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Write Conclusion University Essay

Essay conclusion

The conclusion of an essay has three major parts:

  • Answer: the thesis statement, revisited
  • Summary: main points and highlights from the body paragraphs
  • Significance: the relevance and implications of the essay's findings

No new information that is relevant to the focus of the essay should be introduced here. If you wish to make a new point, it should be in a body paragraph.

Answer

As in the introduction, it is essential to revisit your thesis statement in the conclusion. Again, do not simply repeat it word for word. Keep the essential keywords, and rearrange it. (For strategies on rewording, the principles of paraphrasing can help.)

Often the thesis statement is revisited near the beginning of the conclusion. The rest of the conclusion expands out, giving the reader an idea of the relevance and implications of your answer:

As with the introduction, this order of elements is not set in stone. Adapt the order to suit the needs of each particular essay.

Summary

The conclusion is the final place to show the connections between all the points made in your essay. Take the most important, relevant, and useful main points from your body paragraphs and summarise them here. Use the same keywords and ideas as the body paragraphs, but don't just repeat the same sentences.

Significance

Essays are often described as an attempt to “sell” your perspective on an issue. A good essay convinces the reader of the correctness of your argument. An excellent essay goes a step further: it demonstrates to the reader why the argument is especially important or relevant for the topic.

There are several general statements that you can make in the conclusion to take it beyond merely summarising the essay. What are the implications of this argument? Why is it important? What issues does it raise?

Not every essay can end on this note. Shorter essays (those below 1200 words) do not have enough space available to describe the significance in detail. However, if you are looking for a dynamic way to end your essay a broader statement on the big picture can be highly effective.

Example conclusions

The following example conclusion contains all three components:

  • the answer (first sentence, in italics)
  • a summary of the main points
  • a final note on the significance (final sentence, in italics)

Above all, teachers need to inform themselves and the rest of the school community so that together they can develop a policy to discourage bullying. By educating themselves about bullying, teachers and parents have the knowledge to set up effective programmes and structures both within the classroom and for the whole school. Furthermore, by removing the opportunity for children to bully, providing children with a stimulating environment, and giving them the tools to deal with conflict appropriately, teachers can reduce children's inclination to bully. Although bullying will never be fully eradicated and must be dealt with as soon as it occurs, increasing awareness of the problem is making schools a safer and more enjoyable environment in which children can learn.

For further examples, see sample essay 1 and sample essay 2.

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Last updated on 25 October, 2012

Date published November 10, 2014 by Shane Bryson. Date updated: December 1, 2017

In academic essays, conclusions have certain necessary components and many optional components, while a variety of ill-advised things should be avoided in the conclusion. This article gives you a sense what to do, what you can do, and what you shouldn’t do in your conclusion.

The conclusion, like the introduction, provides a frame for the body of the paper. As the introduction helps your reader into your paper’s argument, the conclusion helps your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving it a sense of finality.

Necessary components

Tracing the course of the paper

Remind your reader of the course that the paper took to get to the conclusion, but don’t merely repeat the information you gave in the introduction. The emphasis should be on how all of what you’ve said fits together to prove your thesis. This emphasis makes the way you reconstruct your argument in the conclusion unique.

Wrap up

Wrap up the paper in a satisfying way: maybe the most vacuous piece of advice I’ve ever given or been given. Here are a few tips to help you make sense of this advice and make the conclusion feel like an ending, rather than merely a recap of the paper.

Think of the conclusion as a companion to the introduction. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how the paper has settled the issues that the introduction raised. As such, the conclusion, like the introduction, should cover what you’ve talked about, why you’ve talked about it, and how you’ve dealt with the issues. Consider showing how key ideas or images that you brought up in your introduction look now that you’ve established your point.

The introduction usually begins with general information that the reader should be relatively familiar with and moves to the specific content of the paper—the conclusion often moves back to some general information. The introduction guides a reader from her standpoint to the point of the paper—the conclusion often leads back to an easily relatable standpoint.

Optional components

The conclusion can also be a place to address those things not essential to the argument of the paper and therefore not appropriate for the introduction or the body of the paper. Here are some optional but occasionally useful things you might do in your conclusion if it seems appropriate:

  • Discuss the more general consequences of the argument.
  • Outline what the paper offers to future study on the topic—how can it be built upon? Of what use is it?
  • Suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot answer or does not try to answer.

Must-not’s

Recognizing what not to do is at least as important as recognizing what to do.

Don’t offer new argument or essential information

If you’re concluding paragraph offers something new that helps establish your thesis statement, it probably shouldn’t be your concluding paragraph. The conclusion always takes place after everything really important to establishing the thesis statement has already been said.

Don’t take up any more space than necessary

A reliable upper boundary for conclusion length is about 10% of the word count, but this is only a loose guideline. A conclusion should not take up much space compared to the body of the paper. Still, like the length of the introduction, the length of the conclusion depends on the size and content of the paper. The length of the conclusion in a longer paper (about 20+ pages) might require much explanation if the content of the paper is complex or if there are a variety of consequences to the argument.

Don’t begin your conclusion with phrases to signal that you are ending the paper

Common examples of such phrases are “to conclude” and “in sum.” These phrases do signal the end of the paper, but more natural and elegant ways of signalling a conclusion should be preferred. For example, use a smooth transitional phrase that references the previous paragraph. Then, instead of signalling that you will summarize (“in sum”), simply begin summarizing.

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