What Are the Essential Elements of the Research Paper Conclusion

A research paper is a common assignment while in high school and college. It is made up of various parts including:

  • The introduction
  • The body
  • The conclusion

The conclusion is often the piece that students save for last, and many students do not really learn how to write a good conclusion. They are misguided in the belief that the conclusion should only rephrase everything from your introduction, or that it is a segment unlike the rest of the paper in style and tone which calls for an out-of-place-last hurrah! This is not the case. Students have a vague idea that their conclusion should be a place where they give the reader a final statement, something concrete that puts the finishing nail into the box, and forever turns the reader in favor of their argument. But with this information in mind, students will make a dramatic statement at the end, or rush to bring about new information that they think might be convincing enough to reel in people who were on the fence.

But these are grave mistakes that can leave your reader confused and concerned. The purpose of the conclusion is to tie up your paper nicely. It is a place for you to reiterate your thesis, but in light of the evidence and the arguments you put forth in the body of your paper.

As a rule of thumb, the conclusion should make up about ten percent of your final paper length, the same as your introduction. That being said, longer research or term papers will have longer conclusions compared to a five paragraph essay. The conclusion should help seal the frame of your argument. It should refocus the reader and remind them of everything they learned in reading your paper. If the introduction is where you grab the reader’s attention, then the conclusion is your final chance to keep it. The readers will remember the conclusion, in all likelihood, better than the rest of your paper. That is why a well crafted conclusion is so important to the success of your paper.

The conclusion should not be a place to put forth any new evidence or arguments that were not introduced elsewhere in the paper. The conclusion is not where you use a tone vastly different from the tone of your paper. The conclusion is not where you use quotes in lieu of your own words.

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