The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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. .

Holewa, Randa. 2004. “Strategies for Writing a Conclusion.” LEO: Literacy Education Online. Last updated February 19, 2004.

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 close your paper without sounding repetitive.

Conclusions pose something of an impossible situation, because your task is to restate your argument and your argument’s significance without sounding repetitive, dull or melodramatic. If you find yourself staring at the final paragraph with a sense of exhaustion or defeat, try one of these techniques:

The Bookend: Recollect an Early Example

Recall a scene, image or quotation that you mentioned early in the essay. This could be material that you used for your opener, or it could be an example that you analyzed in an early body paragraph. How does the evidence appear different or more complicated, in light of your evolved thesis? This is a common strategy in journalism. Writers will often open and close a piece by putting a human face on the topic or problem.

Words of Wisdom: Close With a Meaningful Quotation

This move can go wrong, so execute it carefully. You don’t want your readers to think that you’ve ceded authority in the final moments of your paper. Still, if you make your voice prominent early in the concluding paragraph, and then set up and frame the quotation properly, this move can help to end your paper on a poignant, witty or thought-provoking note.

The Prism: Conclude With a Brief Piece of Analysis

Conclusions are not the place for in-depth close reading, nor — at this stage in the essay — should you present evidence that further complicates or changes the argument. However, you can incorporate one small piece of evidence that allows you to recapitulate your argument — essentially offer a thumbnail sketch of your thesis. In other words, you can repeat your argument without sounding repetitive by filtering the thesis through one last striking image or quotation.

The Prescription: End With a Rousing Call to Arms

Argumentative essays frequently encourage you to embrace complexity — to a look at a situation from multiple angles and consider different interpretations. Nevertheless, after demonstrating your willingness to engage multiple perspectives, it can be immensely powerful to end with a clear and confident prescription. Doing so shows that you can not only take a situation apart and analyze its many facets but put that situation back together and recommend the best path forward.

The Yellow Card: Close With a Warning

This is a variation on the above strategy (the prescription). Rather than envisioning the best of all possible worlds, warn us of what might happen if the current reality goes unchallenged.

This can be hard to pull off, but when it works, it can leave your reader with a great impression. Some examples:

  • An ironic treatment of a cliché.
  • A famous saying or quotation that clearly echo your paper’s project.
  • A play on words (but don’t be gimmicky).

Adapted from Kay Chubbuck’s “It’s a Wrap!” by Cory Elizabeth Nelson, University of Southern California Writing Center, 2017.

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Academic Writing: "In Conclusion"...How Not to End Your Paper

Having trouble finding the right words to finish your paper? Are your conclusions bland? This handout covers basic techniques for writing stronger endings, including

  • Diagnosing and improving paragraph cohesion
  • Avoiding 7 common errors when drafting and revising conclusions
  • Answering the reader’s unspoken question—“So what?”

Improve paragraph cohesion

A. make your sentences conform to a “given/new” contract.

“Given” information (familiar to your reader) should come first in the sentence. For example, you could reiterate a main idea in the sentence or two beforehand, or something apparent within the context of the sentence, or an idea that taps into readers’ general knowledge of a topic. “New” information (additional, unfamiliar, and/or more complex) should comprise the second half of your sentence.

The “new” info of one sentence then becomes the “given” or familiar info of the next, improving overall flow and coherence.

B. Use “topic-strings”

Each sentence needs a topic or main idea, which should be in the “given” part of the sentence. Shift “given” info closer to the beginnings of your sentences when you can, so that the topic is clear. As well, each paragraph needs an overall topic, usually established in the first or second sentences. To check paragraph coherence, see whether your sentence topics (“givens”) connect consistently from sentence to sentence. Can you find a consistent topic throughout the paragraph, almost as if you were tracing a single colored thread? A set of sentences with clear topics creates a “topic thread.” This, along with appropriate use of transitions, helps to ensure a coherent paragraph.

  • If your topic thread is not apparent or seems to get lost, revise your sentences according to a “given/new” information pattern.
  • Use transitions where needed to indicate opposition, agreement or linkage, cause & effect, exemplification or illustration, degree, comparison, etc. For more on transitions, see “ Making Connections: Choosing Transition Words ”.

C. Reiterate without being repetitious

Readers appreciate some consistency and won’t usually find a reasonable amount of repetition boring or monotonous.  But avoid repeating the same subjects/topics using exactly the same words each time, and don’t repeat your thesis word-for-word in your conclusion. Instead…reiterate, using key concepts within slightly different sentence structures and arguments. Key concepts are often expressed in introductions, thesis statements, and near the beginnings of paragraphs; they act as a governing “topic thread” for your entire paper.

Avoid these 7 common errors in your conclusions

  • Opening with an empty phrase, the equivalent of “throat-clearing.

For example:

Draft: “And, therefore, it is important to keep in mind that ...” “In conclusion…”

Revision: Omit these phrases. “In conclusion” or “To conclude” may be appropriate for an oral presentation, but in writing are considered redundant or overly mechanical.

Draft: “However, it is important in arriving at such a conclusion to recognize...”

Revision: Just say what we should recognize.

  • Stuffing too much information into one paragraph or not developing the paragraph sufficiently.
  • Not including a clear topic sentence: i.e. one that expresses the key concept governing this paragraph (i.e. “What is this paragraph about?”). It’s usually best to express your governing concept in the first or second sentence.
  • Not checking for cohesion or flow (see “given and new” above). As a result, the sentences aren’t logically organized, or there is a sudden switch in topic, or sentences do not clearly connect to each other.
  • Using transitions too frequently or too mechanically.
  • Ending the paragraph with a different topic. HINT: Use a key word or phrase from the last sentence of the previous paragraph in the first sentence of the new paragraph. This technique helps the reader make connections.
  • Finishing your piece with entirely new information or a quote that isn’t relevant.

Remember to answer the question "So what?”

Readers need to understand why your argument or research is significant. So consider the single more important idea (key concept) you want your readers to take away with them after reading your paper. It’s not enough merely to repeat your thesis or summarize your main findings in your conclusion; you need to answer the question: “So what”? Options include outlining further areas of inquiry and/or suggesting a sense of significance: e.g. why does what you’ve written matter? What should your reader take away?

For more about writing effective conclusions, visit the following:

“Strategies for Writing a Conclusion” from Literacy Education Online “Conclusions” from the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina

Source for paragraph cohesion strategies: Williams, J. M., & Nadel, I. B. (2005). Style: 10 Lessons in Clarity and Grace (Cdn. ed.).  Toronto: Longman.

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Writing conclusions.

Though expectations vary from one discipline to the next, the conclusion of your paper is generally a place to explore the implications of your topic or argument. In other words, the end of your paper is a place to look outward or ahead in order to explain why you made the points you did.

Writing the Conclusion

In the past, you may have been told that your conclusion should summarize what you have already said by restating your thesis and main points. It is often helpful to restate your argument in the conclusion, particularly in a longer paper, but most professors and instructors want students to go beyond simply repeating what they have already said. Restating your thesis is just a short first part of your conclusion. Make sure that you are not simply repeating yourself; your restated thesis should use new and interesting language.

After you have restated your thesis, you should not just summarize the key points of your argument. Your conclusion should offer the reader something new to think about—or, at the very least, it should offer the reader a new way of thinking about what you have said in your paper.

You can employ one of several strategies for taking your conclusion that important step further:

  • Answer the question, "So what?"
  • Connect to a larger theme from the course
  • Complicate your claim with an outside source
  • Pose a new research question as a result of your paper's findings
  • Address the limitations of your argument

The strategy you employ in writing a conclusion for your paper may depend upon a number of factors:

  • The conventions of the discipline in which you are writing
  • The tone of your paper (whether your paper is analytical, argumentative, explanatory, etc.)
  • Whether your paper is meant to be formal or informal

Choose a strategy that best maintains the flow and tone of your paper while allowing you to adequately tie together all aspects of your paper.

The Final "So what?" Strategy

Part of generating a thesis statement sometimes requires answering the "so what?" question—that is, explaining the significance of your basic assertion. When you use the "so what?" strategy to write your conclusion, you are considering what some of the implications of your argument might be beyond the points already made in your paper. This strategy allows you to leave readers with an understanding of why your argument is important in a broader context or how it can apply to a larger concept.

For example, consider a paper about alcohol abuse in universities. If the paper argues that alcohol abuse among students depends more on psychological factors than simply the availability of alcohol on campus, a "so what?" conclusion might tie together threads from the body of the paper to suggest that universities are not approaching alcohol education from the most effective perspective when they focus exclusively on limiting students' access to alcohol.

To use this strategy, ask yourself, "How does my argument affect how I approach the text or issue?"

The "Connecting to a Course Theme" Strategy

When you use the "connecting to a course theme" strategy to write your conclusion, you are establishing a connection between your paper's thesis and a larger theme or idea from the course for which you are writing your paper.

For example, consider a paper about mothers and daughters in Eudora Welty's Delta Wedding for a class called "The Inescapable South." This paper argues that a strong dependence on the mother is analogous to a strong dependence on the South. A "connecting to a course theme" conclusion for this paper might propose that Welty's daughter characters demonstrate what type of people can and cannot escape the South.

To use this strategy, ask yourself, "What is an overall theme of this course? How does my paper's thesis connect?"

The "Complicating Your Claim" Strategy

When you use the "complicating your claim" strategy to write your conclusion, you are using one or more additional resources to develop a more nuanced final thesis. Such additional resources could include a new outside source or textual evidence that seemingly contradicts your argument.

For example, consider a paper about Ireland's neutrality during World War II. This paper argues that Ireland refused to enter the war because it wanted to assert its sovereignty, not because it had no opinion about the conflict. A "complicating your claim" conclusion for this paper might provide historical evidence that Ireland did aid the Allies, suggesting that the Irish were more influenced by international diplomacy than their formal neutrality might suggest.

To use this strategy, ask yourself, "Is there any evidence against my thesis?" or "What does an outside source have to say about my thesis?"

The "Posing a New Question" Strategy

When you use the "posing a new question" strategy to write your conclusion, you are inviting the reader to consider a new idea or question that has appeared as a result of your argument.

For example, consider a paper about three versions of the folktale "Rapunzel." This paper argues that German, Italian, and Filipino versions of "Rapunzel" all vary in terms of characterization, plot development, and moral, and as a result have different themes. A "posing a new question" conclusion for this paper might ask the historical and cultural reasons for how three separate cultures developed such similar stories with such different themes.

To use this strategy, ask yourself, "What new question has developed out of my argument?"

The "Addressing Limitations" Strategy

When you use the "addressing limitations" strategy to write your conclusion, you are discussing the possible weaknesses of your argument and, thus, the fallibility of your overall conclusion. This strategy is often useful in concluding papers on scientific studies and experiments.

For example, consider a paper about an apparent correlation between religious belief and support for terrorism. An "addressing limitations" conclusion for this paper might suggest that the apparent correlation relies on the paper's definition of "terrorism" and, since the definition is not objective, the apparent correlation might have been wrongly identified.

To use this strategy, ask yourself, "In what aspects is my argument lacking? Are there circumstances in which my conclusions might be wrong?"

Polishing Your Conclusion—and Your Paper

After you've completed your conclusion, look over what you have written and consider making some small changes to promote clarity and originality:

  • Unless your discipline requires them, remove obvious transitions like "in conclusion," "in summary," and "in result" from your conclusion; they get in the way of the actual substance of your conclusion.
  • Consider taking a strong phrase from your conclusion and using it as the title or subtitle of your paper.

Also, be sure to proofread your conclusion carefully for errors and typos. You should double-check your entire paper for accuracy and correct spelling as well.

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Ai, ethics & human agency, collaboration, information literacy, writing process, conclusions – how to write compelling conclusions.

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Conclusions generally address these issues:

  • How can you restate your ideas concisely and in a new way?
  • What have you left your reader to think about at the end of your paper?
  • How does your paper answer the “so what?” question?

As the last part of the paper, conclusions often get the short shrift. We instructors know (not that we condone it)—many students devote a lot less attention to the writing of the conclusion. Some students might even finish their conclusion thirty minutes before they have to turn in their papers. But even if you’re practicing desperation writing, don’t neglect your conclusion; it’s a very integral part of your paper.

Think about it: Why would you spend so much time writing your introductory material and your body paragraphs and then kill the paper by leaving your reader with a dud for a conclusion? Rather than simply trailing off at the end, it’s important to learn to construct a compelling conclusion—one that both reiterates your ideas and leaves your reader with something to think about.

How do I reiterate my main points?

In the first part of the conclusion, you should spend a brief amount of time summarizing what you’ve covered in your paper. This reiteration should not merely be a restatement of your thesis or a collection of your topic sentences but should be a condensed version of your argument, topic, and/or purpose.

Let’s take a look at an example reiteration from a paper about offshore drilling:

Ideally, a ban on all offshore drilling is the answer to the devastating and culminating environmental concerns that result when oil spills occur. Given the catastrophic history of three major oil spills, the environmental and economic consequences of offshore drilling should now be obvious.

Now, let’s return to the thesis statement in this paper so we can see if it differs from the conclusion:

As a nation, we should reevaluate all forms of offshore drilling, but deep water offshore oil drilling, specifically, should be banned until the technology to stop and clean up oil spills catches up with our drilling technology. Though some may argue that offshore drilling provides economic advantages and would lessen our dependence on foreign oil, the environmental and economic consequences of an oil spill are so drastic that they far outweigh the advantages.

The author has already discussed environmental/economic concerns with oil drilling. In the above example, the author provides an overview of the paper in the second sentence of the conclusion, recapping the main points and reminding the readers that they should now be willing to acknowledge this position as viable.

Though you may not always want to take this aggressive of an approach (i.e., saying something should be obvious to the reader), the key is to summarize your main ideas without “plagiarizing” by repeating yourself word for word. Instead, you may take the approach of saying, “The readers can now see, given the catastrophic history of three major oil spills, the environmental and economic consequences of oil drilling.”

Can you give me a real-life example of a conclusion?

Think of conclusions this way: You are watching a movie, which has just reached the critical plot point (the murderer will be revealed, the couple will finally kiss, the victim will be rescued, etc.), when someone else enters the room. This person has no idea what is happening in the movie. They might lean over to ask, “What’s going on?” You now have to condense the entire plot in a way that makes sense, so the person will not have to ask any other questions, but quickly, so that you don’t miss any more of the movie.

Your conclusion in a paper works in a similar way. When you write your conclusion, imagine that a person has just showed up in time to hear the last paragraph. What does that reader need to know in order to get the gist of your paper? You cannot go over the entire argument again because the rest of your readers have actually been present and listening the whole time. They don’t need to hear the details again. Writing a compelling conclusion usually relies on the balance between two needs: give enough detail to cover your point, but be brief enough to make it obvious that this is the end of the paper.

Remember that reiteration is not restatement. Summarize your paper in one to two sentences (or even three or four, depending on the length of the paper), and then move on to answering the “So what?” question.

How can I answer the “So what?” question?

The bulk of your conclusion should answer the “So what?” question. Have you ever had an instructor write “So what?” at the end of your paper? This is not meant to offend but rather to remind you to show readers the significance of your argument. Readers do not need or want an entire paragraph of summary, so you should craft some new tidbit of interesting information that serves as an extension of your original ideas.

There are a variety of ways that you can answer the “So what?” question. The following are just a few types of such “endnotes”:

The Call to Action

The call to action can be used at the end of a variety of papers, but it works best for persuasive papers. Persuasive papers include social action papers and Rogerian argument essays, which begin with a problem and move toward a solution that serves as the author’s thesis. Any time your purpose in writing is to change your readers’ minds or you want to get your readers to do something, the call to action is the way to go. The call to action asks your readers, after having progressed through a compelling and coherent argument, to do something or believe a certain way.

Following the reiteration of the essay’s argument, here is an example call to action:

We have advanced technology that allows deepwater offshore drilling, but we lack the similarly advanced technology that would manage these spills effectively. As such, until cleanup and prevention technology are available, we gatekeepers of our coastal shores and defenders of marine wildlife should ban offshore drilling, or, at the very least, demand a moratorium on all offshore oil drilling.

This call to action requests that the readers consider a ban on offshore drilling. Remember, you need to identify your audience before you begin writing. Whether the author wants readers to actually enact the ban or just to come to this side of the argument, the conclusion asks readers to do or believe something new based upon the information they just received.

The Contextualization

The contextualization places the author’s local argument, topic, or purpose in a more global context so that readers can see the larger purpose for the piece or where the piece fits into a larger conversation. Writers do research for papers in part so they can enter into specific conversations, and they provide their readers with a contextualization in the conclusion to acknowledge the broader dialogue that contains that smaller conversation.

For instance, if we were to return to the paper on offshore drilling, rather than proposing a ban (a call to action), we might provide the reader with a contextualization:

We have advanced technology that allows deepwater offshore drilling, but we lack the advanced technology that would manage these spills effectively. Thus, one can see the need to place environmental concerns at the forefront of the political arena. Many politicians have already done so, including Senator Doe and Congresswoman Smith.

Rather than asking readers to do or believe something, this conclusion answers the “So what?” question by showing why this specific conversation about offshore drilling matters in the larger conversation about politics and environmentalism.

The twist leaves readers with a contrasting idea to consider. For instance, to continue the offshore drilling paper, the author might provide readers with a twist in the last few lines of the conclusion:

While offshore drilling is certainly an important issue today, it is only a small part of the greater problem of environmental abuse. Until we are ready to address global issues, even a moratorium on offshore drilling will only delay the inevitable destruction of the environment.

While this contrasting idea does not negate the writer’s original argument, it does present an alternative contrasting idea to weigh against the original argument. The twist is similar to a cliffhanger, as it is intended to leave readers saying, “Hmm…”

Suggest Possibilities for Future Research

This approach to answering “So what?” is best for projects that might be developed into larger, ongoing projects later or to suggest possibilities for future research someone else who might be interested in that topic could explore. This approach involves pinpointing various directions which your research might take if someone were to extend the ideas included in your paper. Research is a conversation, so it’s important to consider how your piece fits into this conversation and how others might use it in their own conversations.

For example, to suggest possibilities for future research based on the paper on offshore drilling, the conclusion might end with something like this:

I have just explored the economic and environmental repercussions of offshore drilling based on the examples we have of three major oil spills over the past thirty years. Future research might uncover more economic and environmental consequences of offshore drilling, consequences that will become clearer as the effects of the BP oil spill become more pronounced and as more time passes.

Suggesting opportunities for future research involves the reader in the paper, just like the call to action. Readers may be inspired by your brilliant ideas to use your piece as a jumping-off point!

Whether you use a call to action, a twist, a contextualization, or a suggestion of future possibilities for research, it’s important to answer the “So what?” question to keep readers interested in your topic until the very end of the paper. And, perhaps more importantly, leaving your readers with something to consider makes it more likely that they will remember your piece of writing.

Revise your own argument by using the following questions to guide you:

  • What do you want readers to take away from your discussion?
  • What are the main points you made, why should readers care, and what ideas should they take away?

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Academic Writing – How to Write for the Academic Community

how to write a conclusion without repeating

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how to write a conclusion without repeating

Credibility & Authority – How to Be Credible & Authoritative in Speech & Writing

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

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

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

Highlight the “so what”  

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

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

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

Leave your readers with the “now what”  

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

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

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

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

What to avoid in your conclusion  

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

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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.

how to write a conclusion without repeating

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.

Align your conclusion’s tone with the rest of your research paper. Start Writing with Paperpal Now!  

The conclusion in a research paper serves several important purposes:

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

how to write a conclusion without repeating

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

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

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

how to write a conclusion without repeating

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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Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed.  

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Introductions and Conclusions

Emilie Zickel

Intros and conclusions can be the most challenging paragraphs to write in a paper. Some writers save these paragraphs until the very end of their writing process. Some begin with these paragraphs as a way to guide the rest of the paper’s drafting and development. However you choose to draft these two paragraphs, be sure to give them care and attention, as they are each very important parts of any essay.

This paragraph is the “first impression” paragraph. It needs to make an impression on the reader so that he or she gets interested, understands your goal in the paper, and wants to read on. The intro often ends with the thesis.

Strategies for a Strong Intro

“How to Write an Engaging Introduction, ” by Jennifer Janechek, published on  Writing Commons,  is an excellent resource that offers specific tips and examples of compelling introduction paragraphs.

The Conclusion

Many people struggle with the conclusion, not knowing how to end a paper without simply restating the paper’s thesis and main points. In fact, one of the earliest ways that we learn to write conclusions involves the “summarize and restate” method of repeating the points that you have already discussed.

While that method can be an effective way to perhaps begin a conclusion, the strongest conclusions will go beyond rehashing the key ideas from the paper. Just as the intro is the first impression, the conclusion is the last impression — and you do want your writing to make a last ing impression.

Strategies for a Strong Conclusion

Jennifer Yirinic’s article, “ How to Write a Compelling Conclusion ,” which was published on  Writing Commons,  is an excellent resource that can help you to craft powerful and interesting closing paragraphs.

English 102: Reading, Research, and Writing by Emilie Zickel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Creating an Effective Conclusion for a Multi-paragraph Essay

LESSON When you write a multi-paragraph essay A short piece of writing that focuses on at least one main idea. Some essays are also focused on the author's unique point of view, making them personal or autobiographical, while others are focused on a particular literary, scientific, or political subject. , you use an introduction The first paragraph of an essay. It must engage the reader, set the tone, provide background information, and present the thesis. to hook In writing, a device used to grab a readers' attention, often in the form of interesting, surprising, or provocative information. the reader. Your thesis An overall argument, idea, or belief that a writer uses as the basis for a work. provides the main idea The most important or central thought of a reading selection. It also includes what the author wants the reader to understand about the topic he or she has chosen to write about. , and the major supporting details Statements within a reading that tie directly to the work's main idea. These can be provided in examples, statistics, anecdotes, definitions, descriptions, or comparisons within the work. develop and provide evidence Facts, statistics, or expert testimony that supports a claim. for your thesis. However, your essay is not complete until you have written the conclusion The end portion of a writing that contains a summary or synthesis of the idea in the work. This includes a recap of key points and reminders of the author's purpose and thesis statement. .

The conclusion is the last part of the essay encountered by the reader, and so it is the part of the essay the reader will remember most clearly. An essay without a strong conclusion is like walking away from a conversation midstream; the reader is left without a solid sense of what the writer intended to say.

Before you can learn how to write an effective conclusion, you need to learn which mistakes to avoid.

Here is a list of what to AVOID when writing a conclusion:

  • Do not restate the thesis verbatim A word for word repeat of an original text or speech. (word for word). A writer who repeats the same words of the thesis risks boring the reader. Nor is it a good idea to simply change a few words of the thesis statement A brief statement that identifies a writer's thoughts, opinions, or conclusions about a topic. Thesis statements bring unity to a piece of writing, giving it a focus and a purpose. You can use three questions to help form a thesis statement: What is my topic? What am I trying to say about that topic? Why is this important to me or my reader? . Instead of repeating yourself or paraphrasing The use of different words to express the meaning of an original text or speech. what you already said, try to give the reader a new way of thinking about the main idea.
  • Do not write "in conclusion" or include similarly overused language. It is common for writers to conclude their essays with phrases A set of words that express an idea. A phrase may or may not form a complete sentence. such as "in summary," "in closing," or "finally," but these signals are unnecessary. When readers arrive at the last paragraph, they know they have reached the end. Instead of using such obvious signals, use a subtle transition Tying two events, passages, or pieces of information together in a smooth way. In writing, transitions are sometimes called links. to move from the ideas of the second to the last paragraph and the conclusion.
  • Do not introduce a new idea. It is confusing to the reader if you suddenly introduce new and unrelated ideas in your conclusion. For example, if your thesis is "Providing free or low-cost college education to qualified students is in the best interest of all citizens," you should not include new specific information, such as details of inflation-related increases to college education costs. However, this is different from using the conclusion to discuss the broader implications of your thesis, which is a good strategy.
  • Do not include facts, details, and/or examples that are better suited to the body The main portion of a writing that contains the main ideas and supporting details of the writing. This is where the author's purpose and thesis statement are supported and/or developed. of the essay. In the body paragraphs The part of an essay that comes after the introduction and before the conclusion. Body paragraphs lay out the main ideas of an argument and provide the support for the thesis. All body paragraphs should include these elements: a topic sentence, major and minor details, and a concluding statement. Each body paragraph should stand on its own but also fit into the context of the entire essay, as well as support the thesis and work with the other supporting paragraphs. , you will use facts, details, and examples to develop and support the thesis. Then you will use the conclusion to tie up the loose ends—to sum up the ideas of your essay and to leave the reader with a strong impression of your thesis. In writing a draft, you may find that you write a conclusion paragraph that supports the thesis; in this case, you can revise your essay by letting the paragraph stand as a body paragraph, and then writing a new conclusion.

Now that you know common mistakes to avoid, consider using one or more of the following strategies to craft an effective conclusion.

  • Summarize your main points The most important idea in a paragraph. Main points support the main idea of a reading. . This technique is particularly effective for the conclusion of a long essay, or one that includes a great deal of information. While you don't want to rewrite your entire essay in the conclusion, you may wish to remind the reader of your thesis, main points, and important details. For example, if your essay is about how the characterization in the book The Crucible reveals human nature, you would remind the reader how the different characters represent different aspects of human nature.  
  • Ask a question. The technique of addressing the reader directly to ask a question can be effective in helping the reader view the topic in a new way. Be sure that the question is not simply a restatement of the thesis in question form. Instead, you will want to use the question to provoke the reader into thinking differently. For example, if your essay argues that the government should provide free college education, you might ask a question such as "How would you rather spend taxpayer money: on universities or on prisons?"
  • Propose an action item. This technique is especially well suited for a persuasion essay A writing that takes a position for or against something and tries to convince the reader to accept the same view. Also called an argument essay. . If the thesis of a persuasion essay is "While everyone benefits from exercise, students in particular need regular exercise in order to combat stress, enhance brain function, and remain healthy," the writer of the essay could propose that the reader take a fifteen-minute walk, or visit the gym as a break from studying. Depending on the topic of the essay, the writer could suggest a variety of action items, such as signing a petition, writing a letter to one's congressional representative, voting for a particular measure, or donating money. Proposing an action item is effective in a conclusion because it offers a way for the reader to actively engage with the topic.
  • Provide analysis To analyze is to make a thoughtful and detailed study of something. An analysis is the end result of analyzing. and make connections. When you provide an analysis and make connections in the summary, you are synthesizing To combine ideas, as in the writing at the end of an essay that ties all the discussion and evidence together into a unified concept. the information from the essay. In the example of an essay about the benefits of government-subsidized education, you might have already provided statistics that show that highly educated people are less likely to commit crimes. In your conclusion, you could analyze this connection further by explaining that when fewer people commit crimes, fewer people are sentenced to prison, which decreases the cost of maintaining prisons; this shows that increasing spending on education is a worthwhile investment.
  • Make a prediction or offer a solution. In your conclusion, you might use the information in your essay to consider what might happen in the future. You might offer a solution for a problem raised in the essay, or you might describe a problem that would arise if your solution is not implemented. Continuing the example of the essay that supports government-subsidized education, you might predict that providing free education would create a highly skilled labor force, and thus improve the economy. On the other hand, a failure to educate the majority of the population could result in an unprepared labor force, which would hurt the economy.
  • Offer an intriguing quote. It can be effective to conclude with a quote that will stick in the reader's mind. When you use a quote, be sure that the quote relates to your topic as a whole, and not just a limited part of your essay. Again, using the government-subsidized education essay as an example, you could provide a quote that explains the importance of education, and then connect the quote to the ideas in your essay. Here is one way you might incorporate a quote: "According to Nelson Mandela, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' It is our responsibility as a nation to make sure that all of our citizens enter the world well-armed to create positive change."
  • Return to the beginning. Revisiting ideas that were introduced at the beginning of the essay can be an effective strategy for the ending of an essay. If your essay began with the idea that students will especially benefit from exercise, you might revisit the idea using sentences like these: "With late nights, long hours of studying, and built-in stress from assignments and exams, the student life can wreak havoc on physical and mental health. Fortunately, exercise is an effective tool for maintaining good health in both the body and the brain." This strategy brings the essay full circle.

Strong conclusions help readers understand your writing more quickly. Good readers know that writers often sum up the major points of their entire essay, book, or article A non-fiction, often informative writing that forms a part of a publication, such as a magazine or newspaper. in the conclusion. When doing research, readers often find enough information in the conclusion that they realize they don't need to read the entire piece; this practice can save them time.

Your future boss, in particular, will appreciate your ability to conclude effectively. When you develop a proposal or a business plan, it is beneficial to include an executive summary. The executive summary puts all of the essential information in one place so that the reader, in this case a potential stakeholder in your plan, knows what is most important. Strong conclusions are also important when you write business email messages or memos A short written message from one person to another or to a group of persons, usually containing business information. . By concluding with your main point, readers will understand the purpose of the message and will know what you need them to understand or do.

Here is an outline for an analysis essay A written evaluation of a topic, such as an article, piece of art, person’s life, etc. An analysis essay may include a summary of the subject, but is mostly used to evaluate and discuss: Is it good? Is it bad? Is it poorly written? Was the author misguided or very accurate? that analyzes the documentary film Supersize Me .

  • Every day, 1 in 4 Americans goes to a fast-food restaurant, and that restaurant is likely to be McDonald's, which holds nearly 50 percent of the fast-food market share in the United States.
  • In Morgan Spurlock's documentary Supersize Me, the filmmaker goes on a 30-day McDonald's-only diet to show the danger of fast food.
  • The film received a lot of attention and Spurlock became famous.
  • Thesis: It does not matter if the film is a serious attempt to help people or a shocking prank to get attention and boost Spurlock's career because in either case the film sends an important message that will help prevent obesity.
  • Spurlock made the film as a prank to get attention.
  • He created rules that set up an outrageous situation: he had to eat three meals a day; all of his meals had to be ordered from the McDonald's menu; he had to eat every item on the menu at least once; and if he was asked if he wanted to "Supersize" his order, he had to say "yes." Spurlock also cut back on exercise, restricting his walking to 5,000 steps a day, to more closely copy the lifestyle of many Americans.
  • The rules are too drastic for real life—no one eats the way Spurlock did.
  • Not surprisingly, Spurlock gained weight and almost suffered kidney failure.
  • The drama paid off: Supersize Me was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival and made Spurlock famous.
  • Spurlock made the film to boost his career.
  • Spurlock's face, voice, words, and experience are front and center throughout the film.
  • The changes he undergoes are shocking (he gained 24.5 pounds, his cholesterol levels increased by 65 points and his liver held so much fat that Spurlock was at risk for a host of diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver), and make him even more central to the film—Spurlock's experience creates the tension and drama of the film.
  • As the face of the film, Spurlock is the main focus of every film review.
  • Spurlock must have known that his choice to make himself the star would boost his career more than if he were simply the filmmaker whose name appeared only in the credits.
  • The attention-getting, career-boosting prank was a success; without Supersize Me, Spurlock never would have been given his own show on the HBO cable network.
  • Even if he did gain fame, Spurlock's goal was to help people by educating them about how fast food contributes to obesity in America.
  • The film supports this; the opening scene is of cute children singing a camp song about fast food; Spurlock uses statistics from many sources to show that obesity is an epidemic in America (60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. In 1972, Americans spent $3 billion a year on fast food but today we spend $110 billion); and to collect information, he interviews Americans (Surgeon Generals, nutritionists, cooks, even gym teachers) in 20 American cities. All of this effort shows that Spurlock's main goal is to educate people, not just to get attention.
  • Spurlock provides statistics to educate people (more than 400,000 obesity-related deaths per year; 1 in 4 Americans eats fast food every day; and McDonald's owns almost half of the fast-food market in the United States).
  • Spurlock shows that as McDonald's keeps getting more powerful, Americans keep getting heavier and sicker.
  • This truth is shocking; if Spurlock does try to shock people, the shock is meant to emphasize the connection between McDonald's and the rapid increase in American obesity.
  • Spurlock's film is a wake-up call to Americans that eating (and overeating) at McDonald's is dangerous.

Below is one possible conclusion based on the outline above.

When thinking about Morgan Spurlock and his film Supersize Me , the question we need to ask is not, "Did Spurlock have selfish motives?" but rather, "Did Spurlock's film help anyone?" It does not matter if Spurlock's intentions were selfish because the film did educate people about the dramatic health risks of a fast-food diet. The real shocking truth is that obesity is a deadly and preventable health epidemic. As the star of his own film, Spurlock used the fame from Supersize Me to boost his career. This does not mean that the film was just an attention-getting prank. Spurlock used himself in the experiment to help people relate to the very real fatal effects of a fast-food diet. People are used to hearing gloomy statistics about diet and health; statistics alone will not change behavior. People will learn more and will be more likely to change their own behavior if they make a personal connection. By gaining weight and hurting his own health, Spurlock made the dangers of the fast-food diet horribly real to his audience. By getting his audience's attention, Spurlock increased the possibility that his audience would change their diets, too.

This conclusion begins with asking a question: "Did Spurlock's film help anyone?" and returns to the ideas that were introduced in the beginning of the essay. The writer summarizes some of the information presented in the body paragraphs and goes on to make the connection between the shock value and attention-getting style and the effectiveness of these tools in helping the audience to change unhealthy fast-food habits.

Based on the partial outline for an essay below about whether the government should subsidize higher education, write a concluding paragraph using one or more of the seven strategies for crafting effective conclusions.

  • The United States Declaration of Independence states that human beings are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but without an education, it is impossible to experience complete liberty or to fully pursue one’s dreams.
  • A higher education opens the door to a better life in almost every respect; college-educated people earn higher salaries and experience greater health and well-being.
  • Providing free education to citizens would benefit all Americans.
  • Thesis: The United States government should consider providing free college education to all citizens.
  • Higher education provides many benefits.
  • Educated people enjoy many benefits that people without college degrees do not have.
  • They receive higher salaries, have greater job satisfaction, experience better health, and have greater well-being overall.
  • The enjoyment of these benefits is linked to higher education; the lack of affordable education creates a situation of discrimination that favors the wealthy and harms the poor.
  • Not only does education convey benefits, but it helps protect people from various problems in life.
  • A lack of a college education can result in negative consequences.
  • People without a college education are more likely to experience certain health issues and other problems.
  • People without a college education are more likely to engage in unhealthful behaviors, such as smoking, are more likely to become obese, and are less likely to exercise.
  • The relationship between education and the ability of people to make wise decisions about their health shows how important it is for all citizens to have the opportunity to obtain an education.
  • The problems associated with the lack of education are not limited to the problems of individuals.
  • An uneducated citizenry harms the nation as a whole.
  • When citizens are not educated, the entire nation experiences negative consequences.
  • According to research, increasing education decreases crime.
  • Not only does the United States spend billions of dollars each year on operating prisons to house convicted criminals, the majority of whom are not college-educated, but the United States is deprived of all of the economic benefits of an educated workforce.
  • It is far more expensive to imprison citizens than it is to educate them.

Sample Answer

The decision of whether to provide a free education to all citizens must be made in the context of what we, as Americans, believe is essential—what we believe is included as part of the American dream as specified in the United States Declaration of Independence. A life in prison is no real life. Nor is a life in which a person is all but sentenced to low salaries, health problems, and other ills. In order for people to have the ability to enjoy life and liberty and to have the ability to pursue happiness, people must have access to education. As John Dewey said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Our nation has a responsibility to equip all our citizens to live the rich, full life that education offers.

How I end my essays depends on the kind of essay I am writing. For persuasion essays, I like to end with some kind of proposed action. For example, if I wrote an essay to persuade people to vote, I would end with a suggestion that the reader should read about the candidates and vote in the next election. If I am writing an analysis essay about a book, I would probably use a summary at the end of my essay because that kind of essay uses a lot of details about characters and plot, and I would want to remind the reader about the connection between those details and the main point of my essay.

Copyright ©2022 The NROC Project

Present first, as clearly as possible, your thesis statement . Hit'em first and hit'em hard! (Important note: Reserve the cutesy "hook" introduction where you begin with something general "to get the readers' interest" for journalism or other types of popular-level writing. Do NOT use it in this class. You already have my interest, so don't waste words.)

Introduce yourself as someone who has the right to write on this subject. Briefly mention your own personal experience, knowledge and qualifications on the subject (if any), plus whatever research or assigned reading you did in order to gain the right to write on it.

Mention the method used for the paper (I.e., is it a description, an argument [if so, for what?], a research report, a comparison, a personal reaction, or what?) and if appropriate, the intended purpose of the paper.

Mention the results of your study , investigation, research or experiment, or the reasoning-process that your conclusion is based on. Briefly state the principal factual conclusions you came to. Do not use a surprise ending!

Clearly tell what decision you want the reader to make, that is, what you want your audience to do or believe as a consequence of this paper.

Note: If you are writing for a very hostile audience you should move the thesis statement to the end of the introduction, and introduce yourself first as a person the audience can like, respect or trust before challenging them,.  

2. How to write an A+ conclusion:

Try to sum up the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown in the paper.  Remember, you DISCUSS, not REPEAT, what the paper says. (Hint: NEVER begin a conclusion with "In conclusion," or "To conclude"!)

Admit any remaining unanswered questions or unsettled points related to the subject of the paper, or any problems that still need to be clarified or need more study.

Between items 2 and 4, joining-words like “ However …” or “ In spite of this , …” should be used. Then reaffirm your thesis statement (from the beginning of the paper) in different words.

Show how your interpretation in the paper agrees or disagrees with the assigned reading, with other experts' opinions, with what you always thought you knew about the subject before starting the paper, or what “everyone” thinks about it. (Hint: Never "apologize" for what you have to say!)

Tell what good will happen if one accepts your standpoint, and what negative consequences will ensue if one fails to accept it. That is, discuss the real-world implications of what you say in the paper. Reassure your audience that they have more to gain than to lose if they agree with what you say in the paper, but without using the word "you."

Tell what specific action you want your audience to take in the real world, or how what you write should change your own or other people's life .

State your final conclusions as clearly as possible. This is your farewell statement , so leave readers with something to think about!

f you at any point you see that you are repeating yourself, or if what you wrote just does not "sound right," do not be afraid to combine two or more of these items into one sentence, move items around, or even to drop one or more items if they do not apply to your specific writing task. These are suggestions, not holy writ!

Inspired by:

Day, Robert A.  How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper .  5th ed. Phoenix: Oryx P., 1998.

OW rev 1/08 rev 10/14

30 Examples: How to Conclude a Presentation (Effective Closing Techniques)

By Editorial Team on March 4, 2024 — 9 minutes to read

Ending a presentation on a high note is a skill that can set you apart from the rest. It’s the final chance to leave an impact on your audience, ensuring they walk away with the key messages embedded in their minds. This moment is about driving your points home and making sure they resonate. Crafting a memorable closing isn’t just about summarizing key points, though that’s part of it, but also about providing value that sticks with your listeners long after they’ve left the room.

Crafting Your Core Message

To leave a lasting impression, your presentation’s conclusion should clearly reflect your core message. This is your chance to reinforce the takeaways and leave the audience thinking about your presentation long after it ends.

Identifying Key Points

Start by recognizing what you want your audience to remember. Think about the main ideas that shaped your talk. Make a list like this:

  • The problem your presentation addresses.
  • The evidence that supports your argument.
  • The solution you propose or the action you want the audience to take.

These key points become the pillars of your core message.

Contextualizing the Presentation

Provide context by briefly relating back to the content of the whole presentation. For example:

  • Reference a statistic you shared in the opening, and how it ties into the conclusion.
  • Mention a case study that underlines the importance of your message.

Connecting these elements gives your message cohesion and makes your conclusion resonate with the framework of your presentation.

30 Example Phrases: How to Conclude a Presentation

  • 1. “In summary, let’s revisit the key takeaways from today’s presentation.”
  • 2. “Thank you for your attention. Let’s move forward together.”
  • 3. “That brings us to the end. I’m open to any questions you may have.”
  • 4. “I’ll leave you with this final thought to ponder as we conclude.”
  • 5. “Let’s recap the main points before we wrap up.”
  • 6. “I appreciate your engagement. Now, let’s turn these ideas into action.”
  • 7. “We’ve covered a lot today. To conclude, remember these crucial points.”
  • 8. “As we reach the end, I’d like to emphasize our call to action.”
  • 9. “Before we close, let’s quickly review what we’ve learned.”
  • 10. “Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to our next steps.”
  • 11. “In closing, I’d like to thank everyone for their participation.”
  • 12. “Let’s conclude with a reminder of the impact we can make together.”
  • 13. “To wrap up our session, here’s a brief summary of our discussion.”
  • 14. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to present to you. Any final thoughts?”
  • 15. “And that’s a wrap. I welcome any final questions or comments.”
  • 16. “As we conclude, let’s remember the objectives we’ve set today.”
  • 17. “Thank you for your time. Let’s apply these insights to achieve success.”
  • 18. “In conclusion, your feedback is valuable, and I’m here to listen.”
  • 19. “Before we part, let’s take a moment to reflect on our key messages.”
  • 20. “I’ll end with an invitation for all of us to take the next step.”
  • 21. “As we close, let’s commit to the goals we’ve outlined today.”
  • 22. “Thank you for your attention. Let’s keep the conversation going.”
  • 23. “In conclusion, let’s make a difference, starting now.”
  • 24. “I’ll leave you with these final words to consider as we end our time together.”
  • 25. “Before we conclude, remember that change starts with our actions today.”
  • 26. “Thank you for the lively discussion. Let’s continue to build on these ideas.”
  • 27. “As we wrap up, I encourage you to reach out with any further questions.”
  • 28. “In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude for your valuable input.”
  • 29. “Let’s conclude on a high note and take these learnings forward.”
  • 30. “Thank you for your time today. Let’s end with a commitment to progress.”

Summarizing the Main Points

When you reach the end of your presentation, summarizing the main points helps your audience retain the important information you’ve shared. Crafting a memorable summary enables your listeners to walk away with a clear understanding of your message.

Effective Methods of Summarization

To effectively summarize your presentation, you need to distill complex information into concise, digestible pieces. Start by revisiting the overarching theme of your talk and then narrow down to the core messages. Use plain language and imagery to make the enduring ideas stick. Here are some examples of how to do this:

  • Use analogies that relate to common experiences to recap complex concepts.
  • Incorporate visuals or gestures that reinforce your main arguments.

The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three is a classic writing and communication principle. It means presenting ideas in a trio, which is a pattern that’s easy for people to understand and remember. For instance, you might say, “Our plan will save time, cut costs, and improve quality.” This structure has a pleasing rhythm and makes the content more memorable. Some examples include:

  • “This software is fast, user-friendly, and secure.”
  • Pointing out a product’s “durability, affordability, and eco-friendliness.”

Reiterating the Main Points

Finally, you want to circle back to the key takeaways of your presentation. Rephrase your main points without introducing new information. This reinforcement supports your audience’s memory and understanding of the material. You might summarize key takeaways like this:

  • Mention the problem you addressed, the solution you propose, and the benefits of this solution.
  • Highlighting the outcomes of adopting your strategy: higher efficiency, greater satisfaction, and increased revenue.

Creating a Strong Conclusion

The final moments of your presentation are your chance to leave your audience with a powerful lasting impression. A strong conclusion is more than just summarizing—it’s your opportunity to invoke thought, inspire action, and make your message memorable.

Incorporating a Call to Action

A call to action is your parting request to your audience. You want to inspire them to take a specific action or think differently as a result of what they’ve heard. To do this effectively:

  • Be clear about what you’re asking.
  • Explain why their action is needed.
  • Make it as simple as possible for them to take the next steps.

Example Phrases:

  • “Start making a difference today by…”
  • “Join us in this effort by…”
  • “Take the leap and commit to…”

Leaving a Lasting Impression

End your presentation with something memorable. This can be a powerful quote, an inspirational statement, or a compelling story that underscores your main points. The goal here is to resonate with your audience on an emotional level so that your message sticks with them long after they leave.

  • “In the words of [Influential Person], ‘…'”
  • “Imagine a world where…”
  • “This is more than just [Topic]; it’s about…”

Enhancing Audience Engagement

To hold your audience’s attention and ensure they leave with a lasting impression of your presentation, fostering interaction is key.

Q&A Sessions

It’s important to integrate a Q&A session because it allows for direct communication between you and your audience. This interactive segment helps clarify any uncertainties and encourages active participation. Plan for this by designating a time slot towards the end of your presentation and invite questions that promote discussion.

  • “I’d love to hear your thoughts; what questions do you have?”
  • “Let’s dive into any questions you might have. Who would like to start?”
  • “Feel free to ask any questions, whether they’re clarifications or deeper inquiries about the topic.”

Encouraging Audience Participation

Getting your audience involved can transform a good presentation into a great one. Use open-ended questions that provoke thought and allow audience members to reflect on how your content relates to them. Additionally, inviting volunteers to participate in a demonstration or share their experiences keeps everyone engaged and adds a personal touch to your talk.

  • “Could someone give me an example of how you’ve encountered this in your work?”
  • “I’d appreciate a volunteer to help demonstrate this concept. Who’s interested?”
  • “How do you see this information impacting your daily tasks? Let’s discuss!”

Delivering a Persuasive Ending

At the end of your presentation, you have the power to leave a lasting impact on your audience. A persuasive ending can drive home your key message and encourage action.

Sales and Persuasion Tactics

When you’re concluding a presentation with the goal of selling a product or idea, employ carefully chosen sales and persuasion tactics. One method is to summarize the key benefits of your offering, reminding your audience why it’s important to act. For example, if you’ve just presented a new software tool, recap how it will save time and increase productivity. Another tactic is the ‘call to action’, which should be clear and direct, such as “Start your free trial today to experience the benefits first-hand!” Furthermore, using a touch of urgency, like “Offer expires soon!”, can nudge your audience to act promptly.

Final Impressions and Professionalism

Your closing statement is a chance to solidify your professional image and leave a positive impression. It’s important to display confidence and poise. Consider thanking your audience for their time and offering to answer any questions. Make sure to end on a high note by summarizing your message in a concise and memorable way. If your topic was on renewable energy, you might conclude by saying, “Let’s take a leap towards a greener future by adopting these solutions today.” This reinforces your main points and encourages your listeners to think or act differently when they leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some creative strategies for ending a presentation memorably.

To end your presentation in a memorable way, consider incorporating a call to action that engages your audience to take the next step. Another strategy is to finish with a thought-provoking question or a surprising fact that resonates with your listeners.

Can you suggest some powerful quotes suitable for concluding a presentation?

Yes, using a quote can be very effective. For example, Maya Angelou’s “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” can reinforce the emotional impact of your presentation.

What is an effective way to write a conclusion that summarizes a presentation?

An effective conclusion should recap the main points succinctly, highlighting what you want your audience to remember. A good way to conclude is by restating your thesis and then briefly summarizing the supporting points you made.

As a student, how can I leave a strong impression with my presentation’s closing remarks?

To leave a strong impression, consider sharing a personal anecdote related to your topic that demonstrates passion and conviction. This helps humanize your content and makes the message more relatable to your audience.

How can I appropriately thank my audience at the close of my presentation?

A simple and sincere expression of gratitude is always appropriate. You might say, “Thank you for your attention and engagement today,” to convey appreciation while also acknowledging their participation.

What are some examples of a compelling closing sentence in a presentation?

A compelling closing sentence could be something like, “Together, let’s take the leap towards a greener future,” if you’re presenting on sustainability. This sentence is impactful, calls for united action, and leaves your audience with a clear message.

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  1. Conclusions

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  2. How to Close Your Paper Without Sounding Repetitive

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  3. Ending the Essay: Conclusions

    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 ...

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