid. Finally, the ethical parameters of the study should be well understood by the researchers, and that should get reflected in the proposal.

As we reach the end of an exhaustive module encompassing research methods and biostatistics, we need to summarize and synthesize the key learning points, to demonstrate how one may utilize the different sections of the module to undertake research projects of different kinds. After all, the practical purpose behind publishing such a module is to facilitate the preparation of high quality research proposals and protocols. This concluding part will make an attempt to provide a window to the different sections of the module, underlining the various aspects of design and analysis needed to formulate protocols applicable to different kinds of clinical research in dermatology.

Components of a Research Proposal

The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. A research proposal is generally meant to be presented by an investigator to request an agency or a body to support research work in the form of grants. The vast majority of research proposals, in India, however, are not submitted to agency or body for grants, simply because of the paucity of such agencies, bodies, and research grants. Most are academic research proposals, self-financed, and submitted to scientific and ethics committee of an institution. The parts of a proposal include the title page, abstract/project summary, table of contents, introduction, background and review of literature, and the research protocol.

The title page should contain the personal data pertaining to the investigators, and title of the project, which should be concise and comprehensive at the same time. The table of contents, strictly speaking, is not necessary for short proposals. The introduction includes a statement of the problem, purpose, and significance of the research.

The protocol is the document that specifies the research plan. It is the single most important quality control tool for all aspects of a clinical research. It is the instrument where the researcher explains how data will be collected, including the calculation for estimating sample size, and what outcome variables to measure.

A complete clinical research protocol includes the following:

Study design

  • Precise definition of the disease or problem
  • Completely defined prespecified primary and secondary outcome measures, including how and when these will be assessed
  • Clear description of variables
  • Well-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Efficacy and safety parameters
  • Whenever applicable, stopping guidelines and parameters of interim analyses
  • Sample size calculation
  • Randomization details
  • Plan of statistical analysis
  • Detailed description of interventions
  • A chronogram of research flow (Gantt chart)
  • Informed consent document
  • Clinical research form
  • Details of budget; and
  • References.

(Modified from: Bagatin et al ., 2013).

Project Summary

The project summary is a brief document that consists of an overview, and discusses the intellectual merits, and broader impacts of the research project. Each of these three sections is required to be present and must be clearly defined. The project summary is one of the most important parts of the proposal. It is likely the first thing a reviewer will read, and is the investigators’ best chance to grab their interest, and convince them of the importance, and quality, of their research before they even read the proposal. Though it is the first proposal element in order, many applicants prefer to write the project summary last, after writing the protocol. This allows the writer to better avoid any inconsistencies between the two.

The overview specifies the research goal and it should demonstrate that this goal fits with the principal investigator's long-term research goals. It should specify the proposed research approach and the educational goal of the research project.

The intellectual merits (the contribution your research will make to your field) should specify the current state of knowledge in the field, and where it is headed. It should also clarify what your research will add to the state of knowledge in the field. Furthermore, important to state is what your research will do to enhance or enable other researches in the field. Finally, one should answer why your research is important for the advancement of the field.

The broader impacts (the contribution the research will make to the society) should answer the questions on the benefit to the society at large from the research, and the possible applications of the research, and why the general public would care. It should also clarify how the research can benefit the site of research (medical college or university, etc.) and the funding agency.

Background and Review of Literature

This is an important component of the research protocol. The review should discuss all the relevant literature, the method used in the literature, the lacunae in the literature, and justify the proposed research. We have provided a list of the useful databases in the section on systematic reviews and meta-analysis (Setia, 2017). Some of these are PubMed, Cochrane database, EMBASE, and LILACS.

Provide a critical analysis of the literature

The researcher should not provide a descriptive analysis of literature. For instance, the literature reviews should not be a list of one article followed by the next article. It should be a critical analysis of literature.

A study by XXXX et al . found that the prevalence of psoriasis was 20%. It was a hospital-based study conducted in North India. The prevalence was 35% in males and 12% in females.

Another study by YYYYY et al . found that the prevalence of psoriasis was 14%. The study was conducted in a private clinic in North India. The prevalence was 8% in males and 18% in females.

A third study by ZZZZZ et al . found that the prevalence of psoriasis was 5%. This study was a community-based study. The prevalence was 7% in males and 3% in females.

In this type of review, the researcher has described all the studies. However, it is useful to understand the findings of these three studies and summarize them in researcher's own words.

A possible option can be “ The reported prevalence of psoriasis in the Indian population varied from 5% to 20%. In general, it was higher in hospital-based studies and lower in community-based studies. There was no consistent pattern in the prevalence of psoriasis in males and females. Though some studies found the prevalence to be higher in males, others reported that females had a higher prevalence .”

Discuss the limitations and lacunae of these studies

The researcher should discuss the limitations of the studies. These could be the limitations that the authors have presented in the manuscript or the ones that the researcher has identified. Usually, the current research proposal should try to address the limitations of a previous study.

A study by BBBB et al : “ One of the main limitations of our study was the lack of objective criteria for assessing anemia in patients presenting with psoriasis. We classified the patients based on clinical assessment of pallor .”

The present proposal can mention “ Though previous studies have assessed the association between anemia and psoriasis, they have not used any objective criteria (such as hemoglobin or serum ferritin levels). Furthermore, pallor was evaluated by three clinicians; the authors have not described the agreement between these clinicians .”

In the above example, the authors have stated the limitation of their research in the manuscript. However, in the review of literature, the researcher has added another limitation. It is important to convince the reviewers that the researcher has read and understood the literature. It is also important that some or most of these lacunae should be addressed in the present proposal as far as possible.

Justify the present proposal by review

The researcher should adequately justify the present proposal based on the review of literature. The justification should not only be for the research question, but also the methods, study design, variables of interest, study instruments or measurements, and statistical methods of choice. Sometimes, the justification can be purely statistical. For example, all the previous studies have used cross-sectional data or cross-sectional analysis of longitudinal data in their manuscripts. The present proposal will use methods used for longitudinal data analysis. The researcher should justify the benefit of these methods over the previous statistical methods.

In short, the review should not be a “laundry list” of all the articles. The review should be able to convince the reader that the present research is required and it builds on the existing literature (either as a novel research question, new measurement of the outcome, a better study design, or advanced and appropriate statistical methods).

Kindly try to avoid this justification: “ It has not been done in our center .”

Aims and Objectives

The “aim” of the study is an overarching goal of the study. The objectives are measurable and help the researcher achieve the overall aim.

For example, the overall aim of our study is to assess the long-term health of patients of psoriasis.

The specific objectives are:

  • To record the changes in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score in patients with psoriasis over a period of 5 years
  • To study the side effects of medications in these patients over a period of 5 years.

It is important to clearly state the objectives, since the research proposal should be designed to achieve these objectives.

For example, the methods should describe the following:

  • How will the researcher answer the first objective?
  • Where will the researcher recruit the study participants (study site and population)?
  • Which patients of psoriasis will be recruited (inclusion and exclusion criteria)?
  • What will be the design of the study (cohort, etc.)?
  • What are all the variables to be measured to achieve the study outcomes (exposure and outcome variables)?
  • How will the researcher measure these variables (clinical evaluation, history, serological examination, etc.)?
  • How will the researcher record these data (clinical forms, etc.)?
  • How will the researcher analyze the data that have been collected?
  • Are there any limitations of these methods? If so, what has the researcher done to minimize the limitations?

All the ten modules on research methodology have to be read and grasped to plan and design any kind of research applicable to one's chosen field. However, some key areas have been outlined below with examples to appreciate the same in an easier manner.

The study setting must be specified. This should include both the geographical location and the population from which the study sample would be recruited.

“The study took place at the antiretroviral therapy clinic of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, from January 2006 to April 2007. Blantyre is the major commercial city of Malawi, with a population of 1,000,000 and an estimated HIV prevalence of 27% in adults in 2004” (Ndekha et al ., 2009).

This is a perfect example of description of a study setting which underscores the importance of planning it in detail a priori .

Study population, sampling strategy, and sample size

Study population has to be clearly and precisely defined. For example, a study on atopic dermatitis may be conducted upon patients defined according to the UK Working Party's modified diagnostic criteria, or the Hanifin and Rajka's criteria, or some other criteria defined by the investigators. However, it should always be prespecified within the protocol.

Similarly, the eligibility criteria of the participants for the study must be explicit. One truism that is frequently forgotten is that the inclusion and exclusion criteria are mutually exclusive, and one is not the negative image of the other. Eligible cases are included according to a set of inclusion criteria, and this is followed by administration of the exclusion criteria. Thus, in fact, they can never be the negative image of each other.

“Eligible participants were all adults aged 18 or over with HIV who met the eligibility criteria for antiretroviral therapy according to the Malawian national HIV treatment guidelines (WHO clinical stage III or IV or any WHO stage with a CD4 count < 250/mm 3 ) and who were starting treatment with a BMI < 18.5. Exclusion criteria were pregnancy and lactation or participation in another supplementary feeding program” (Ndekha et al ., 2009).

To put in perspective the point we made about inclusion and exclusion criteria, in the above example, “age above 18 years” or “CD4 count >250/mm 3 ” cannot be exclusion criteria, as these have already been excluded.

Sampling strategy has been adequately discussed in the Module 5 of the Methodology series (Setia, 2016). A few points are worth repeating:

  • The sampling strategy should never be misrepresented. Example: If you have not done random sampling, no big deal. There are other legitimate sampling strategies available for your study. But once you have mentioned “random sampling” in your protocol, you cannot resort to purposive sampling
  • Sometimes, the researcher might want to know the characteristics of a certain problem within a specific population, without caring for generalizability of results. In such a scenario, purposive sampling may be resorted to
  • Nonprobability sampling methods such as consecutive consenting sampling or any such convenience sampling are perfectly legitimate and easy to do, particularly in case of dissertations where time and resources are limited.

Sample size is one of the most misunderstood, yet fundamentally important, issues among clinicians and has to be addressed once the study objectives have been set and the design has been finalized. Too small a sample means that there would be a failure to detect change following test intervention. A sample larger than necessary may also result in bad quality data. In either case, there would be ethical problems and wastage of resources. The researcher needs just enough samples to draw accurate inferences, which would be adequately powered (Panda, 2015).

Estimation of sample size has been dealt with adequately in the Module 5 biostatistics series (Hazra et al ., 2016), including the different mathematical derivations and the available software. Sample size determination is a statistical exercise based on the probability of errors in testing of hypothesis, power of the sample, and effect size. Although, relatively speaking, these are simple concepts to grasp, a large number of different study designs and analytical methods lead to a bewilderingly large number of formulae for determining sample size. Thus, the software are really handy and are becoming increasingly popular.

The study design defines the objectives and end points of the study, the type and manner of data collection, and the strategy of data analysis (Panda 2015). The different types of clinical studies have been depicted in Figure 1 . The suitability of various study designs vis-à-vis different types of research questions is summarized in Table 1 .

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Types of study (Source: Panda, 2015)

Research questions vis-a-vis study designs

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In our previous series of ten modules on methodology, we have discussed all these different kinds of studies and more. Some key issues that require reiteration are given below:

  • The control of a case–control study and that of a randomized controlled trial is more different from each other than chalk is from cheese. The former is an observational study, while the latter is an interventional one. Every study with a control group is not a case–control study. For a study to be classified as a case–control study, the study should be an observational study and the participants should be recruited based on their outcome status (Setia, 2016). Apparently, this is not so difficult to understand, yet even now we have publications which confuse between the different kinds of controls (Bhanja et al ., 2015)
  • Due to the fact that the outcome and exposure are assessed at the same time point in a cross-sectional study, it is pretty difficult, if not impossible, to derive causal relationships from such a study. At most, one may establish statistical association between exposures and outcomes by calculating the odds ratio. However, these associations must not be confused with causation.
  • It is generally said that a cohort design may not be efficient for rare outcomes. However, if the rare outcome is common in some exposures, it may be useful to follow a cohort design. For example, melanoma is a rare condition in India. Hence, if we follow individuals to study the incidence of melanoma, it may not be efficient. However, if we know that, in India, acral lentiginous melanoma is the most commonly reported variant, we should follow a cohort of individuals with acral lentiginous and study the incidence of melanoma in this group (Setia, 2016).

Clinical researchers should also be accustomed with observational designs beyond case–control, cohort, and cross-sectional studies. Sometimes, the unit of analysis has to be a group or aggregate rather than the individual. Consider the following example:

The government introduced the supplementation of salt with iodine for about 20 years. However, not all states have used the same level of iodine in salt. Certain hilly states have used higher quantities compared with other states. Incidentally, you read a report that high iodine levels are associated with psoriasis. You are intrigued to find if introduction of iodine has altered the picture of psoriasis in the country. You feel compelled to design a study to answer this question .

It is obvious that here the unit of study cannot be individuals, but a large population distributed in a certain geographical area. This is the domain of ecologic studies. An allied category of observational studies is named “natural experiments,” where the exposure is not assigned by the investigator (as in an interventional study), but through “natural processes.” These may be through changes in the existing regulations or public policies or, may be, through introduction of new laws (Setia, 2017).

Another category of research questions that cannot be satisfactorily captured by all the quantitative methods described earlier, like social stigma experienced by patients or their families with, say, vitiligo, leprosy, or sexually transmitted infections, are best dealt with by qualitative research. As can be seen by the examples given above, this is a type of research which is very relevant to medical research, yet to which the regular medical researcher has got a very poor exposure, if any. We shall encourage interested researchers to take a look at the 10 th Module of the Methodology series that specifically deals with qualitative research (Setia, 2017).

Clinical studies are experiments that are not conducted in laboratories but in controlled real-life settings on human subjects with some disease. Hence, designing a study involves many pragmatic considerations aside pure methodology. Thus, factors to consider when selecting a study design are objectives of the study, time frame, treatment duration, carryover effects, cost and logistics, patient convenience, statistical considerations, sample size, etc. (Panda, 2015).

Certain truisms regarding study designs should always be remembered: a study design has to be tailored to objectives. The same question may be answered by different designs. The optimum design has to be based on workforce, budgetary allocation, infrastructure, and clinical material that may be commanded by the researchers. Finally, no design is perfect, and there is no design to provide a perfect answer to all research questions relevant to a particular problem (Panda, 2015).

Variables of interest and collection of these variables

Data structure depends on the characteristics of the variables [ Figure 2 ]. A variable refers to a particular character on which a set of data are recorded. Data are thus the values of a variable (Hazra et al ., 2016).

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Types of data and variables (Source: Panda, 2015)

Quantitative data always have a proportional scale among values, and can be either discrete (e.g., number of moles) or continuous (e.g., age). Qualitative data can be either nominal (e.g., blood groups) or ordinal (e.g., Fitzpatrick's phototypes I-VI). Variables can be binary or dichotomous (male/female) or multinomial or polychotomous (homosexual/bisexual/heterosexual) (Panda, 2015).

Changing data scales is possible so that numerical data may become ordinal and ordinal data may become nominal. This may be done when the researcher is not confident about the accuracy of the measuring instrument, is unconcerned about the loss of fine detail, or where group numbers are not large enough to adequately represent a variable of interest. It may also make clinical interpretation easier (Hazra et al ., 2016).

The variables whose effects are observed on other variables are known as independent variables (e.g., risk factors). The latter kind of variables that change as a result of independent variables are known as dependent variables (i.e., outcome). Confounders are those variables that influence the relation between independent and dependent variables (e.g., the clinical effect of sunscreen used as part of a test intervention regimen in melasma). If the researcher fails to control or eliminate the confounder, it will damage the internal validity of an experiment (Panda, 2015).

Biostatistics begins with descriptive statistics that implies summarizing a collection of data from a sample or population. An excellent overview of descriptive statistics has been given in the Module 1 of the Biostatistics series (Hazra et al ., 2016). We would encourage every researcher to embark on designing and collecting data on their own to go through this particular module to have a clear idea on how to proceed further.

Statistical methods

As briefly discussed earlier, the “methods” section should also include a detailed description of statistical methods. It is best to describe the methods for each objective.

For example: Which statistical methods will the researcher use to study the changes in PASI score over time?

It is important to first identify the nature of the outcome – will it be linear or categorical?

  • It may be noticed that the PASI is a score and can range from 0 to 72. The researcher can measure the actual score and assess the changes in score. Thus, the researcher will use methods for statistical analysis of continuous data (such as means, standard deviations, t -test, or linear regressions)
  • However, the researcher may choose to cut off the PASI score at 60 (of course, there has to be justification!) and call it severe psoriasis. Thus, the researcher will have an outcome variable with two outcomes (Yes: >60 PASI, and No: <60 PASI). Thus, in this case, the researcher will use methods for statistical analysis of categorical data (proportions, Chi-square test, or logistic regression models).

The statistical methods have been described in detail in the Biostatistics section of the series. The reader is encouraged to read all the sections to understand these methods. However, the key points to remember are:

  • Identify the nature of the outcome for each objective
  • Describe the statistical methods separately for each objective
  • Identify the methods to handle confounding and describe them in the statistical methods
  • If the researcher is using advanced statistical methods or specific tools, please provide reference to these methods
  • Provide the name of the statistical software (including the version) that will be used for data analysis in the present study
  • Do not provide a laundry list of all the statistical methods. It just shows that the researcher has not understood the relevance of statistics in the study design.

Multivariate models

In general, multivariate analyses are used in studies and research proposals. These analyses are useful to adjust for confounding (though these are also useful to test for interaction, we shall discuss confounding in this section). For example, we propose to compare two different types of medications in psoriasis. We have used secondary clinical data for this study. The outcome of interest is PASI score. We have collected data on the type of medication, age, sex, and alcohol use. When we compare the PASI score in these two groups, we will use t -test (if linear comparison) or Chi-square test (if PASI is categorized – as described earlier). However, it is possible that age, sex, and alcohol use may also play a role in the clinical progression of psoriasis (which is measured as PASI score). Thus, the researcher would like to account for differences in these variables in the two groups. This can be done using multivariate analytical methods (such as linear regression for continuous variables and logistic regression for categorical dichotomous variables). This is a type of mathematical model in which we include multiple variables: the main explanatory variable (type of drug in this study) and potential confounders (age, sex, and alcohol use in this study). Thus, the outcome (PASI score) after multivariate analyses will be “adjusted” for age, sex, and alcohol use after multivariate analysis. We would like to encourage the readers to consult a statistician for these methods.

TRIVIA: The singular for “data” is “datum,” just as “stratum” is the singular for “strata.” Thus, “ data were analyzed …,” “ data were collected …,” and “ data have been ….”

Clinical Record Forms

We have discussed designing of questionnaires and clinical record forms (CRFs) in detail in two modules. We shall just highlight the most important aspects in this part. The CRF is an important part of the research protocol. The CRF should include all the variables of interest in the study. Thus, it is important to make a list of all parameters of interest before working on the CRF. This can be done by a thorough review of literature and discussion with experts. Once the questionnaire/CRF has been designed, the researcher should pilot it and change according to the feedback from the participants and one's own experience while administering the questionnaire or recording data in the CRF. The CRF should use coded responses (for close-ended questions), this will help in data entry and analysis. If the researcher has developed a scale, the reliability and validity should be tested (methods have been discussed in earlier sections). The CRF can be paper based or computer based (it will depend on the resources).

It is very important to describe the ethics for the present study. It should not be restricted to “ The study will be evaluated by an Institutional Review Committee …” The researcher should demonstrate that s/he has understood the various ethical issues in the present study. The three core principles for ethics are: autonomy (the participants have a right to decide whether to participate in the study or opt out), beneficence/nonmaleficence (the study should not be harmful to participants and the risk–benefit ratio should be adequately understood and described), and justice (all the risks and benefits of the present study should be equally distributed).

The researcher should try to address these issues in the section of “Ethics.” Currently, the National Institutes of Health has proposed the following seven principles of “Ethics in Clinical Research:” social and clinical value, scientific validity, fair subject selection, favorable risk–benefit ratio, independent review, informed consent, and respect for potential and enrolled subjects. The Indian Council of Medical Research has also published guidelines to conduct biomedical research in India. We strongly encourage the readers to be familiar with these guidelines. Furthermore, the researchers should keep themselves updated with changes in these regulations. If it is a clinical trial, the researcher should also be familiar with Schedule Y and Consent form requirements for these types of clinical trials.

Concluding Remarks

This module has been designed as a comprehensive guide for a dermatologist to enable him/her to embark on the exciting journey of designing studies of almost any kind that can be thought to be of relevance to clinical dermatology. There has been a conscious attempt to customize the discussion on design and analysis keeping not only dermatology, but also Indian conditions in mind. However, the module can be of help to any medical doctor embarking on the path to medical research. As contributors, it is our ardent hope that this module might act as a catalyst of good-quality research in the field of dermatology and beyond in India and elsewhere.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Bibliography

How to Write a Conclusion for a Proposal

by Heather Skyler

Published on 25 Oct 2018

There are different types of proposals, but the two most common are business proposals and project proposals. A business proposal is sent to a potential or current client in order to obtain a specific job. A project or research proposal details a project you plan to undertake in order to solve a problem or prove a hypothesis.

Understanding the Business Proposal Conclusion

The conclusion of any good piece of writing is a restatement of the central idea, a final chord at the end of a persuasive song. A conclusion is one paragraph in length and along with a restatement of the proposal's main idea includes a call to action, which is an instruction to the reader to do something. Ideally, what you want him to do is greenlight a project or plan. At the end of a good proposal, you're persuading the reader to do just that, to say yes to your proposed idea.

Business Proposal Conclusion Example

Let's say you work for a technology firm and you've written a proposal to a prospective client outlining why they should install your security software. You've already stated why this software is a good fit for their business along with the cost, timeline for installation and other important details. Now for the conclusion. It might go something like this:

Securing your data is the most important step you can take as a business owner, and I think you'll agree that the value this security software will add to your company is priceless. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to set up a consultation so we can get started securing your company's information as soon as possible.

The first sentence is a restatement of the proposal's main idea, and the second sentence is a call for immediate action. Be really specific here – the reader should have no doubts as to what he should do next.

Understanding the Project Proposal Conclusion

The conclusion of a project proposal should do the same thing it does for a business proposal, but the information and tone will be different. Any type of academic writing is much more formal than the tone you'll typically find in a business proposal, which usually gets straight to the point in the clearest language possible. In your final paragraph, you will summarize the project including the problem, motivation and proposed solution. Then you will include a call to action, which in this case will mean green-lighting the project or providing funding.

Example of a Conclusion for a Project Proposal

As an example, let's say you've written a proposal to study the effectiveness of a new type of solar panel that can be used in colder, cloudier climates.

The primary goal of this project is to prove the efficacy of these new solar panels in cool and cloudy climates. Solar panels work well in sunny locations, but up to this point they have proven ineffective in other types of climates. These newly engineered panels will be tested in four locations and data will be gathered to determine their success. We need to initiate the program by October 1 in order to accurately test the panels, and your funding and support for this project are essential.

Note the more academic tone and more detailed explanation found in this type of proposal. However, it accomplishes the same goals: restating the main idea of the proposal as well as a call to action.

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Home » How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]

How To Write A Research Proposal – Step-by-Step [Template]

Table of Contents

How To Write a Research Proposal

How To Write a Research Proposal

Writing a Research proposal involves several steps to ensure a well-structured and comprehensive document. Here is an explanation of each step:

1. Title and Abstract

  • Choose a concise and descriptive title that reflects the essence of your research.
  • Write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal.

2. Introduction:

  • Provide an introduction to your research topic, highlighting its significance and relevance.
  • Clearly state the research problem or question you aim to address.
  • Discuss the background and context of the study, including previous research in the field.

3. Research Objectives

  • Outline the specific objectives or aims of your research. These objectives should be clear, achievable, and aligned with the research problem.

4. Literature Review:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
  • Summarize key findings, identify gaps, and highlight how your research will contribute to the existing knowledge.

5. Methodology:

  • Describe the research design and methodology you plan to employ to address your research objectives.
  • Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques you will use.
  • Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate and suitable for your research.

6. Timeline:

  • Create a timeline or schedule that outlines the major milestones and activities of your research project.
  • Break down the research process into smaller tasks and estimate the time required for each task.

7. Resources:

  • Identify the resources needed for your research, such as access to specific databases, equipment, or funding.
  • Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources to carry out your research effectively.

8. Ethical Considerations:

  • Discuss any ethical issues that may arise during your research and explain how you plan to address them.
  • If your research involves human subjects, explain how you will ensure their informed consent and privacy.

9. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

  • Clearly state the expected outcomes or results of your research.
  • Highlight the potential impact and significance of your research in advancing knowledge or addressing practical issues.

10. References:

  • Provide a list of all the references cited in your proposal, following a consistent citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).

11. Appendices:

  • Include any additional supporting materials, such as survey questionnaires, interview guides, or data analysis plans.

Research Proposal Format

The format of a research proposal may vary depending on the specific requirements of the institution or funding agency. However, the following is a commonly used format for a research proposal:

1. Title Page:

  • Include the title of your research proposal, your name, your affiliation or institution, and the date.

2. Abstract:

  • Provide a brief summary of your research proposal, highlighting the research problem, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes.

3. Introduction:

  • Introduce the research topic and provide background information.
  • State the research problem or question you aim to address.
  • Explain the significance and relevance of the research.
  • Review relevant literature and studies related to your research topic.
  • Summarize key findings and identify gaps in the existing knowledge.
  • Explain how your research will contribute to filling those gaps.

5. Research Objectives:

  • Clearly state the specific objectives or aims of your research.
  • Ensure that the objectives are clear, focused, and aligned with the research problem.

6. Methodology:

  • Describe the research design and methodology you plan to use.
  • Explain the data collection methods, instruments, and analysis techniques.
  • Justify why the chosen methods are appropriate for your research.

7. Timeline:

8. Resources:

  • Explain how you will acquire or utilize these resources effectively.

9. Ethical Considerations:

  • If applicable, explain how you will ensure informed consent and protect the privacy of research participants.

10. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

11. References:

12. Appendices:

Research Proposal Template

Here’s a template for a research proposal:

1. Introduction:

2. Literature Review:

3. Research Objectives:

4. Methodology:

5. Timeline:

6. Resources:

7. Ethical Considerations:

8. Expected Outcomes and Significance:

9. References:

10. Appendices:

Research Proposal Sample

Title: The Impact of Online Education on Student Learning Outcomes: A Comparative Study

1. Introduction

Online education has gained significant prominence in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes by comparing them with traditional face-to-face instruction. The study will explore various aspects of online education, such as instructional methods, student engagement, and academic performance, to provide insights into the effectiveness of online learning.

2. Objectives

The main objectives of this research are as follows:

  • To compare student learning outcomes between online and traditional face-to-face education.
  • To examine the factors influencing student engagement in online learning environments.
  • To assess the effectiveness of different instructional methods employed in online education.
  • To identify challenges and opportunities associated with online education and suggest recommendations for improvement.

3. Methodology

3.1 Study Design

This research will utilize a mixed-methods approach to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The study will include the following components:

3.2 Participants

The research will involve undergraduate students from two universities, one offering online education and the other providing face-to-face instruction. A total of 500 students (250 from each university) will be selected randomly to participate in the study.

3.3 Data Collection

The research will employ the following data collection methods:

  • Quantitative: Pre- and post-assessments will be conducted to measure students’ learning outcomes. Data on student demographics and academic performance will also be collected from university records.
  • Qualitative: Focus group discussions and individual interviews will be conducted with students to gather their perceptions and experiences regarding online education.

3.4 Data Analysis

Quantitative data will be analyzed using statistical software, employing descriptive statistics, t-tests, and regression analysis. Qualitative data will be transcribed, coded, and analyzed thematically to identify recurring patterns and themes.

4. Ethical Considerations

The study will adhere to ethical guidelines, ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of participants. Informed consent will be obtained, and participants will have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

5. Significance and Expected Outcomes

This research will contribute to the existing literature by providing empirical evidence on the impact of online education on student learning outcomes. The findings will help educational institutions and policymakers make informed decisions about incorporating online learning methods and improving the quality of online education. Moreover, the study will identify potential challenges and opportunities related to online education and offer recommendations for enhancing student engagement and overall learning outcomes.

6. Timeline

The proposed research will be conducted over a period of 12 months, including data collection, analysis, and report writing.

The estimated budget for this research includes expenses related to data collection, software licenses, participant compensation, and research assistance. A detailed budget breakdown will be provided in the final research plan.

8. Conclusion

This research proposal aims to investigate the impact of online education on student learning outcomes through a comparative study with traditional face-to-face instruction. By exploring various dimensions of online education, this research will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and challenges associated with online learning. The findings will contribute to the ongoing discourse on educational practices and help shape future strategies for maximizing student learning outcomes in online education settings.

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Examples of research proposals

How to write your research proposal, with examples of good proposals.

Research proposals

Your research proposal is a key part of your application. It tells us about the question you want to answer through your research. It is a chance for you to show your knowledge of the subject area and tell us about the methods you want to use.

We use your research proposal to match you with a supervisor or team of supervisors.

In your proposal, please tell us if you have an interest in the work of a specific academic at York St John. You can get in touch with this academic to discuss your proposal. You can also speak to one of our Research Leads. There is a list of our Research Leads on the Apply page.

When you write your proposal you need to:

  • Highlight how it is original or significant
  • Explain how it will develop or challenge current knowledge of your subject
  • Identify the importance of your research
  • Show why you are the right person to do this research
  • Research Proposal Example 1 (DOC, 49kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 2 (DOC, 0.9MB)
  • Research Proposal Example 3 (DOC, 55.5kB)
  • Research Proposal Example 4 (DOC, 49.5kB)

Subject specific guidance

  • Writing a Humanities PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
  • Writing a Creative Writing PhD Proposal (PDF, 0.1MB)
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Closing the Deal: Free Proposal Conclusion Guide

Table of Contents

In the world of business, writing proposals is a crucial skill. A well-written proposal can make the difference between winning or losing a contract, securing funding, or getting approval for a project. But even the most well-crafted proposal can fall short if the conclusion is weak. The closing statement of a proposal can make or break the deal. As it is the last impression the recipient will have of the proposal and the proposer. The proposal conclusion example in this guide will help you stay on track. This article will explore the art of concluding a proposal, providing some guidelines and tips. We also include a proposal conclusion example to help you get started. Whether you are a seasoned proposal writer or a beginner, this article will help you master the art of closing strong.

What is a Proposal Conclusion?

A proposal conclusion is the final section of a proposal document that summarizes the main points presented throughout the document . The conclusion is where the proposal writer typically restates the proposal’s objectives, highlights the benefits of the proposed project. And provides a call to action for the intended audience or decision-makers. The proposal conclusion should reiterate the relevance of the proposed project and emphasize how it addresses the needs and concerns of the audience. The conclusion may also include a summary of the proposed budget, timeline, and resources required to implement the project. Overall, the proposal conclusion should leave a strong impression on the reader, convincing them that the proposed project is necessary, feasible, and beneficial. Closing strong is not just about adding a perfunctory sentence or a standard call to action. It is an art that requires careful consideration of the recipient’s needs, and concerns and creative and strategic use of language, tone, and formatting. 

person in orange long sleeve shirt writing on white paper

How to Write A Proposal Conclusion

Recap the main points..

A reasonable proposal conclusion should remind the reader of the critical points you’ve made in the proposal. This could include a summary of the problem or issue you’re addressing, the proposed solution, and any supporting evidence or data. Keep the summary brief and to the point, so the reader can easily remember the most critical points.

Restate the central argument.

It’s important to restate your proposal’s main argument or idea to remind the reader of what you’re trying to achieve. This should be done concisely and compellingly, reinforcing the proposal’s importance and urgency.  Try to emphasize the main benefits of your proposal and how it will help solve the problem or issue you’ve identified.

Highlight the benefits

After restating your main argument, highlight the benefits of your proposed project. This could include cost savings, increased efficiency, improved outcomes, or other positive impacts.  Be sure to explain how your proposal will address the problem at hand and how it will benefit the reader or the organization.

Address potential concerns

Addressing any potential concerns or objections the reader may have is essential. This helps build trust and credibility with the reader. Be respectful of any concerns or objections raised and provide a thoughtful response demonstrating your understanding of the issue.

Emphasize urgency

Convey a sense of urgency to your audience, highlighting the pressing need for action. Emphasizing urgency in your conclusion can motivate decision-makers to act quickly and commit to your proposal.  To effectively emphasize the urgency of your proposal, outline the specific problems or challenges that your proposal is designed to address. Provide data or evidence that supports the urgency of these issues, such as declining sales, increased competition, or missed deadlines.  Use strong language that conveys the gravity of the situation, such as “critical,” “urgent,” or “time-sensitive.”

Provide a clear call to action or recommendation.

Finally, provide a clear call to action or recommendation to the reader. This could include specific steps to implement the proposal or a broader call to action.  Either way, it should be specific and actionable and clearly communicate what steps need to be taken.

Why you need to end your proposal properly

A well-written proposal conclusion is important because it helps to leave a lasting impression on your audience. And can make the difference between the success or failure of your proposal.  Here are some key reasons why a well-written conclusion is important:

Summarizes the key points

The conclusion effectively summarizes your proposal’s key points clearly and concisely. This helps ensure your audience fully understands your proposal’s main objectives, benefits, and critical features.

Motivates action

The conclusion is your last opportunity to motivate your audience to take action. Whether to approve your proposal, provide feedback, or take some other action. 

Addresses objections

The conclusion is also an opportunity to address any objections or concerns your audience may have about your proposal. Acknowledging these concerns and providing clear answers can alleviate doubts and increase the likelihood of your proposal being accepted.

Leaves a positive impression

A well-written conclusion can leave a positive and memorable impression on your audience. This can strengthen your professional reputation and increase the likelihood of future collaboration.

Proposal Conclusion Example

Our proposed solution offers a comprehensive and practical approach to the challenges outlined in this proposal. By leveraging our expertise in [relevant field], we can help you achieve your desired results while maintaining the specified budget and timeline.  Our team is dedicated to delivering high-quality work and providing exceptional service to our clients. We are eager to bring our skills to bear on this project. We appreciate your considering our proposal, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are excited about the prospect of collaborating with you and contributing to the success of your project.

Finishing Strong…

Ending a proposal is an essential part of the proposal writing process that requires careful consideration. A well-crafted conclusion can leave a lasting impression on the reader, and it can help to secure the approval of the proposal .  Whether you end your proposal with a call to action, or a summary of the main points, ensure that your conclusion is persuasive. By following the proposal conclusion example above, you can increase your chances of success and create a proposal that stands out from the rest.

Closing the Deal: Free Proposal Conclusion Guide

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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  1. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

    Step 1: Restate the problem Step 2: Sum up the paper Step 3: Discuss the implications Research paper conclusion examples Frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions Step 1: Restate the problem The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem.

  2. How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

    The research paper conclusion serves the following purposes: 1 Warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem. Recommend specific course (s) of action. Restate key ideas to drive home the ultimate point of your research paper. Provide a "take-home" message that you want the readers to remember about your study.

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    A good literature review concludes by clearly demonstrating how your research will contribute something new and innovative to the conversation in the literature. Research Design and Methods: This section needs to clearly demonstrate how the data will be gathered and analyzed in a systematic and academically sound manner.

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    Definition: A research paper conclusion is the final section of a research paper that summarizes the key findings, significance, and implications of the research. It is the writer's opportunity to synthesize the information presented in the paper, draw conclusions, and make recommendations for future research or actions.

  5. PDF Conclusion Section for Research Papers

    "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, pilot study of cannabidiol-rich botanical extract in the symptomatic treatment of ulcerative colitis," Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, 24(4), 2018. Sample of a Longer Conclusion with Annotations Social commerce is increasingly drawing the attention of practitioners and academics.

  6. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    Research paper conclusion examples. Below, we've created basic templates showing the key parts of a research paper conclusion. Keep in mind that the length of your conclusion will depend on the length of your paper. The order of the parts may vary, too; these templates only demonstrate how to tie them together. 1. Empirical research paper ...

  7. 9. The Conclusion

    The conclusion also provides a place for you to persuasively and succinctly restate the research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with all the information about the topic. Depending on the discipline you are writing in, the concluding paragraph may contain your reflections on the evidence presented. However, the nature of ...

  8. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    Audrey Eads Updated March 29, 2023 Show Transcript Video: The Only Research Paper Conclusion Guide You Need The best conclusions for a research paper summarize the paper without being redundant and express the impact of the research. As you watch this guide, don't miss the pitfalls to avoid!

  9. Dissertation Conclusion 101 (Including Examples)

    Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | September 2021 So, you've wrapped up your results and discussion chapters, and you're finally on the home stretch - the conclusion chapter. In this post, we'll discuss everything you need to know to craft a high-quality conclusion chapter for your dissertation or thesis project.

  10. How to Write a Research Proposal

    Introduces your topic. States your problem statement and the questions your research aims to answer. Provides context for your research. In a research proposal, an introduction can be a few paragraphs long. It should be concise, but don't feel like you need to cram all of your information into one paragraph.

  11. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper (with Pictures)

    Part 1 Writing a Basic Conclusion Download Article 1 Restate the topic. You should briefly restate the topic as well as explain why it is important. [1] [2] Do not spend a great amount of time or space restating your topic.

  12. How to Write a Research Proposal in 2024: Structure, Examples & Common

    JAN 2, 2024 How to Write a Research Proposal in 2024: Structure, Examples & Common Mistakes Share by Imed Bouchrika, Phd Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist Whether you are a student whose goal is to complete course requirements or a researcher looking for funding, knowing how to write a research proposal is an important skill.

  13. Writing a Research Proposal

    The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. ... Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. ... The conclusion reiterates the importance or ...

  14. How to Write a Dissertation Conclusion

    Step 3: Make future recommendations. You may already have made a few recommendations for future research in your discussion section, but the conclusion is a good place to elaborate and look ahead, considering the implications of your findings in both theoretical and practical terms.. Example: Recommendation sentence. Based on these conclusions, practitioners should consider …

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    As we reach the end of an exhaustive module encompassing research methods and biostatistics, we need to summarize and synthesize the key learning points, to demonstrate how one may utilize the different sections of the module to undertake research projects of different kinds.

  16. How to Write a Conclusion for a Proposal

    A conclusion is one paragraph in length and along with a restatement of the proposal's main idea includes a call to action, which is an instruction to the reader to do something. Ideally, what you want him to do is greenlight a project or plan.

  17. Conclusion Examples: Strong Endings for Any Paper

    Conclusion Examples: Strong Endings for Any Paper By Jennifer Betts, B.A. , Staff Writer Updated February 4, 2021 Image Credits Some might argue that a conclusion is one of the most important components of any research paper or article. It's your last opportunity to make a good impression on your reader.

  18. How To Write A Research Proposal

    Here is an explanation of each step: 1. Title and Abstract. Choose a concise and descriptive title that reflects the essence of your research. Write an abstract summarizing your research question, objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It should provide a brief overview of your proposal. 2.

  19. PDF A Sample Research Proposal with Comments

    For those who plan to start in the spring semester, the proposal deadline is December 1. During the proposal stage, students should discuss their research interests with CM faculty members, identify a research topic, conduct preliminary literature review and develop a project proposal.

  20. Examples of Research proposals

    Postgraduate Research degrees Examples of research proposals How to write your research proposal, with examples of good proposals. Research proposals Your research proposal is a key part of your application. It tells us about the question you want to answer through your research.

  21. Closing the Deal: Free Proposal Conclusion Guide

    A reasonable proposal conclusion should remind the reader of the critical points you've made in the proposal. This could include a summary of the problem or issue you're addressing, the proposed solution, and any supporting evidence or data. Keep the summary brief and to the point, so the reader can easily remember the most critical points.