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Structuring your Conclusion

The Conclusion section of your paper is where you bring everything together in a concise and logical manner. It is your opportunity to make a strong final impression on your reader, and add impact to what you have presented so far. When writing it, think of what you would like your reader to remember from your paper or thesis.

The different parts of a Conclusion

A Conclusion will typically include:

  • The research question(s) addressed in your paper Here you want to restate the research problem you explained in your Introduction. One sentence is usually enough for this. Be careful not to use the same words as in other sections of your paper; instead, think of paraphrasing your research questions to add variety to your language.
  • Your main findings and wider contribution to the field This is where you summarize what you found in your study. Don’t go into the details of your results. Stick to the main points, how they contribute to the research field more broadly and/or fill the research gap you have identified. You may pick the main points from your Discussion section, but you should word them differently. Most importantly, be clear and concise.
  • Any implications or practical applications This part won’t apply to certain disciplines (such as theoretical maths). In many others, your results not only have implications for scholars in your field, but also for the real world. It is certainly worth highlighting such implications as part of your conclusion, but be careful not to overstate things. Stay humble, as chances are your research won’t change the world or bring definitive answers to questions.
  • Any potential limitations of your findings Without undermining yourself, you could point out some words of caution for interpreting your results. Perhaps your chosen methodology/protocol/sample does not show the full picture of an investigated phenomenon. Or maybe certain variables have produced noise in the data. This not only shows that your thinking and knowledge have evolved as a result of this research, but adds credibility to your voice.
  • Possibilities for future research After you’ve mentioned the implications and limitations of your study, it is a good time to present possibilities for further research. There is only so much you can handle in a single study, and besides, no study is perfect. So there is always room for further investigation, as well as new questions arising. This part serves to broaden the focus of the paper at the very end, and also strikes a nice forward-looking note. Here you might make recommendations to other researchers, or in the case of clinical or policy research for instance, to practitioners.

Useful phrases for your Conclusion

FAQs about writing a Conclusion

Conclusion examples with explanations