Essay Writing, Part 6: How To Write A Conclusion

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Some students struggle with their conclusions because they think they have already written everything they possibly could have within the body of their paper. The end result is a conclusion that’s only a few sentences long and, generally, this is too short (though there is a bit of an exception if your page limit is very short).

You want your conclusion to go out with a bang. It should be the best part of your paper, since it will be the last thing your reader (or marker) reads. To do this, a conclusion should have two major components:

In the conclusion, you are not including the same thesis (and you’d better not cut and paste the thesis from your intro paragraph!), but rather reminding the reader of your thesis and why it is important to your overall paper. Using phrases like “I argued…” or “it was argued…” will help remind the reader of your argument.

As part of the conclusion, you should be answering the question “So what?”, where you are giving an explanation as to why the argument you present is important.

When doing this, it is not merely re-stating what you mentioned previously in your paper: the reader has read it and knows your arguments. You should be synthesizing your arguments to show how they fit together.

Finally, in your last few sentences you need a means to wrap up everything by relating it to other things.  One way to do this is to situate your argument in a different context. For example, if you are writing an essay on the success of the Batman franchise, you may want to parallel that argument with a few sentences on the Spiderman franchise.

Another way to wrap up your paper is to state the implications of your argument.  Using the previously mentioned Batman example, you could make a projection about how Dark Knight Rises will do when it is released in 2012.

At this point, your essay is done, right?

WRONG!

There are still two VERY IMPORTANT steps to the essay process, so keep your eye out for new articles in the Essay Writing series!

 

More articles in the Essay Writing series:

Photo: Pros and Cons by Mortsan on Flickr
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About the author

Danielle Lorenz is a long-time contributor to the Career Incubator. Danielle is a PhD student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta. When procrastinating from schoolwork, you will find Danielle lurking on several social media platforms and trying to befriend the snowshoe hares on the U of A campus.