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The conclusion of your research paper is often where many readers begin. Thus, it’s imperative that your conclusion leaves the reader with a clear and concise understanding of your final impressions and ideas. It is a time to recap the key points in your paper and summarize your data in simple terms. It may also be used as a platform and an opportunity to call for further action that may be needed.
The conclusion will vary depending on the structure of your paper. If you are presenting original data in an objective format, that conclusion looks a lot different from one where a strong argument as to a future direction is presented. But, there is a similar pattern and structure to a good conclusion regardless of its content.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
How do you start a conclusion for a research paper? It needs to be written as if it is a summary of your work. The audience should be considered to be your colleagues, but the tone should be more conversational than technical, so don’t get bogged down with details. Keep it clear, with straightforward terminology. This is the place to put forward your thoughts about the significance of your results. What does your research point to?
If more research is needed, this is the time to indicate what direction you believe it needs to go. If you are presenting a strong conclusion, then defend.
Begin by clarifying your goals and restating the main points of your thesis. Don’t get into numbers or details, leave that for the body of your paper. Now is the time to put forth your conclusions by analyzing the significance of your findings. What importance is your research to the subject at hand? What further information is needed?
This is the time to be thought-provoking. Yes, briefly and clearly summarize your work, but don’t simply repeat it, add meaning to it. Expand on your findings in a way that challenges the reader to consider the implications of your research. Try to show the bigger picture, so the reader can see why your research matters in the real world.
Don’t simply repeat yourself or focus on minor details, the conclusion is the time to paint with broad strokes and point the way forward. Allow yourself to go beyond the narrow confines of the details and into the powerful conclusion of your work. Here is the time to give it meaning and significance.
Conclusion Format for Research Paper
A common format for a research paper begins with first explaining the topic and then the purpose of your research. This can be as short as one or two sentences. Then, you summarize your findings in clear language that emphasizes the importance of your research.
After summarizing your main points, it’s important to defend the unique importance of your findings. If you are putting forth an argument, it’s essential to stress the consequences of the action and its relevance to real-world problems. Present your findings in a way that expresses the broader associations they have in your field. Make a case for the practical implications of your findings.
If appropriate, you should end your conclusion with a call to action that may pave the way for future research projects.
Example of Conclusion in Research
Below is a sample conclusion that you can use as a model. Notice how it includes the aspects mentioned above.
Clean air and water is critical to environmental balance and public health. Since 2009, water pollution has contributed to a marked decrease in wildlife aquatic populations, as well as a decrease of safe drinking water. Corn production in the nation’s Midwest region has resulted in an exponential increase in pollutants contaminating freshwater aquifers and above-ground supplies. This has resulted in catastrophic fish die-off, increased instances of respiratory illness in rural communities, as well as a shortage of clean and safe potable drinking water.
Environmental scientists continue to measure water quality, and trying to find ways to counteract pollution runoff from agricultural activities. Further research and innovation is needed to increase clean and safe water supplies, continue to support agricultural needs related to water supply shortages, and maintain a healthy environment for flora, fauna and human populations.
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