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.

  • How to write a research paper conclusion with Paperpal? 

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.

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

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.

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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.

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

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.

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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.

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

How to write a research paper conclusion with Paperpal?

A research paper conclusion is not just a summary of your study, but a synthesis of the key findings that ties the research together and places it in a broader context. A research paper conclusion should be concise, typically around one paragraph in length. However, some complex topics may require a longer conclusion to ensure the reader is left with a clear understanding of the study’s significance. Paperpal, an AI writing assistant trusted by over 800,000 academics globally, can help you write a well-structured conclusion for your research paper. 

  • Sign Up or Log In: Create a new Paperpal account or login with your details.  
  • Navigate to Features : Once logged in, head over to the features’ side navigation pane. Click on Templates and you’ll find a suite of generative AI features to help you write better, faster.  
  • Generate an outline: Under Templates, select ‘Outlines’. Choose ‘Research article’ as your document type.  
  • Select your section: Since you’re focusing on the conclusion, select this section when prompted.  
  • Choose your field of study: Identifying your field of study allows Paperpal to provide more targeted suggestions, ensuring the relevance of your conclusion to your specific area of research. 
  • Provide a brief description of your study: Enter details about your research topic and findings. This information helps Paperpal generate a tailored outline that aligns with your paper’s content. 
  • Generate the conclusion outline: After entering all necessary details, click on ‘generate’. Paperpal will then create a structured outline for your conclusion, to help you start writing and build upon the outline.  
  • Write your conclusion: Use the generated outline to build your conclusion. The outline serves as a guide, ensuring you cover all critical aspects of a strong conclusion, from summarizing key findings to highlighting the research’s implications. 
  • Refine and enhance: Paperpal’s ‘Make Academic’ feature can be particularly useful in the final stages. Select any paragraph of your conclusion and use this feature to elevate the academic tone, ensuring your writing is aligned to the academic journal standards. 

By following these steps, Paperpal not only simplifies the process of writing a research paper conclusion but also ensures it is impactful, concise, and aligned with academic standards. Sign up with Paperpal today and write your research paper conclusion 2x faster .  

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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  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.

What makes an effective discussion?

When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.

A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:

  • the results of your research,
  • a discussion of related research, and
  • a comparison between your results and initial hypothesis.

Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.

You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.

Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts. 

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Was my hypothesis correct?
  • If my hypothesis is partially correct or entirely different, what can be learned from the results? 
  • How do the conclusions reshape or add onto the existing knowledge in the field? What does previous research say about the topic? 
  • Why are the results important or relevant to your audience? Do they add further evidence to a scientific consensus or disprove prior studies? 
  • How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done? 
  • What is the “take-home” message you want your reader to leave with?

How to structure a discussion

Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

Writing Tips

While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results! 

What to do

  • Read the journal’s guidelines on the discussion and conclusion sections. If possible, learn about the guidelines before writing the discussion to ensure you’re writing to meet their expectations. 
  • Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion. 
  • Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and limitations of the research. 
  • State whether the results prove or disprove your hypothesis. If your hypothesis was disproved, what might be the reasons? 
  • Introduce new or expanded ways to think about the research question. Indicate what next steps can be taken to further pursue any unresolved questions. 
  • If dealing with a contemporary or ongoing problem, such as climate change, discuss possible consequences if the problem is avoided. 
  • Be concise. Adding unnecessary detail can distract from the main findings. 

What not to do

Don’t

  • Rewrite your abstract. Statements with “we investigated” or “we studied” generally do not belong in the discussion. 
  • Include new arguments or evidence not previously discussed. Necessary information and evidence should be introduced in the main body of the paper. 
  • Apologize. Even if your research contains significant limitations, don’t undermine your authority by including statements that doubt your methodology or execution. 
  • Shy away from speaking on limitations or negative results. Including limitations and negative results will give readers a complete understanding of the presented research. Potential limitations include sources of potential bias, threats to internal or external validity, barriers to implementing an intervention and other issues inherent to the study design. 
  • Overstate the importance of your findings. Making grand statements about how a study will fully resolve large questions can lead readers to doubt the success of the research. 

Snippets of Effective Discussions:

Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

  • How to Write a Great Title
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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 2,256,010 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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Home » Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples

Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion

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.

The conclusion should provide a clear and concise summary of the research paper, reiterating the research question or problem, the main results, and the significance of the findings. It should also discuss the limitations of the study and suggest areas for further research.

Parts of Research Paper Conclusion

The parts of a research paper conclusion typically include:

Restatement of the Thesis

The conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement from the introduction in a different way. This helps to remind the reader of the main argument or purpose of the research.

Summary of Key Findings

The conclusion should summarize the main findings of the research, highlighting the most important results and conclusions. This section should be brief and to the point.

Implications and Significance

In this section, the researcher should explain the implications and significance of the research findings. This may include discussing the potential impact on the field or industry, highlighting new insights or knowledge gained, or pointing out areas for future research.

Limitations and Recommendations

It is important to acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the research and to make recommendations for how these could be addressed in future studies. This shows that the researcher is aware of the potential limitations of their work and is committed to improving the quality of research in their field.

Concluding Statement

The conclusion should end with a strong concluding statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a call to action, a recommendation for further research, or a final thought on the topic.

How to Write Research Paper Conclusion

Here are some steps you can follow to write an effective research paper conclusion:

  • Restate the research problem or question: Begin by restating the research problem or question that you aimed to answer in your research. This will remind the reader of the purpose of your study.
  • Summarize the main points: Summarize the key findings and results of your research. This can be done by highlighting the most important aspects of your research and the evidence that supports them.
  • Discuss the implications: Discuss the implications of your findings for the research area and any potential applications of your research. You should also mention any limitations of your research that may affect the interpretation of your findings.
  • Provide a conclusion : Provide a concise conclusion that summarizes the main points of your paper and emphasizes the significance of your research. This should be a strong and clear statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Offer suggestions for future research: Lastly, offer suggestions for future research that could build on your findings and contribute to further advancements in the field.

Remember that the conclusion should be brief and to the point, while still effectively summarizing the key findings and implications of your research.

Example of Research Paper Conclusion

Here’s an example of a research paper conclusion:

Conclusion :

In conclusion, our study aimed to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Our findings suggest that there is a significant association between social media use and increased levels of anxiety and depression among college students. This highlights the need for increased awareness and education about the potential negative effects of social media use on mental health, particularly among college students.

Despite the limitations of our study, such as the small sample size and self-reported data, our findings have important implications for future research and practice. Future studies should aim to replicate our findings in larger, more diverse samples, and investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the association between social media use and mental health. In addition, interventions should be developed to promote healthy social media use among college students, such as mindfulness-based approaches and social media detox programs.

Overall, our study contributes to the growing body of research on the impact of social media on mental health, and highlights the importance of addressing this issue in the context of higher education. By raising awareness and promoting healthy social media use among college students, we can help to reduce the negative impact of social media on mental health and improve the well-being of young adults.

Purpose of Research Paper Conclusion

The purpose of a research paper conclusion is to provide a summary and synthesis of the key findings, significance, and implications of the research presented in the paper. The conclusion serves as the final opportunity for the writer to convey their message and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The conclusion should restate the research problem or question, summarize the main results of the research, and explain their significance. It should also acknowledge the limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research or action.

Overall, the purpose of the conclusion is to provide a sense of closure to the research paper and to emphasize the importance of the research and its potential impact. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main findings and why they matter. The conclusion serves as the writer’s opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

When to Write Research Paper Conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper should be written after the body of the paper has been completed. It should not be written until the writer has thoroughly analyzed and interpreted their findings and has written a complete and cohesive discussion of the research.

Before writing the conclusion, the writer should review their research paper and consider the key points that they want to convey to the reader. They should also review the research question, hypotheses, and methodology to ensure that they have addressed all of the necessary components of the research.

Once the writer has a clear understanding of the main findings and their significance, they can begin writing the conclusion. The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, and should reiterate the main points of the research while also providing insights and recommendations for future research or action.

Characteristics of Research Paper Conclusion

The characteristics of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Clear and concise: The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, summarizing the key findings and their significance.
  • Comprehensive: The conclusion should address all of the main points of the research paper, including the research question or problem, the methodology, the main results, and their implications.
  • Future-oriented : The conclusion should provide insights and recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the research.
  • Impressive : The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader, emphasizing the importance of the research and its potential impact.
  • Objective : The conclusion should be based on the evidence presented in the research paper, and should avoid personal biases or opinions.
  • Unique : The conclusion should be unique to the research paper and should not simply repeat information from the introduction or body of the paper.

Advantages of Research Paper Conclusion

The advantages of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Summarizing the key findings : The conclusion provides a summary of the main findings of the research, making it easier for the reader to understand the key points of the study.
  • Emphasizing the significance of the research: The conclusion emphasizes the importance of the research and its potential impact, making it more likely that readers will take the research seriously and consider its implications.
  • Providing recommendations for future research or action : The conclusion suggests practical recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the study.
  • Providing closure to the research paper : The conclusion provides a sense of closure to the research paper, tying together the different sections of the paper and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Demonstrating the writer’s contribution to the field : The conclusion provides the writer with an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

Limitations of Research Paper Conclusion

While the conclusion of a research paper has many advantages, it also has some limitations that should be considered, including:

  • I nability to address all aspects of the research: Due to the limited space available in the conclusion, it may not be possible to address all aspects of the research in detail.
  • Subjectivity : While the conclusion should be objective, it may be influenced by the writer’s personal biases or opinions.
  • Lack of new information: The conclusion should not introduce new information that has not been discussed in the body of the research paper.
  • Lack of generalizability: The conclusions drawn from the research may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, limiting the generalizability of the study.
  • Misinterpretation by the reader: The reader may misinterpret the conclusions drawn from the research, leading to a misunderstanding of the findings.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

3-minute read

  • 29th August 2023

If you’re writing a research paper, the conclusion is your opportunity to summarize your findings and leave a lasting impression on your readers. In this post, we’ll take you through how to write an effective conclusion for a research paper and how you can:

·   Reword your thesis statement

·   Highlight the significance of your research

·   Discuss limitations

·   Connect to the introduction

·   End with a thought-provoking statement

Rewording Your Thesis Statement

Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis statement in a way that is slightly different from the wording used in the introduction. Avoid presenting new information or evidence in your conclusion. Just summarize the main points and arguments of your essay and keep this part as concise as possible. Remember that you’ve already covered the in-depth analyses and investigations in the main body paragraphs of your essay, so it’s not necessary to restate these details in the conclusion.

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Highlighting the Significance of Your Research

The conclusion is a good place to emphasize the implications of your research . Avoid ambiguous or vague language such as “I think” or “maybe,” which could weaken your position. Clearly explain why your research is significant and how it contributes to the broader field of study.

Here’s an example from a (fictional) study on the impact of social media on mental health:

Discussing Limitations

Although it’s important to emphasize the significance of your study, you can also use the conclusion to briefly address any limitations you discovered while conducting your research, such as time constraints or a shortage of resources. Doing this demonstrates a balanced and honest approach to your research.

Connecting to the Introduction

In your conclusion, you can circle back to your introduction , perhaps by referring to a quote or anecdote you discussed earlier. If you end your paper on a similar note to how you began it, you will create a sense of cohesion for the reader and remind them of the meaning and significance of your research.

Ending With a Thought-Provoking Statement

Consider ending your paper with a thought-provoking and memorable statement that relates to the impact of your research questions or hypothesis. This statement can be a call to action, a philosophical question, or a prediction for the future (positive or negative). Here’s an example that uses the same topic as above (social media and mental health):

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

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By the time you write the conclusion, you should have pointed out in the body of your research paper why your topic is important to the reader, and you should have presented the reader with all your arguments. It is critical that you do not introduce new information or ideas in your conclusion. If you find that you have not yet made the arguments you wished to make or pointed out evidence you feel is crucial to your reader’s understanding of your subject, you are not yet ready to write the conclusion; add another body paragraph before writing the conclusion.

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Your research paper should have a strong, succinct concluding section, where you draw together your findings. Think of it as a conclusion, not a summary. The difference is that you are reaching overall judgments about your topic, not summarizing everything you wrote about it. How to write a conclusion for a research paper? The focus should be on:

  • Saying what your research has found, what the findings mean, and how well they support the argument of your thesis statement.
  • Establishing the limits of your argument: How widely does it apply? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your method? How clear-cut are your findings?
  • Explaining how your findings and argument fit into your field, relating them to answers others have given and to the existing literature.

You may also want to add some concise comments about possible future developments or what kind of research should come next, but don’t lay it on too thick. The place of honor goes to your own explanation. Don’t spend too much of your final section criticizing others. Don’t introduce any big new topics or ideas. You certainly don’t expect to see new characters in the last scene of a movie. For the same reasons, you shouldn’t find any big new topics being introduced in the last paragraphs of a research paper.

Your concluding statement should focus on what your findings mean. How do you interpret them? Are they just as easily explained by alternative theories or other perspectives? Here, you are returning to the questions that first animated you and answering them, based on your research. You not only want to give the answers; you also want to explain their significance. What do they mean for policy, theory, literary interpretation, moral action, or whatever? You are answering the old, hard question: “So what?”

Be wary of overreaching. You really need to do two things at the same time: explain the significance of your findings and stake out their limits. You may have a hunch that your findings apply widely but, as a social scientist, you need to assess whether you can say so confidently, based on your current research. Your reader needs to know: “Do these findings apply to all college students, to all adults, or only to white mice?” White mice don’t come up much in the humanities, but the reader still wants to know how far your approach reaches. Does your analysis apply only to this novel or this writer, or could it apply to a whole literary genre?

Make it a priority to discuss these conclusions with your professor or adviser. The main danger here is that students finally reach this final section with only a week or two left before the due date. They don’t have enough time to work through their conclusions and revise them. That leaves the research paper weakest at the end, precisely where it should be strongest, nailing down the most significant points.

Begin discussing your major findings with your adviser while you are still writing the heart of the research paper. Of course, your conclusions will be tentative at that stage, but it helps to begin talking about them. As always, a little writing helps. You could simply list your main findings or write out a few paragraphs about them. Either would serve as a launching pad for meetings with your adviser. You will find these discussions also shed light on the research that leads to these findings. That, in turn, will strengthen your middle sections. Later, when you draft the conclusion, review your notes on these talks and the short documents you wrote for them. They will serve as prewriting for the final section.

The opening sentence of the conclusion should flow smoothly and logically from the transition sentence in the previous paragraph and lead the reader to reflect on your thesis. A good conclusion however, does not simply restate the thesis. You want to remind the reader of the thesis in your conclusion but reword it in a stronger fashion so that it is interesting and memorable to your audience.After reminding the reader of the thesis, the conclusion should then reflect on the topics in the body of the paper and summarize the key findings of your research. If you are writing a persuasive paper, it should summarize your key arguments and logically point your readers to the conclusion you wish them to reach.

Phrases for Conclusions of Research Papers

  • All this requires us to (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • Altogether, these findings indicate (point out the logical result).
  • Finally, it is important to note (make your strongest point and follow with a recommendation).
  • In conclusion (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • It is evident that (point out the logical result or obvious next action).
  • In light of the evidence, (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • In short, (summarize your findings).
  • It should be evident that we need to (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • In summary, (summarize your findings).
  • Looking ahead, it is obvious that (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • My conclusion is (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • One last word must be said. (Follow with your opinion and propose a next action.)
  • One concludes that (give your opinion).
  • Overall, (summarize your findings).
  • Reflecting on these facts,we can see that …
  • The evidence presented above shows that (give your opinion).
  • The reader can conclude (make the point you wish to make).
  • These facts and observations support the idea that (offer a theory).
  • This analysis reveals (state your findings).
  • To conclude, (give an opinion based on the findings presented in the paper).
  • To sum up this discussion, (summarize your findings).
  • To summarize, (summarize your findings).
  • We arrive at the following conclusion: (give an opinion based on the findings presented in the paper).
  • We cannot ignore the fact that (state an important concern and follow with a call to action).
  • We can postulate (give your opinion or offer a theory).
  • We come to the conclusion that (give your opinion or offer a theory).
  • We can now present the theory that (give your opinion or offer a theory).

Examples of Strong Conclusions

As an example of how to end your research paper, let’s turn again to John Dower’s splendid book on postwar Japan, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II . In the final pages, Dower pulls together his findings on war-ravaged Japan and its efforts to rebuild. He then judges the legacies of that period: its continuing impact on the country’s social, political, and economic life. Some insights are unexpected, at least to me. He argues that Japan has pursued trade protection as the only acceptable avenue for its persistent nationalism. America’s overwhelming power and Japan’s self-imposed restraints—the intertwined subjects of the book—blocked any political or military expression of Japan’s nationalist sentiment. Those avenues were simply too dangerous, he says, while economic nationalism was not. Dower ends with these paragraphs:

The Japanese economists and bureaucrats who drafted the informal 1946 blueprint for a planned economy were admirably clear on these objectives [of “demilitarization and democratization”]. They sought rapid recovery and maximum economic growth, of course—but they were just as concerned with achieving economic demilitarization and economic democracy. . . . Japan became wealthy. The standard of living rose impressively at every level of society. Income distribution was far more equitable than in the United States. Job security was assured. Growth was achieved without inordinate dependence on a military-industrial complex or a thriving trade in armaments. These are hardly trivial ideas, but they are now being discarded along with all the deservedly bankrupt aspects of the postwar system. The lessons and legacies of defeat have been many and varied indeed; and their end is not yet in sight. (John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II . New York: W. W. Norton, 1999, pp. 563–64)

Remember the anecdotal opening of Herbert’s book Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society , with Henry Tuckerman’s 1867 arrival in a much-changed Paris? (see research paper introduction examples) Herbert strikes a completely different tone in his conclusion. It synthesizes the art history he has presented, offers a large judgment about where Impressionism fits among art movements, and suggests why exhibitions of Monet, Manet, and Renoir are still so popular. He manages to do all that in a few well-crafted sentences:

Although we credit [Impressionism] with being the gateway to modern art, we also treat it as the last of the great Western styles based upon a perception of harmony with natural vision. That harmony, long since lost to us in this century of urbanization, industrialization, and world wars, remains a longed-for idea, so we look back to Impressionism as the painting of a golden era. We flock into exhibitions of paintings that represent cafes, boating, promenading, and peaceful landscapes precisely because of our yearning for less troubled times. The only history that we feel deeply is the kind that is useful to us. Impressionism still looms large at the end of the twentieth century because we use its leisure-time subjects and its brilliantly colored surfaces to construct a desirable history. (Herbert, Impressionism , p. 306)

Robert Dallek offers similarly accessible, powerful judgments in his conclusion to Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 :

[Johnson’s] presidency was a story of great achievement and terrible failure, of lasting gains and unforgettable losses. . . . In a not so distant future, when coming generations have no direct experience of the man and the passions of the sixties are muted, Johnson will probably be remembered as a President who faithfully reflected the country’s greatness and limitations—a man notable for his successes and failures, for his triumphs and tragedy. Only one thing seems certain: Lyndon Johnson will not join the many obscure—almost nameless, faceless—Presidents whose terms of office register on most Americans as blank slates. He will not be forgotten. (Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 . New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 628)

Some writers not only synthesize their findings or compare them to others; they use the conclusion to say what their work means for appropriate methods or subject matter in their field. That is what Robert Bruegmann does in his final statement in The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880–1918 . His conclusion goes beyond saying that this was a great architectural firm or that it designed buildings of lasting importance. Bruegmann tells us that Holabird & Roche helped shape modern Chicago and that its work, properly studied, helps us understand “the city as the ultimate human artifact”:

Traditional architectural history has tended to see the city less as a process than as a product, a collection of high art architectural objects in a setting dominated by mundane buildings of little interest. This tended to perpetuate a destructive and divisive attitude about the built environment, suggesting that only a few buildings are worthy of careful study and preservation while all others are mere backdrop. I hope that these explorations in the work of Holabird & Roche have shed light on parts of the city rarely visited by the architectural historian and on some little explored aspects of its history. If so, perhaps it has achieved its most basic goal: providing an insight into the city as the ultimate human artifact, our most complex and prodigious social creation, and the most tangible result of the actions over time of all its citizens. (Robert Bruegmann, The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880–1918 . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997, p. 443)

These are powerful conclusions, ending major works of scholarship on a high note. What concluding paragraphs should never do is gaze off into the sunset, offer vague homilies, or claim you have found the meaning of human existence. Be concrete. Stick to your topic. Make sure your research paper conclusions stand on solid ground. Avoid vague platitudes in your conclusion. Your goal should be reaching strong, sound judgments, firmly grounded in your readings and research. Better to claim too little than too much. Best of all, claim what you’ve earned the right to say: what your research really means.

Having finished the main parts of a research paper you can write an abstract.

Back to  How To Write A Research Paper .

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how to write a conclusion for an research paper

In a short paper—even a research paper—you don’t need to provide an exhaustive summary as part of your conclusion. But you do need to make some kind of transition between your final body paragraph and your concluding paragraph. This may come in the form of a few sentences of summary. Or it may come in the form of a sentence that brings your readers back to your thesis or main idea and reminds your readers where you began and how far you have traveled.

So, for example, in a paper about the relationship between ADHD and rejection sensitivity, Vanessa Roser begins by introducing readers to the fact that researchers have studied the relationship between the two conditions and then provides her explanation of that relationship. Here’s her thesis: “While socialization may indeed be an important factor in RS, I argue that individuals with ADHD may also possess a neurological predisposition to RS that is exacerbated by the differing executive and emotional regulation characteristic of ADHD.”

In her final paragraph, Roser reminds us of where she started by echoing her thesis: “This literature demonstrates that, as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”  

Highlight the “so what”  

At the beginning of your paper, you explain to your readers what’s at stake—why they should care about the argument you’re making. In your conclusion, you can bring readers back to those stakes by reminding them why your argument is important in the first place. You can also draft a few sentences that put those stakes into a new or broader context.

In the conclusion to her paper about ADHD and RS, Roser echoes the stakes she established in her introduction—that research into connections between ADHD and RS has led to contradictory results, raising questions about the “behavioral mediation hypothesis.”

She writes, “as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”  

Leave your readers with the “now what”  

After the “what” and the “so what,” you should leave your reader with some final thoughts. If you have written a strong introduction, your readers will know why you have been arguing what you have been arguing—and why they should care. And if you’ve made a good case for your thesis, then your readers should be in a position to see things in a new way, understand new questions, or be ready for something that they weren’t ready for before they read your paper.

In her conclusion, Roser offers two “now what” statements. First, she explains that it is important to recognize that the flawed behavioral mediation hypothesis “seems to place a degree of fault on the individual. It implies that individuals with ADHD must have elicited such frequent or intense rejection by virtue of their inadequate social skills, erasing the possibility that they may simply possess a natural sensitivity to emotion.” She then highlights the broader implications for treatment of people with ADHD, noting that recognizing the actual connection between rejection sensitivity and ADHD “has profound implications for understanding how individuals with ADHD might best be treated in educational settings, by counselors, family, peers, or even society as a whole.”

To find your own “now what” for your essay’s conclusion, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What can my readers now understand, see in a new light, or grapple with that they would not have understood in the same way before reading my paper? Are we a step closer to understanding a larger phenomenon or to understanding why what was at stake is so important?  
  • What questions can I now raise that would not have made sense at the beginning of my paper? Questions for further research? Other ways that this topic could be approached?  
  • Are there other applications for my research? Could my questions be asked about different data in a different context? Could I use my methods to answer a different question?  
  • What action should be taken in light of this argument? What action do I predict will be taken or could lead to a solution?  
  • What larger context might my argument be a part of?  

What to avoid in your conclusion  

  • a complete restatement of all that you have said in your paper.  
  • a substantial counterargument that you do not have space to refute; you should introduce counterarguments before your conclusion.  
  • an apology for what you have not said. If you need to explain the scope of your paper, you should do this sooner—but don’t apologize for what you have not discussed in your paper.  
  • fake transitions like “in conclusion” that are followed by sentences that aren’t actually conclusions. (“In conclusion, I have now demonstrated that my thesis is correct.”)
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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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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Writing a conclusion for a research paper is a critical step that often determines the overall impact and impression the paper leaves on the reader. While some may view the conclusion as a mere formality, it is actually an opportunity to wrap up the main points, provide closure, and leave a lasting impression. In this article, we will explore the importance of a well-crafted conclusion and discuss various tips and strategies to help you write an engaging and impactful conclusion for your research paper.

Introduction

Before delving into the specifics of writing a conclusion, it is important to understand why it is such a crucial component of a research paper. The conclusion serves to summarize the main points of the paper and reemphasize their significance. A well-written conclusion can leave the reader satisfied and inspired, while a poorly executed one may undermine the credibility of the entire paper. Therefore, it is essential to give careful thought and attention to crafting an effective conclusion.

When writing a research paper, the conclusion acts as the final destination for the reader. It is the point where all the information, arguments, and evidence presented throughout the paper converge. Just as a traveler reaches the end of a journey, the reader reaches the conclusion to find closure and a sense of fulfillment. This is why the conclusion should not be taken lightly; it is a critical opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the reader.

Moreover, the conclusion is not merely a repetition of the introduction or a summary of the main points. It goes beyond that by providing a deeper understanding of the research findings and their implications. It allows the writer to reflect on the significance of their work and its potential contributions to the field. By doing so, the conclusion elevates the research paper from a mere collection of facts to a thought-provoking piece of scholarship.

In the following sections, we will explore various strategies and techniques for crafting a compelling conclusion. By understanding the importance of the conclusion and learning how to write one effectively, you will be equipped to create impactful research papers.

Structuring the Conclusion

In order to create an effective conclusion, it is important to consider its structure. A well-structured conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement and summarizing the main points of the paper. It should then move on to provide a concise synthesis of the key findings and arguments, highlighting their implications and relevance. Finally, the conclusion should end with a thought-provoking statement that leaves the reader with a lasting impression.

Additionally, using phrases like "this research demonstrates," "the findings show," or "it is clear that" can help to highlight the significance of your research and emphasize your main conclusions.

Tips for Writing an Engaging Conclusion

Writing an engaging conclusion requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you create an impactful conclusion for your research paper:

  • Revisit the Introduction: Start your conclusion by referencing your introduction. Remind the reader of the research question or problem you initially posed and show how your research has addressed it.
  • Summarize Your Main Points: Provide a concise summary of the main points and arguments presented in your paper. Be sure to restate your thesis statement and highlight the key findings.
  • Offer a Fresh Perspective: Use the conclusion as an opportunity to provide a fresh perspective or offer insights that go beyond the main body of the paper. This will leave the reader with something new to consider.
  • Leave a Lasting Impression: End your conclusion with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action. This will leave a lasting impression on the reader and encourage further exploration of the research topic.

Addressing Counter Arguments In Conclusion

While crafting your conclusion, you can address any potential counterarguments or limitations of your research. This will demonstrate that you have considered alternative perspectives and have taken them into account in your conclusions. By acknowledging potential counterarguments, you can strengthen the credibility and validity of your research. And by openly discussing limitations, you demonstrate transparency and honesty in your research process.

Language and Tone To Be Used In Conclusion

The language and tone of your conclusion play a crucial role in shaping the overall impression of your research paper. It is important to use clear and concise language that is appropriate for the academic context. Avoid using overly informal or colloquial language that may undermine the credibility of your research. Additionally, consider the tone of your conclusion – it should be professional, confident, and persuasive, while still maintaining a respectful and objective tone.

When it comes to the language used in your conclusion, precision is key. You want to ensure that your ideas are communicated effectively and that there is no room for misinterpretation. Using clear and concise language will not only make your conclusion easier to understand but will also demonstrate your command of the subject matter.

Furthermore, it is important to strike the right balance between formality and accessibility. While academic writing typically requires a more formal tone, you should still aim to make your conclusion accessible to a wider audience. This means avoiding jargon or technical terms that may confuse readers who are not familiar with the subject matter. Instead, opt for language that is clear and straightforward, allowing anyone to grasp the main points of your research.

Another aspect to consider is the tone of your conclusion. The tone should reflect the confidence you have in your research findings and the strength of your argument. By adopting a professional and confident tone, you are more likely to convince your readers of the validity and importance of your research. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid sounding arrogant or dismissive of opposing viewpoints. Maintaining a respectful and objective tone will help you engage with your audience in a more persuasive manner.

Moreover, the tone of your conclusion should align with the overall tone of your research paper. Consistency in tone throughout your paper will create a cohesive and unified piece of writing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Conclusion

When writing a conclusion, there are several common mistakes that researchers often make. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can avoid them and create a more effective conclusion for your research paper. Some common mistakes include:

  • Repeating the Introduction: A conclusion should not simply be a reworded version of the introduction. While it is important to revisit the main points, try to present them in a fresh and broader perspective, by foregrounding the implications/impacts of your research.
  • Introducing New Information: The conclusion should not introduce any new information or arguments. Instead, it should focus on summarizing and synthesizing the main points presented in the paper.
  • Being Vague or General: Avoid using vague or general statements in your conclusion. Instead, be specific and provide concrete examples or evidence to support your main points.
  • Ending Abruptly: A conclusion should provide a sense of closure and completeness. Avoid ending your conclusion abruptly or leaving the reader with unanswered questions.

Editing and Revising the Conclusion

Just like the rest of your research paper, the conclusion should go through a thorough editing and revising process. This will help to ensure clarity, coherence, and impact in the conclusion. As you revise your conclusion, consider the following:

  • Check for Consistency: Ensure that your conclusion aligns with the main body of the paper and does not introduce any new or contradictory information.
  • Eliminate Redundancy: Remove any repetitive or redundant information in your conclusion. Instead, focus on presenting the key points in a concise and engaging manner.
  • Proofread for Clarity: Read your conclusion aloud or ask someone else to read it to ensure that it is clear and understandable. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors that may distract the reader.
  • Seek Feedback: Consider sharing your conclusion with peers or mentors to get their feedback and insights. This can help you strengthen your conclusion and make it more impactful.

How to Write Conclusion as a Call to Action

Finally, consider using your conclusion as a call to action. Encourage the reader to take further action, such as conducting additional research or considering the implications of your findings. By providing a clear call to action, you can inspire the reader to actively engage with your research and continue the conversation on the topic.

Adapting to Different Research Paper Types

It is important to adapt your conclusion approach based on the type of research paper you are writing. Different research paper types may require different strategies and approaches to writing the conclusion. For example, a scientific research paper may focus more on summarizing the key findings and implications, while a persuasive research paper may emphasize the call to action and the potential impact of the research. Tailor your conclusion to suit the specific goals and requirements of your research paper.

Final Thoughts

A well-crafted conclusion can leave a lasting impression on the reader and enhance the impact of your research. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can create an engaging and impactful conclusion that effectively summarizes your main points, addresses potential counterarguments, and leaves the reader with a sense of closure and inspiration. Embrace the importance of the conclusion and view it as an opportunity to showcase the significance and relevance of your research.

Important Reads

How To Humanize AI Text In Scientific Articles

Elevate Your Writing Game With AI Grammar Checker Tools

A Guide to Using AI Tools to Summarize Literature Reviews

AI for Essay Writing — Exploring Top 10 Essay Writers

Role of AI in Systematic Literature Review

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How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion Section

how to write a conclusion for an research paper

What is a conclusion in a research paper?

The conclusion in a research paper is the final paragraph or two in a research paper. In scientific papers, the conclusion usually follows the Discussion section , summarizing the importance of the findings and reminding the reader why the work presented in the paper is relevant.

However, it can be a bit confusing to distinguish the conclusion section/paragraph from a summary or a repetition of your findings, your own opinion, or the statement of the implications of your work. In fact, the conclusion should contain a bit of all of these other parts but go beyond it—but not too far beyond! 

The structure and content of the conclusion section can also vary depending on whether you are writing a research manuscript or an essay. This article will explain how to write a good conclusion section, what exactly it should (and should not) contain, how it should be structured, and what you should avoid when writing it.  

Table of Contents:

What does a good conclusion section do, what to include in a research paper conclusion.

  • Conclusion in an Essay
  • Research Paper Conclusion 
  • Conclusion Paragraph Outline and Example
  • What Not to Do When Writing a Conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper has several key objectives. It should:

  • Restate your research problem addressed in the introduction section
  • Summarize your main arguments, important findings, and broader implications
  • Synthesize key takeaways from your study

The specific content in the conclusion depends on whether your paper presents the results of original scientific research or constructs an argument through engagement with previously published sources.

You presented your general field of study to the reader in the introduction section, by moving from general information (the background of your work, often combined with a literature review ) to the rationale of your study and then to the specific problem or topic you addressed, formulated in the form of the statement of the problem in research or the thesis statement in an essay.

In the conclusion section, in contrast, your task is to move from your specific findings or arguments back to a more general depiction of how your research contributes to the readers’ understanding of a certain concept or helps solve a practical problem, or fills an important gap in the literature. The content of your conclusion section depends on the type of research you are doing and what type of paper you are writing. But whatever the outcome of your work is, the conclusion is where you briefly summarize it and place it within a larger context. It could be called the “take-home message” of the entire paper.

What to summarize in the conclusion

Your conclusion section needs to contain a very brief summary of your work , a very brief summary of the main findings of your work, and a mention of anything else that seems relevant when you now look at your work from a bigger perspective, even if it was not initially listed as one of your main research questions. This could be a limitation, for example, a problem with the design of your experiment that either needs to be considered when drawing any conclusions or that led you to ask a different question and therefore draw different conclusions at the end of your study (compared to when you started out).

Once you have reminded the reader of what you did and what you found, you need to go beyond that and also provide either your own opinion on why your work is relevant (and for whom, and how) or theoretical or practical implications of the study , or make a specific call for action if there is one to be made.   

How to Write an Essay Conclusion

Academic essays follow quite different structures than their counterparts in STEM and the natural sciences. Humanities papers often have conclusion sections that are much longer and contain more detail than scientific papers. There are three main types of academic essay conclusions.

Summarizing conclusion

The most typical conclusion at the end of an analytical/explanatory/argumentative essay is a summarizing conclusion . This is, as the name suggests, a clear summary of the main points of your topic and thesis. Since you might have gone through a number of different arguments or subtopics in the main part of your essay, you need to remind the reader again what those were, how they fit into each other, and how they helped you develop or corroborate your hypothesis.

For an essay that analyzes how recruiters can hire the best candidates in the shortest time or on “how starving yourself will increase your lifespan, according to science”, a summary of all the points you discussed might be all you need. Note that you should not exactly repeat what you said earlier, but rather highlight the essential details and present those to your reader in a different way. 

Externalizing conclusion

If you think that just reminding the reader of your main points is not enough, you can opt for an externalizing conclusion instead, that presents new points that were not presented in the paper so far. These new points can be additional facts and information or they can be ideas that are relevant to the topic and have not been mentioned before.

Such a conclusion can stimulate your readers to think about your topic or the implications of your analysis in a whole new way. For example, at the end of a historical analysis of a specific event or development, you could direct your reader’s attention to some current events that were not the topic of your essay but that provide a different context for your findings.

Editorial conclusion

In an editorial conclusion , another common type of conclusion that you will find at the end of papers and essays, you do not add new information but instead present your own experiences or opinions on the topic to round everything up. What makes this type of conclusion interesting is that you can choose to agree or disagree with the information you presented in your paper so far. For example, if you have collected and analyzed information on how a specific diet helps people lose weight, you can nevertheless have your doubts on the sustainability of that diet or its practicability in real life—if such arguments were not included in your original thesis and have therefore not been covered in the main part of your paper, the conclusion section is the place where you can get your opinion across.    

How to Conclude an Empirical Research Paper

An empirical research paper is usually more concise and succinct than an essay, because, if it is written well, it focuses on one specific question, describes the method that was used to answer that one question, describes and explains the results, and guides the reader in a logical way from the introduction to the discussion without going on tangents or digging into not absolutely relevant topics.

Summarize the findings

In a scientific paper, you should include a summary of the 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 anticipated, and explain the conclusion they led you to. Explain these findings in as few words as possible.

Instead of beginning with “ In conclusion, in this study, we investigated the effect of stress on the brain using fMRI …”, you should try to find a way to incorporate the repetition of the essential (and only the essential) details into the summary of the key points. “ The findings of this fMRI study on the effect of stress on the brain suggest that …” or “ While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study show that, surprisingly… ” would be better ways to start a conclusion. 

You should also not bring up new ideas or present new facts in the conclusion of a research paper, but stick to the background information you have presented earlier, to the findings you have already discussed, and the limitations and implications you have already described. The one thing you can add here is a practical recommendation that you haven’t clearly stated before—but even that one needs to follow logically from everything you have already discussed in the discussion section.

Discuss the implications

After summing up your key arguments or findings, conclude the paper by stating the broader implications of the research , whether in methods , approach, or findings. Express practical or theoretical takeaways from your paper. This often looks like a “call to action” or a final “sales pitch” that puts an exclamation point on your paper.

If your research topic is more theoretical in nature, 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.

Future research example

Future research into education standards should focus on establishing a more detailed picture of how novel pedagogical approaches impact young people’s ability to absorb new and difficult concepts. Moreover, observational studies are needed to gain more insight into how specific teaching models affect the retention of relationships and facts—for instance, how inquiry-based learning and its emphasis on lateral thinking can be used as a jumping-off point for more holistic classroom approaches.

Research Conclusion Example and Outline

Let’s revisit the study on the effect of stress on the brain we mentioned before and see what the common structure for a conclusion paragraph looks like, in three steps. Following these simple steps will make it easy for you to wrap everything up in one short paragraph that contains all the essential information: 

One: Short summary of what you did, but integrated into the summary of your findings:

While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study in 25 university students going through mid-term exams show that, surprisingly, one’s attitude to the experienced stress significantly modulates the brain’s response to it. 

Note that you don’t need to repeat any methodological or technical details here—the reader has been presented with all of these before, they have read your results section and the discussion of your results, and even (hopefully!) a discussion of the limitations and strengths of your paper. The only thing you need to remind them of here is the essential outcome of your work. 

Two: Add implications, and don’t forget to specify who this might be relevant for: 

Students could be considered a specific subsample of the general population, but earlier research shows that the effect that exam stress has on their physical and mental health is comparable to the effects of other types of stress on individuals of other ages and occupations. Further research into practical ways of modulating not only one’s mental stress response but potentially also one’s brain activity (e.g., via neurofeedback training) are warranted.

This is a “research implication”, and it is nicely combined with a mention of a potential limitation of the study (the student sample) that turns out not to be a limitation after all (because earlier research suggests we can generalize to other populations). If there already is a lot of research on neurofeedback for stress control, by the way, then this should have been discussed in your discussion section earlier and you wouldn’t say such studies are “warranted” here but rather specify how your findings could inspire specific future experiments or how they should be implemented in existing applications. 

Three: The most important thing is that your conclusion paragraph accurately reflects the content of your paper. Compare it to your research paper title , your research paper abstract , and to your journal submission cover letter , in case you already have one—if these do not all tell the same story, then you need to go back to your paper, start again from the introduction section, and find out where you lost the logical thread. As always, consistency is key.    

Problems to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion 

  • Do not suddenly introduce new information that has never been mentioned before (unless you are writing an essay and opting for an externalizing conclusion, see above). The conclusion section is not where you want to surprise your readers, but the take-home message of what you have already presented.
  • Do not simply copy your abstract, the conclusion section of your abstract, or the first sentence of your introduction, and put it at the end of the discussion section. Even if these parts of your paper cover the same points, they should not be identical.
  • Do not start the conclusion with “In conclusion”. If it has its own section heading, that is redundant, and if it is the last paragraph of the discussion section, it is inelegant and also not really necessary. The reader expects you to wrap your work up in the last paragraph, so you don’t have to announce that. Just look at the above example to see how to start a conclusion in a natural way.
  • Do not forget what your research objectives were and how you initially formulated the statement of the problem in your introduction section. If your story/approach/conclusions changed because of methodological issues or information you were not aware of when you started, then make sure you go back to the beginning and adapt your entire story (not just the ending). 

Consider Receiving Academic Editing Services

When you have arrived at the conclusion of your paper, you might want to head over to Wordvice AI’s AI Writing Assistant to receive a free grammar check for any academic content. 

After drafting, you can also receive English editing and proofreading services , including paper editing services for your journal manuscript. If you need advice on how to write the other parts of your research paper , or on how to make a research paper outline if you are struggling with putting everything you did together, then head over to the Wordvice academic resources pages , where we have a lot more articles and videos for you.

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How to write a strong conclusion for your research paper

Last updated

17 February 2024

Reviewed by

Writing a research paper is a chance to share your knowledge and hypothesis. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your many hours of research and prove your ability to write convincingly.

Ideally, by the end of your research paper, you'll have brought your readers on a journey to reach the conclusions you've pre-determined. However, if you don't stick the landing with a good conclusion, you'll risk losing your reader’s trust.

Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper involves a few important steps, including restating the thesis and summing up everything properly.

Find out what to include and what to avoid, so you can effectively demonstrate your understanding of the topic and prove your expertise.

  • Why is a good conclusion important?

A good conclusion can cement your paper in the reader’s mind. Making a strong impression in your introduction can draw your readers in, but it's the conclusion that will inspire them.

  • What to include in a research paper conclusion

There are a few specifics you should include in your research paper conclusion. Offer your readers some sense of urgency or consequence by pointing out why they should care about the topic you have covered. Discuss any common problems associated with your topic and provide suggestions as to how these problems can be solved or addressed.

The conclusion should include a restatement of your initial thesis. Thesis statements are strengthened after you’ve presented supporting evidence (as you will have done in the paper), so make a point to reintroduce it at the end.

Finally, recap the main points of your research paper, highlighting the key takeaways you want readers to remember. If you've made multiple points throughout the paper, refer to the ones with the strongest supporting evidence.

  • Steps for writing a research paper conclusion

Many writers find the conclusion the most challenging part of any research project . By following these three steps, you'll be prepared to write a conclusion that is effective and concise.

  • Step 1: Restate the problem

Always begin by restating the research problem in the conclusion of a research paper. This serves to remind the reader of your hypothesis and refresh them on the main point of the paper. 

When restating the problem, take care to avoid using exactly the same words you employed earlier in the paper.

  • Step 2: Sum up the paper

After you've restated the problem, sum up the paper by revealing your overall findings. The method for this differs slightly, depending on whether you're crafting an argumentative paper or an empirical paper.

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

Argumentative papers involve introducing a thesis statement early on. In crafting the conclusion for an argumentative paper, always restate the thesis, outlining the way you've developed it throughout the entire paper.

It might be appropriate to mention any counterarguments in the conclusion, so you can demonstrate how your thesis is correct or how the data best supports your main points.

Empirical paper: Summarize research findings

Empirical papers break down a series of research questions. In your conclusion, discuss the findings your research revealed, including any information that surprised you.

Be clear about the conclusions you reached, and explain whether or not you expected to arrive at these particular ones.

  • Step 3: Discuss the implications of your research

Argumentative papers and empirical papers also differ in this part of a research paper conclusion. Here are some tips on crafting conclusions for argumentative and empirical papers.

Argumentative paper: Powerful closing statement

In an argumentative paper, you'll have spent a great deal of time expressing the opinions you formed after doing a significant amount of research. Make a strong closing statement in your argumentative paper's conclusion to share the significance of your work.

You can outline the next steps through a bold call to action, or restate how powerful your ideas turned out to be.

Empirical paper: Directions for future research

Empirical papers are broader in scope. They usually cover a variety of aspects and can include several points of view.

To write a good conclusion for an empirical paper, suggest the type of research that could be done in the future, including methods for further investigation or outlining ways other researchers might proceed.

If you feel your research had any limitations, even if they were outside your control, you could mention these in your conclusion.

After you finish outlining your conclusion, ask someone to read it and offer feedback. In any research project you're especially close to, it can be hard to identify problem areas. Having a close friend or someone whose opinion you value read the research paper and provide honest feedback can be invaluable. Take note of any suggested edits and consider incorporating them into your paper if they make sense.

  • Things to avoid in a research paper conclusion

Keep these aspects to avoid in mind as you're writing your conclusion and refer to them after you've created an outline.

Dry summary

Writing a memorable, succinct conclusion is arguably more important than a strong introduction. Take care to avoid just rephrasing your main points, and don't fall into the trap of repeating dry facts or citations.

You can provide a new perspective for your readers to think about or contextualize your research. Either way, make the conclusion vibrant and interesting, rather than a rote recitation of your research paper’s highlights.

Clichéd or generic phrasing

Your research paper conclusion should feel fresh and inspiring. Avoid generic phrases like "to sum up" or "in conclusion." These phrases tend to be overused, especially in an academic context and might turn your readers off.

The conclusion also isn't the time to introduce colloquial phrases or informal language. Retain a professional, confident tone consistent throughout your paper’s conclusion so it feels exciting and bold.

New data or evidence

While you should present strong data throughout your paper, the conclusion isn't the place to introduce new evidence. This is because readers are engaged in actively learning as they read through the body of your paper.

By the time they reach the conclusion, they will have formed an opinion one way or the other (hopefully in your favor!). Introducing new evidence in the conclusion will only serve to surprise or frustrate your reader.

Ignoring contradictory evidence

If your research reveals contradictory evidence, don't ignore it in the conclusion. This will damage your credibility as an expert and might even serve to highlight the contradictions.

Be as transparent as possible and admit to any shortcomings in your research, but don't dwell on them for too long.

Ambiguous or unclear resolutions

The point of a research paper conclusion is to provide closure and bring all your ideas together. You should wrap up any arguments you introduced in the paper and tie up any loose ends, while demonstrating why your research and data are strong.

Use direct language in your conclusion and avoid ambiguity. Even if some of the data and sources you cite are inconclusive or contradictory, note this in your conclusion to come across as confident and trustworthy.

  • Examples of research paper conclusions

Your research paper should provide a compelling close to the paper as a whole, highlighting your research and hard work. While the conclusion should represent your unique style, these examples offer a starting point:

Ultimately, the data we examined all point to the same conclusion: Encouraging a good work-life balance improves employee productivity and benefits the company overall. The research suggests that when employees feel their personal lives are valued and respected by their employers, they are more likely to be productive when at work. In addition, company turnover tends to be reduced when employees have a balance between their personal and professional lives. While additional research is required to establish ways companies can support employees in creating a stronger work-life balance, it's clear the need is there.

Social media is a primary method of communication among young people. As we've seen in the data presented, most young people in high school use a variety of social media applications at least every hour, including Instagram and Facebook. While social media is an avenue for connection with peers, research increasingly suggests that social media use correlates with body image issues. Young girls with lower self-esteem tend to use social media more often than those who don't log onto social media apps every day. As new applications continue to gain popularity, and as more high school students are given smartphones, more research will be required to measure the effects of prolonged social media use.

What are the different kinds of research paper conclusions?

There are no formal types of research paper conclusions. Ultimately, the conclusion depends on the outline of your paper and the type of research you’re presenting. While some experts note that research papers can end with a new perspective or commentary, most papers should conclude with a combination of both. The most important aspect of a good research paper conclusion is that it accurately represents the body of the paper.

Can I present new arguments in my research paper conclusion?

Research paper conclusions are not the place to introduce new data or arguments. The body of your paper is where you should share research and insights, where the reader is actively absorbing the content. By the time a reader reaches the conclusion of the research paper, they should have formed their opinion. Introducing new arguments in the conclusion can take a reader by surprise, and not in a positive way. It might also serve to frustrate readers.

How long should a research paper conclusion be?

There's no set length for a research paper conclusion. However, it's a good idea not to run on too long, since conclusions are supposed to be succinct. A good rule of thumb is to keep your conclusion around 5 to 10 percent of the paper's total length. If your paper is 10 pages, try to keep your conclusion under one page.

What should I include in a research paper conclusion?

A good research paper conclusion should always include a sense of urgency, so the reader can see how and why the topic should matter to them. You can also note some recommended actions to help fix the problem and some obstacles they might encounter. A conclusion should also remind the reader of the thesis statement, along with the main points you covered in the paper. At the end of the conclusion, add a powerful closing statement that helps cement the paper in the mind of the reader.

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OASIS: Writing Center

Writing a paper: conclusions, writing a conclusion.

A conclusion is an important part of the paper; it provides closure for the reader while reminding the reader of the contents and importance of the paper. It accomplishes this by stepping back from the specifics in order to view the bigger picture of the document. In other words, it is reminding the reader of the main argument. For most course papers, it is usually one paragraph that simply and succinctly restates the main ideas and arguments, pulling everything together to help clarify the thesis of the paper. A conclusion does not introduce new ideas; instead, it should clarify the intent and importance of the paper. It can also suggest possible future research on the topic.

An Easy Checklist for Writing a Conclusion

It is important to remind the reader of the thesis of the paper so he is reminded of the argument and solutions you proposed.
Think of the main points as puzzle pieces, and the conclusion is where they all fit together to create a bigger picture. The reader should walk away with the bigger picture in mind.
Make sure that the paper places its findings in the context of real social change.
Make sure the reader has a distinct sense that the paper has come to an end. It is important to not leave the reader hanging. (You don’t want her to have flip-the-page syndrome, where the reader turns the page, expecting the paper to continue. The paper should naturally come to an end.)
No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion. It is simply a review of the material that is already present in the paper. The only new idea would be the suggesting of a direction for future research.

Conclusion Example

As addressed in my analysis of recent research, the advantages of a later starting time for high school students significantly outweigh the disadvantages. A later starting time would allow teens more time to sleep--something that is important for their physical and mental health--and ultimately improve their academic performance and behavior. The added transportation costs that result from this change can be absorbed through energy savings. The beneficial effects on the students’ academic performance and behavior validate this decision, but its effect on student motivation is still unknown. I would encourage an in-depth look at the reactions of students to such a change. This sort of study would help determine the actual effects of a later start time on the time management and sleep habits of students.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Conclusions

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This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:

In a general way,

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don't try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang(!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.

The preacher's maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:

Tell what you're going to tell them (introduction).

Tell them (body).

Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper that Resonates

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The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial part of the entire document. The final section summarizes the main points, restates the thesis statement, and provides closure to the reader. Writing a strong conclusion for a research paper can be challenging because you must bring together all the ideas you’ve presented concisely and compellingly. Don’t fret, as we’ll let you know how to write a conclusion for a research paper like a professional  paper writing service  provider. So, let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

The Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

A great conclusion makes your paper stand out and leaves a lasting impression on your readers. Let us help you figure out how to write a killer conclusion for your research paper.

Four Important Elements of a Research Paper Conclusion

These are the essential elements you must include in the conclusion of your  research paper writing  for a lasting impression.

Restate the Thesis Statement

It’s really important to remind readers of the main argument in your paper. You should state the  thesis statement  in the intro and then again in the conclusion. But don’t just copy and paste the same words! It’s better to rephrase it in a slightly different way so readers know you understand the topic.

Summarize the Main Points of the Research Paper

It’s important to sum up the paper’s main points to show the reader it’s covered the topic well. Just use the topic sentences from the body paragraphs and make it brief; that should do it.

Discuss the Implications of the Research

It’s important to cover the implications of the research so the reader can understand the bigger picture. This part should emphasize the real-world or theoretical implications of the research and explain why the results are important. These implications can involve multiple topics, such as policy, practices, theories, or further research.

Provide Closure to the Reader

A satisfying research paper conclusion is the key to its success. This last section should link together the main points made throughout the paper and make the reader feel like the paper has come to its natural conclusion. It’s a great idea to finish the conclusion with a thought-provoking statement, an invitation to take action or a question that will leave the reader pondering.

For Example:

Tips for Writing A Strong Conclusion

These are the expert tips to help you write a strong conclusion for your research paper:

Tip 1: Keep it Concise and to The Point

Make sure your conclusion is short and sweet, summing up the main points of your research paper without adding anything new. Don’t use different words or phrases to fill up space – say what needs to be said in a simple, straightforward way.

Tip 2: Use language that is clear and easy to understand

Make sure everyone easily understands your conclusion. Don’t use technical words. Stick to the main points and make sure everyone can follow along.

Tip 3: Avoid Introducing New Information

Your conclusion should wrap up the ideas you’ve presented in your paper, not add anything new. Summarize the main ideas and arguments that you’ve presented and show how they back up your thesis.

Tip 4: Use a Strong Concluding Sentence

Wrapping up your paper with a strong conclusion helps tie everything together and leaves an impact on the reader. Why not finish with a thought-provoking question, a call to action or a powerful statement? It’ll be sure to stick with them.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when writing a conclusion for your research paper:

Don’t Repeat the Information

In your research paper conclusion, try not to copy what’s already been said in the body of the paper. Sum up the main points, but don’t just repeat them word for word. Show how the evidence and ideas in the paper back up the thesis.

Avoid Including Personal Opinions and or Biases

Be careful not to let your feelings sneak into the conclusion. Stick to the facts and sum up the main points of your paper instead of giving your own opinion. Keep it objective!

Don’t Use Weak Language or Cliches:

Don’t use weak language or cliches like “in conclusion” or “it can be said that.” Also, don’t say “more research is needed” since it makes your conclusion seem unfulfilled. Instead, be clear about when and where you’re talking about and emphasize the importance of your research.

Example of Good Research Paper Conclusions

It’s important to make a lasting impression on your reader, so having a good conclusion to your research paper is key. Here are some examples of what makes a strong conclusion and the elements that make it effective:

Example 1 – A Research Paper on The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health:

Through the research analysis, it is clear that social media use can significantly negatively affect mental health. To address this issue, individuals and society need to recognize social media’s impact and take steps to mitigate its negative effects. This research highlights the need for further investigation into the relationship between social media and mental health, as well as the development of strategies to promote healthy social media use.

Example 2 – A Research Paper on The Benefits of Exercise:

The findings of this study demonstrate the numerous benefits of regular exercise, including improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, and reduced stress levels. These benefits highlight the importance of physical activity for individuals of all ages and abilities. Individuals and society need to prioritize exercise and promote physical activity to improve overall health and well-being.

Finishing your research paper with a strong conclusion is key to leaving a lasting impact on your reader. We are summarizing the conclusion for a research paper in brief points.

  •  Sum up the main points of your paper and restate your thesis statement.
  • Think about the implications of your research and provide closure for your reader.
  • Keep your language clear and avoid introducing new info.
  • Use a strong conclusion sentence, and don’t make mistakes like repeating yourself or adding personal opinions or bias.

Hopefully you won’t need to search how to write conclusion in research again. Still, if you need help with a conclusion in research paper, you can order today so  our writers  can assist you immediately.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering Communication Lab

CEE Comm Lab helps first-year undergraduates present scientific research

The following is a modified excerpt from the MIT News article, “ First-year MIT students gain hands-on research experience in supportive peer community ” by Callie Ayoub.

During MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP) this January, first-year students interested in civil and environmental engineering (CEE) participated in a four-week undergraduate research opportunities program known as the mini-UROP (1.097). The six-unit subject pairs first-year students with a CEE graduate student or postdoc mentor, providing them with an inside look at the research being conducted in the department. The program culminates with a presentation event open to the entire CEE community.

Overall, eight labs in the department opened their doors to the 2024 cohort, who were eager to take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with current students and build a community around their interests. The interdisciplinary nature of the department’s research offered participants a wide range of projects to work on, from redefining autonomous vehicle deployment to mitigating the effects of drought on crops.

Mini-UROP participant Iraira Rivera Rojas works in the Marelli Lab in CEE.

Mini-UROP participant Iraira Rivera Rojas works in the Marelli Lab in CEE.

Throughout the duration of the mini-UROP, participants attended three workshops led by Jared Berezin , the manager of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Communication Lab (CEE Comm Lab). The communication lab is a free resource to undergraduates, graduates, and postdocs in the CEE community, providing one-on-one coaching and interactive workshops. Held on Fridays during IAP, the workshops focused on visual and oral communication strategies to help students contextualize their projects, explain scientific concepts, describe their methodologies, and present their results.

“Students were fortunate to have research mentors in the lab, and my goal was to provide communication mentorship outside of the lab,” says Berezin. “Our weekly workshops focused on scientific communication strategies, but perhaps more importantly I’d prompt them to talk about their projects, ask questions, and brainstorm together. They really embraced the opportunity to foster a supportive peer community, which I think is a core part of the CEE experience.”

Mini-UROP participants present their research to fellow students, staff, and faculty.

Mini-UROP participants present their research to fellow students, staff, and faculty.

A significant challenge students face while completing the program is condensing their research down to a clear and concise two-minute presentation. To assist with this task, the workshops also featured presentations by CEE Communication Fellows Ignacio Arzuaga and Matthew Goss , providing students with a preview of how their own presentations may take shape. Before the final presentation event, students also had the option to meet with Comm Fellows to receive feedback, rehearse their talks, and practice responding to questions about their work.

“The final talks were impressive, and I was proud of the students for approaching both their research and communication challenges with such curiosity and thoughtfulness,” Berezin remarks.

To learn more about the experiences of students and mentors during the 2024 mini-UROP, you can read the full MIT News article .

COMMENTS

  1. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion

    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.

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

    Write your research paper conclusion 2x faster with Paperpal. Try it now! 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.

  3. How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

    Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion. Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and ...

  4. 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 ...

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

    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. 5. Make a call to action when appropriate. If and when needed, you can state to your readers that there is a need for further research on your paper's topic.

  6. Research Paper Conclusion

    Here are some steps you can follow to write an effective research paper conclusion: Restate the research problem or question: Begin by restating the research problem or question that you aimed to answer in your research. This will remind the reader of the purpose of your study. Summarize the main points: Summarize the key findings and results ...

  7. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis statement in a way that is slightly different from the wording used in the introduction. Avoid presenting new information or evidence in your conclusion. Just summarize the main points and arguments of your essay and keep this part as concise as possible. Remember that you've already covered the ...

  8. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    Looking ahead, it is obvious that (propose the next action or an alternative idea). My conclusion is (restate your thesis with greater emphasis). One last word must be said. (Follow with your opinion and propose a next action.) One concludes that (give your opinion). Overall, (summarize your findings).

  9. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    A conclusion is the final paragraph of a research paper and serves to help the reader understand why your research should matter to them. The conclusion of a conclusion should: Restate your topic and why it is important. Restate your thesis/claim. Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position.

  10. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Conclusion

    Step 2: Summarize and reflect on your research. Step 3: Make future recommendations. Step 4: Emphasize your contributions to your field. Step 5: Wrap up your thesis or dissertation. Full conclusion example. Conclusion checklist. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about conclusion sections.

  11. Conclusions

    Highlight the "so what". At the beginning of your paper, you explain to your readers what's at stake—why they should care about the argument you're making. In your conclusion, you can bring readers back to those stakes by reminding them why your argument is important in the first place. You can also draft a few sentences that put ...

  12. 9. The Conclusion

    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.

  13. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

    A well-written conclusion can leave the reader satisfied and inspired, while a poorly executed one may undermine the credibility of the entire paper. Therefore, it is essential to give careful thought and attention to crafting an effective conclusion. When writing a research paper, the conclusion acts as the final destination for the reader.

  14. How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper: Effective Tips and

    The conclusion is where you describe the consequences of your arguments by justifying to your readers why your arguments matter (Hamilton College, 2014). Derntl (2014) also describes conclusion as the counterpart of the introduction. Using the Hourglass Model (Swales, 1993) as a visual reference, Derntl describes conclusion as the part of the ...

  15. How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion Section

    The conclusion of a research paper has several key objectives. It should: Restate your research problem addressed in the introduction section. Summarize your main arguments, important findings, and broader implications. Synthesize key takeaways from your study. The specific content in the conclusion depends on whether your paper presents the ...

  16. How to write a strong conclusion for your research paper

    Step 1: Restate the problem. Always begin by restating the research problem in the conclusion of a research paper. This serves to remind the reader of your hypothesis and refresh them on the main point of the paper. When restating the problem, take care to avoid using exactly the same words you employed earlier in the paper.

  17. How to write the conclusion of a research paper

    What to include in the conclusion. On the other hand, you may pick up some text from the introduction, especially from its end, namely, the objectives. Here is a made-up example of a research paper conclusion: "The highest yield among the plots that had received different doses of fertilizers was from the one that was supplied 25 kg each of ...

  18. Conclusions

    A conclusion is an important part of the paper; it provides closure for the reader while reminding the reader of the contents and importance of the paper. It accomplishes this by stepping back from the specifics in order to view the bigger picture of the document. In other words, it is reminding the reader of the main argument.

  19. Conclusions

    Conclusions. Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future ...

  20. Guide on How to write a conclusion for a research paper

    How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper that Resonates. The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial part of the entire document. The final section summarizes the main points, restates the thesis statement, and provides closure to the reader. Writing a strong conclusion for a research paper can be challenging because you must bring ...

  21. CEE Comm Lab helps first-year undergraduates present scientific research

    More from the blog. From Paper to Presentation: Redesigning Existing Figures for Slides January 15, 2024 Scientific figures do not equally suit all contexts. A figure designed for a paper will often be information-dense; multiple panels illustrate multiple ideas, multiple axes and color bars show the impact of numerous variables, annotations highlight specific caveats, and an extensive caption ...

  22. EssayGPT Review: A New Way to Revolutionize Academic Writing

    This provides students, researchers and other users with another way to access EssayGPT's AI essay writing and editing assistance. Conclusion. In conclusion, EssayGPT establishes itself as a true revolution for academic writing through its comprehensive set of AI-powered tools. By streamlining research, writing, editing, citations and ...

  23. The telltale signs of essays written using ChatGPT

    Cambridge researchers claim to have identified a number of key features of the AI tool writing style. Cambridge researchers claim to have discovered the "telltale" signs of essays written ...