Your research paper conclusion is your final chance to leave a strong impression on your reader. It is where you summarize your main points, restate your thesis statement, and leave the reader with something to think about.

A well-crafted conclusion reminds the reader of the main points of your paper and helps to persuade the reader to accept your argument. It also shows that you have thought critically about your topic and have developed a clear understanding of it.

Let’s explore research paper conclusions and how to write a perfect one that will show off the quality of your research.

The Purpose of a Research Paper Conclusion

The Purpose of a Research Paper Conclusion

The research paper conclusion has major purposes- summarize the key points of the paper, reiterate the thesis statement, provide closure to the reader, and offer insights and implications. Let’s break down each of these purposes:

  1. Summarizing Key Points

The last paragraph is the most important part of a research paper. It’s where you summarize the main points of your paper and remind everyone of the main argument of your paper. It’s also where you explain why your research is important and how it’s relevant to your field.

For example, in a research paper on the effects of climate change on sea levels, the conclusion might summarize the key findings of the paper, such as the fact that sea levels are rising at an alarming rate and that this is a major threat to coastal communities.

  1. Reiterating the Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the main argument of the research paper, and you should make sure to state it in your introduction, so people know what you want to achieve with your research. The end of your paper is a great place to repeat your thesis statement and point out the main point of your paper.

  1. Providing Closure to the Reader

Your conclusion should provide closure to the reader by summarizing the main points of the paper and leaving the reader with a clear understanding of the argument and its implications. Your conclusion should also be satisfying and provocative, leaving readers with questions to ask or conduct future research.

  1. Offering Insights and Implications

The conclusion is an excellent place to provide insights and conclusions based on the results of the study. This includes discussing the impact of the study on policymakers, practitioners, or the general public. It could also involve discussing the limitations of the research and suggesting directions for future research.

Learn how to perfect your research paper with our comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide on Writing a Research Paper Appendix.

Key Elements of an Effective Conclusion

Key Elements of an Effective Conclusion

The following are the elements you must have in your research paper conclusion: 

  1. Restate the Thesis Statement

Restating the thesis statement in the conclusion helps to remind the reader of the main argument or claim of the paper. It also helps to emphasize the importance of the research findings.

  1. Summarize the Main Points

Summarizing the main points in the conclusion helps the reader to remember the key takeaways from the paper. It also helps to ensure that the paper is well-organized and that the main points are well-articulated.

  1. Avoid Introducing New Information

Your conclusion should focus on summarizing the main points of the paper and offering insights and implications of the research findings. Introducing new information will make your conclusion inconsistent with your research paper, confusing the reader, and could earn you lower grades.

  1. Leave a Lasting Impression

The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader. You can do this by offering thought-provoking insights, discussing the implications of the research findings, or calling for future research.

  1. Call to Action (if applicable)

If applicable, you can include a call to action in your conclusion. For example, you could encourage the reader to learn more about the topic or to take action on a particular issue.

Strategies for Writing a Compelling Conclusion

Strategies for Writing a Compelling Conclusion

Here are some strategies to help you write a flawless research paper conclusion: 

  1. Craft a Clear and Concise Summary: Think of your conclusion as making a “highlight reel” of your research. Summarize the key points without getting too wordy. Imagine telling a friend the most important parts of your research in a few sentences.
  2. Emphasize the Research’s Significance: Highlight why your research matters. Help your readers see the importance of your work in the real world.
  3. Reflect on the Research Process: Take a moment to talk about how you got to your conclusions. Understanding the path that got you to your findings builds trust and credibility with your readers.
  4. Connect Back to the Introduction: Remember the beginning of your paper? Your conclusion should link back to it. This provides a central theme to your research, making your research feel complete and cohesive.
  5. Consider the Target Audience: Think about who’s going to read your paper, Are they experts or people in an entirely different field? Depending on your target audience, use language and explanations that would easily understand.

Discover the importance of researcher reflexivity in research, including practices and examples.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

These are the common mistakes you will most likely make if you don’t pay enough attention to your conclusions:

  1. Introducing New Ideas or Arguments

The conclusion is not the place for new surprises. Don’t add new stuff that you didn’t mention in your paper. It’s like finishing a story without introducing new characters on the last page.

  1. Being Repetitive 

Constantly repeating what you’ve already said can make your conclusion boring. It’s like hearing the same joke twice. Summarize and paraphrase but don’t say the same things over and over.

  1. Making Unsupported Claims

Avoid making wild claims without evidence. Your conclusion should be strong, but it’s not a place for unsupported statements. Back up your claims with facts and evidence, just like in the rest of your paper.

  1. Rushing the Conclusion

Don’t rush through your conclusion. Take your time to make it fully capture the quality of your research, and leave a lasting impression on the readers.

  1. Neglecting Proofreading and Editing

Last but not least, make sure you proofread and rewrite your conclusion. Errors and typos can reduce the quality of your conclusion and make the research paper appear poor.

Examples of Effective Research Paper Conclusions

Examples of Effective Research Paper Conclusions

We have discussed what you need to include and avoid in your research paper conclusion. Here are examples of what your research paper conclusion should look like if you follow best practices:

Example 1

In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that Silica is a more effective adsorbent for CO₂ than Activated Kaolin. This has important implications for materials used for carbon capture in manufacturing sectors such as cement and petrochemicals, as well as other sectors with significant carbon dioxide emissions.

Conclusion Analysis

This type of conclusion is effective because it shows the reader how the research findings can be applied to real-world situations. It also helps the reader to understand the significance of the research.

  1. Extracting Key Elements
  • Example:

In conclusion, the key elements of [insert research topic here] are [insert list of key elements here]. These elements are important because they [insert explanation of why the elements are important here].

This type of conclusion is effective because it summarizes the main points of the research paper and explains their significance. It also helps the reader to understand the research topic more deeply.

  1. Understanding the Impact on the Reader
  • Example:

In conclusion, the findings of this study have important implications for [insert reader group here]. For example, [insert specific example here]. This research could help [insert reader group here] to [insert specific benefit here].

This type of conclusion is effective because it shows the reader how the research findings can be used to benefit them. It also helps the reader to understand the importance of the research.

Tailoring the Conclusion to Different Types of Research Papers

Tailoring the Conclusion to Different Types of Research Papers

Different types of research papers require different types of conclusions. For example, the conclusion of a scientific research paper will be different from the conclusion of an argumentative research paper.

Here’s how to tailor your conclusion to your type of research paper:

  1. Scientific Research Papers

The conclusion of a scientific research paper should summarize the main findings of the study and discuss their implications. It should also identify any limitations of the study and suggest directions for future research.

For example, if you are writing a scientific research paper on the effects of a new drug on a particular disease, your conclusion should summarize the findings of your clinical trial and discuss their implications for the treatment of the disease. You also need to identify any limitations of the trial, such as the small sample size, and suggest directions for future research, such as conducting a larger trial with a more diverse sample.

  1. Argumentative Research Papers

The conclusion of an argumentative research paper should restate the thesis statement and summarize the main arguments that support the thesis. It should also address any counterarguments and explain why the thesis statement is still valid.

For example, if you want to write an argumentative paper on the reasons for the Civil War in America, you would restate your thesis statement, summarizing the main arguments in support of it. 

Next, address the counterarguments (e.g., the claim that the Civil War was unavoidable). Finally, explain why you maintain your thesis statement, even in the face of those counterarguments.

  1. Literary Analysis Papers

The conclusion of a literary analysis paper should summarize the main points of the analysis and discuss their implications. It should also identify any limitations of the analysis and suggest directions for future research.

For example, if you’re writing a paper on one of Shakespeare’s plays, you would start by summarising the main points of analysis, such as themes and characters. Next, you would discuss the implications of your analysis, for example, what the play can teach us about human character or society. 

You’d also identify any limits to your analysis (e.g., you’re only analyzing one play). Finally, you could propose directions for future research (e.g. analyzing other plays by Shakespeare or comparing plays by other playwrights).

  1. Historical Research Papers

The conclusion of a historical research paper should summarize the main findings of the research and discuss their implications. It should also identify any limitations of the research and suggest directions for future research.

For example, if you’re writing an American Revolution historical research paper, you’d summarize the key findings of your paper, such as how economic, social, and political factors contributed to the American Revolution. Next, talk about the implications of your paper, for example, what the American Revolution can teach us about democracy and human rights

You also need to identify any limitations of your research, such as the fact that you are only focusing on one country. Finally, you could suggest directions for future research, such as comparing the American Revolution to other revolutions around the world.

Practical Tips for Writing the Conclusion

Practical Tips for Writing the Conclusion

Here are some tips to guide you in creating a flawless conclusion for your research paper:

  1. Start Early and Revise Often 

It takes time to get your conclusion right. A good hack is to write your conclusion at the start of your research and then review it later. As your research progresses, you can revise and improve your conclusion until it’s perfect for your paper.

  1. Seek Feedback from Peers or Advisors 

Don’t be shy about sharing your conclusion with others. Think of it as asking for help with a puzzle. Your peers or advisors can provide valuable feedback to make your conclusion even better. They might spot things you’ve missed or offer suggestions for improvement.

  1. Use Transition Phrases 

To make your conclusion flow smoothly, use transition phrases. These are like road signs in your writing, guiding your readers along the path. Phrases like “In summary,” “To conclude,” or “In a nutshell” signal that you’re wrapping things up and help your readers follow your thoughts.

  1. Consider the Word Count 

Think about the size of your conclusion. It’s like finding the right size for a picture frame. You don’t want it to be too big or too small. It should be just right for your paper. Check your assignment guidelines or consider the overall word count to ensure your conclusion is appropriately sized.

  1. Focus on Clarity and Coherence 

Your conclusion should be crystal clear. Imagine you’re explaining your research to a friend who knows nothing about your topic. Use simple language and make sure your ideas flow logically. This way, your readers won’t get lost in your conclusion but will understand your key points easily.

Adding a Personal Touch

Writing a conclusion is not just about the research; it’s also about you. Here’s how you can personalize your conclusion to make your research paper stand out to readers:

  1. Reflecting on Your Personal Growth 

Reflect on how you’ve grown from the start of your research until the end. Think of your journey, and share your personal insights and development. It makes your conclusion more relatable and human.

  1. Sharing Insights Gained from Research 

Your research has given you some valuable insights; explain what you’ve learned and why it matters in your conclusion. This shows that your research has a purpose and real-world implications, making your conclusion more meaningful.

  1. Making the Conclusion Memorable 

A memorable conclusion is like a catchy tune you can’t forget. Try to end your research paper with a statement, a quote, or a thought-provoking question. Leave your readers with something to ponder. It will make your conclusion stick in their minds and leave a lasting impression.

Wrapping Up

Conclusions are one of the smallest but most significant parts of a research paper. The smallest error could have a huge impact on how readers perceive your research. 

Ensure you carefully follow the strategies in this guide to write a conclusion that will leave a lasting impression on your readers. Also, remember, it’s your conclusion, state the facts, and make it stand out by sharing your journey.


  • Moradeke Owa
  • on 11 min read

Formplus

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