How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Many people don’t know this, but the conclusion of a research paper is where a lot of supervisors catch an idea of what was done in the research. In this article, we will talk about how to write a conclusion for a research paper and give you some tips on how to get started.
Conclusion is far from the hardest part of writing a research paper. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present challenges, especially for those writing an academic paper for the first time. When you reach the conclusion, you are closer than ever to completing your work. It is the last part of the work, the one that brings a close to the analysis and discussions on a specific topic previously chosen.
However, many students find it difficult to start writing their conclusions. Much of this comes from the need to conclude something, that is, to provide a solution (even if provisional) to the problem investigated in the research. But getting to the conclusion of an academic work is not an animal with seven heads. In fact, it’s much easier than it sounds when we know exactly what is expected of completing a research paper.
What does the conclusion of a research paper consist of?
It doesn’t matter if you are writing an article, essay, monograph, dissertation, or thesis: these are all argumentative texts. In other words, it is a text that seeks to convince the reader about something and does so through theoretical foundations and data analysis. Thus, every academic work is an argumentative text and, therefore, must follow a basic structure of introduction, development, and conclusion. In other words, the text must present a subject and its problem, develop its points of interest and finalize it.
Thus, the conclusion is the final (and mandatory) part of an argumentative text. In it, the student recapitulates what was done throughout the work, returning to the initial objectives, hypothesis, paths, and main results found. In this way, it points out a solution to the investigated problem.
But for all of this, you don’t need a long, complex text. In fact, the conclusion is a short part of the text, especially when placed in comparison to the development and introduction. It is possible, for example, to conclude a good academic work in just one page.
How to write an effective conclusion for a research paper
Writing a conclusion for a research paper can be difficult for many researchers, especially those who are writing their first academic papers. However, with a few steps and tips, this task is much easier and faster to do. Check out some tips below.
1. First, reread your work
Before starting to write the conclusion, take the time to reread the entire work calmly and carefully. When rereading the work, you can highlight passages and excerpts, highlighting elements that cannot be missing from the conclusion.
Many researchers tend not to look at what they’ve done and end up simply patching the writing from conclusion to development. However, the conclusion is not a continuation of development. It has its own structure that also involves details that were exposed in the introduction. Therefore, this step is essential for you to be able to organize the information and assemble a consistent text for your conclusion.
2. Do not copy and paste text from other parts of your work
It is true that the conclusion takes up several passages from the introduction and development of the work. However, this does not mean copying excerpts from other parts of the text and pasting them in the conclusion. It is important that your text is original and produces a synthesis of what has already been exposed and explained in other moments of the work.
Then, select excerpts and rewrite them, using other words and other sentence constructions to write new text for your conclusion. This process is known as paraphrase and is also used in indirect quotations.
3. Begin your conclusion by summarizing your research topic
When starting an academic work conclusion, it is very important to return to the research topic. Make a general presentation of the theme and problem investigated, contextualizing what was developed throughout the work. But it doesn’t need to be extended, as the intention is not to rewrite the work. Remember that you have already gone into this subject in depth in the introduction and development of the work! So, prefer to be clear and concise and present only the most important information, without making new questions and inquiries.
4. Then, confront your hypothesis and present your conclusion
As the name already makes clear, in the conclusion something must be concluded. Thus, it is important to look at what was established in the initial research proposal and compare its initial hypotheses with the results obtained and the analysis carried out. Did the results confirm or deny these hypotheses?
As well as the presentation of the theme, this part does not need to be extensive either. With the right words in well-crafted sentences, you can complete this part in one paragraph.
5. Present the main points of your argument
Now is the time to explain how you came to your conclusion. In other words, it is time to present the main points of your argument, as well as the results that support them.
Hence the importance of rereading the work before writing the conclusion. As much as the arguments are fresh in your head, reread and mark the main points so you don’t forget anything. This will make your conclusion even stronger and more complete!
When writing, don’t forget to summarize the information. After all, they have already appeared in detail during the development of your work. A long text at the conclusion can end up confusing the reader and hindering the understanding of your work!
6. Finally, make suggestions for future works that explore the same theme
The production of academic knowledge never ends. After all, one of the presuppositions of academic knowledge is that it has a provisional character. In other words, one of its characteristics is that it can be continuously tested, reformulated, and enriched. Thus, there is no academic work that exhausts a research topic. There will always be a possibility to expand the investigated problem or even see it from another point of view.
Therefore, finish your conclusion by pointing out questions that remained unanswered; interesting information that appeared in the collected data but could not be analyzed, as it was not part of the research focus; suggest applying the approach to other populations; or even a change in the approach to data collection and analysis, among others.
- Do not add any new information: the conclusion of your work should only revisit the course of your investigation, closing its cycle.
- Don’t delve into the details: this is a task for the work’s development text!
- Avoid lengthening the conclusion, prefer a text that is short and to the point.
- Don’t share personal thoughts unless you write a first-person opinion piece.
Writing a good conclusion for your academic work can even seem like a daunting task. But with clarity on what is expected of a conclusion, plus a clear structure and well-constructed sentences, you’ll find it’s not as difficult as it sounds.