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Concluding Your Research Paper: What to Avoid

While it is always good to start well, some say it is even more important to finish well, especially when concluding a research paper.  The ending of your paper is supposed to leave the reader satisfied that the questions have been answered.  If not, then something is definitely wrong.

What the Conclusion is supposed to do

The conclusion wraps the paper up.  It summarizes the argument and explains the results, showing whether the thesis statement was correct or not.  It should also mention how these findings affect other groups and how future researchers can use your research as a springboard for something new.

What NOT to do

Many students fail to end their paper well because they are in a rush to finish, not realizing the impact of a botched conclusion.  The following are things you should avoid.

1. Do not repeat everything

Some believe that “summarizing” means repeating everything mentioned in the paper; thus, almost everything in the paper’s body is restated in the ending.  This, however, confuses the reader, and it also shows that you have no idea what you are doing.

2. Do not include figures

Sometimes a student inserts tables, charts, or a lengthy discussion of certain “significant” figures in the ending.  But these are not needed as data belongs in the body of the paper, not the ending.  Although an important percentage or figure can be mentioned, the conclusion is not supposed to present the data anew.

3. Do not ignore significant points

Because of time constraints or confusion, some miss discussing a major point in the conclusion.  It might be one of the problem questions, or it could be a failure to present the negative results that contradict your thesis.

Regardless, overlooking an important point gravely hurts the final discussion.  And if it is a failure to examine the “negatives,” the reader may think you are turning a blind eye to the facts just to prove you are right.

4. Do not introduce new ideas

The conclusion is supposed to wrap up the body’s discussion. It is not meant to present something brand new.  New ideas in the ending will puzzle the reader, causing them to wonder why said ideas weren’t discussed earlier, especially if they are very good ones.

5. Do not leave out your call to action

Whether your position was correct or not, there is still much for future researchers and interested parties to learn from. Your conclusion should mention what was learned and what these stakeholders can do with your study’s findings.

6. Do not forget to tie everything together

And of course, a good ending should unite everything that was discussed, giving a satisfying ending for the reader.  Without one, the reader will be left hanging.

Summary

The conclusion of your research paper is just as vital as any of the other sections.  Give it due importance by spending time properly discussing all that must be summarized and providing your suggestions for related, future researches.  Good luck!