The conclusion is perhaps one of the hardest things to write; revision is even more difficult. As I mentioned in the Abstract section, the conclusion is tied closely to the abstract. If you are having difficulty revising the conclusion, try writing the abstract first. Then go back to writing the conclusion. This is especially useful if you have to cut out words. By keeping your conclusion close to the abstract, you conclusion becomes more focused.
So let's just review the purpose of the conclusion. The conclusion is the last thing your readers will read. However, realize also that many readers will stop reading at the findings/discussion. So while it is important to have a conclusion, it is not important to put in too much. Also, the conclusion should reinforce your message/thesis that you established throughout the paper. If you have hypotheses, it should summarize what your research has found. Therefore, the conclusion should 1) match your introduction and body, 2)NOT have new information, and 3)be easy to skim for key ideas.
Anything that does not align with what you have written in the rest of the paper or ADDS information should be cut from the conclusion. It is especially important to see if your summary in the conclusion aligns with your stated goals for the piece you are writing set out in the introduction. If you have stated that your research is going to answer questions, have you done so? If so, what are the answers? If not, why not? (There are times when more questions come out of research than answers or failed research adds to lit but does not answer questions). If you state that you are going to present a theoretical framework, did you do so? Did you explain the relevance or use of that framework to the field? If you have hypotheses, have you summarized the results in one or two lines? If there are hypotheses you were unable to confirm, have you explained why?
The final two lines or so should let the reader know what you want them to do with your research. If you receive comments like "How is this relevant" or "Not sure this research is useful", you have not let the reader know what the relevance is for them. If you want them to use the framework, for example, to conduct further research, you need to state that. For proposals and reports, you need to tell the reader what you expect their next step will be and how the report or proposal is relevant (will support the reader's work). This will be the last thing they read and you want it to be fixed in their mind.
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.