1. How to write an A+ introduction
Present first, as clearly as possible, your thesis statement. Hit'em first and hit'em hard! (Important note: Reserve the cutesy "hook" introduction where you begin with something general "to get the readers' interest" for journalism or other types of popular-level writing. Do NOT use it in this class. You already have my interest, so don't waste words.)
Introduce yourself as someone who has the right to write on this subject. Briefly mention your own personal experience, knowledge and qualifications on the subject (if any), plus whatever research or assigned reading you did in order to gain the right to write on it.
Mention the method used for the paper (I.e., is it a description, an argument [if so, for what?], a research report, a comparison, a personal reaction, or what?) and if appropriate, the intended purpose of the paper.
Mention the results of your study, investigation, research or experiment, or the reasoning-process that your conclusion is based on. Briefly state the principal factual conclusions you came to. Do not use a surprise ending!
Clearly tell what decision you want the reader to make, that is, what you want your audience to do or believe as a consequence of this paper.
Note: If you are writing for a very hostile audience you should move the thesis statement to the end of the introduction, and introduce yourself first as a person the audience can like, respect or trust before challenging them,.
2. How to write an A+ conclusion:
Try to sum up the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown in the paper. Remember, you DISCUSS, not REPEAT, what the paper says. (Hint: NEVER begin a conclusion with "In conclusion," or "To conclude"!)
Admit any remaining unanswered questions or unsettled points related to the subject of the paper, or any problems that still need to be clarified or need more study.
Between items 2 and 4, joining-words like “However…” or “In spite of this, …” should be used. Then reaffirm your thesis statement (from the beginning of the paper) in different words.
Show how your interpretation in the paper agrees or disagrees with the assigned reading, with other experts' opinions, with what you always thought you knew about the subject before starting the paper, or what “everyone” thinks about it. (Hint: Never "apologize" for what you have to say!)
Tell what good will happen if one accepts your standpoint, and what negative consequences will ensue if one fails to accept it. That is, discuss the real-world implications of what you say in the paper. Reassure your audience that they have more to gain than to lose if they agree with what you say in the paper, but without using the word "you."
Tell what specific action you want your audience to take in the real world, or how what you write should change your own or other people's life.
State your final conclusions as clearly as possible. This is your farewell statement, so leave readers with something to think about!
f you at any point you see that you are repeating yourself, or if what you wrote just does not "sound right," do not be afraid to combine two or more of these items into one sentence, move items around, or even to drop one or more items if they do not apply to your specific writing task. These are suggestions, not holy writ!
Day, Robert A. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. 5th ed. Phoenix: Oryx P., 1998.
OW rev 1/08 rev 10/14
By the time you get to your research paper conclusion you probably feel as if there is nothing more to be said. But knowing how to write a conclusion for a research paper is important for anyone doing research and writing research papers. If you finish strong, you will impress your readers and be effective in communicating your ideas.
Return to the Opening
A research paper should be circular in argument according to Ralph Berry in his book, The Research Project: How To Write It. Berry explained, “That is, the formal aim of the paper should be stated in the opening paragraph; the conclusion should return to the opening, and examine the original purpose in the light of the data assembled. It is a prime error to present conclusions that are not directly related to the evidence previously presented.”
But a conclusion does more than restate your thesis and the reasoning presented in your introduction. Professor Rosemary Jann of George Mason University pointed out the true purpose of a research paper conclusion in her article, “Writing Your Conclusion.” Professor Jann advised, “Whereas your introductory paragraph starts broad and then funnels down to your thesis…the concluding paragraph establishes what you’ve proved in the paper and then broadens out the meaning of what you’ve established in the course of your analysis.”
There are several approaches that you could take in writing the conclusion to your research paper other than to refer back to your introduction.
- You could summarize your main points but if you use this method then be sure to make your summary interesting rather than a just list of points.
- Present a bold statement that takes your topic to a deeper meaning and state the overall importance of what you have said in your paper.
- Conclude your paper by restating what you have found, acknowledge that there is more to be explored on the topic and briefly describe the issues that remain.
Different Types of Papers Mean Different Conclusions
If your paper was written to argue a point or to persuade the reader, then your conclusion will summarize the main points of your arguments presented in the paper. You will also want to restate your thesis and conclude with a statement of your position on the topic.
On the other hand, you paper may be an analysis of a topic where you have done in-depth study on a particular subject and presented your findings. Your conclusion will summarize your analysis of the topic, restate your thesis, and pose suggestions for further study.
Often the purpose of a research paper is to compare and contrast the facts and circumstances surrounding a topic in order to prove an argument that you state in your thesis. In your conclusion you will want to restate your thesis and summarize how you have proven your argument.
Problem and Solution
Another approach to the conclusion is to suggest a solution to the problem that you presented in your thesis. Advice on essay conclusions provided by the University of Victoria could also be applied to the research paper. The UVic Writer’s Guide said, “Once you have tied up your argument, a good way to conclude is to use the final lines of your essay to suggest a way in which the material you have covered applies to a larger concern. As in the introduction you explained the thesis in terms of a bigger picture, so in the conclusion you can demonstrate the effects or the problems inherent in what you have discussed.”
The conclusion of your research paper should tie up all of the trains of thought that you presented in your paper and to show where they might ultimately lead. It is not, however, the place to introduce new claims or information that you have not presented anywhere else in your paper.
The conclusion need not be long. It can be accomplished in as little as two sentences. For example: The effects of climate change can be reversed (credit zacharey at dresshead.com). It will, however, take political will and consistent effort from both representatives and business leaders.
Tips and examples for writing your research paper conclusion can be found at the University of Houston Victoria Academic Center site: http://www.uhv.edu/ac/research/write/pdf/draftconclusion.pdf.
The last thing your reader will see is your research paper conclusion. It should impact the reader with a definite statement that communicates your main point without raising new questions.