The conclusion of an academic paper may not contain the main portions, but it is still important nonetheless. A good ending reminds the reader of what was discussed and spurs them to do something about what was learned. This is why it is essential to spend some time creating a good conclusion for your research paper.
So read on to learn more about this.
What a bad conclusion is like
- It forgets to restate the thesis
Because students are quite tired by the time they reach this last section, they often head towards the main views and then end. Unfortunately, because the paper is so long, the reader may have forgotten what the paper was all about. So, though you finished, the reader might not have connected the ending with the beginning.
What to do instead: The research paper is centered on your thesis. All of the supporting arguments are aimed towards proving your point and defending it against the opposing theories. To link the beginning and ending, restate your thesis at the start of the conclusion so that the reader can recall what your paper was aiming for.
- It includes unnecessary information
Some students think the ending must restate everything, so they place the figures again and mention once more the different theories. In worst-case scenarios, the student does so by simply copying and pasting, word for word.
What to do instead: a good conclusion only summarizes the important parts and highlights want needs to be remembered. All of these must be rephrased, of course, to show that you understand what you are doing.
- It inserts new information
There are a few reasons why students place new information in their conclusion. One is because they forgot that they did NOT mention it in the body. Another is because they recently read something new and think it is a waste not to include it somewhere. The final reason is that they wanted to surprise the reader with this new fact or idea that will “shock” the reader into realizing that the paper’s thesis is correct.
What to do instead: regardless of the reason, it is NOT okay to place new information in your ending. Your reader will be surprised if they see a new detail in the conclusion as they will wonder why you did not discuss it earlier. So if you do have something important you need to share, find a way to weave it into the body; otherwise, leave it out.
- It ends with a whimper
Because they are relieved to finally finish, some students end their paper abruptly or in a boring manner. This hurts your work, even if everything else was good.
What to do instead: good conclusions make the reader want to do something with the new information they just learned. This is why conclusions usually have a “call to action” – a strong or inspiring statement that tugs at the heart or mind. This takes time to create, so you need to be patient when crafting it.
Those were some key elements that are often done poorly in the conclusion. Hopefully, you learned something that you can apply to your paper’s ending. Good luck!