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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.

parts of conclusion in research paper

Types of conclusions for research papers

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

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

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

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

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The conclusion in a research paper serves several important purposes:

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

parts of conclusion in research paper

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

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

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

parts of conclusion in research paper

How to write a research paper conclusion with Paperpal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Importance of a Good Conclusion

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

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

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

Structure and Writing Style

I.  General Rules

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

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

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

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

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

The conclusion also provides a place for you to persuasively and succinctly restate the research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with all the information about the topic . Depending on the discipline you are writing in, the concluding paragraph may contain your reflections on the evidence presented. However, the nature of being introspective about the research you have conducted will depend on the topic and whether your professor wants you to express your observations in this way. If asked to think introspectively about the topics, do not delve into idle speculation. Being introspective means looking within yourself as an author to try and understand an issue more deeply, not to guess at possible outcomes or make up scenarios not supported by the evidence.

II.  Developing a Compelling Conclusion

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

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

III. Problems to Avoid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing Tip

Don't Belabor the Obvious!

Avoid phrases like "in conclusion...," "in summary...," or "in closing...." These phrases can be useful, even welcome, in oral presentations. But readers can see by the tell-tale section heading and number of pages remaining that they are reaching the end of your paper. You'll irritate your readers if you belabor the obvious.

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

Another Writing Tip

New Insight, Not New Information!

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

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

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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

parts of conclusion in research paper

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Writing a Paper: Conclusions

Writing a conclusion.

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

An Easy Checklist for Writing a Conclusion

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

Conclusion Example

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

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  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

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

What makes an effective discussion?

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

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

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

Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.

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

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

parts of conclusion in research paper

Questions to ask yourself:

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

How to structure a discussion

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

parts of conclusion in research paper

Writing Tips

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

What to do

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

What not to do

Don’t

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

Snippets of Effective Discussions:

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

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

  • How to Write a Great Title
  • How to Write an Abstract
  • How to Write Your Methods
  • How to Report Statistics
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  • Writing Tips

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

3-minute read

  • 29th August 2023

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

·   Reword your thesis statement

·   Highlight the significance of your research

·   Discuss limitations

·   Connect to the introduction

·   End with a thought-provoking statement

Rewording Your Thesis Statement

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

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Highlighting the Significance of Your Research

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

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

Discussing Limitations

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

Connecting to the Introduction

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

Ending With a Thought-Provoking Statement

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

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How to write a strong conclusion for your research paper

Last updated

17 February 2024

Reviewed by

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

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

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

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

  • Why is a good conclusion important?

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

  • What to include in a research paper conclusion

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

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

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

  • Steps for writing a research paper conclusion

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

  • Step 1: Restate the problem

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

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

  • Step 2: Sum up the paper

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

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

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

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

Empirical paper: Summarize research findings

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

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

  • Step 3: Discuss the implications of your research

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

Argumentative paper: Powerful closing statement

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

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

Empirical paper: Directions for future research

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

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

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

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

  • Things to avoid in a research paper conclusion

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

Dry summary

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

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

Clichéd or generic phrasing

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

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

New data or evidence

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

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

Ignoring contradictory evidence

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

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

Ambiguous or unclear resolutions

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

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

  • Examples of research paper conclusions

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

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

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

What are the different kinds of research paper conclusions?

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

Can I present new arguments in my research paper conclusion?

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

How long should a research paper conclusion be?

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

What should I include in a research paper conclusion?

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

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Quetext

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

  • Posted on May 12, 2023

The key to an impactful research paper is crafting an effective conclusion. The conclusion provides a final opportunity to make a lasting impression on the reader by providing a powerful summary of the main argument and key findings.

A well-written conclusion not only summarizes your research but also ties everything back to your thesis statement. Plus, it provides important takeaways for your reader, highlighting what they should remember from your research and how it contributes to the larger academic discourse.

Crafting an impactful conclusion can be tricky, especially in argumentative papers. However, with our expert tips and tricks, you can rest assured that your conclusion will effectively restate the main argument and thesis statement in a way that resonates with your audience and elevates your research to new heights.

Why is a Conclusion Necessary for a Research Paper? 

The conclusion of a research paper is essential in tying together the different parts of the paper and offering a final perspective on the topic. It reinforces the main idea or argument presented and summarizes the key points and findings of the research, highlighting its significance. 

Additionally, the conclusion creates a full circle of the research by connecting back to the thesis statement presented at the paper’s beginning. It provides an opportunity to showcase the writer’s critical thinking skills by demonstrating how the research supports the main argument.

The conclusion is essential for a research paper because it provides closure for the reader. It serves as a final destination that helps the reader understand how all the different pieces of information fit together to support the main argument presented. It also offers insights into how the research can inform future studies and contribute to the larger academic discourse.

It also ensures that the reader does not get lost in the vast amount of information presented in the paper by providing a concise and coherent summary of the entire research. Additionally, it helps the reader identify the paper’s main takeaway and understand how the research contributes to the larger body of knowledge in the field.

Leave a Lasting Impression

A well-crafted conclusion is an essential element of any research paper. Its purpose is to leave a lasting impression on the reader and tie together the different parts of the paper.

To achieve this goal, a conclusion should summarize the main points and highlight the key findings of the research. By doing so, the reader can easily understand the focus and significance of the study.

A strong conclusion should also discuss any important findings that can be applied in the real world. This practical perspective gives readers a better sense of the impact and relevance of the research.

Summarize Your Thoughts

The conclusion of a research paper should be concise and provide a summary of the writer’s thoughts and ideas about the research. 

It should go beyond simply restating the main points and findings and address the “so what” of the research by explaining how it contributes to the existing body of knowledge on the same topic. This way, the conclusion can give readers a better understanding of the research’s significance and relevance to the broader academic community.

Demonstrate How Important Your Idea Is

Moving beyond a superficial overview and delving into the research in-depth is crucial to create a compelling conclusion. This entails summarizing the key findings of the study, highlighting its main contributions to the field, and placing the results in a broader context. Additionally, it would help if you comprehensively analyzed your work and its implications, underscoring its value to the broader academic community. 

New Insights

The conclusion section of a research paper offers an opportunity for the writer to present new insights and approaches to addressing the research problem.

Whether the research outcome is positive or negative, the conclusion provides a platform to discuss practical implications beyond the scope of the research paper. This discussion can help readers understand the potential impact of the research on the broader field and its significance for future research endeavors.

How to Write a Killer Conclusion with Key Points

When writing a conclusion for a research paper, it is important to cover several key points to create a solid and effective conclusion.

Restate the Thesis

When crafting a conclusion, restating the thesis statement is an important step that reminds readers of the research paper’s central focus. However, it should not be a verbatim repetition of the introduction. 

By restating the thesis concisely and clearly, you can effectively tie together the main ideas discussed in the body of the paper and emphasize the significance of the research question. However, keep in mind that the restated thesis should capture the essence of the paper and leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main topic and its importance.

Summarize the Main Points

To write an impactful conclusion, summarizing the main points discussed in the body of the paper is essential. This final section provides the writer with a last opportunity to highlight the significance of their research findings. 

However, it is equally important to avoid reiterating information already discussed in the body of the paper. Instead, you should synthesize and summarize the most significant points to emphasize the key findings. By doing so, the conclusion can effectively tie together the research findings and provide a clear understanding of the importance of the research topic.

Discuss the Results or Findings

The next step is to discuss the results or findings of the research. The discussion of the results or findings should not simply be a repetition of the information presented in the body of the paper.

Instead, it should provide a more in-depth analysis of the significance of the findings. This can involve explaining why the findings are important, what they mean in the context of the research question, and how they contribute to the field or area of study. 

Additionally, it’s crucial to address any limitations or weaknesses of the study in this section. This can provide a more balanced and nuanced understanding of the research and its implications. By doing so, the reader will have a better understanding of the scope and context of the study, which can ultimately enhance the credibility and validity of the research.

Ruminate on Your Thoughts

The final step to crafting an effective conclusion is to ruminate on your thoughts. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the research and leaves the reader with something to ponder. Remember, the concluding paragraph should not introduce new information but rather summarize and reflect on the critical points made in the paper.

Furthermore, the conclusion should be integrated into the paper rather than presented as a separate section. It should provide a concise overview of the main findings and suggest avenues for further research.

Different Types of Conclusions 

There are various types of conclusions that can be employed to conclude a research paper effectively, depending on the research questions and topic being investigated.

Summarizing

Summarizing conclusions are frequently used to wrap up a research paper effectively. They restate the thesis statement and provide a brief overview of the main findings and outcomes of the research. This type of conclusion serves as a reminder to the reader of the key points discussed throughout the paper and emphasizes the significance of the research topic.

To be effective, summarizing conclusions should be concise and to the point, avoiding any new information not previously discussed in the body of the paper. Moreover, they are particularly useful when there is a clear and direct answer to the research question. This allows you to summarize your findings succinctly and leave the reader with a clear understanding of the implications of the research.

Externalizing

On the opposite end of the spectrum are externalizing conclusions. Unlike summarizing conclusions, externalizing conclusions introduce new ideas that may not be directly related to the research findings. This type of conclusion can be beneficial because it broadens the scope of the research topic and can lead to new insights and directions for future research.

By presenting new ideas, externalizing conclusions can challenge conventional thinking in the field and open up new avenues for exploration. This approach is instrumental in fields where research is ongoing, and new ideas and approaches are constantly being developed.

Editorial conclusions are a type of conclusion that allows the writer to express their commentary on the research findings. They can be particularly effective in connecting the writer’s insights with the research conducted and can offer a unique perspective on the research topic. Adding a personal touch to the conclusion can help engage the reader and leave a lasting impression.

Remember that regardless of the type of conclusion you choose, it should always start with a clear and concise restatement of the thesis statement, followed by a summary of the main findings in the body paragraphs. The first sentence of the conclusion should be impactful and attention-grabbing to make a strong impression on the reader.

What to Avoid in Your Conclusion

When crafting your conclusion, it’s essential to keep in mind several key points to ensure that it is effective and well-received by your audience:

  • Avoid introducing new ideas or topics that have not been covered in the body of your paper.
  • Refrain from simply restating what has already been said in your paper without adding new insights or analysis.
  • Do not apologize for any shortcomings or limitations of your research, as this can undermine the importance of your findings.
  • Avoid using overly emotional or flowery language, as it can detract from the professionalism and objectivity of the research.
  • Lastly, avoid any examples of plagiarism. Be sure to properly cite any sources you have used in your research and writing.

Example of a Bad Conclusion

  • Recapitulation without Insight: In conclusion, this paper has discussed the importance of exercise for physical and mental health. We hope this paper has been helpful to you and encourages you to start exercising today.
  • Introduction of New Ideas: In conclusion, we have discussed the benefits of exercise and how it can improve physical and mental health. Additionally, we have highlighted the benefits of a plant-based diet and the importance of getting enough sleep for overall well-being.
  • Emotional Language: In conclusion, exercise is good for your body and mind, and you should definitely start working out today!

Example of a Good Conclusion

  • Insights and Implications: In light of our investigation, it is evident that regular exercise is undeniably beneficial for both physical and mental well-being, especially if performed at an appropriate duration and frequency. These findings hold significant implications for public health policies and personal wellness decisions.
  • Limitations and Future Directions: While our investigation has shed light on the benefits of exercise, our study is not without limitations. Future research can delve deeper into the long-term effects of exercise on mental health and explore the impact of exercise on specific populations, such as older adults or individuals with chronic health conditions.
  • Call to Action: In conclusion, we urge individuals to prioritize exercise as a critical component of their daily routine. By making exercise a habit, we can reap the many benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.

Final Thoughts 

When writing a research paper, the conclusion is one of the most crucial elements to leave a lasting impression on the reader. It should effectively summarize the research and provide valuable insights, leaving the reader with something to ponder.

To accomplish this, it is essential to include vital elements, such as restating the thesis , summarizing the main points, and discussing the findings. However, it is equally important to avoid common mistakes that can undermine the effectiveness of the conclusion, such as introducing new information or repeating the introduction. 

So to ensure that your research is of the highest quality, it’s crucial to use proper citations and conduct a thorough literature review. Additionally, it is crucial to proofread the work to eliminate any errors. 

Fortunately, there are many available resources to help you with both writing and plagiarism prevention. Quetext , for example, offers a plagiarism checker, citation assistance, and proofreading tools to ensure the writing is top-notch. By incorporating these tips and using available resources, you can create a compelling and memorable conclusion for readers. 

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Last Updated: May 8, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 42 testimonials and 83% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,259,297 times.

The conclusion of a research paper needs to summarize the content and purpose of the paper without seeming too wooden or dry. Every basic conclusion must share several key elements, but there are also several tactics you can play around with to craft a more effective conclusion and several you should avoid to prevent yourself from weakening your paper's conclusion. Here are some writing tips to keep in mind when creating a conclusion for your next research paper.

Sample Conclusions

Writing a basic conclusion.

Step 1 Restate the topic.

  • Do not spend a great amount of time or space restating your topic.
  • A good research paper will make the importance of your topic apparent, so you do not need to write an elaborate defense of your topic in the conclusion.
  • Usually a single sentence is all you need to restate your topic.
  • An example would be if you were writing a paper on the epidemiology of infectious disease, you might say something like "Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year."
  • Yet another example from the humanities would be a paper about the Italian Renaissance: "The Italian Renaissance was an explosion of art and ideas centered around artists, writers, and thinkers in Florence."

Step 2 Restate your thesis.

  • A thesis is a narrowed, focused view on the topic at hand.
  • This statement should be rephrased from the thesis you included in your introduction. It should not be identical or too similar to the sentence you originally used.
  • Try re-wording your thesis statement in a way that complements your summary of the topic of your paper in your first sentence of your conclusion.
  • An example of a good thesis statement, going back to the paper on tuberculosis, would be "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease ."

Step 3 Briefly summarize your main points.

  • A good way to go about this is to re-read the topic sentence of each major paragraph or section in the body of your paper.
  • Find a way to briefly restate each point mentioned in each topic sentence in your conclusion. Do not repeat any of the supporting details used within your body paragraphs.
  • Under most circumstances, you should avoid writing new information in your conclusion. This is especially true if the information is vital to the argument or research presented in your paper.
  • For example, in the TB paper you could summarize the information. "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of TB infections is soaring. Crowded conditions, poor sanitation, and lack of access to medical care are all compounding factors in the spread of the disease. Medical experts, such as those from the World Health Organization are now starting campaigns to go into communities in developing countries and provide diagnostic testing and treatments. However, the treatments for TB are very harsh and have many side effects. This leads to patient non-compliance and spread of multi-drug resistant strains of the disease."

Step 4 Add the points up.

  • Note that this is not needed for all research papers.
  • If you already fully explained what the points in your paper mean or why they are significant, you do not need to go into them in much detail in your conclusion. Simply restating your thesis or the significance of your topic should suffice.
  • It is always best practice to address important issues and fully explain your points in the body of your paper. The point of a conclusion to a research paper is to summarize your argument for the reader and, perhaps, to call the reader to action if needed.

Step 5 Make a call to action when appropriate.

  • Note that a call for action is not essential to all conclusions. A research paper on literary criticism, for instance, is less likely to need a call for action than a paper on the effect that television has on toddlers and young children.
  • A paper that is more likely to call readers to action is one that addresses a public or scientific need. Let's go back to our example of tuberculosis. This is a very serious disease that is spreading quickly and with antibiotic-resistant forms.
  • A call to action in this research paper would be a follow-up statement that might be along the lines of "Despite new efforts to diagnose and contain the disease, more research is needed to develop new antibiotics that will treat the most resistant strains of tuberculosis and ease the side effects of current treatments."

Step 6 Answer the “so what” question.

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

Making Your Conclusion as Effective as Possible

Step 1 Stick with a basic synthesis of information.

  • Since this sort of conclusion is so basic, you must aim to synthesize the information rather than merely summarizing it.
  • Instead of merely repeating things you already said, rephrase your thesis and supporting points in a way that ties them all together.
  • By doing so, you make your research paper seem like a "complete thought" rather than a collection of random and vaguely related ideas.

Step 2 Bring things full circle.

  • Ask a question in your introduction. In your conclusion, restate the question and provide a direct answer.
  • Write an anecdote or story in your introduction but do not share the ending. Instead, write the conclusion to the anecdote in the conclusion of your paper.
  • For example, if you wanted to get more creative and put a more humanistic spin on a paper on tuberculosis, you might start your introduction with a story about a person with the disease, and refer to that story in your conclusion. For example, you could say something like this before you re-state your thesis in your conclusion: "Patient X was unable to complete the treatment for tuberculosis due to severe side effects and unfortunately succumbed to the disease."
  • Use the same concepts and images introduced in your introduction in your conclusion. The images may or may not appear at other points throughout the research paper.

Step 3 Close with logic.

  • Include enough information about your topic to back the statement up but do not get too carried away with excess detail.
  • If your research did not provide you with a clear-cut answer to a question posed in your thesis, do not be afraid to indicate as much.
  • Restate your initial hypothesis and indicate whether you still believe it or if the research you performed has begun swaying your opinion.
  • Indicate that an answer may still exist and that further research could shed more light on the topic at hand.

Step 4 Pose a question.

  • This may not be appropriate for all types of research papers. Most research papers, such as one on effective treatment for diseases, will have the information to make the case for a particular argument already in the paper.
  • A good example of a paper that might ask a question of the reader in the ending is one about a social issue, such as poverty or government policy.
  • Ask a question that will directly get at the heart or purpose of the paper. This question is often the same question, or some version of it, that you may have started with when you began your research.
  • Make sure that the question can be answered by the evidence presented in your paper.
  • If desired you can briefly summarize the answer after stating the question. You could also leave the question hanging for the reader to answer, though.

Step 5 Make a suggestion.

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

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Step 1 Avoid saying

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

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

  • Always state the main argument or thesis in the introduction. A research paper is an analytical discussion of an academic topic, not a mystery novel.
  • A good, effective research paper will allow your reader to follow your main argument from start to finish.
  • This is why it is best practice to start your paper with an introduction that states your main argument and to end the paper with a conclusion that re-states your thesis for re-iteration.

Step 3 Leave out new information.

  • All significant information should be introduced in the body of the paper.
  • Supporting evidence expands the topic of your paper by making it appear more detailed. A conclusion should narrow the topic to a more general point.
  • A conclusion should only summarize what you have already stated in the body of your paper.
  • You may suggest further research or a call to action, but you should not bring in any new evidence or facts in the conclusion.

Step 4 Avoid changing the tone of the paper.

  • Most often, a shift in tone occurs when a research paper with an academic tone gives an emotional or sentimental conclusion.
  • Even if the topic of the paper is of personal significance for you, you should not indicate as much in your paper.
  • If you want to give your paper a more humanistic slant, you could start and end your paper with a story or anecdote that would give your topic more personal meaning to the reader.
  • This tone should be consistent throughout the paper, however.

Step 5 Make no apologies.

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

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

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

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

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How to write a conclusion for a research paper

How to write a conclusion for a research paper

Research paper conclusions provide closure for your paper—but they can be difficult to write. What should you include? In this post, we discuss how to write a conclusion for a research paper.

What is a conclusion?

The conclusion to a research paper sums of your main argument and provides closure for your reader. It will return to your thesis statement and revisit the ways that you proved it.

The content and format of your conclusion will ultimately differ depending on the subject of your paper. Some fields have more specific expectations for what needs to be included.

You should always check your assignment’s guidelines or rubric to ensure that you understand what your instructor expects in a research paper conclusion.

How to write a conclusion

In this section, we break down the main parts of a conclusion and provide tips on how to approach each one.

The opening of a conclusion

The point of a conclusion’s opening statement is to transition from the main body of your paper to the concluding section. Some types of research papers include section headers that label each part of the paper. In these cases, your reader will be able to clearly see that you’re about to conclude.

In most other cases, begin your conclusion with a signal that indicates that you’re moving into the concluding section of your paper. For instance, you might start your conclusion by stating “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” or “in sum.”

What you can include in a conclusion

Although you shouldn’t include any new data or evidence in a conclusion, you can include suggestions for further research, insights about how your research could be applied in different contexts, or a course of action.

The bulk of the conclusion should synthesize—not summarize—the main points of your paper. If your introduction included historical information or an anecdote, return to that information now.

Your conclusion should also answer the “so what” question: why is this research relevant? Who should care about your argument and why?

The ending of a conclusion

Finally, you’ll want to end your conclusion with a closing statement that wraps up your concluding section (and your paper as a whole).

Tips for writing a conclusion

1. don’t include new data or evidence.

Your conclusion should provide closure to your paper, so introducing new information is not appropriate and will likely confuse your reader.

2. Don’t simply restate your thesis

You should never simply copy and paste your thesis statement into your conclusion. Instead, revisit your thesis in light of the evidence and analysis that you put forth in the main body of your paper.

3. Provide closure for your reader

A strong conclusion provides closure for the reader by synthesizing the main points of the paper and putting to rest any questions that the reader may have during the process of reading. The best way to test if your conclusion provides closure is to ask someone to read your paper.

4. Make suggestions for further research

While conclusions should not introduce new data or arguments, they can include suggestions for further research. A single research paper never covers everything—there are always possible new angles and approaches.

Next steps for a successful research paper

Once you’ve written your conclusion, you should review what you’ve written and make revisions, as needed. Then, double-check that you’ve cited all borrowed material and that your paper has a bibliography with accurate citations.

Use BibGuru’s citation generator to quickly create accurate citations for the books, articles, websites, and other sources that you used in your research paper.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to write a conclusion for a research paper

A conclusion contains an opening statement (often a restatement of the thesis), recommendations for further studies or applications, and a closing statement.

Start by signaling to the reader that you are moving into the concluding section.

The length of your conclusion will depend on the length of your paper. Most research paper conclusions will be around 1-2 paragraphs.

End your conclusion with a closing statement that wraps up the paper and provides closure to your reader.

How to write a research proposal

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How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion Section

parts of conclusion in research paper

What is a conclusion in a research paper?

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

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

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

Table of Contents:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to summarize in the conclusion

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

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

How to Write an Essay Conclusion

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

Summarizing conclusion

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

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

Externalizing conclusion

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

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

Editorial conclusion

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

How to Conclude an Empirical Research Paper

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

Summarize the findings

In a scientific paper, you should include a summary of the findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth  results  and  discussion  already), but do clearly express the answers to the  research questions  you investigated.

Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones anticipated, and explain the conclusion they led you to. Explain these findings in as few words as possible.

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

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

Discuss the implications

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

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

Future research example

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

Research Conclusion Example and Outline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problems to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion 

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

Consider Receiving Academic Editing Services

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

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

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

In a general way,

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

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

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

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

Tell them (body).

Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

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How to Write a Research Paper: Parts of the Paper

  • Choosing Your Topic
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Parts of the Research Paper Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea, and indicate how you will support it. The body of the paper should expand on what you have stated in the introduction. Finally, the conclusion restates the paper's thesis and should explain what you have learned, giving a wrap up of your main ideas.

1. The Title The title should be specific and indicate the theme of the research and what ideas it addresses. Use keywords that help explain your paper's topic to the reader. Try to avoid abbreviations and jargon. Think about keywords that people would use to search for your paper and include them in your title.

2. The Abstract The abstract is used by readers to get a quick overview of your paper. Typically, they are about 200 words in length (120 words minimum to  250 words maximum). The abstract should introduce the topic and thesis, and should provide a general statement about what you have found in your research. The abstract allows you to mention each major aspect of your topic and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Because it is a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last. 

3. The Introduction The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and explain the focus of the research. You will introduce your overview of the topic,  your main points of information, and why this subject is important. You can introduce the current understanding and background information about the topic. Toward the end of the introduction, you add your thesis statement, and explain how you will provide information to support your research questions. This provides the purpose and focus for the rest of the paper.

4. Thesis Statement Most papers will have a thesis statement or main idea and supporting facts/ideas/arguments. State your main idea (something of interest or something to be proven or argued for or against) as your thesis statement, and then provide your supporting facts and arguments. A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. It also points toward the paper's development. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.

Students often learn to write a thesis as a first step in the writing process, but often, after research, a writer's viewpoint may change. Therefore a thesis statement may be one of the final steps in writing. 

Examples of Thesis Statements from Purdue OWL

5. The Literature Review The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and how it specifically relates to the research thesis. It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched. The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors. It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You will want  to:

  • Explain how the literature helps the researcher understand the topic.
  • Try to show connections and any disparities between the literature.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.

More about writing a literature review. . .

6. The Discussion ​The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe what you have learned from your research. Make the reader understand why your topic is important. The discussion should always demonstrate what you have learned from your readings (and viewings) and how that learning has made the topic evolve, especially from the short description of main points in the introduction.Explain any new understanding or insights you have had after reading your articles and/or books. Paragraphs should use transitioning sentences to develop how one paragraph idea leads to the next. The discussion will always connect to the introduction, your thesis statement, and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction. You want to: 

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, not just reporting back facts that you gathered.
  • If possible, tell how the topic has evolved over the past and give it's implications for the future.
  • Fully explain your main ideas with supporting information.
  • Explain why your thesis is correct giving arguments to counter points.

7. The Conclusion A concluding paragraph is a brief summary of your main ideas and restates the paper's main thesis, giving the reader the sense that the stated goal of the paper has been accomplished. What have you learned by doing this research that you didn't know before? What conclusions have you drawn? You may also want to suggest further areas of study, improvement of research possibilities, etc. to demonstrate your critical thinking regarding your research.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper that Resonates

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

Table of Contents

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

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

Four Important Elements of a Research Paper Conclusion

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

Restate the Thesis Statement

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

Summarize the Main Points of the Research Paper

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

Discuss the Implications of the Research

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

Provide Closure to the Reader

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

For Example:

Tips for Writing A Strong Conclusion

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

Tip 1: Keep it Concise and to The Point

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

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

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

Tip 3: Avoid Introducing New Information

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

Tip 4: Use a Strong Concluding Sentence

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

Common Mistakes to Avoid

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

Don’t Repeat the Information

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

Avoid Including Personal Opinions and or Biases

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

Don’t Use Weak Language or Cliches:

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

Example of Good Research Paper Conclusions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the conclusion in research?

Is it necessary to restate the thesis statement in the conclusion, can i introduce new information in the conclusion, how can i ensure that my conclusion is concise and to the point.

The 3 parts of the conclusion are:

  • Thesis statement
  • Final stance

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Research Method

Home » Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Research Paper – Structure, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

Research Paper

Research Paper

Definition:

Research Paper is a written document that presents the author’s original research, analysis, and interpretation of a specific topic or issue.

It is typically based on Empirical Evidence, and may involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of both. The purpose of a research paper is to contribute new knowledge or insights to a particular field of study, and to demonstrate the author’s understanding of the existing literature and theories related to the topic.

Structure of Research Paper

The structure of a research paper typically follows a standard format, consisting of several sections that convey specific information about the research study. The following is a detailed explanation of the structure of a research paper:

The title page contains the title of the paper, the name(s) of the author(s), and the affiliation(s) of the author(s). It also includes the date of submission and possibly, the name of the journal or conference where the paper is to be published.

The abstract is a brief summary of the research paper, typically ranging from 100 to 250 words. It should include the research question, the methods used, the key findings, and the implications of the results. The abstract should be written in a concise and clear manner to allow readers to quickly grasp the essence of the research.

Introduction

The introduction section of a research paper provides background information about the research problem, the research question, and the research objectives. It also outlines the significance of the research, the research gap that it aims to fill, and the approach taken to address the research question. Finally, the introduction section ends with a clear statement of the research hypothesis or research question.

Literature Review

The literature review section of a research paper provides an overview of the existing literature on the topic of study. It includes a critical analysis and synthesis of the literature, highlighting the key concepts, themes, and debates. The literature review should also demonstrate the research gap and how the current study seeks to address it.

The methods section of a research paper describes the research design, the sample selection, the data collection and analysis procedures, and the statistical methods used to analyze the data. This section should provide sufficient detail for other researchers to replicate the study.

The results section presents the findings of the research, using tables, graphs, and figures to illustrate the data. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner, with reference to the research question and hypothesis.

The discussion section of a research paper interprets the findings and discusses their implications for the research question, the literature review, and the field of study. It should also address the limitations of the study and suggest future research directions.

The conclusion section summarizes the main findings of the study, restates the research question and hypothesis, and provides a final reflection on the significance of the research.

The references section provides a list of all the sources cited in the paper, following a specific citation style such as APA, MLA or Chicago.

How to Write Research Paper

You can write Research Paper by the following guide:

  • Choose a Topic: The first step is to select a topic that interests you and is relevant to your field of study. Brainstorm ideas and narrow down to a research question that is specific and researchable.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: The literature review helps you identify the gap in the existing research and provides a basis for your research question. It also helps you to develop a theoretical framework and research hypothesis.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : The thesis statement is the main argument of your research paper. It should be clear, concise and specific to your research question.
  • Plan your Research: Develop a research plan that outlines the methods, data sources, and data analysis procedures. This will help you to collect and analyze data effectively.
  • Collect and Analyze Data: Collect data using various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, or experiments. Analyze data using statistical tools or other qualitative methods.
  • Organize your Paper : Organize your paper into sections such as Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion. Ensure that each section is coherent and follows a logical flow.
  • Write your Paper : Start by writing the introduction, followed by the literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. Ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and follows the required formatting and citation styles.
  • Edit and Proofread your Paper: Review your paper for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that it is well-structured and easy to read. Ask someone else to review your paper to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Cite your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources used in your research paper. This is essential for giving credit to the original authors and avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Example

Note : The below example research paper is for illustrative purposes only and is not an actual research paper. Actual research papers may have different structures, contents, and formats depending on the field of study, research question, data collection and analysis methods, and other factors. Students should always consult with their professors or supervisors for specific guidelines and expectations for their research papers.

Research Paper Example sample for Students:

Title: The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health among Young Adults

Abstract: This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults. A literature review was conducted to examine the existing research on the topic. A survey was then administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Introduction: Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among young adults. While social media has many benefits, including increased communication and social connectivity, it has also been associated with negative outcomes, such as addiction, cyberbullying, and mental health problems. This study aims to investigate the impact of social media use on the mental health of young adults.

Literature Review: The literature review highlights the existing research on the impact of social media use on mental health. The review shows that social media use is associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. The review also identifies the factors that contribute to the negative impact of social media, including social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Methods : A survey was administered to 200 university students to collect data on their social media use, mental health status, and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. The survey included questions on social media use, mental health status (measured using the DASS-21), and perceived impact of social media on their mental health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis.

Results : The results showed that social media use is positively associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. The study also found that social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO are significant predictors of mental health problems among young adults.

Discussion : The study’s findings suggest that social media use has a negative impact on the mental health of young adults. The study highlights the need for interventions that address the factors contributing to the negative impact of social media, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and FOMO.

Conclusion : In conclusion, social media use has a significant impact on the mental health of young adults. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions that promote healthy social media use and address the negative outcomes associated with social media use. Future research can explore the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health. Additionally, longitudinal studies can investigate the long-term effects of social media use on mental health.

Limitations : The study has some limitations, including the use of self-report measures and a cross-sectional design. The use of self-report measures may result in biased responses, and a cross-sectional design limits the ability to establish causality.

Implications: The study’s findings have implications for mental health professionals, educators, and policymakers. Mental health professionals can use the findings to develop interventions that address the negative impact of social media use on mental health. Educators can incorporate social media literacy into their curriculum to promote healthy social media use among young adults. Policymakers can use the findings to develop policies that protect young adults from the negative outcomes associated with social media use.

References :

  • Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2019). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100918.
  • Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Escobar-Viera, C. G., Barrett, E. L., Sidani, J. E., Colditz, J. B., … & James, A. E. (2017). Use of multiple social media platforms and symptoms of depression and anxiety: A nationally-representative study among US young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 1-9.
  • Van der Meer, T. G., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2017). Social media and its impact on academic performance of students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 383-398.

Appendix : The survey used in this study is provided below.

Social Media and Mental Health Survey

  • How often do you use social media per day?
  • Less than 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1 to 2 hours
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • More than 4 hours
  • Which social media platforms do you use?
  • Others (Please specify)
  • How often do you experience the following on social media?
  • Social comparison (comparing yourself to others)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
  • Have you ever experienced any of the following mental health problems in the past month?
  • Do you think social media use has a positive or negative impact on your mental health?
  • Very positive
  • Somewhat positive
  • Somewhat negative
  • Very negative
  • In your opinion, which factors contribute to the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Social comparison
  • In your opinion, what interventions could be effective in reducing the negative impact of social media on mental health?
  • Education on healthy social media use
  • Counseling for mental health problems caused by social media
  • Social media detox programs
  • Regulation of social media use

Thank you for your participation!

Applications of Research Paper

Research papers have several applications in various fields, including:

  • Advancing knowledge: Research papers contribute to the advancement of knowledge by generating new insights, theories, and findings that can inform future research and practice. They help to answer important questions, clarify existing knowledge, and identify areas that require further investigation.
  • Informing policy: Research papers can inform policy decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers. They can help to identify gaps in current policies, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and inform the development of new policies and regulations.
  • Improving practice: Research papers can improve practice by providing evidence-based guidance for professionals in various fields, including medicine, education, business, and psychology. They can inform the development of best practices, guidelines, and standards of care that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • Educating students : Research papers are often used as teaching tools in universities and colleges to educate students about research methods, data analysis, and academic writing. They help students to develop critical thinking skills, research skills, and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
  • Fostering collaboration: Research papers can foster collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers by providing a platform for sharing knowledge and ideas. They can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships that can lead to innovative solutions to complex problems.

When to Write Research Paper

Research papers are typically written when a person has completed a research project or when they have conducted a study and have obtained data or findings that they want to share with the academic or professional community. Research papers are usually written in academic settings, such as universities, but they can also be written in professional settings, such as research organizations, government agencies, or private companies.

Here are some common situations where a person might need to write a research paper:

  • For academic purposes: Students in universities and colleges are often required to write research papers as part of their coursework, particularly in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Writing research papers helps students to develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and academic writing skills.
  • For publication: Researchers often write research papers to publish their findings in academic journals or to present their work at academic conferences. Publishing research papers is an important way to disseminate research findings to the academic community and to establish oneself as an expert in a particular field.
  • To inform policy or practice : Researchers may write research papers to inform policy decisions or to improve practice in various fields. Research findings can be used to inform the development of policies, guidelines, and best practices that can improve outcomes for individuals and organizations.
  • To share new insights or ideas: Researchers may write research papers to share new insights or ideas with the academic or professional community. They may present new theories, propose new research methods, or challenge existing paradigms in their field.

Purpose of Research Paper

The purpose of a research paper is to present the results of a study or investigation in a clear, concise, and structured manner. Research papers are written to communicate new knowledge, ideas, or findings to a specific audience, such as researchers, scholars, practitioners, or policymakers. The primary purposes of a research paper are:

  • To contribute to the body of knowledge : Research papers aim to add new knowledge or insights to a particular field or discipline. They do this by reporting the results of empirical studies, reviewing and synthesizing existing literature, proposing new theories, or providing new perspectives on a topic.
  • To inform or persuade: Research papers are written to inform or persuade the reader about a particular issue, topic, or phenomenon. They present evidence and arguments to support their claims and seek to persuade the reader of the validity of their findings or recommendations.
  • To advance the field: Research papers seek to advance the field or discipline by identifying gaps in knowledge, proposing new research questions or approaches, or challenging existing assumptions or paradigms. They aim to contribute to ongoing debates and discussions within a field and to stimulate further research and inquiry.
  • To demonstrate research skills: Research papers demonstrate the author’s research skills, including their ability to design and conduct a study, collect and analyze data, and interpret and communicate findings. They also demonstrate the author’s ability to critically evaluate existing literature, synthesize information from multiple sources, and write in a clear and structured manner.

Characteristics of Research Paper

Research papers have several characteristics that distinguish them from other forms of academic or professional writing. Here are some common characteristics of research papers:

  • Evidence-based: Research papers are based on empirical evidence, which is collected through rigorous research methods such as experiments, surveys, observations, or interviews. They rely on objective data and facts to support their claims and conclusions.
  • Structured and organized: Research papers have a clear and logical structure, with sections such as introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion. They are organized in a way that helps the reader to follow the argument and understand the findings.
  • Formal and objective: Research papers are written in a formal and objective tone, with an emphasis on clarity, precision, and accuracy. They avoid subjective language or personal opinions and instead rely on objective data and analysis to support their arguments.
  • Citations and references: Research papers include citations and references to acknowledge the sources of information and ideas used in the paper. They use a specific citation style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Peer-reviewed: Research papers are often peer-reviewed, which means they are evaluated by other experts in the field before they are published. Peer-review ensures that the research is of high quality, meets ethical standards, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field.
  • Objective and unbiased: Research papers strive to be objective and unbiased in their presentation of the findings. They avoid personal biases or preconceptions and instead rely on the data and analysis to draw conclusions.

Advantages of Research Paper

Research papers have many advantages, both for the individual researcher and for the broader academic and professional community. Here are some advantages of research papers:

  • Contribution to knowledge: Research papers contribute to the body of knowledge in a particular field or discipline. They add new information, insights, and perspectives to existing literature and help advance the understanding of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Opportunity for intellectual growth: Research papers provide an opportunity for intellectual growth for the researcher. They require critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, which can help develop the researcher’s skills and knowledge.
  • Career advancement: Research papers can help advance the researcher’s career by demonstrating their expertise and contributions to the field. They can also lead to new research opportunities, collaborations, and funding.
  • Academic recognition: Research papers can lead to academic recognition in the form of awards, grants, or invitations to speak at conferences or events. They can also contribute to the researcher’s reputation and standing in the field.
  • Impact on policy and practice: Research papers can have a significant impact on policy and practice. They can inform policy decisions, guide practice, and lead to changes in laws, regulations, or procedures.
  • Advancement of society: Research papers can contribute to the advancement of society by addressing important issues, identifying solutions to problems, and promoting social justice and equality.

Limitations of Research Paper

Research papers also have some limitations that should be considered when interpreting their findings or implications. Here are some common limitations of research papers:

  • Limited generalizability: Research findings may not be generalizable to other populations, settings, or contexts. Studies often use specific samples or conditions that may not reflect the broader population or real-world situations.
  • Potential for bias : Research papers may be biased due to factors such as sample selection, measurement errors, or researcher biases. It is important to evaluate the quality of the research design and methods used to ensure that the findings are valid and reliable.
  • Ethical concerns: Research papers may raise ethical concerns, such as the use of vulnerable populations or invasive procedures. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from participants to ensure that the research is conducted in a responsible and respectful manner.
  • Limitations of methodology: Research papers may be limited by the methodology used to collect and analyze data. For example, certain research methods may not capture the complexity or nuance of a particular phenomenon, or may not be appropriate for certain research questions.
  • Publication bias: Research papers may be subject to publication bias, where positive or significant findings are more likely to be published than negative or non-significant findings. This can skew the overall findings of a particular area of research.
  • Time and resource constraints: Research papers may be limited by time and resource constraints, which can affect the quality and scope of the research. Researchers may not have access to certain data or resources, or may be unable to conduct long-term studies due to practical limitations.

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  • Open access
  • Published: 15 May 2024

A dual fusion recognition model for sleep posture based on air mattress pressure detection

  • Zebo Li 1 ,
  • Yipeng Zhou 1 &
  • Guoping Zhou 1  

Scientific Reports volume  14 , Article number:  11084 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Biomedical engineering
  • Electrical and electronic engineering

In order to solve the difficult portability problem of traditional non-invasive sleeping posture recognition algorithms arising from the production cost and computational cost, this paper proposes a sleeping posture recognition model focusing on human body structural feature extraction and integration of feature space and algorithms based on a specific air-spring mattress structure, called SPR-DE (SPR-DE is the Sleep Posture Recognition-Data Ensemble acronym form). The model combines SMR (SMR stands for Principle of Spearman Maximal Relevance) with horizontal and vertical division based on the barometric pressure signals in the human body’s backbone region to reconstruct the raw pressure data into strongly correlated non-image features of the sleep postures in different parts and directions and construct the feature set. Finally, the recognit-ion of the two sleep postures is accomplished using the AdaBoost-SVM integrated classifier. SPR-DE is compared with the base and integrated classifiers to verify its performance. The experimental results show that the amount of significant features helps the algorithm to classify different sleeping patterns more accurately, and the f1 score of the SPR-DE model determined by the comparison experiments is 0.998, and the accuracy can reach 99.9%. Compared with other models, the accuracy is improved by 2.9% ~ 7.7%, and the f1-score is improved by 0.029 ~ 0.076. Therefore, it is concluded that the SMR feature extraction strategy in the SPR-DE model and the AdaBoost-SVM can achieve high accuracy and strong robustness in the task of sleep posture recognition in a small area, low-density air-pressure mattress, taking into account the comfort of the mattress structural design and the sleep posture recognition, integrated with the mattress adaptive adjustment system.

Introduction

High-quality sleep is essential for human health 1 . The sleep process is also a process by which a person recovers energy, consolidates memories, and promotes physical health 2 . Sleep posture directly affects the quality and depth of sleep. Improper sleep posture may lead to body pain, breathing obstruction, or even long-term health problems, for example, sleeping on the back may exacerbate sleep apnea syndrome and lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRED) 3 , and prolonged side-lying sleeping may lead to shoulder pain or exacerbate pre-existing shoulder problems 4 . Modern monitoring devices and apps, however, can track changes in sleep posture in real-time, analyze sleep patterns, and provide targeted recommendations and adjustments. For example, sleeping on the side can alleviate sleep apnea syndrome and reduce acid reflux. In the supine sleep posture if proper support is provided for the cervical spine, back, lumbar spine, and hips can relieve pressure or pain in the neck and lower back 5 . Proper sleep posture monitoring and adjustment can also help some specific groups of people. For example, during the postoperative recovery period according to the patient’s condition, some specific sleep posture change adjustment strategies are used by monitoring their sleep posture in real-time. For pregnant women, real-time monitoring of the sleep posture and making appropriate adjustments, adopting the fetal sleep posture, and providing appropriate support can relieve low back pain and ensure fetal health at the same time.

During sleep, it is advantageous to recognize sleep postures based on pressure perception in the main body regions. In particular, in terms of human biomechanics 6 , 7 , 8 , the shoulders, back, and hips serve as the main support points of the body 6 , and their positions and corresponding pressure distributions contribute to the curvature of the spine and the overall stability of the sleep posture 7 , 8 . Sleep physiology studies 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 have shown that shoulder-hip pressures and spinal pressures can provide information about whether an individual maintains a sleep posture that reduces body stress and supports the natural curve of the spine 10 , 11 , which is critical for understanding sleep quality and preventing sleep-related disorders 12 . This has led to theoretical and practical research support for considering shoulder-hip eigenquantities and spine eigenquantities as key eigenquantities in sleep position recognition.

The key to solving these problems lies in proposing a feature extraction algorithm, and sleeping pattern recognition model that can target the integration of sleeping pattern recognition and mattress adaptive adjustment system for air mattress structure. The effective feature quantity is utilized to help the algorithm classify different sleeping patterns more accurately, thus improving the performance of the recognition system.

Specifically, the sleep posture recognition model (1) is accurate in its ability to analyze pressure distribution, and the model is able to accurately map the pressure distribution pattern of the human body on the mattress. This includes identifying the location and pressure magnitude of the body’s major pressure areas and the alignment of the spine. (2) Application of ergonomic principles to assist in feature extraction to ensure that the extracted features reflect the biomechanical and pressure distribution characteristics of the human body in different sleep postures. (3) Be highly sensitive to the spatial relationships between body parts and the dynamic properties of these relationships as they change with sleep posture, including the differences in pressure on the mattress from different parts of the body (4) Identify changes in pressure in different directions, and understand how these changes characterize different sleep postures and their impact on sleep comfort and support needs.

Combining the highly focused feature extraction capability of the model and the sensitivity to spatial relationships and variations, the research in this paper addresses the problem of sleep posture recognition in the context of air pressure mattress applications and proposes a dual-fusion recognition algorithm for sleep posture based on air pressure detection of mattresses-the SPR-DE algorithm.

The contribution of this paper has three main parts:

(1) SMR (Principle of Spearman Maximal Relevance) feature extraction strategy is proposed, the subset of salient features obtained by SMR contains features related to sleep postures, and the non-image data can be used as input to the sleep posture recognition model. Among them, the horizontal and vertical division strategy focuses on obtaining characteristic quantities about the body’s main support areas (shoulders, hips) and spine status, which are key indicators for assessing sleep comfort and health. It is beneficial for the system to more accurately determine the sleep posture and the areas that need to be adjusted in order to provide the best support, such as adjusting firmness and matching pressure distribution for specific body parts; compared to image data, the barometric pressure data used for model input is easier to obtain from the built-in sensors of the mattress, which simplifies the system’s hardware requirements and reduces the intrusiveness of privacy; and the computational cost is lower for the non-image data, especially for the transversal and longitudinal division feature volumes, which can be used for the assessment of the sleep comfort and health. volumes, the lower computational cost enables faster data processing, which means that the system can be adjusted in real-time without compromising performance, improving the user experience. This model is easier to integrate into a variety of mattress systems due to the reduced data processing requirements and simplified hardware requirements (no need for complex image acquisition and processing equipment). This makes it easier to balance mattress comfort with the portability of sleep posture recognition in designing the sleep posture recognition system.

(2) The horizontal and vertical division approach used in the SMR strategy reveals that the feature vectors of the shoulder region and hip region in the SBWH feature subset and the feature vectors related to the spine line in the LMR feature subset are the crucial features. Sleep posture changes can optimize pressure distribution across the body, reduce the risk of pain or injury from pressure concentrations, excessive stress, or strain, and maintain the body’s ability to maintain balance in both dynamic and static states. From an ergonomics and biomechanics point of view, shoulder-hip characteristic quantities (e.g., pressure distribution at the point of contact with the bed surface) provide important information for assessing whether a sleep posture is conducive to reducing pressure concentrations and improving blood circulation. The S-curve structure of the human spine, which includes anterior convexity of the cervical spine, posterior convexity of the thoracic spine, and anterior convexity of the lumbar spine, makes spinal characteristic quantities (e.g., pressure distributions of the spinal curves) critical for identifying healthy and unhealthy sleep postures. The characteristic quantities of the shoulder-hip and spine provided by this division extraction approach provide a basis for evaluating not only the effects of sleep postures on the stress distribution in various parts of the body but also the effects of sleep postures on maintaining stability and preventing over-twisting or over-extension. This in turn improves the accuracy of the model classification.

(3) The classification model adopts the AdaBoost classification algorithm under the Boosting framework, which is used in combination with the weak classifier SVM to train the weak classifier iteratively, adjusting the sample weights according to the iterative errors in each round, and enhancing the learning of difficult-to-classify samples. When dealing with different types of feature information, the weights of individual features are adaptively adjusted; the strong ability to deal with nonlinear features in SVM is most critical to naturally differentiate the number of features in which divisions are used, and AdaBoost-SVM introduces a regularization term while increasing the complexity of the model, helping to control the overfitting, especially for the horizontal and vertical division features that contain a large amount of detailed information, which helps to improve the accuracy and generalization ability. This not only better matches the SMR feature extraction strategy, but also greatly improves the performance indexes of the classification model.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: Chapter 2 reviews related work, and Chapter 3 describes the materials and methods, including the division of the air bed and the introduction of the embedded system and the research. Chapter 4 describes the framework of the model, including data preprocessing, SMR feature extraction strategy, construction of feature subsets, and AdaBoost-SVM classification algorithm. Chapter 5 includes data preparation and experimental results, and finally, Chapter 6 gives a discussion and Chapter 7 gives conclusions and future work.

Related work

The current sleep posture recognition and adjustment system is realized by different hardware and sensors, which not only increases the number of sensors and production cost, but also increases the complexity of system design and the difficulty of data computation. The sleep posture recognition model for air beds proposed in 13 still uses image data as input, which is computationally intensive and not very portable. In contrast, the design of air springs 14 , as well as the design of the air bed structure 15 makes the integration of sleep posture recognition and mattress adaptive adjustment system possible. Currently, the mainstream detection methods for invasive 16 and non-invasive 17 sleep posture recognition are categorized into three main types: wearable device-based detection methods, vision-based detection methods, and pressure detection-based methods.

All of these sleep posture recognition techniques aim to extract features and classify sleep postures from the relevant data collected by hardware devices.

Wearable device-based monitoring methods sense limb movements via accelerometers 18 , 19 and typically employ wrist-worn sleep trackers to collect sleep data. Worn on the wrist by the subject, although they are powerful devices with built-in sensors, they are both expensive and invasive and can cause discomfort to the user.

Vision-based monitoring methods use depth sensors 20 or fusion cameras 21 22 . Sleep posture recognition is achieved through global features from depth images. Although vision-based methods are characterized by low cost and easy maintenance, they require high light conditions without occlusion and can involve issues of user privacy. In the past these methods, by using bone detection and differential information or by wireless solutions that depend on special devices, but it is difficult to achieve accurate pose recognition because the use of bedding and the shooting conditions have a significant effect on the accuracy. In recent years, methods using radar sensors have also been developed 23 . Examples include traditional detection techniques (TDT) 24 , traditional machine learning (TML) 25 , 26 , and deep neural networks (DNN) 27 , 28 . Although more stable, the sleep conversion algorithm also has the limitation of lower accuracy.

Distinguishing from the above methods, pressure-based detection methods are relatively more comfortable and natural, which usually use pressure pads embedded with pressure sensors to collect data and machine learning for sleep posture recognition. The number of sensors used in these methods varies 29 , four sensors around the bed and the recognition accuracy is related to the position of the person. Pressure sensors in 30 are only 60 but need to be combined with a vision approach. Both of these methods suffer from poor recognition accuracy due to the low density of pressure sensors. Conversely, there have been studies that have used a large number of pressure sensors to obtain more localized details of the pressure distribution in the lumbar and hip 31 , using 1728 pressure sensors to localize the human limbs and 2048 in 32 . The pressure pads used in these methods are very large and require the use of a very large number of pressure sensors, leading to high computational complexity in the application of the system, and some of the sensors are expensive to produce, all of which create difficulties in the portability of the system. Kim placed a smart pad consisting of 128 FSR sensors between the mattress and the bed sheet for pressure measurement and proposed a sleep posture recognition algorithm based on the tier-1 model that uses only the three main parts of the upper body, shoulders, and hips to determine the sleep posture 33 . The average recognition accuracy was 87.9%. Although it was able to accurately recognize sleep postures based on the main parts of the body using a small number of FSR sensors, the recognition time was around 1 min. Matar et al. used a hardware implementation of a 27 × 6 FSR sensor array 34 , which converts the collected pressure data into image data and combines it with an ANN to perform classification, the sleep posture recognition system was able to reduce the data storage requirements and computation, and the The recognition accuracy can reach 97.6%. However, the processing of sleep posture recognition is too slow. Hu proposed a smart bed sheet based on an array of 1024 pressure sensors composed of conductive fabrics and wires 35 , which uses digital-to-analog conversion for data collection and CNN to recognize the sleep posture, and the system recognition accuracy can reach 91.24%, and the real-time processing speed can reach 434us/frame. Although these methods reduce the computational complexity, and production cost when the system is applied; however, these smart mattresses themselves can only be enhanced in recognizing sleep postures, and their design structure cannot be integrated with recognition and adjustment.

Second, pressure-based detection methods usually need to first convert pressure data into pressure images and perform feature extraction 20 . extracted the hidden sleeping features in ROI pressure images by CNN convolutional neural network 21 . Extracted sleeping features from flexible pressure sensor array data via ResNet’s algorithmic framework 22 . Optimal separation of the maximum boundary hyperplane is achieved by calculating the Euclidean distance between features in the high-dimensional space of RSS trajectories via SVM and K-nearest neighbor to extract the optimal features in the embodied RSS trajectories 23 . Extract the features of different parts of the pressure through the coding layer of RNN and CNN-based coding layer 24 . extracted features by combining weighted 2D shapes of pressure shapes with EMD and Euclidean distance matching. These methods have the following drawbacks: 1. The feature inputs used are relatively homogeneous and mostly based on local features and personalized training, 2. The pressure map metadata used needs to be preprocessed in a way that some valuable features are omitted.

The accuracy of sleep posture recognition based on pressure detection is also related to the selection of classification algorithms 25 . found that the recognition accuracy of KNN in static sleep postures can reach 98% and is not easily affected by changes in feature space 26 . utilized SVM binary classifier can reach 93.6% accuracy and can avoid overfitting problems. However, when the dataset changes, the accuracy of the SVM classifier has a wide range of changes 27 . used a Bayesian classifier to estimate the likelihood of continuous poses, which has the highest classification accuracy of 91.5% when the Bayesian probability coefficient reaches 0.7, and explored the possibility of a small number of sensors to achieve the recognition of sleep postures, eliminating the weighting effect and the bias between different sensor types. The classification algorithms used in these methods, while capable of achieving high recognition accuracy on the training set, have poor generalization performance and a wide range of variation in sleep posture recognition accuracy when the dataset contains noise and outliers.

Although many studies have made important theoretical progress 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 . However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed in the field of integrating sleep posture recognition and adjustment in home mattresses, (1) Due to the information redundancy of the data and the ambiguity of the feature space, the pressure image, when used as a model input, does not guarantee an accurate sleep posture classification result while reducing the number of pressure sensors 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 . (2) The current sleep posture recognition model only obtains the key features of sleep posture recognition from pressure data, but not based on the global starting point that the sleep posture recognition and the adaptive adjustment system of the mattress are closely synergized, which requires the algorithm to be able to provide the number of features that can accurately guide the mattress on how to adjust to a specific sleep posture. (3) For air spring mattresses, a suitable sleep posture recognition model is needed to process the air pressure sensor data and make accurate sleep posture recognition. Therefore, this study aims to propose a sleep posture recognition model based on air-pressure mattresses that feature the human trunk region.

Materials and methods

Air pressure mattress division.

Considering the need to more accurately match the support needs of different parts of the human body with a small number of sensors, to improve the pressure distribution around the spine on the mattress, and to promote the retention of the natural curves of the spine, the air mattresses in this study are divided into the head, torso, legs and feet, and based on a combination of the principles of human ergonomics and the need for sleep comfort, as well as the accuracy and sensitivity of the recognition of the sleep postures. Figure  1 demonstrates the mattress division diagram. The head, although light in weight, requires proper support to maintain the comfort and health of the cervical spine. The torso section contains important organs and major body mass, so a larger area is allocated to provide adequate support and reduce the pressure on the back and lumbar region; the legs and feet, although they also need support requirements are not as high as the torso section, so the allocation ratio is slightly lower than that of the torso. While the larger trunk area reflects the influence of the center weight portion of the body on the mattress, the head legs, and feet provide additional information about changes in body posture. Therefore, the specific zoning of the air mattress is \(4\times 11\) for the head, \(11\times 11\) for the trunk, and \(9\times 11\) for the legs and feet, aiming to provide optimal support and comfort for the sleeper, bringing a more comfortable and healthy sleeping experience, and enabling the designer to provide more precise and detailed data on sleep postures, improving the accuracy of sleep posture recognition.

figure 1

Diagram of mattress partitioning.

Embedded system structure

Figure  2 demonstrates the SPR-DE-based data acquisition system for sleep posture recognition. The system consists of three components: an array of \(11\times 24\) barometric pressure sensors modified by air springs, a data sampling unit, and a host computer. A master–slave control method was used. Other sensors on the circuit board can measure the air pressure in each branch when the corresponding solenoid valve is on. The pressure signal is collected by the air pressure sensors and sent back to the central control unit, which accepts and processes the signal to control the air pump and solenoid valve.

figure 2

SPR-DE-based data acquisition system for sleep posture recognition.

Figure  3 shows the composition of the air mattress bed and the hardware circuit version, the mattress system control box placed at the end of the mattress. In the upper layer of air springs select latex mattress, in order to ensure that the air tube can be smooth and will not be extruded under the circumstances of deformation, the selection of the diameter of 3 mm air tube, all air springs air circuit are connected to the air tube from the air springs below the sponge layer through the control box on the shunt interface connected to the control box.

figure 3

Physical map of the air spring mattress and embedded system ( a ) Air spring mattress ( b ) subordinative control board.

In order to reduce the number of sensors and solenoid valves, the 121 air springs in the trunk are all independent airlines, and the rest are connected in series. The air spring air paths are connected to the shunt through solenoid valves, and each shunt is equipped with an air pump and air pressure sensor. Since all air paths are connected to the shunt, the system only needs to open the corresponding solenoid valves when it collects air springs’ air pressure or carries out air pressure regulation. The core of the host board adopts the STM32F103RCT6 chip, and the core of the slave board adopts the STC15F2K60S2 chip. It mainly includes modules of air pressure acquisition, data communication, data storage, air pump drive, and solenoid valve control.

Figure  4 gives the connection of the air spring’s with the solenoid valve, air pump, air pressure sensor, where the red color represents the air pressure data signal direction and the green signal represents the air pressure regulation signal direction. The air pressure sensor is model RSM17100KP100. The module contains differential amplification, automatic calibration, temperature compensation and other circuits, with the advantages of small size, fast response and strong anti-interference ability. Fa0520F miniature solenoid valves are selected, respectively, the straight-through valve and two-position three-way solenoid valve, which has the advantages of small size, low power consumption and so on. As the solenoid valve will produce heat when working for a long time, and only need to be opened when the air spring air pressure collection and regulation, so the selection of normally closed solenoid valves, open at the moment of need, normally closed at all times, reducing the overall power consumption of the mattress. Among them, the straight-through valve is used for the connection between the air spring and the shunt, and the two-position three-way valve is used for the quick deflation of the air spring. The air pump adopts ZR370-01PM miniature inflatable pump, which has the advantages of compact size, low noise, and can run continuously for 24 h.

figure 4

Gas springs retrofitted with gas pressure sensors.

Research process

Figure  5 shows the specific research flow of this paper, the research of the sleep recognition classification model SPR-DE includes four parts: data preprocessing, feature extraction, training of the integrated algorithm, and comparison and validation of the algorithm. Data preprocessing part of the threshold filtering and elimination of neighborhood noise effects to eliminate errors caused by the barometric pressure sensor as well as redundant information in the pressure data, where Z is the original barometric pressure data matrix after preprocessing to get l rows and m columns of the barometric pressure feature matrix. Pressure data and reconstructs the feature subset of the classification algorithm, and the effective feature subset can be more accurate for classification, in which the salient feature subset T is the distribution of the barometric pressure feature matrix Z in the low-dimensional space after sorting according to the principle of maximum rank correlation. The SBWH (shoulder, back, waist, hip) feature subset is the horizontal boundary feature subset obtained by reconstructing the salient feature subset T according to the distribution of the human torso structure and the SMR principle; the LMR feature subset is the longitudinal boundary feature subset obtained by reconstructing the salient feature subset T according to the different sleep postures and the SMR principle; and the SE feature set is the fusion of the SBWH feature subset with the LMR (Left, Middle, Right) feature subset, which is also the input of the classification algorithm. The integration algorithm adopts the algorithmic framework of Adaboost, with SVM as the base classifier, and finally, tenfold as well as LOOCV cross-validation are used to compare different classification algorithms as well as the integration framework, to validate the performance capability of the SPR-DE classification model for sleep posture recognition.

figure 5

Schematic diagram of the SPR-DE study process.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This study and included experimental procedures were approved by the committee of Nanjing Forestry University. All experiments were conducted in strict accordance with the institutional guidelines and regulations for care. All experimental protocols in this study were approved by the ethics committee of Nanjing Forestry University. We certify that the study was performed in accordance with the 1964 declaration of HELSINKI and later amendments. Written informed consent was obtained from all the participants prior to the enrollment of this study.

Sleep posture recognition model

Data and preprocessing.

In the data preprocessing stage, to reduce the noise due to occasional malfunctioning of the barometric sensor. Threshold Filtering is used to reduce the system error:

where \({p}_{i,j}\) represent original barometric pressure sensor data, \(1\le i\le 11\) , \(1\le j\le 11\) .

Meanwhile, when a subject lies down, the air spring in contact with the body is squeezed, but some of the air spring that is not in contact with the body also shifts its position. Neighborhood filtering is applied to remove redundant information:

where \({f}_{i}\) is the local maxima in each row of air pressure data.

Figure  6 shows the pressure data before and after preprocessing in the supine posture of the subject. After removing some redundant information, the information presented in the feature space of the pressure data is clearer, which is conducive to more accurate feature extraction.

figure 6

Schematic diagram of air pressure data before and after preprocessing.

Feature extraction

Some pressure values of each part of the mattress vary depending on the structure of the human body and the sleep posture. 121 feature quantities in each sample are inconsistent with the relevance of sleep posture recognition. The feature dimensions are single, and the information is redundant. Before the classification training for sleep posture recognition, feature dimensionality reduction is needed for the air pressure feature space after preprocessing.

Figure  7 shows the flowchart of the feature extraction strategy. Based on the human body structure and the different sleep postures. It is clear that the SMR will be explained in detail later in this section. With horizontal and vertical division, the SBWH (Shoulder, Back, Waist, Hip) feature subset and the LMR (Left, Middle, Right) feature subset are constructed, which finally are merged and fused into the SE (Sleep Ensemble) feature set, used as the classifier’s input.

figure 7

Flowchart of feature extraction.

The SBWH feature subset and the LMR feature subset can eliminate redundant features in the row and column vectors in the air pressure feature space and supplement the missing information of the column and row vectors in each other. SE feature set, the optimal feature set, adds the number of features of different dimensions based on deleting redundant features, which helps improve the accuracy.

Principle of spearman maximal relevance (SMR)

(1) Calculate the ranks of all data in the preprocessed barometric pressure data. The elements in the barometric pressure feature matrix \({\varvec{Z}}\) are converted into two column vectors: \({\varvec{X}}\) and \({\varvec{Y}}\) , respectively, corresponding to the sum of the elements \({x}_{i}\) , \({y}_{i}(i\in \left\{\mathrm{0,1},...,N\right\})\) and are converted into the rankings in the respective column vectors in ascending order from smallest to largest, as and, which ultimately constitutes the sum of the respective corresponding column vectors \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}})\) , \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}})\) .

The number of ranks of all data in the preprocessed barometric pressure data is calculated. The elements in the barometric pressure feature matrix are converted into two column vectors: \({\varvec{X}}\) and \({\varvec{Y}}\) , respectively, corresponding to the sum of the elements, and converted into the ranks \(R({x}_{i})\) , \(R({y}_{i})\) in the respective column vectors in ascending order from smallest to largest, as and, which ultimately constitutes the sum of the respective corresponding column vectors.

Where \(N\) is the number of elements of the air pressure feature matrix for each sample, \(N\le 120\) .

(2) Calculate the correlation coefficient between the sums of the corresponding elements \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}})\) and \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}})\) in two column vectors according to Eq. ( 5 ):

where, \(\overline{R(X)}\) and \(\overline{R(Y)}\) denote the mean values of rank \(R(X)\) and \(R(Y)\) , \(\overline{R(X)}=\frac{1}{N}{\sum }_{i=1}^{N}R({x}_{i})\) , \(\overline{R(Y)}=\frac{1}{N}{\sum }_{i=1}^{N}R({y}_{i})\) respectively. \(N\) is the number of elements of the air pressure feature matrix for each sample, \(N\le 120\) .

From Eq. ( 5 ), it can be seen that the translation and scaling of \({\varvec{X}}\) and \({\varvec{Y}}\) does not affect the calculation of the correlation coefficient, so after normalization of \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}})\) and \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}})\) , the equation for the Spearman correlation coefficient can be transformed into:

In this way, in order to screen out the significant features with maximum rank correlation in each region without changing the rank characteristics after the standardization process of \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}})\) and \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}})\) , this paper converts the optimal solution of solving the objective function 1(8) under the original constraint 1(7) to the feature decomposition of the maximum rank correlation matrix (MRR matrix) \({\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}}{)}^{{\varvec{T}}}{\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}}){\varvec{R}}({\varvec{Y}}{)}^{{\varvec{T}}}{\varvec{R}}({\varvec{X}})\) by constructing the Lagrangian function (9). The larger the eigenvalue is, the more suitable the corresponding eigenvector is as the solution vector of the optimization objective function, i.e., the number of significant features corresponding to each region.

Constraint 1 is:

The objective function 1 is:

Constructing a Lagrangian function:

Constraint 2 is:

The objective function 2 is:

In the process of constructing the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) , the feature values and the corresponding feature vectors are sorted according to the cumulative contribution in ascending order, discarding the smaller feature values by setting a threshold, and the feature vectors corresponding to the screened feature values are utilized for feature extraction from \({\varvec{Z}}\) . Then all the selected \({\boldsymbol{\alpha }}_{i}\) constitutes the load matrix \({\varvec{P}}=\left[{\alpha }_{1},{\alpha }_{2},...,{\alpha }_{i}\right]\) . According to the load matrix \({\varvec{P}}\) , the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) is obtained:

In optimizing the pressure features, the distribution of the salient feature subset in different sleep postures shows a certain regularity. For the longitudinal distribution, the pressure feature values are mainly along the spinal line; for the horizontal distribution, the pressure feature values are mainly in the four areas: shoulder, back, waist, and hips area. Therefore, Sub Sec. “ Construction of SBWH (shoulder, back, waist, hip) feature subset ” and “ Construction of LMR (Left、Middle、Right) feature subset ” will further investigate the feature sets mainly concentrated in the critical regions and construct the SBWH and LMR feature subsets according to the horizontal and longitudinal division strategies. Figure  8 demonstrates the distribution of the pressure eigenvalues on the mattress and the horizontal and longitudinal division.

figure 8

Illustrates a schematic diagram of pressure features in mattress divisions , wherein ( a ), ( b ), and ( c ) illustrate pressure features distributions for different sleep postures under horizontal division, and ( d ), ( e ), and ( f ) illustrate pressure feature distributions for different sleep postures under longitudinal division.

Construction of SBWH (shoulder, back, waist, hip) feature subset

The process of constructing the SBWH feature subset is the process of reconstructing the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) . According to the distribution of the human torso structure, the salient feature subset is laterally sliced into four parts: shoulder feature matrix \({{\varvec{T}}}_{0}\) , back feature matrix \({{\varvec{T}}}_{1}\) , waist feature matrix \({{\varvec{T}}}_{2}\) , and hip feature matrix \({{\varvec{T}}}_{3}\) . Finally, the horizontal boundary feature subset, filtered according to SMR, is reconstructed into a horizontal boundary feature subset together with the lateral boundary ratio feature subset obtained by feature enhancement. The horizontal boundary ratio feature subset is reconstructed as the SBWH feature subset.

For salient features \({t}_{i,j}\) , the optimal features are selected by setting a threshold according to the structure of the human body and SMR. Thus, the optimal features are defined in the following equation:

where \({M}_{R}\) is the set of maximum values in each row in each horizontal area.

Sixteen horizontal boundary features are screened out from the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) , each area obtains a \(1\times 4\) horizontal boundary feature vector \({{\varvec{a}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}(i\in \{\mathrm{0,1},\mathrm{2,3}\})\) , constituting a horizontal boundary matrix \({\varvec{A}}\) .

Subsequently, feature enhancement is performed: the corresponding elements between any two row vectors \({{\varvec{a}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}\) are transformed according to the formula of the ratio vector to obtain six horizontal ratio eigenvectors \({{\varvec{b}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}(i\in \{\mathrm{0,1},\mathrm{2,3}\})\) , constituting a horizontal ratio feature matrix \({\varvec{B}}\) . The ratio transformation is defined as follows:

where \({{\varvec{m}}}_{{\varvec{i}}},{{\varvec{n}}}_{{\varvec{j}}}\) is a \(1\times k\) vector.

Thus, the horizontal ratio feature matrix \({\varvec{B}}\) is obtained:

where the shoulder-to-back ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{0}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{0},{{\varvec{a}}}_{1})\) , shoulder-to-waist ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{1}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{0},{{\varvec{a}}}_{2})\) , shoulder-to-hip ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{2}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{0},{{\varvec{a}}}_{3})\) , back-to-waist ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{3}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{1},{{\varvec{a}}}_{2})\) , back-to-hip ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{4}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{1},{{\varvec{a}}}_{3})\) , and waist-to-hip ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{b}}}_{5}=\mathit{Rat}({{\varvec{a}}}_{2},{{\varvec{a}}}_{3})\) respectively. Finally, the horizontal boundary feature vectors and the horizontal ratio feature vectors are combined to form the SBWH feature subset.

Construction of LMR (Left、Middle、Right) feature subset

In constructing the LMR feature subset, the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) was longitudinally divided into three parts according to the different sleep postures: the left-pressure feature matrix \({\boldsymbol{\rm T}}_{4}\) , the middle-pressure feature matrix \({\boldsymbol{\rm T}}_{5}\) , and the right-pressure feature matrix \({{\varvec{T}}}_{6}\) . Finally, the longitudinal boundary features subset filtered according to SMR was combined with the longitudinal ratio feature subset obtained by feature enhancement to reconstruct the LMR feature subset.

For the number of salient features \({t}_{i,j}\) in the three longitudinal areas, the optimal features are selected by setting a threshold based on the difference in sleep postures and SMR:

where \({M}_{C}\) is the set of maximum values in each column in each vertical region.

Finally, 18 longitudinal boundary features are selected from the salient feature subset \({\varvec{T}}\) . They constitute three longitudinal boundary feature vectors \({{\varvec{c}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}(i\in \{\mathrm{0,1},2\})\) of each of \({\boldsymbol{\rm T}}_{4}\) , \({\boldsymbol{\rm T}}_{5}\) , and \({{\varvec{T}}}_{6}\) , thus, realizing the feature filtering.

where \({{\varvec{c}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}\) is the eigenvector of the \(i{\text{th}}\) column in the longitudinal boundary matrix \({\varvec{C}}\) . Subsequently, according to the formula of the ratio vector, we transform the corresponding elements of the two vectors between longitudinal boundary eigenvectors \({{\varvec{c}}}_{0}\) , \({{\varvec{c}}}_{1}\) and \({{\varvec{c}}}_{2}\) . Three \(6\times 1\) longitudinal ratio eigenvectors \({{\varvec{d}}}_{{\varvec{i}}}(i\in \{\mathrm{0,1},2\})\) are obtained by feature enhancement, forming a longitudinal ratio feature matrix \({\varvec{D}}\) :

where the left-middle ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{d}}}_{0}=\mathit{Rat}({{{\varvec{c}}}_{0}}^{T},{{{\varvec{c}}}_{1}}^{T}{)}^{T}\) , the left–right ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{d}}}_{1}=\mathit{Rat}({{{\varvec{c}}}_{0}}^{T},{{{\varvec{c}}}_{2}}^{T}{)}^{T}\) , and the right-middle ratio eigenvector \({{\varvec{d}}}_{2}=\mathit{Rat}({{{\varvec{c}}}_{2}}^{T},{{{\varvec{c}}}_{1}}^{T}{)}^{T}\) . Finally, the longitudinal boundary feature vectors are combined with the ratio feature vectors to form the LMR(Left, Middle, right) feature subset.

Finally, the SBWH feature subset is fused with the LMR feature subset to obtain the final SE features used as inputs to the classification model. Such fusion reduces the redundant information in the air pressure values, i.e., the air cushion not squeezed by different sleep postures during sleep activities, to optimize the computation and feature space. The SE feature set adds features of different dimensions, which facilitates the construction of a stable classification model.

Ensemble classifier

AdaBoost algorithm is essentially the process of sleeper recognition and classification by iterating the error rate of SE feature samples’ weights, and if the number of times an SE feature sample is misclassified increases, the weights will also increase. SVM classifier algorithms are especially suitable for the classification of small samples, and the combination of AdaBoost algorithms and SVM algorithms increases the requirement for the generalization performance of strong classifiers. The AdaBoost algorithm improves the basic performance of the classical SVM classifier with sleeping classification accuracy and can screen the optimal classification kernel parameters for the AdaBoost-SVM classifier, so as to obtain multiple weak classifiers, which can be trained into strong classifiers after iteration, integration, and judgment of the training error rate. The weak classifier based on SVM ensures the variability of each round of screening and training, but the proportionality of sample weights should be considered in the classification and selection of samples in order to improve the efficiency of training and reduce the training time.

Figure  9 presents the AdaBoost-SVM model flowchart, where each weak classifier structure in the AdaBoost-SVM model is used to generate strong classifiers after several iterations. The set of samples with all SE features is fed into the AdaBoost-SVM classifier and the weight values of the sample data are initialized. Set the number of iterations, if during the iteration process, it is found that the positive samples are not completely recognized can temporarily increase the number of iterations. Calculate the error rate of each weak classifier on the sample training set separately, and if the error is greater than 0.5, update the sample weights of the original SE features so that the misclassified samples receive more attention in subsequent iterations. Finally, strong classifiers that can be used for sleep posture recognition are generated.

figure 9

Flowchart of AdaBoost-SVM model.

where \(S(n)=\{({x}_{1},{y}_{1}),({x}_{2},{y}_{2}),...,({x}_{i},{y}_{i})\}\) , represents \(N\) samples, \({x}_{i}\) represents the ith sample of the SE feature set, and \({y}_{i}\) represents the type of sleep posture to which the ith sample belongs. \(\upomega\) is the weight of the sample, \(T\) is the total number of iterations for model training, and is the number of iterations carried out. \({\upxi }_{t}\) is the RBF kernel SVM classifier. \({\upvarepsilon }_{{\text{t}}}\) is the error rate of the classifier \({\upxi }_{t}\) . \({w}_{t+1}(i)\) is the weight of the training set of the weight of the ith sample, and \({a}_{t}\) is the weight of the classifier \({\upxi }_{t}\) . \({H}_{t}(x)\) is the final strong classifier.

where \(i=\mathrm{1,2},3,\dots ,N\) . Where \({C}_{t}\) is a normalization factor satisfying \(\sum_{i=1}^{N}{w}_{t+1}\left(i\right)=1\) .

In the actual process of sleep posture recognition, noise and outliers may be introduced due to the process of feature extraction in the horizontal and vertical divisions, especially in different parts of the mattress due to movement and other factors that generate errors; certain sleep postures may appear more frequently than others, resulting in inter-sample imbalance in the data; and features extracted in the horizontal and vertical divisions present complex nonlinear relationships. The AdaBoost-SVM algorithm’s iterative process identifies and reduces the negative impact of these noises and outliers on the classification performance, improves the classification performance on the unbalanced dataset, and handles these nonlinear features effectively.

Experiments and results

All experiments were run on a standard desktop computer with 8 GB RAM and an Intel i7-3070 CPU using the Anaconda platform, with the programming language Python 3.8.5. Twenty-six subjects (13 males and 13 females) participated in the sleep posture recognition experiment. The age of the participants ranged from 20 to 26, height ranged from 170 to 186, and weight ranged from 50 to 90 kg.

Each test subject recorded 40 samples during the data collection, including 20 supine and lateral postures. The proposed model was tested using k-fold cross-validation ( \(k={10}\) ) and Leave One Out Cross-validation (LOOCV). In tenfold cross-validation, we divide the data into ten subsets, of which 10% is used for testing and 90% for training. It is repeated ten times, and finally, the average value is calculated as the accuracy of sleep posture recognition.

Validation of SMR feature extraction strategy

In order to quantify the performance of SMR in feature extraction for sleep posture recognition, we take the raw pressure data, significant feature subset, SBWH feature subset, LMR feature subset, and SE feature set as inputs to the AdaBoost classifier, respectively. The recognition accuracies in the five cases are compared using tenfold cross-validation and LOOCV.

Table 1 shows the average accuracy under different stages of data as input in feature extraction. The accuracy of the classifier increases with the critical features in the feature set, where the accuracy of the original data is 0.886 and that of the SE feature set reaches 0.997 since SMR can eliminate redundant information and add strong discriminative vital features. When SWBH and LMR feature subsets are used as inputs, the difference in accuracy between supine and lateral postures is not significant because, although these have different division criteria and discriminative features, their intersection is valid. It indicates that the strong SMR feature extraction capability enables the classifier to better capture the relationship between feature inputs and sleep postures.

Comparison of traditional base classification models

In order to compare the performance of the SPR-DE on sleep posture recognition, we compare SPR-DE with traditional base classification models (SVM, Naive Bayes, KNN, Decision Tree), and the SE feature set is directly used as an input to the traditional classification model as well as SPR-DE. Both tenfold cross-validation and LOOCV were used for each combination of cases to obtain the average accuracy of sleep posture recognition corresponding to each case.

Table 2 demonstrates the average accuracies of the traditional base classifier and the SPR-DE under different validation methods. The highest accuracy of SPR-DE under both tenfold and LOOCV is because SPR-DE is a sleep posture recognition model focusing on the combination of feature extraction strategy and integrated algorithm training. the AdaBoost-SVM algorithm can consider the weights of each base classifier fully. Under LOOCV, when faced with the test set data not involved in training, the accuracy of traditional base classifiers decreases significantly. At the same time, the SPR-DE still performs robustly and achieves an accuracy of 0.996 and 0.991, with the slightest change of 0.7% in the accuracy, which indicates that the features and AdaBoost–SVM classifiers, increasing the classification credibility.

Table 3 and 4 show the performance of different classification models on sleep posture recognition under tenfold and LOOCV validation methods, including four performance metrics: Accuracy, Recall, F1-score, and MCC (Mattews Correlation Coefficient).

Table 3 demonstrates that the classification algorithm adopted by SPR-DE has the best performance in terms of precision, F1-score, recall, and MCC under the LOOCV validation method, with the precision reaching 0.989, which is an improvement of 0.045–0.077 compared to the other classifiers, and the F1-score reaching 0.989, which is an improvement of 0.049–0.076. This is because in the case of data diversity being large, when only one sample is not enough to represent the distribution of the whole dataset, the model is not only required to have a high recognition accuracy but also requires a strong generalization ability and is not perturbed by outliers. The feature extraction strategy as well as the integrated classifier in SPR-DE can enhance the robustness of the model by focusing on the main support regions of the human body and the amount of spine features.

Table 4 shows that the classification algorithm used in SPR-DE can also perform the best in terms of precision, F1-score, recall, and MCC under the tenfold validation method. The precision reaches 0.999, which is improved by 0.029–0.037 compared to other classifiers; the F1-score reaches 0.998, which is improved by 0.029–0.036. SPR-DE not only maintains a high precision of sleep recognition, but also has a strong correlation between the model’s prediction and the actual result, and the overall performance of the model is excellent.

Figure  10 shows the relationship between the loss function value and the number of iterations for the test and training sets under the two validation methods. SPR-DE can converge quickly and reach a steady state under either validation method because SMR provides critical features for the classification algorithm. In LOOCV, the SPR-DE error is relatively higher, and the loss function value oscillates significantly because some data from the test set are not included in the training set.

figure 10

Relationship between the classification accuracy rate and the number of iterations of the SPR-DE model under two validation modes, where ( a ) and ( b ) are the results of 100 iterations under the tenfold validation mode and LOOCV validation mode, respectively, and ( c ) and ( d ) are the results of 500 iterations under the tenfold validation mode and LOOCV validation mode, respectively.

Comparison of different ensemble learning models

For the sleep posture recognition task based on ensemble barometric data adopted in this paper, the SPR-DE is compared with other ensemble classifiers (Random Forest, GBDT, Bagging, XGBoost). Each is evaluated using tenfold and LOOCV to get the average accuracy of each model.

As can be seen from Table 5 , SPR-DE outperforms other ensemble classifiers and achieves better results, both in tenfold and LOOCV. Under tenfold, SPR-DE recognition accuracy reaches 0.998, which is the 3.7% improvement compared to other classifiers, and under LOOCV, the accuracy of each ensemble classifier decreases significantly. The performance of our proposed SPR-DE remains robust because the combination of SMR and AdaBoost-SVM can consider both feature space and model integration, which improves the generalization ability and performance of the final model.

Table 6 shows the results of comparing the SPR-DE model proposed in this paper with our similar state-of-the-art works. We summarize the Sensor type, Data type, Preprocessing techniques, Recognition Algorithm, Evaluation measures, Accuracy rate, and R&A (Recognize sleep postures and Adjust hardness according to the sleep postures at the same time) which summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the method proposed in this paper with other pressure sensor based mattresses.

In the above methods, although all the sensors collect all the pressure signals 34 , 35 , 39 , 44 , 45 , 46 , in the algorithm processing part, still all the pressure data are converted to pressure image data as the classifier input, which is high in accuracy but has a large computational cost and a large number of sensors, whereas the SPR-DE model adopts pressure data as the input of the classifier, not pressure image data, which does not need to go through a complex image processing algorithms, which speeds up the processing speed; the pressure data exists in the form of a numerical matrix, and its data volume is small compared to the image data. This means that fewer computational resources are needed to process the pressure data, which can reduce the hardware requirements for running the model, especially important for the real-time sleep posture recognition system. Although pressure data is used as the classifier input in 39 , it mainly measures pressure changes under the chest, which cannot understand the pressure tolerance of different regions and body parts, and cannot provide suggestions to enhance sleep comfort. The non-image data features related to sleep postures in the SPR-DE model make it possible to design a sleep posture recognition system that takes into account the R&A of mattress comfort and sleep posture recognition. becomes possible.

On the other hand, reducing the complexity of the embedded system while improving the accuracy of sleep posture recognition, such as 35 in although less number of sensors used, but the average accuracy of 91.2%, in the accuracy of sleep posture recognition may not meet the requirements of the engineering applications of R&A accurate recognition of the sleep posture, compared to this paper’s proposed SPR-DE model in the processing of pressure data with an accuracy of 99.9%; From exploring the performance of aptitude sensors combined with CNN, the accuracy of sleep posture recognition reaches 98.2% 46 , but a flexible pressure sensor pad is used, which is easily affected by various disturbing factors in the sleeping environment, such as the movement of the bed, different bed materials or changes in the bed sheet, and is unable to work stably under the changing environmental conditions, which may not meet the robustness requirements for R&A to accurately recognize the sleep posture.

The SMR feature extraction strategy in SPR-DE, which focuses on the shoulder-hip and spine feature quantities, can capture the pressure distribution differences caused by different sleep postures in a more detailed way, and this segmentation improves the sensitivity of the model to subtle changes, which in turn improves the accuracy; while AdaBoost-SVM learns the complex features in different divisions step by step and uses the efficient classification capability of SVM in nonlinear features as well as boundary optimization, which makes it possible for R&A to accurately recognize sleep postures. Boundary optimization of efficient classification ability, so that the model can automatically adjust according to the actual distribution of data, to provide personalized support for different sleep postures, and to improve the accuracy and generalization performance of sleep posture recognition.

Conclusion and future work

The sleep posture recognition model-SPR-DE proposed in this study for airbed structure, analyzes 121 pressure data of the human body’s trunk region through SMR feature extraction register and horizontal and vertical division, instead of pressure image data as model input, focusing on shoulder-hip feature volume and spine features, directly captures the closely related changes in sleep posture, provides more targeted and yet graded information, and enhances the model’s sensitivity to the sensitivity to differences in sleep postures. The results show that the accuracy of SPR-DE can reach 0.997. Compared with other models, the accuracy was improved by 2.9–7.7% and F1-score by 0.029 to 0.076. This method can utilize the trunk area for sleep posture recognition while ensuring sufficient information with high recognition accuracy, reducing the number of sensors and, at the same time, reducing computational pressure brought about by the processing of the pressure data, which will contribute to the improvement of sleep posture recognition system with the low production and computational cost to provide ideas for portability.

In the future, we will study how the mattress conditioning system can use key features of the sleep posture recognition model to accurately understand which areas are under more pressure, to provide different areas with body profiles and preferences that match the individual, and to explore the provision of a more comfortable and healthy personalized sleep experience for different users.

Data availability

The data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the constructive advice received from the anonymous reviewers of this paper. The work described in this paper was partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 32171788, "Research on Key Technology for Determination of Embolism in Woody Plants Based on Wireless Acoustic Emission Sensor Network".

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171788).

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Li, Z., Zhou, Y. & Zhou, G. A dual fusion recognition model for sleep posture based on air mattress pressure detection. Sci Rep 14 , 11084 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-61267-0

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parts of conclusion in research paper

Are Markups Driving the Ups and Downs of Inflation?

Sylvain Leduc

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FRBSF Economic Letter 2024-12 | May 13, 2024

How much impact have price markups for goods and services had on the recent surge and the subsequent decline of inflation? Since 2021, markups have risen substantially in a few industries such as motor vehicles and petroleum. However, aggregate markups—which are more relevant for overall inflation—have generally remained flat, in line with previous economic recoveries over the past three decades. These patterns suggest that markup fluctuations have not been a main driver of the ups and downs of inflation during the post-pandemic recovery.

In the recovery from the pandemic, U.S. inflation surged to a peak of over 7% in June 2022 and has since declined to 2.7% in March 2024, as measured by the 12-month change in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. What factors have been driving the ups and downs of inflation? Production costs are traditionally considered a main contributor, particularly costs stemming from fluctuations in demand for and supply of goods and services. As demand for their products rises, companies need to hire more workers and buy more intermediate goods, pushing up production costs. Supply chain disruptions can also push up the cost of production. Firms may pass on all or part of the cost increases to consumers by raising prices. Thus, an important theoretical linkage runs from cost increases to inflation. Likewise, decreases in costs should lead to disinflation.

Labor costs are an important factor of production costs and are often useful for gauging inflationary pressures. However, during the post-pandemic surge in inflation, nominal wages rose more slowly than prices, such that real labor costs were falling until early 2023. By contrast, disruptions to global supply chains pushed up intermediate goods costs, contributing to the surge in inflation (see, for example, Liu and Nguyen 2023). However, supply chains have more direct impacts on goods inflation than on services inflation, which also rose substantially.

In this Economic Letter , we consider another factor that might drive inflation fluctuations: changes in firms’ pricing power and markups. An increase in pricing power would be reflected in price-cost markups, leading to higher inflation; likewise, a decline in pricing power and markups could alleviate inflation pressures. We use industry-level measures of markups to trace their evolving impact on inflation during the current expansion. We find that markups rose substantially in some sectors, such as the motor vehicles industry. However, the aggregate markup across all sectors of the economy, which is more relevant for inflation, has stayed essentially flat during the post-pandemic recovery. This is broadly in line with patterns during previous business cycle recoveries. Overall, our analysis suggests that fluctuations in markups were not a main driver of the post-pandemic surge in inflation, nor of the recent disinflation that started in mid-2022.

Potential drivers of inflation: Production costs and markups

To support households and businesses during the pandemic, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate target to essentially zero, and the federal government provided large fiscal transfers and increased unemployment benefits. These policies boosted demand for goods and services, especially as the economy recovered from the depth of the pandemic.

The increase in overall demand, combined with supply shortages, boosted the costs of production, contributing to the surge in inflation during the post-pandemic recovery. Although labor costs account for a large part of firms’ total production costs, real labor costs were falling between early 2021 and mid-2022 such that the increases in prices outpaced those in nominal wages. This makes it unlikely that labor costs were driving the surge in inflation.

Instead, we focus on another potential alternative driver of inflation that resulted from firms’ ability to adjust prices, known as pricing power. As demand for goods surged early in the post-pandemic recovery, companies may have had a greater ability to raise their prices above their production costs, a gap known as markups. Following a sharp drop in spending at the height of the pandemic, people may have become eager to resume normal spending patterns and hence more tolerant to price increases than in the past. In fact, growth of nonfinancial corporate profits accelerated in the early part of the recovery (see Figure 1), suggesting that companies had increased pricing power. Some studies have pointed to the strong growth in nonfinancial corporate profits in 2021 as evidence that increased markups have contributed to inflation (see, for example, Weber and Wasmer 2023). However, the figure also shows that growth in corporate profits is typically volatile. Corporate profits tend to rise in the early stages of economic recoveries. Data for the current recovery show that the increase in corporate profits is not particularly pronounced compared with previous recoveries.

Figure 1 Profit growth for nonfinancial businesses

parts of conclusion in research paper

More importantly, corporate profits are an imperfect measure of a firm’s pricing power because several other factors can drive changes in profitability. For instance, much of the recent rise in corporate profits can be attributed to lower business taxes and higher subsidies from pandemic-related government support, as well as lower net interest payments due to monetary policy accommodation (Pallazzo 2023).

Instead of relying on profits as a measure of pricing power, we construct direct measures of markups based on standard economic models. Theory suggests that companies set prices as a markup over variable production costs, and that markup can be inferred from the share of a firm’s revenue spent on a given variable production factor, such as labor or intermediate goods. Over the period of data we use, we assume that the specific proportion of a company’s production costs going toward inputs does not change. If the share of a firm’s revenue used for inputs falls, it would imply a rise in the firm’s price-cost margin or markup. In our main analysis, we use industry-level data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to compute markups based on the share of revenue spent on intermediate inputs. Our results are similar if we instead use the share of revenue going toward labor costs.

We compare the evolution of markups to that of prices, as measured by the PCE price index, since the recovery from the pandemic. In constructing this price index, the BEA takes into account changes in product characteristics (for instance, size) that could otherwise bias the inflation measure by comparing the prices of inherently different products over time. Similarly, based upon standard economic theory, our markup measure implicitly captures changes in those characteristics (see, for example, Aghion et al. 2023).

The post-pandemic evolution of markups

We examine the evolution of markups in each industry since the third quarter of 2020, the start of the post-pandemic recovery. Figure 2 shows that some sectors, such as the motor vehicles and petroleum industries, experienced large cumulative increases in markups during the recovery. Markups also rose substantially in general merchandise, such as department stores, and for other services, such as repair and maintenance, personal care, and laundry services. Since the start of the expansion, markups in those industries rose by over 10%—comparable in size to the cumulative increases over the same period in the core PCE price index, which excludes volatile food and energy components. However, the surge in inflation through June 2022 was broad based, with prices also rising substantially outside of these sectors. Thus, understanding the importance of markups for driving inflation requires a macroeconomic perspective that examines the evolution of aggregate markups across all sectors of the economy.

Figure 2 Cumulative changes in markups for salient industries

parts of conclusion in research paper

The role of aggregate markups in the economy

To assess how much markup changes contribute to movements in inflation more broadly, we use our industry-level measurements to calculate an aggregate markup at the macroeconomic level. We aggregate the cumulative changes in industry markups, applying two different weighting methods, as displayed in Figure 3. In the first method (green line), we match our industry categories to the spending categories in the core PCE price index for ease of comparison; we then use the PCE weights for each category to compute the aggregate markup. Alternatively, we use each industry’s cost weights to compute the aggregate markup (blue line). Regardless of the weighting method, Figure 3 shows that aggregate markups have stayed essentially flat since the start of the recovery, while the core PCE price index (gray line) rose by more than 10%. Thus, changes in markups are not likely to be the main driver of inflation during the recovery, which aligns with results from Glover, Mustre-del-Río, and von Ende-Becker (2023) and Hornstein (2023) using different methodologies or data. Markups also have not played much of a role in the slowing of inflation since the summer of 2022.

Figure 3 Cumulative changes in aggregate markups and prices

parts of conclusion in research paper

Moreover, the path of aggregate markups over the past three years is not unusual compared with previous recoveries. Figure 4 shows the cumulative changes in aggregate markups since the start of the current recovery (dark blue line), alongside aggregate markups following the 1991 (green line), 2001 (yellow line), and 2008 (light blue line) recessions. Aggregate markups have stayed roughly constant throughout all four recoveries.

Figure 4 Cumulative changes of aggregate markups in recoveries

parts of conclusion in research paper

Firms’ pricing power may change over time, resulting in markup fluctuations. In this Letter , we examine whether increases in markups played an important role during the inflation surge between early 2021 and mid-2022 and if declines in markups have contributed to disinflation since then. Using industry-level data, we show that markups did rise substantially in a few important sectors, such as motor vehicles and petroleum products. However, aggregate markups—the more relevant measure for overall inflation—have stayed essentially flat since the start of the recovery. As such, rising markups have not been a main driver of the recent surge and subsequent decline in inflation during the current recovery.

Aghion, Philippe, Antonin Bergeaud, Timo Boppart, Peter J. Klenow, and Huiyu Li. 2023. “A Theory of Falling Growth and Rising Rents.”  Review of Economic Studies  90(6), pp.2,675-2,702.

Glover, Andrew, José Mustre-del-Río, and Alice von Ende-Becker. 2023. “ How Much Have Record Corporate Profits Contributed to Recent Inflation? ” FRB Kansas City Economic Review 108(1).

Hornstein, Andreas. 2023. “ Profits and Inflation in the Time of Covid .” FRB Richmond Economic Brief 23-38 (November).

Liu, Zheng, and Thuy Lan Nguyen. 2023. “ Global Supply Chain Pressures and U.S. Inflation .” FRBSF Economic Letter 2023-14 (June 20).

Palazzo, Berardino. 2023. “ Corporate Profits in the Aftermath of COVID-19 .” FEDS Notes , Federal Reserve Board of Governors, September 8.

Weber, Isabella M. and Evan Wasner. 2023. “Sellers’ Inflation, Profits and Conflict: Why Can Large Firms Hike Prices in an Emergency?” Review of Keynesian Economics 11(2), pp. 183-213.

Opinions expressed in FRBSF Economic Letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This publication is edited by Anita Todd and Karen Barnes. Permission to reprint portions of articles or whole articles must be obtained in writing. Please send editorial comments and requests for reprint permission to [email protected]

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  24. Are Markups Driving the Ups and Downs of Inflation?

    Conclusion. Firms' pricing power may change over time, resulting in markup fluctuations. In this Letter, we examine whether increases in markups played an important role during the inflation surge between early 2021 and mid-2022 and if declines in markups have contributed to disinflation since then. Using industry-level data, we show that ...