Many say that beginning a research paper is very hard. Well, ending it the right way is also quite difficult. After many weeks of looking for sources, reading hundreds of pages, and writing anywhere from 3,000 to 30,000 words, it is understandable if you just want to finish quickly so that you can submit.
But the conclusion is an important element of your research paper. If you don’t end it correctly, your reader will not appreciate your final work, and this will reflect on your grade.
If you are just about to reach your conclusion, read on to learn about the dos and don’ts.
Things to Do
- Restate your thesis– Research papers are very long, so chances are high that your reader has forgotten what you wanted to prove in your paper. Remind them by restating your thesis so they will better understand everything as you conclude.
- Summarize the main ideas– Similar to your thesis, your reader may have forgotten all the points you stated for all sides of the problem. Therefore, provide a summary of the main ideas for easy recall.
- Highlight the important findings– The conclusion is where you want to highlight the most important parts of your paper. Giving greater emphasis ensures the reader remembers what was uncovered in your work.
- Provide a call to action– Just like the ending of a good movie, you know your research paper has ended well if the reader feels like acting upon the information you provided. So your paper ought to have a “call to action,” which is a motivating statement or series of statements that make the reader realize they need to do something about it.
Things NOT to Do
- Do not begin with the usual phrases– Phrases like “To conclude,” “In conclusion,” or “To sum up” may work with a short essay, something that is between 100 to 700 words. But for research papers, it is quite awkward to see them. So do NOT use them.
- Do not restate the facts and figures– Some students place the figures of their study again in the conclusion, thinking it helps with the recall. It does NOT help. If you want your reader to refer to any facts, just direct them to the needed table or figure: Ex: See Figure 4.1.
- Do not introduce new ideas– Some people sometimes forget to include something in the main portion of their paper and decide to insert them in the conclusion. Do NOT do this. New information will confuse your audience as they will wonder why such a possibly important idea was not discussed in the body.
- Do not leave your reader hanging– As the word implies, the conclusion is supposed to wrap things up neatly, bringing an end to your paper. So do NOT leave your reader hanging by ending with inconclusive statements. This is not a series where you want your reader to anticipate your next research, so end it conclusively.
A great research paper begins and ends well. Therefore, consider the dos and don’ts above so that you finish your paper correctly.