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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

  • 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.

a research conclusion does not

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.

a research conclusion does not

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.

a research conclusion does not

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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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 derived from the findings of your study and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. For most college-level research papers, two or three well-developed paragraphs is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, more paragraphs may be required in describing the 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  your answer to 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 [first identified in your literature review section] has been addressed by your research and why this contribution is significant.
  • Demonstrating the importance of your ideas . Don't be shy. The conclusion offers an 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 general 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 clearly summarizing 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. However, make sure 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 paper.

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

  • Present your conclusions in clear, concise 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, new, or crucial 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 but that further investigations should take place beyond the scope of your investigation.

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 [this is opposite of the introduction, which begins with general discussion of the context and ends with a detailed description of the research problem]. 

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. 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:

  • 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 leading to positive change.
  • 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 source would be 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 from your study 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 framed around the implications and significance of your findings [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. They 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 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 and behavioral 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 as a researcher 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 about the study's validity and realiability.

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 that they are reaching the end of your paper. 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. This why 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 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 position your findings within the larger context of scholarship on the topic, including describing how your research contributes new insights 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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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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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Conclusions

What this handout is about.

This handout will explain the functions of conclusions, offer strategies for writing effective ones, help you evaluate conclusions you’ve drafted, and suggest approaches to avoid.

About conclusions

Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.

Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

Your conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.

Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.

Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.

Strategies for writing an effective conclusion

One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:

  • Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, ask a friend to read it with you. Whenever you make a statement from your conclusion, ask the friend to say, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it. Here’s how it might go: You: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. Friend: So what? You: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen. Friend: Why should anybody care? You: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally. You can also use this strategy on your own, asking yourself “So What?” as you develop your ideas or your draft.
  • Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.
  • Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.
  • Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.
  • Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help them to apply your info and ideas to their own life or to see the broader implications.
  • Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.

Strategies to avoid

  • Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.
  • Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.
  • Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.
  • Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.
  • Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.
  • Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.

Four kinds of ineffective conclusions

  • The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward. People write this kind of conclusion when they can’t think of anything else to say. Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.
  • The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” them with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.
  • The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.
  • The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Douglass, Frederick. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. New York: Dover.

Hamilton College. n.d. “Conclusions.” Writing Center. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.hamilton.edu//academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/conclusions .

Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004. https://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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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. 

a research conclusion does not

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:

a research conclusion does not

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

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  • How to Write an Abstract
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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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Organizing Academic Research Papers: 9. The Conclusion

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

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 your points or a re-statement of your research problem but a synthesis of key points. For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, a two-or-three paragraph conclusion may be required.

Importance of a Good Conclusion

A well-written conclusion provides you with several important opportunities to demonstrate your overall understanding of the research problem to the reader. 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 points in your analysis or findings.
  • Summarizing your thoughts and conveying the larger implications of your study . The conclusion is an opportunity to succinctly answer the "so what?" question by placing the study within the context of past research about the topic you've investigated.
  • Demonstrating the importance of your ideas . Don't be shy. The conclusion offers you a chance to elaborate on the significance of your findings.
  • 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/contextualizing the research problem based on the results of your study.

Conclusions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Kretchmer, Paul. Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion . San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008.

Structure and Writing Style

https://writing.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/535/2018/07/conclusions_uwmadison_writingcenter_aug2012.pdf I.  General Rules

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

  • State your conclusions in clear, simple language.
  • Do not simply reiterate your results or the discussion.
  • Indicate opportunities for future research, as long as you haven't already done so in the discussion section of your paper.

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). Make sure, however, that your conclusion is not simply a repetitive summary of the findings because this reduces the impact of the argument(s) you have developed in your essay.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is appropriate:

  • If the argument or point 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 your 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, or on the essay's central research problem. However, the nature of being introspective about the research you have done will depend on the topic and whether your professor wants you to express your observations in this way.

NOTE : Don't 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.

II.  Developing a Compelling Conclusion

Strategies to help you move beyond merely summarizing the key points of your research paper may include any of the following.

  • If your essay deals with a contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.
  • Recommend a specific course or courses of action.
  • Cite a relevant quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion you have reached [a good place to look is research from your literature review].
  • Restate a key statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of your paper.
  • If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences.
  • Return to an anecdote, an example, or a quotation that you introduced in your introduction, but add further insight that is derived from the findings of your study; use your interpretation of results to reframe it in new ways.
  • Provide a "take-home" message in the form of a strong, succient statement that you want the reader to remember about your study.

III. Problems to Avoid Failure to be concise The conclusion section should be concise and to the point. Conclusions that are too long often have unnecessary detail. The conclusion section 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, etc. that you make. Failure to comment on larger, more significant issues In the introduction, your task was to move from general [the field of study] to specific [your research problem]. However, in the conclusion, your task is to move from specific [your research problem] back to general [your field, i.e., how your research contributes new understanding or fills an important gap in the literature]. In other words, the conclusion is where you place your research within a larger context. Failure to reveal problems and negative results Negative aspects of the research process should never be ignored. Problems, drawbacks, and challenges encountered during your study should be included as a way of qualifying your overall conclusions. If you encountered negative results [findings that are validated outside the research context in which they were generated], you must report them in the results section of your paper. In the conclusion, use the negative results as an opportunity to explain how they provide information on which future research can be based. Failure to provide a clear summary of what was learned In order to be able to discuss how your research fits back into your field of study [and possibly the world at large], you need to summarize it briefly and directly. Often this element of your conclusion is only a few sentences long. Failure to match the objectives of your research Often research objectives change while the research is being carried out. This is not a problem unless you forget to go back and refine your 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 now 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...."

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; 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.

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. 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 is where you offer your most "original" contributions in the paper; it's where you describe the value of your research, demonstrate your understanding of the material that you’ve presented, and locate your findings within the larger context of scholarship on the topic.

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  • Last Updated: Jul 18, 2023 11:58 AM
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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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a research conclusion does not

So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
  • Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
  • Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection,  Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
  • Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like  60 Minutes .
  • Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
  • Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel  Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

  • Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
  • Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
  • Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Last Updated: May 8, 2024 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 83% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,259,906 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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Research Method

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 Research Paper Conclusion Section

a research conclusion does not

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.

Reference management. Clean and simple.

How to write an excellent thesis conclusion [with examples]

Tips for writing thesis conclusion

Restate the thesis

Review or reiterate key points of your work, explain why your work is relevant, a take-away for the reader, more resources on writing thesis conclusions, frequently asked questions about writing an excellent thesis conclusion, related articles.

At this point in your writing, you have most likely finished your introduction and the body of your thesis, dissertation, or research paper . While this is a reason to celebrate, you should not underestimate the importance of your conclusion. The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable.

A good conclusion will review the key points of the thesis and explain to the reader why the information is relevant, applicable, or related to the world as a whole. Make sure to dedicate enough of your writing time to the conclusion and do not put it off until the very last minute.

This article provides an effective technique for writing a conclusion adapted from Erika Eby’s The College Student's Guide to Writing a Good Research Paper: 101 Easy Tips & Tricks to Make Your Work Stand Out .

While the thesis introduction starts out with broad statements about the topic, and then narrows it down to the thesis statement , a thesis conclusion does the same in the opposite order.

  • Restate the thesis.
  • Review or reiterate key points of your work.
  • Explain why your work is relevant.
  • Include a core take-away message for the reader.

Tip: Don’t just copy and paste your thesis into your conclusion. Restate it in different words.

The best way to start a conclusion is simply by restating the thesis statement. That does not mean just copying and pasting it from the introduction, but putting it into different words.

You will need to change the structure and wording of it to avoid sounding repetitive. Also, be firm in your conclusion just as you were in the introduction. Try to avoid sounding apologetic by using phrases like "This paper has tried to show..."

The conclusion should address all the same parts as the thesis while making it clear that the reader has reached the end. You are telling the reader that your research is finished and what your findings are.

I have argued throughout this work that the point of critical mass for biopolitical immunity occurred during the Romantic period because of that era's unique combination of post-revolutionary politics and innovations in smallpox prevention. In particular, I demonstrated that the French Revolution and the discovery of vaccination in the 1790s triggered a reconsideration of the relationship between bodies and the state.

Tip: Try to reiterate points from your introduction in your thesis conclusion.

The next step is to review the main points of the thesis as a whole. Look back at the body of of your project and make a note of the key ideas. You can reword these ideas the same way you reworded your thesis statement and then incorporate that into the conclusion.

You can also repeat striking quotations or statistics, but do not use more than two. As the conclusion represents your own closing thoughts on the topic , it should mainly consist of your own words.

In addition, conclusions can contain recommendations to the reader or relevant questions that further the thesis. You should ask yourself:

  • What you would ideally like to see your readers do in reaction to your paper?
  • Do you want them to take a certain action or investigate further?
  • Is there a bigger issue that your paper wants to draw attention to?

Also, try to reference your introduction in your conclusion. You have already taken a first step by restating your thesis. Now, check whether there are other key words, phrases or ideas that are mentioned in your introduction that fit into your conclusion. Connecting the introduction to the conclusion in this way will help readers feel satisfied.

I explored how Mary Wollstonecraft, in both her fiction and political writings, envisions an ideal medico-political state, and how other writers like William Wordsworth and Mary Shelley increasingly imagined the body politic literally, as an incorporated political collective made up of bodies whose immunity to political and medical ills was essential to a healthy state.

Tip: Make sure to explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research.

Although you can encourage readers to question their opinions and reflect on your topic, do not leave loose ends. You should provide a sense of resolution and make sure your conclusion wraps up your argument. Make sure you explain why your thesis is relevant to your field of research and how your research intervenes within, or substantially revises, existing scholarly debates.

This project challenged conventional ideas about the relationship among Romanticism, medicine, and politics by reading the unfolding of Romantic literature and biopolitical immunity as mutual, co-productive processes. In doing so, this thesis revises the ways in which biopolitics has been theorized by insisting on the inherent connections between Romantic literature and the forms of biopower that characterize early modernity.

Tip: If you began your thesis with an anecdote or historical example, you may want to return to that in your conclusion.

End your conclusion with something memorable, such as:

  • a call to action
  • a recommendation
  • a gesture towards future research
  • a brief explanation of how the problem or idea you covered remains relevant

Ultimately, you want readers to feel more informed, or ready to act, as they read your conclusion.

Yet, the Romantic period is only the beginning of modern thought on immunity and biopolitics. Victorian writers, doctors, and politicians upheld the Romantic idea that a "healthy state" was a literal condition that could be achieved by combining politics and medicine, but augmented that idea through legislation and widespread public health measures. While many nineteenth-century efforts to improve citizens' health were successful, the fight against disease ultimately changed course in the twentieth century as global immunological threats such as SARS occupied public consciousness. Indeed, as subsequent public health events make apparent, biopolitical immunity persists as a viable concept for thinking about the relationship between medicine and politics in modernity.

Need more advice? Read our 5 additional tips on how to write a good thesis conclusion.

The conclusion is the last thing that your reader will see, so it should be memorable. To write a great thesis conclusion you should:

The basic content of a conclusion is to review the main points from the paper. This part represents your own closing thoughts on the topic. It should mainly consist of the outcome of the research in your own words.

The length of the conclusion will depend on the length of the whole thesis. Usually, a conclusion should be around 5-7% of the overall word count.

End your conclusion with something memorable, such as a question, warning, or call to action. Depending on the topic, you can also end with a recommendation.

In Open Access: Theses and Dissertations you can find thousands of completed works. Take a look at any of the theses or dissertations for real-life examples of conclusions that were already approved.

a research conclusion does not

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Expert Commentary

Don’t say ‘prove’: How to report on the conclusiveness of research findings

This tip sheet explains why it's rarely accurate for news stories to report that a new study proves anything — even when a press release says it does.

research studies don't say prove tip sheet

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by Denise-Marie Ordway, The Journalist's Resource February 13, 2023

This <a target="_blank" href="https://journalistsresource.org/media/dont-say-prove-research-tip-sheet/">article</a> first appeared on <a target="_blank" href="https://journalistsresource.org">The Journalist's Resource</a> and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.<img src="https://journalistsresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cropped-jr-favicon-150x150.png" style="width:1em;height:1em;margin-left:10px;">

When news outlets report that new research studies prove something, they’re almost certainly wrong.

Studies conducted in fields outside of mathematics do not “prove” anything. They find evidence — sometimes, extraordinarily strong evidence.

It’s important journalists understand that science is an ongoing process of collecting and interrogating evidence, with each new discovery building on or raising questions about earlier discoveries. A single research study usually represents one small step toward fully understanding an issue or problem.

Even when scientists have lots of very strong evidence, they rarely claim to have found proof because proof is absolute. To prove something means there is no chance another explanation exists.

“Even a modest familiarity with the history of science offers many examples of matters that scientists thought they had resolved, only to discover that they needed to be reconsidered,” Naomi Oreskes , a professor of the history of science at Harvard University, writes in a July 2021 essay in Scientific American. “Some familiar examples are Earth as the center of the universe, the absolute nature of time and space, the stability of continents, and the cause of infectious disease.”

Oreskes points out in her 2004 paper “ Science and Public Policy: What’s Proof Got To Do With It? ” that “proof — at least in an absolute sense — is a theoretical ideal, available in geometry class but not in real life.”

Math scholars routinely rely on logic to try to prove something beyond any doubt. What sets mathematicians apart from other scientists is their use of mathematical proofs, a step-by-step argument written using words, symbols and diagrams to convince another mathematician that a given statement is true, explains Steven G. Krantz , a professor of mathematics and statistics at Washington University in St. Louis.

“It is proof that is our device for establishing the absolute and irrevocable truth of statements in our subject,” he writes in “ The History and Concept of Mathematical Proof .” “This is the reason that we can depend on mathematics that was done by Euclid 2300 years ago as readily as we believe in the mathematics that is done today. No other discipline can make such an assertion.”

If you’re still unsure how to describe the conclusiveness of research findings, keep reading. These four tips will help you get it right.

1. Avoid reporting that a research study or group of studies “proves” something — even if a press release says so.

Press releases announcing new research often exaggerate or minimize findings, academic studies have found . Some mistakenly state researchers have proven something they haven’t.

The KSJ Science Editing Handbook urges journalists to read press releases carefully. The handbook, a project of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT , features guidance and insights from some of the world’s most talented science writers and editors.

“Press releases that are unaccompanied by journal publications rarely offer any data and, by definition, offer a biased view of the findings’ value,” according to the handbook, which also warns journalists to “never presume that everything in them is accurate or complete.”

Any claim that researchers in any field outside mathematics have proven something should raise a red flag for journalists, says Barbara Gastel , a professor of integrative biosciences, humanities in medicine, and biotechnology at Texas A&M University.

She says journalists need to evaluate the research themselves.

“Read the full paper,” says Gastel, who’s also director of Texas A&M University’s master’s degree program in science and technology journalism . “Don’t go only on the news release. Don’t go only on the abstract to get a full sense of how strong the evidence is. Read the full paper and be ready to ask some questions — sometimes, hard questions — of the researchers.”

2. Use language that correctly conveys the strength of the evidence that a research study or group of studies provides.

Researchers investigate an issue or problem to better understand it and build on what earlier research has found. While studies usually unearth new information, it’s seldom enough to reach definitive conclusions.

When reporting on a study or group of studies, journalists should choose words that accurately convey the level of confidence researchers have in the findings, says Glenn Branch , deputy director of the nonprofit National Center for Science Education , which studies how public schools, museums and other organizations communicate about science.

For example, don’t say a study “establishes” certain facts or “settles” a longstanding question when it simply “suggests” something is true or “offers clues” about some aspect of the subject being examined.

Branch urges journalists to pay close attention to the language researchers use in academic articles. Scientists typically express themselves in degrees of confidence, he notes. He suggests journalists check out the guidance on communicating levels of certainty across disciplines offered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , created by the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization to help governments understand, adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“The IPCC guidance is probably the most well-developed system for consistently reporting the degree of confidence in scientific results, so it, or something like it, may start to become the gold standard,” Branch wrote via email.

Gastel says it is important journalists know that even though research in fields outside mathematics do not prove anything, a group of studies, together, can provide evidence so strong it gets close to proof.

It can provide “overwhelming evidence, particularly if there are multiple well-designed studies that point in the same direction,” she says.

To convey very high levels of confidence, journalists can use phrases such as “researchers are all but certain” and “researchers have as much confidence as possible in this area of inquiry.”

Another way to gauge levels of certainty: Find out whether scholars have reached a scientific consensus ,  or a collective position based on their interpretation of the evidence.

Independent scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Medical Association issue consensus statements on various topics, typically to communicate either scientific consensus or the collective opinion of a convened panel of subject experts.

3. When reporting on a single study, explain what it contributes to the body of knowledge on that given topic and whether the evidence, as a whole, leans in a certain direction. 

Many people are unfamiliar with the scientific process, so they need journalists’ help understanding how a single research study fits into the larger landscape of scholarship on an issue or problem. Tell audiences what, if anything, researchers can say about the issue or problem with a high level of certainty after considering all the evidence, together.

A great resource for journalists trying to put a study into context: editorials published in academic journals. Some journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA , the journal of the American Medical Association, sometimes publish an editorial about a new paper along with the paper, Gastel notes.

Editorials, typically written by one or more scholars who were not involved in the study but have deep expertise in the field, can help journalists gauge the importance of a paper and its contributions.

“I find that is really handy,” Gastel adds.

4. Review headlines closely before they are published. And read our tip sheet on avoiding mistakes in headlines about health and medical research.

Editors, especially those who are not familiar with the process of scientific inquiry, can easily make mistakes when writing or changing headlines about research. And a bad headline can derail a reporter’s best efforts to cover research accurately.

To prevent errors, Gastel recommends reporters submit suggested headlines with their stories. She also recommends they review their story’s headline right before it is published.

Another good idea: Editors, including copy editors, could make a habit of consulting with reporters on news headlines about research, science and other technical topics. Together, they can choose the most accurate language and decide whether to ever use the word ‘prove.’

Gastel and Branch agree that editors would benefit from science journalism training, particularly as it relates to reporting on health and medicine. Headlines making erroneous claims about the effectiveness of certain drugs and treatments can harm the public. So can headlines claiming researchers have “proven” what causes or prevents health conditions such as cancer, dementia and schizophrenia.

Our tip sheet on headline writing addresses this and other issues.

“’Prove’ is a short, snappy word, so it works in a headline — but it’s usually wrong,” says Branch. “Headline writers need to be as aware of this as the journalists are.”

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Denise-Marie Ordway

Limitations of Research Study: Everything You Need to Know

Table of contents

  • 1 Defining Limitations in Qualitative Research
  • 2.1 Limitations may lead to potentially biased observational studies
  • 2.2 How to address limitations in research?
  • 3 Impact of Study Limitations on Research Outcomes: How to Find Limitations of a Study
  • 4.1 Limited Access to Outstanding Future Study

Research for academic purposes is always challenging and requires much prep. This includes careful research design and an understanding of experiment limitations. Even though you have analyzed and prepared things, the results may still differ.

There are many reasons for this, and one of the main reasons is limitations in research. Unfortunately, a study can’t consider all options or circumstances at once. For example, you are studying how nutrition affects student performance. But you are not considering each student’s traits, routines, relationships, weather, age, and so on.

The study must include confounding factors in its conclusions and results, which can distort the final result. This article will help you understand the strengths and limitations of research and guide you on how to consider them. This is when you reach valid conclusions and plan future investigations.

Defining Limitations in Qualitative Research

What are limitations in research? Many factors confound the study, including its reliability, validity, and generalizability. These can limit the research problem. Internal limitations are constraints within the researcher’s control, including sample bias or method flaws. But external research limits come from factors like population or environmental factors. They are beyond the researcher’s control.

The limitations of research studies are significant in defining the scope of research inquiry. It outlines the results’ extent and meaning. It finds areas where the outcome might be less reliable or relevant.

Acknowledging and writing limits fosters honesty. It reminds researchers and readers of science’s complexity and uncertainties. Researchers can improve methods. They do this by understanding and fixing limitations in a research paper. It helps to interpret research findings more. This advances knowledge in their fields and literature review.

If you need help with writing a research paper , our writing service is ready to assist you.

Common Limitations of Research Studies

In general, there are four types of limitations in a research study:

Limitations may lead to potentially biased observational studies

Many things can become limitations in a dissertation. They affect the study’s reliability, internal and external validity, and generalizability. However, the research method impacts the whole study.

The dissertation has methodological limitations. These include problems in the study’s design and execution and constraints. Simple limitation examples: a small sample size can weaken statistical power. Flaws in prior research design can also hurt the study’s validity.

Collecting precise and complete data in the scientific literature is hard. These challenges are known as data collection limitations in research. The study’s limitations can come from measurement errors. These errors are caused by imperfect tools or human error. They lead to inaccuracies in the data. Also, response bias comes from participants’ tendency to answer in socially desirable ways.  It can distort results and hurt the study’s credibility.

A study’s limited resources can be a big obstacle for research. For instance, time constraints may require shorter periods, which can curtail the breadth and depth of the study’s findings. When funds are limited, researchers may lack resources for good methods or thorough analyses. This further hinders research.

External validity limits research. It refers to how well a study’s conclusions apply to contexts beyond where it was conducted. Factors like the study population or setting have distinct characteristics. They can make extending the findings to other groups or places hard.

How to address limitations in research?

It is essential for researchers to be aware of common research limitations and to plan their research process. They need to know their topic and know the limitations in research examples. Identifying limits in their research paper helps researchers. It can cut flaws, improve data collection, and save resources. They can also judge how their findings apply. Acknowledging these limits can help researchers. It can increase the credibility and impact of their results. This fosters more confidence in their findings. It is in the scientific community and in future research. If you struggle with the limitation, ask for help with research paper .

Impact of Study Limitations on Research Outcomes: How to Find Limitations of a Study

Methodological limitations can compromise research results. These include small sample sizes and flawed research designs. These possible limitations of the study increase the likelihood of chance findings or bias. Similarly, limits on data collection cause inaccuracies. They come from things like response bias or measurement errors and can distort data. These problems harm the validity of the findings.

Unsolved limitations and a lack of research examples greatly affect how we interpret and use study results. Without mitigation, researchers risk drawing wrong conclusions and overgeneralizing findings. For instance, a scientific study may have limited external validity. Its findings may not represent the broader population or apply to different contexts, leading to misguided information in the existing literature or interventions.

Case studies provide valuable insights into the real-world effects of those examples of limitations of a study. For instance, a study may aim to test a new medication. But, it may face limits on resources. These limits could lead to a small sample size and low statistical power. As a result, the study may fail to detect the drug’s subtle, yet clinically significant effects. This could lead to wrong conclusions about its effectiveness. Presenting limitations and alternative approaches is part of the methods section and discussion.

Consider another scenario where a survey aims to investigate public opinion on a social issue. However, the research topic itself may lead to response bias, potentially creating limitations in a study. Ignoring such limits could lead to distorted findings. It would misrepresent the beliefs and attitudes of the surveyed people. This would damage the study’s credibility. So, admitting research’s limits is crucial. The impact of these limits on results is clear. It shows the importance of careful methods and clear reporting. Researchers can improve their findings’ trustworthiness.

They can do this by finding and fixing limitations. In doing so, they can ensure that their research contributes greatly to advancing knowledge. It also informs evidence-based decision-making in future research. If you need help, our writing service specialists will gladly assist you.

Strategies for Addressing and Presenting Studies Limitations

We must acknowledge the limits of the research if we want to keep academic papers authentic and reliable. Below are a few tactics to accomplish this:

  • Transparent Reporting : Researchers should openly acknowledge and describe limitations in their academic publications. Transparently reported findings let readers evaluate their credibility and accuracy, which promotes further investigations.
  • Sensitivity analyses are essential in research writing. They examine the potential limitations of a study. By changing key parameters or assumptions, researchers can check the strength of their findings. They can also find any sources of bias or uncertainty.
  • We recommend using various methods or data sources . This will improve the trust and accuracy of research conclusions. By using all the results, researchers can avoid relying on one method. This helps lessen the impact of method problems on study outcomes.
  • Working with teams of people from different disciplines can beat resource limits . It also expands the toolkit available to researchers. By sharing expertise and resources across fields, researchers can do better research. They can also fix limitations.
  • Considering alternatives will lessen the impact of limits on study conclusions . Researchers should carefully assess and analyze other explanations or interpretations of results. Considering other ideas is crucial. It ensures the findings are robust. They won’t depend only on specific methods or assumptions.

In the future, researchers can use strategies to find limits. They can then fix and cut them in qualitative research. This will ensure their findings are reliable, valid, and credible. It involves a clear understanding of limitations vs implications. Also, being clear about limitations in writing fosters trust. It makes the scientific community more confident. Researchers should communicate any limitations in the discussion section and research limitations section. So, the importance of limitations in research is hard to overestimate.

Limited Access to Outstanding Future Study

Accepting and addressing limits is not a sign of weakness. It is a testament to the difficulty and honesty of science. They can do this by reporting limits in past studies. They can also do this by doing sensitivity analyses and working with other fields. They should also consider alternative explanations. Over these efforts, we can create a culture of humility, transparency, and confidence. This will ensure that research findings add to our understanding. They will do so in a meaningful way. Embracing limits when you write becomes a pathway to better integrity and knowledge.

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Research: What Companies Don’t Know About How Workers Use AI

  • Jeremie Brecheisen

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Three Gallup studies shed light on when and why AI is being used at work — and how employees and customers really feel about it.

Leaders who are exploring how AI might fit into their business operations must not only navigate a vast and ever-changing landscape of tools, but they must also facilitate a significant cultural shift within their organizations. But research shows that leaders do not fully understand their employees’ use of, and readiness for, AI. In addition, a significant number of Americans do not trust business’ use of AI. This article offers three recommendations for leaders to find the right balance of control and trust around AI, including measuring how their employees currently use AI, cultivating trust by empowering managers, and adopting a purpose-led AI strategy that is driven by the company’s purpose instead of a rules-heavy strategy that is driven by fear.

If you’re a leader who wants to shift your workforce toward using AI, you need to do more than manage the implementation of new technologies. You need to initiate a profound cultural shift. At the heart of this cultural shift is trust. Whether the use case for AI is brief and experimental or sweeping and significant, a level of trust must exist between leaders and employees for the initiative to have any hope of success.

  • Jeremie Brecheisen is a partner and managing director of The Gallup CHRO Roundtable.

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Does ejaculating often reduce your risk of prostate cancer?

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Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry, Sheffield Hallam University

Disclosure statement

Daniel Kelly does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Sheffield Hallam University provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

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In terms of men’s health issues, prostate cancer features high on the agenda. It’s the second most diagnosed cancer in men globally – closely followed by lung cancer. And it’s the most common cancer in men in the UK.

As the prostate is a reproductive organ with its main job being to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm in ejaculate – researchers have long questioned the effect of sexual factors on a man’s prostate cancer risk. Specifically, does ejaculation protect against prostate cancer risk?

Interestingly, there is some evidence that supports this idea. A recent review looking at all the relevant medical investigations taking place over the last 33 years showed that seven out of the 11 studies reported some beneficial effect of ejaculation frequency on prostate cancer risk.

Although the mechanisms are not completely understood, these studies fit with the idea that ejaculation can reduce prostate cancer by decreasing the concentration of toxins and crystal-like structures that can accumulate in the prostate and potentially cause tumours.

Similarly, ejaculation may alter the immune response within the prostate reducing inflammation – a known risk factor for cancer development – or by increasing immune defence against tumour cells.

Alternatively, by reducing psychological tension ejaculation may lower the activity of the nervous system which then prevents certain prostate cells from dividing too rapidly and increasing the chance of them becoming cancerous.

Despite these suggested mechanisms, in the research implying ejaculation is protective, it appears that specifics are important.

Age plays its part. Sometimes frequency of ejaculation was only protective at ages 20-29 , or 30-39 , and sometimes only in later life (50s and older) and actually increased the risk in younger life (20s).

Other times, ejaculation in adolescence (when the prostate is still developing and maturing) had the greatest impact on the risk of prostate cancer decades later.

But how frequent is frequent? Well, very frequent in some cases.

A study from Harvard University found that men who ejaculated 21 or more times a month enjoyed a 31% lower risk of prostate cancer compared with men who reported four to seven ejaculations per month across their lifetimes.

Similar findings have come from Australia where prostate cancer is 36% less likely to be diagnosed before the age of 70 in men who averaged about five to seven ejaculations a week compared with men who ejaculated less than two to three times a week.

Other research has a much more modest view with greater than four per month being the ejaculation frequency to give protective effects in some age groups and patients.

No firm conclusion

Drawing overall conclusions from this research is difficult, especially when the studies differ so much in the way they were conducted.

Factors like the varied populations of men investigated, the numbers of men included in the analyses, and differences in the way ejaculation frequency is measured (whether this includes intercourse, masturbation and unprompted release usually at night) can all cloud the picture.

In fact, measurement of ejaculation frequency relies on self-reporting and often from many years and decades ago. So this is an estimate at best and can be biased by attitudes, both personal and societal, towards sexual activity and masturbation potentially leading to both over- and under-reporting.

There may also be a bias in the detection of prostate tumours with highly sexually active men delaying or not going to the hospital for the fear that cancer treatment may stop their sexual activity. These men with high ejaculation frequency may therefore actually have prostate cancer that goes unreported in these studies.

It is also possible that ejaculation may not guard against prostate cancer and the links may be due to other factors. For example, men who ejaculate more often might have healthier lifestyles that lower their chances of being diagnosed with cancer.

Reduced ejaculation frequency is related to increased body mass index (BMI), reduced physical activity and divorce – all factors related to poorer general health that in turn may contribute to cancer development.

Young man exercising

Testosterone may be important

Testosterone, the main male sex hormone, is also a crucial part of the picture.

It is well known to increase sex drive, so a man with low levels of testosterone may not have the same desire for sexual activity leading to ejaculation as a man with higher levels.

Contrary to early opinions that high testosterone levels in men raise prostate cancer risk, the current view suggests that not only does it not elevate this risk, it is actually low testosterone concentrations that increase risk . This is particularly true for men with existing prostate cancer who have a worse disease outcome when their testosterone is low.

So it may be testosterone reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer and additionally driving their motivation for sexual activity.

Despite this, most studies do not measure testosterone levels and, at best, only recognise it as a possible influencing factor. One study that did measure the male sex hormone found that men who ejaculated frequently had higher testosterone levels. And it was these men who also had a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

There are benefits of sexual activity and ejaculation beyond the prostate including positive effects on the heart, brain, immune system, sleep and mood. So while the link between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer is not fully understood and there is a real need for more research, frequent ejaculation (within reason) will certainly do no harm, probably does good and should therefore form part of a man’s healthy lifestyle.

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  • About Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Risk and Protective Factors
  • Program: Essentials for Childhood: Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences through Data to Action
  • Adverse childhood experiences can have long-term impacts on health, opportunity and well-being.
  • Adverse childhood experiences are common and some groups experience them more than others.

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What are adverse childhood experiences?

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). Examples include: 1

  • Experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect.
  • Witnessing violence in the home or community.
  • Having a family member attempt or die by suicide.

Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding. Examples can include growing up in a household with: 1

  • Substance use problems.
  • Mental health problems.
  • Instability due to parental separation.
  • Instability due to household members being in jail or prison.

The examples above are not a complete list of adverse experiences. Many other traumatic experiences could impact health and well-being. This can include not having enough food to eat, experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, or experiencing discrimination. 2 3 4 5 6

Quick facts and stats

ACEs are common. About 64% of adults in the United States reported they had experienced at least one type of ACE before age 18. Nearly one in six (17.3%) adults reported they had experienced four or more types of ACEs. 7

Preventing ACEs could potentially reduce many health conditions. Estimates show up to 1.9 million heart disease cases and 21 million depression cases potentially could have been avoided by preventing ACEs. 1

Some people are at greater risk of experiencing one or more ACEs than others. While all children are at risk of ACEs, numerous studies show inequities in such experiences. These inequalities are linked to the historical, social, and economic environments in which some families live. 5 6 ACEs were highest among females, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native adults, and adults who are unemployed or unable to work. 7

ACEs are costly. ACEs-related health consequences cost an estimated economic burden of $748 billion annually in Bermuda, Canada, and the United States. 8

ACEs can have lasting effects on health and well-being in childhood and life opportunities well into adulthood. 9 Life opportunities include things like education and job potential. These experiences can increase the risks of injury, sexually transmitted infections, and involvement in sex trafficking. They can also increase risks for maternal and child health problems including teen pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and fetal death. Also included are a range of chronic diseases and leading causes of death, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide. 1 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

ACEs and associated social determinants of health, such as living in under-resourced or racially segregated neighborhoods, can cause toxic stress. Toxic stress, or extended or prolonged stress, from ACEs can negatively affect children’s brain development, immune systems, and stress-response systems. These changes can affect children’s attention, decision-making, and learning. 18

Children growing up with toxic stress may have difficulty forming healthy and stable relationships. They may also have unstable work histories as adults and struggle with finances, jobs, and depression throughout life. 18 These effects can also be passed on to their own children. 19 20 21 Some children may face further exposure to toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas. These historical and ongoing traumas refer to experiences of racial discrimination or the impacts of poverty resulting from limited educational and economic opportunities. 1 6

Adverse childhood experiences can be prevented. Certain factors may increase or decrease the risk of experiencing adverse childhood experiences.

Preventing adverse childhood experiences requires understanding and addressing the factors that put people at risk for or protect them from violence.

Creating safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children can prevent ACEs and help all children reach their full potential. We all have a role to play.

  • Merrick MT, Ford DC, Ports KA, et al. Vital Signs: Estimated Proportion of Adult Health Problems Attributable to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Implications for Prevention — 25 States, 2015–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:999-1005. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6844e1 .
  • Cain KS, Meyer SC, Cummer E, Patel KK, Casacchia NJ, Montez K, Palakshappa D, Brown CL. Association of Food Insecurity with Mental Health Outcomes in Parents and Children. Science Direct. 2022; 22:7; 1105-1114. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.04.010 .
  • Smith-Grant J, Kilmer G, Brener N, Robin L, Underwood M. Risk Behaviors and Experiences Among Youth Experiencing Homelessness—Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 23 U.S. States and 11 Local School Districts. Journal of Community Health. 2022; 47: 324-333.
  • Experiencing discrimination: Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Impacts of Racism on the Foundations of Health | Annual Review of Public Health https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-090419-101940 .
  • Sedlak A, Mettenburg J, Basena M, et al. Fourth national incidence study of child abuse and neglect (NIS-4): Report to Congress. Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health an Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.; 2010.
  • Font S, Maguire-Jack K. Pathways from childhood abuse and other adversities to adult health risks: The role of adult socioeconomic conditions. Child Abuse Negl. 2016;51:390-399.
  • Swedo EA, Aslam MV, Dahlberg LL, et al. Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences Among U.S. Adults — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2011–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:707–715. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7226a2 .
  • Bellis, MA, et al. Life Course Health Consequences and Associated Annual Costs of Adverse Childhood Experiences Across Europe and North America: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Lancet Public Health 2019.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Associations with Poor Mental Health and Suicidal Behaviors Among High School Students — Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, United States, January–June 2021 | MMWR
  • Hillis SD, Anda RF, Dube SR, Felitti VJ, Marchbanks PA, Marks JS. The association between adverse childhood experiences and adolescent pregnancy, long-term psychosocial consequences, and fetal death. Pediatrics. 2004 Feb;113(2):320-7.
  • Miller ES, Fleming O, Ekpe EE, Grobman WA, Heard-Garris N. Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology . 2021;138(5):770-776. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000004570 .
  • Sulaiman S, Premji SS, Tavangar F, et al. Total Adverse Childhood Experiences and Preterm Birth: A Systematic Review. Matern Child Health J . 2021;25(10):1581-1594. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-021-03176-6 .
  • Ciciolla L, Shreffler KM, Tiemeyer S. Maternal Childhood Adversity as a Risk for Perinatal Complications and NICU Hospitalization. Journal of Pediatric Psychology . 2021;46(7):801-813. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsab027 .
  • Mersky JP, Lee CP. Adverse childhood experiences and poor birth outcomes in a diverse, low-income sample. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2019;19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2560-8 .
  • Reid JA, Baglivio MT, Piquero AR, Greenwald MA, Epps N. No youth left behind to human trafficking: Exploring profiles of risk. American journal of orthopsychiatry. 2019;89(6):704.
  • Diamond-Welch B, Kosloski AE. Adverse childhood experiences and propensity to participate in the commercialized sex market. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2020 Jun 1;104:104468.
  • Shonkoff, J. P., Garner, A. S., Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, & Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232–e246. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-2663
  • Narayan AJ, Kalstabakken AW, Labella MH, Nerenberg LS, Monn AR, Masten AS. Intergenerational continuity of adverse childhood experiences in homeless families: unpacking exposure to maltreatment versus family dysfunction. Am J Orthopsych. 2017;87(1):3. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000133 .
  • Schofield TJ, Donnellan MB, Merrick MT, Ports KA, Klevens J, Leeb R. Intergenerational continuity in adverse childhood experiences and rural community environments. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(9):1148-1152. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304598 .
  • Schofield TJ, Lee RD, Merrick MT. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships as a moderator of intergenerational continuity of child maltreatment: a meta-analysis. J Adolesc Health. 2013;53(4 Suppl):S32-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.05.004 .

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

ACEs can have a tremendous impact on lifelong health and opportunity. CDC works to understand ACEs and prevent them.

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  • Apple cider vinegar for weight management in Lebanese adolescents and young adults with overweight and obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
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  • http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0214-242X Rony Abou-Khalil 1 ,
  • Jeanne Andary 2 and
  • Elissar El-Hayek 1
  • 1 Department of Biology , Holy Spirit University of Kaslik , Jounieh , Lebanon
  • 2 Nutrition and Food Science Department , American University of Science and Technology , Beirut , Lebanon
  • Correspondence to Dr Rony Abou-Khalil, Department of Biology, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon; ronyaboukhalil{at}usek.edu.lb

Background and aims Obesity and overweight have become significant health concerns worldwide, leading to an increased interest in finding natural remedies for weight reduction. One such remedy that has gained popularity is apple cider vinegar (ACV).

Objective To investigate the effects of ACV consumption on weight, blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels in a sample of the Lebanese population.

Materials and methods 120 overweight and obese individuals were recruited. Participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention group receiving 5, 10 or 15 mL of ACV or a control group receiving a placebo (group 4) over a 12-week period. Measurements of anthropometric parameters, fasting blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels were taken at weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12.

Results Our findings showed that daily consumption of the three doses of ACV for a duration of between 4 and 12 weeks is associated with significant reductions in anthropometric variables (weight, body mass index, waist/hip circumferences and body fat ratio), blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. No significant risk factors were observed during the 12 weeks of ACV intake.

Conclusion Consumption of ACV in people with overweight and obesity led to an improvement in the anthropometric and metabolic parameters. ACV could be a promising antiobesity supplement that does not produce any side effects.

  • Weight management
  • Lipid lowering

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ .

https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjnph-2023-000823

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WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ON THIS TOPIC

Recently, there has been increasing interest in alternative remedies to support weight management, and one such remedy that has gained popularity is apple cider vinegar (ACV).

A few small-scale studies conducted on humans have shown promising results, with ACV consumption leading to weight loss, reduced body fat and decreased waist circumference.

WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS

No study has been conducted to investigate the potential antiobesity effect of ACV in the Lebanese population. By conducting research in this demographic, the study provides region-specific data and offers a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of ACV on weight loss and metabolic health.

HOW THIS STUDY MIGHT AFFECT RESEARCH, PRACTICE OR POLICY

The results might contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the use of ACV as a dietary intervention in the management of obesity.

The study could stimulate further research in the field, prompting scientists to explore the underlying mechanisms and conduct similar studies in other populations.

Introduction

Obesity is a growing global health concern characterised by excessive body fat accumulation, often resulting from a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. 1 It is associated with an increased risk of numerous chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, several common cancers and osteoarthritis. 1–3

According to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight worldwide in 2016, of whom more than 650 million were obese. 4 Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. 4 The World Obesity Federation’s 2023 Atlas predicts that by 2035 more than half of the world’s population will be overweight or obese. 5

According to the 2022 Global Nutrition Report, Lebanon has made limited progress towards meeting its diet-related non-communicable diseases target. A total of 39.9% of adult (aged ≥18 years) women and 30.5% of adult men are living with obesity. Lebanon’s obesity prevalence is higher than the regional average of 10.3% for women and 7.5% for men. 6 In Lebanon, obesity was considered as the most important health problem by 27.6% and ranked fifth after cancer, cardiovascular, smoking and HIV/AIDS. 7

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in alternative remedies to support weight management, and one such remedy that has gained popularity is apple cider vinegar (ACV), which is a type of vinegar made by fermenting apple juice. ACV contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and polyphenols such as flavonoids, which are believed to contribute to its potential health benefits. 8 9

It has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for various ailments and has recently gained attention for its potential role in weight management.

In hypercaloric-fed rats, the daily consumption of ACV showed a lower rise in blood sugar and lipid profile. 10 In addition, ACV seems to decrease oxidative stress and reduces the risk of obesity in male rats with high-fat consumption. 11

A few small-scale studies conducted on humans have shown promising results, with ACV consumption leading to weight loss, reduced body fat and decreased waist circumference. 12 13 In fact, It has been suggested that ACV by slowing down gastric emptying, might promote satiety and reduce appetite. 14–16 Furthermore, ACV intake seems to ameliorate the glycaemic and lipid profile in healthy adults 17 and might have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. 8 10 18

Unfortunately, the sample sizes and durations of these studies were limited, necessitating larger and longer-term studies for more robust conclusions.

This work aims to study the efficacy and safety of ACV in reducing weight and ameliorating the lipid and glycaemic profiles in a sample of overweight and obese adolescents and young adults of the Lebanese population. To the best of our knowledge, no study has been conducted to investigate the potential antiobesity effect of ACV in the Lebanese population.

Materials and methods

Participants.

A total of 120 overweight and obese adolescents and young adults (46 men and 74 women) were enrolled in the study and assigned to either placebo group or experimental groups (receiving increasing doses of ACV).

The subjects were evaluated for eligibility according to the following inclusion criteria: age between 12 and 25 years, BMIs between 27 and 34 kg/m 2 , no chronic diseases, no intake of medications, no intake of ACV over the past 8 weeks prior to the beginning of the study. The subjects who met the inclusion criteria were selected by convenient sampling technique. Those who experienced heartburn due to vinegar were excluded.

Demographic, clinical data and eating habits were collected from all participants by self-administered questionnaire.

Study design

This study was a double-blind, randomised clinical trial conducted for 12 weeks.

Subjects were divided randomly into four groups: three treatment groups and a placebo group. A simple randomisation method was employed using the randomisation allocation software. Groups 1, 2 and 3 consumed 5, 10 and 15 mL, respectively, of ACV (containing 5% of acetic acid) diluted in 250 mL of water daily, in the morning on an empty stomach, for 12 weeks. The control group received a placebo consisting of water with similar taste and appearance. In order to mimic the taste of vinegar, the placebo group’s beverage (250 mL of water) contained lactic acid (250 mg/100 mL). Identical-looking ACV and placebo bottles were used and participants were instructed to consume their assigned solution without knowing its identity. The subject’s group assignment was withheld from the researchers performing the experiment.

Subjects consumed their normal diets throughout the study. The contents of daily meals and snacks were recorded in a diet diary. The physical activity of the subjects was also recorded. Daily individual phone messages were sent to all participants to remind them to take the ACV or the placebo. A mailing group was also created. Confidentiality was maintained throughout the procedure.

At weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12, anthropometric measurements were taken for all participants, and the level of glucose, triglycerides and total cholesterol was assessed by collecting 5 mL of fasting blood from each subject.

Anthropometric measurements

Body weight was measured in kg, to the nearest 0.01 kg, by standardised and calibrated digital scale. Height was measured in cm, to the nearest 0.1 cm, by a stadiometer. Anthropometric measurements were taken for all participants, by a team of trained field researchers, after 10–12 hours fast and while wearing only undergarments.

Body mass indices (BMIs) were calculated using the following equation:

The waist circumference measurement was taken between the lowest rib margin and the iliac crest while the subject was in a standing position (to the nearest 0.1 cm). Hip circumference was measured at the widest point of the hip (to the nearest 0.1 cm).

The body fat ratio (BFR) was measured by the bioelectrical impedance analysis method (OMRON Fat Loss Monitor, Model No HBF-306C; Japan). Anthropometric variables are shown in table 1 .

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Baseline demographic, anthropometric and biochemical variables of the three apple cider vinegar groups (group 1, 2 and 3) and the placebo group (group 4)

Blood biochemical analysis

Serum glucose was measured by the glucose oxidase method. 19 Triglyceride levels were determined using a serum triglyceride determination kit (TR0100, Sigma-Aldrich). Cholesterol levels were determined using a cholesterol quantitation kit (MAK043, Sigma-Aldrich). Biochemical variables are shown in table 1 .

Statistical methods and data analysis

Data are presented as mean±SD. Statistical analyses were performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software (version 23.0). Significant differences between groups were determined by using an independent t-test. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the research ethics committee (REC) of the Higher Centre for Research (HCR) at The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon. The number/ID of the approval is HCR/EC 2023–005. The participants were informed of the study objectives and signed a written informed consent before enrolment. The study was conducted in accordance to the International Conference and Harmonisation E6 Guideline for Good Clinical Practice and the Ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Sociodemographic, nutritional and other baseline characteristics of the participants

A total of 120 individuals (46 men and 74 women) with BMIs between 27 and 34 kg/m 2 , were enrolled in the study. The mean age of the subjects was 17.8±5.7 years and 17.6±5.4 years in the placebo and experimental groups respectively.

The majority of participants, approximately 98.3%, were non-vegetarian and 89% of them reported having a high eating frequency, with more than four meals per day. Eighty-seven per cent had no family history of obesity and 98% had no history of childhood obesity. The majority reported not having a regular exercise routine and experiencing negative emotions or anxiety. All participants were non-smokers and non-drinkers. A small percentage (6.7%) were following a therapeutic diet.

Effects of ACV intake on anthropometric variables

The addition of 5 mL, 10 mL or 15 mL of ACV to the diet resulted in significant decreases in body weight and BMI at weeks 4, 8 and 12 of ACV intake, when compared with baseline (week 0) (p<0.05). The decrease in body weight and BMI seemed to be dose-dependent, with the group receiving 15 mL of ACV showing the most important reduction ( table 2 ).

Anthropometric variables of the participants at weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12

The impact of ACV on body weight and BMI seems to be time-dependent as well. Reductions were more pronounced as the study progressed, with the most significant changes occurring at week 12.

The circumferences of the waist and hip, along with the Body Fat Ratio (BFR), decreased significantly in the three treatment groups at weeks 8 and 12 compared with week 0 (p<0.05). No significant effect was observed at week 4, compared with baseline (p>0.05). The effect of ACV on these parameters seems to be time-dependent with the most prominent effect observed at week 12 compared with week 4 and 8. However it does not seem to be dose dependent, as the three doses of ACV showed a similar level of efficacy in reducing the circumferences of the waist/hip circumferences and the BFR at week 8 and 12, compared with baseline ( table 2 ).

The placebo group did not experience any significant changes in the anthropometric variables throughout the study (p>0.05). This highlights that the observed improvements in body weight, BMI, waist and hip circumferences and Body Fat Ratio were likely attributed to the consumption of ACV.

Effects of ACV on blood biochemical parameters

The consumption of ACV also led to a time and dose dependent decrease in serum glucose, serum triglyceride and serum cholesterol levels. ( table 3 ).

Biochemical variables of the participants at weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12

Serum glucose levels decreased significantly by three doses of ACV at week 4, 8 and 12 compared with week 0 (p<0.05) ( table 3 ). Triglycerides and total cholesterol levels decreased significantly at weeks 8 and 12, compared with week 0 (p<0.05). A dose of 15 mL of ACV for a duration of 12 weeks seems to be the most effective dose in reducing these three blood biochemical parameters.

There were no changes in glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the placebo groups at weeks 4, 8 and 12 compared with week 0 ( table 3 ).

These data suggest that continued intake of 15 mL of ACV for more than 8 weeks is effective in reducing blood fasting sugar, triglyceride and total cholesterol levels in overweight/obese people.

Adverse reactions of ACV

No apparent adverse or harmful effects were reported by the participants during the 12 weeks of ACV intake.

During the past two decades of the last century, childhood and adolescent obesity have dramatically increased healthcare costs. 20 21 Diet and exercise are the basic elements of weight loss. Many complementary therapies have been promoted to treat obesity, but few are truly beneficial.

The present study is the first to investigate the antiobesity effectiveness of ACV, the fermented juice from crushed apples, in the Lebanese population.

A total of 120 overweight and obese adolescents and young adults (46 men and 74 women) with BMIs between 27 and 34 kg/m 2 , were enrolled. Participants were randomised to receive either a daily dose of ACV (5, 10 or 15 mL) or a placebo for a duration of 12 weeks.

Some previous studies have suggested that taking ACV before or with meals might help to reduce postprandial blood sugar levels, 22 23 but in our study, participants took ACV in the morning on an empty stomach. The choice of ACV intake timing was motivated by the aim to study the impact of apple cider vinegar without the confounding variables introduced by simultaneous food intake. In addition, taking ACV before meals could better reduce appetite and increase satiety.

Our findings reveal that the consumption of ACV in people with overweight and obesity led to an improvement in the anthropometric and metabolic parameters.

It is important to note that the diet diary and physical activity did not differ among the three treatment groups and the placebo throughout the whole study, suggesting that the decrease in anthropometric and biochemical parameters was caused by ACV intake.

Studies conducted on animal models often attribute these effects to various mechanisms, including increased energy expenditure, improved insulin sensitivity, appetite and satiety regulation.

While vinegar is composed of various ingredients, its primary component is acetic acid (AcOH). It has been shown that after 15 min of oral ingestion of 100 mL vinegar containing 0.75 g acetic acid, the serum acetate levels increases from 120 µmol/L at baseline to 350 µmol/L 24 ; this fast increase in circulatory acetate is due to its fast absorption in the upper digestive tract. 24 25

Biological action of acetate may be mediated by binding to the G-protein coupled receptors (GPRs), including GPR43 and GPR41. 25 These receptors are expressed in various insulin-sensitive tissues, such as adipose tissue, 26 skeletal muscle, liver, 27 and pancreatic beta cells, 28 but also in the small intestine and colon. 29 30

Yamashita and colleagues have revealed that oral administration of AcOH to type 2 diabetic Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty rats, improves glucose tolerance and reduces lipid accumulation in the adipose tissue and liver. This improvement in obesity-linked type 2 diabetes is due to the capacity of AcOH to inhibit the activity of carbohydrate-responsive, element-binding protein, a transcription factor involved in regulating the expression of lipogenic genes such as fatty acid synthase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase. 26 31 Sakakibara and colleagues, have reported that AcOH, besides inhibiting lipogenesis, reduces the expression of genes involved in gluconeogenesis, such as glucose-6-phosphatase. 32 The effect of AcOH on lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis is in part mediated by the activation of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase in the liver. 32 This enzyme seems to be an important pharmacological target for the treatment of metabolic disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidaemia. 32 33

5'-AMP-activated protein kinase is also known to stimulate fatty acid oxidation, thereby increasing energy expenditure. 32 33 These data suggest that the effect of ACV on weight and fat loss may be partly due to the ability of AcOH to inhibit lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis and activate fat oxidation.

Animal studies suggest that besides reducing energy expenditure, acetate may also reduce energy intake, by regulating appetite and satiety. In mice, an intraperitoneal injection of acetate significantly reduced food intake by activating vagal afferent neurons. 32–34 It is important to note that animal studies done on the effect of acetate on vagal activation are contradictory. This might be due to the site of administration of acetate and the use of different animal models.

In addition, in vitro and in vivo animal model studies suggest that acetate increases the secretion of gut-derived satiety hormones by enter endocrine cells (located in the gut) such as GLP-1 and PYY hormones. 25 32–35

Human studies related to the effect of vinegar on body weight are limited.

In accordance with our study, a randomised clinical trial conducted by Khezri and his colleagues has shown that daily consumption of 30 mL of ACV for 12 weeks significantly reduced body weight, BMI, hip circumference, Visceral Adiposity Index and appetite score in obese subjects subjected to a restricted calorie diet, compared with the control group (restricted calorie diet without ACV). Furthermore, Khezri and his colleagues showed that plasma triglyceride and total cholesterol levels significantly decreased, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration significantly increased, in the ACV group in comparison with the control group. 13 32–34

Similarly, Kondo and his colleagues showed that daily consumption of 15 or 30 mL of ACV for 12 weeks reduced body weight, BMI and serum triglyceride in a sample of the Japanese population. 12 13 32–34

In contrast, Park et al reported that daily consumption of 200 mL of pomegranate vinegar for 8 weeks significantly reduced total fat mass in overweight or obese subjects compared with the control group without significantly affecting body weight and BMI. 36 This contradictory result could be explained by the difference in the percentage of acetate and other potentially bioactive compounds (such as flavonoids and other phenolic compounds) in different vinegar types.

In Lebanon, the percentage of the population with a BMI of 30 kg/m 2 or more is approximately 32%. The results of the present study showed that in obese Lebanese subjects who had BMIs ranging from 27 and 34 kg/m 2 , daily oral intake of ACV for 12 weeks reduced the body weight by 6–8 kg and BMIs by 2.7–3.0 points.

It would be interesting to investigate in future studies the effect of neutralised acetic acid on anthropometric and metabolic parameters, knowing that acidic substances, including acetic acid, could contribute to enamel erosion over time. In addition to promoting oral health, neutralising the acidity of ACV could improve its taste, making it more palatable. Furthermore, studying the effects of ACV on weight loss in young Lebanese individuals provides valuable insights, but further research is needed for a comprehensive understanding of how the effect of ACV might vary across different age groups, particularly in older populations and menopausal women.

The findings of this study indicate that ACV consumption for 12 weeks led to significant reduction in anthropometric variables and improvements in blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels in overweight/obese adolescents/adults. These results suggest that ACV might have potential benefits in improving metabolic parameters related to obesity and metabolic disorders in obese individuals. The results may contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the use of ACV as a dietary intervention in the management of obesity. The study duration of 12 weeks limits the ability to observe long-term effects. Additionally, a larger sample size would enhance the generalisability of the results.

Ethics statements

Patient consent for publication.

Consent obtained from parent(s)/guardian(s)

Ethics approval

This study involves human participants and was approved by the research ethics committee of the Higher Center for Research (HCR) at The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon. The number/ID of the approval is HCR/EC 2023-005. Participants gave informed consent to participate in the study before taking part.

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Supplementary materials

  • Press release

Contributors RA-K: conceptualisation, methodology, data curation, supervision, guarantor, project administration, visualisation, writing–original draft. EE-H: conceptualisation, methodology, data curation, visualisation, writing–review and editing. JA: investigation, validation, writing–review and editing.

Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing interests No, there are no competing interests.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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