How to Write a Conclusion

Writing the introduction and body of a paper is a big accomplishment, but you still need to write your conclusion. Writing a conclusion can feel difficult, but it’s easier if you plan ahead. First, format your conclusion by revisiting your thesis, summarizing your arguments, and making a final statement. Then, re-read and revise your conclusion to make it effective.

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How to Write a Conclusion
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How to Write a Conclusion
Sample Conclusion for History Paper

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Part 1 of 2: Formatting Your Conclusion

How to Write a Conclusion

Begin a conclusion by revisiting your thesis to show how you proved it. Explain how you demonstrated your thesis, as well as what the reader should take from your paper. By reminding your reader of the ideas you expressed in your thesis, you can more effectively show how your points and evidence support your thesis.

  • Let’s say your thesis reads, “Allowing students to visit the library during lunch improves campus life and supports academic achievement because it encourages reading, allows students to start assignments early, and provides a refuge for students who eat alone.”
  • You might restate it as, “Evidence shows students who have access to their school’s library during lunch check out more books and are more likely to complete their homework; additionally, students aren’t forced to eat alone.”

How to Write a Conclusion

Summarize your argument in 1-2 sentences. These sentences should pull together all of your points and evidence for your reader. Don’t simply list your reasons or the evidence you provided. Instead, explain how your evidence works together to support your thesis.

  • You might write, “According to data, students checked out more books when they were allowed to visit their library during lunch, used that time to do research and ask for help with homework, and reported feeling less alone at lunch time. This shows that opening up the library during lunch can improve student life and academic performance.”
  • If you’re writing an argument essay, address the opposing argument, as well. You might write, “Although administrators worry that students will walk the halls instead of going to the library, schools that allow students into the library during lunch reported less behavioral issues during lunch than schools that don’t allow students in the library. Data show that students were spending that time checking out more books and working on homework assignments.”

How to Write a Conclusion

End your paper with a statement that makes your reader think. Consider how you want your reader to feel after they finish reading your paper. This is the feeling you want to create in your reader when they read the last sentence of your paper. Here are some techniques you can use to create this feeling:

  • Call your reader to action. For example, “By working with school administrators, Greenlawn ISD can increase academic achievement by letting students use the library during lunch.”
  • End with a warning. You might write, “If students aren’t allowed to use the library during lunch, they are missing out on a valuable learning opportunity they’ll never get back.”
  • Evoke an image. Write, “Next year, students at Greenlawn could be gathered around a table in the library reading or broadening their minds.”
  • Compare your topic to something universal to help your reader relate. You might write, “Everyone knows how stressful it is to have a planner full of assignments, so having extra time to work on them during lunch would be a great relief to many students.”
  • Show why the issue is significant. Write, “Giving students more time to spend in the library will help them become more comfortable spending time there, which also helps the library’s mission.”
  • Predict what would happen if your ideas are implemented. Say, “Next year, students at Greenlawn could increase their academic achievements, but results will only happen if they can use the library during lunch.”
  • End with a compelling quote. For instance, “As author Roald Dahl once said, ‘If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.'”

How to Write a Conclusion

Talk to your instructor if you have questions about the assignment. You might be writing a conclusion for a unique type of paper, such as a post-experiment report. If this is the case, your instructor or assignment sheet might provide you with different formatting instructions. Always follow the instructions provided by your instructor so you can receive full credit for your work.

  • You could also ask your instructor if you can see an example of a well-written conclusion to give you an idea about what they expect you to write.

Part 2 of 2: Drafting an Effective Conclusion

How to Write a Conclusion

Avoid using introductory phrases like “in conclusion.” It’s tempting to start off your conclusion this way, but it’s a big turn off to readers when you use cliches like this. You don’t need to use any special words to begin your conclusion.

  • If you want to use an introductory phrase, use a stronger one like “based on the evidence” or “ultimately.” You might also begin your first sentence with a word like “although,” “while,” or “since.”
  • Additionally, avoid “to conclude,” “in summary,” or “in closing.”

How to Write a Conclusion

Model your conclusion based on your introduction. Your conclusion will be different from your introduction, but they will share certain features. For example, you’ll end your introduction with your thesis statement and begin your conclusion by revisiting that thesis. Additionally, your conclusion can refer back to the ideas and information you presented in your introduction, which brings your paper full-circle.

  • For example, you may have opened your introduction with an anecdote, quote, or image. Bring it back up in your conclusion. Similarly, if you opened with a rhetorical question, you might offer a potential answer in your conclusion.

How to Write a Conclusion

Include all of your points in your summary, rather than focusing on one. You might make the common mistake of only discussing your most persuasive point or the last point you made. However, this can undermine your argument as a whole. It’s better to provide an overview of how your points come together to support your ideas than to give your reader a thorough review of your strongest point.

  • For example, you wouldn’t want to end your essay about allowing students to use the library during lunch by stating, “As the evidence shows, using the library at lunch is a great way to improve student performance because they are more likely to do their homework. On a survey, students reported using the library to do research, ask homework questions, and finish their assignments early.” This leaves out your points about students reading more and having a place to spend their lunch period if they don’t like eating in the cafeteria.

How to Write a Conclusion

Make sure you don’t introduce any new information. Conclusions are tricky because you don’t want to simply repeat yourself, but you also shouldn’t say anything new. Read over what you’ve written to check that you haven’t introduced a new point, added new evidence, or tacked on extra information. Everything in your conclusion must be discussed in the introduction or body of your paper.

  • If you have introduced something you think is really important for your paper, go back through the body paragraphs and look for somewhere to add it. It’s better to leave it out of the paper than to include it in the conclusion.

How to Write a Conclusion

Proofread and revise your conclusion before turning in your paper. Set aside your paper for at least a few hours. Then, re-read what you’ve written. Look for typos, misspelled words, incorrectly used words, and other errors. Additionally, check that what you’ve written makes sense and accurately reflects your paper.

  • If something doesn’t make sense or your conclusion seems incomplete, revise your conclusion so that your ideas are clear.
  • It’s helpful to read your entire paper as a whole to make sure it all comes together.

Warnings

  • Never copy someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit, as this is plagiarism. If you are caught plagiarizing part of your paper, even just the conclusion, you’ll likely face severe academic penalties. Thanks! Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1
  • Don’t express any doubts you may have about your ideas or arguments. Whenever you share your ideas, assume the role of expert. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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