How To
11 min read

How to Write a Powerful Conclusion for a Research Paper

William Ellis

October 31, 2022

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know on how to write a conclusion for a research paper, including the different types of conclusions, how to outline one, tips for writing a compelling conclusion, and things to avoid when writing a conclusion.

When learning how to write a research paper, there are numerous objectives that you must meet, but the most important objective is to educate the reader. Throughout your paper, you will make many points that highlight facts about the topic you are talking about. However, if there is one part of your paper that will be the most critical in ensuring that the information you wish to convey sticks with the reader, it is the conclusion.

What makes for a good conclusion for a research paper?

A good conclusion needs to genuinely conclude the paper. If you create a bad conclusion, it will seem like you dumped a lot of information on the reader and then stopped doing so. To create a truly good conclusion for your research paper, you must leave the reader feeling like they learned something. This means that a good conclusion must be strong in reiterating the prior information in your paper.

What is the importance of a good conclusion for a research paper?

The conclusion is the last chance for your research paper to make an impression and hammer home the overall point of your thesis and why your thesis has merit. This makes it arguably the most important part of your paper.

Different research paper conclusion types

There are four different styles that you can employ to bring your research paper to a satisfying conclusion. 

Editorial

The editorial approach is where the writer gives their commentary or concluding ideas. This is a chance to reiterate your research paper's findings and express your thoughts or feelings about those findings. This makes it the more personal approach that you can take.

Summarizing

The summarizing conclusion is arguably the most popular approach taken with conclusions. The summarizing approach is where you provide a succinct, but detailed summary of the information in your research paper. This conclusion is particularly useful when dealing with topics that are entirely fact-based and do not lend themselves to commentary.

Externalizing

An externalizing conclusion may be one of the trickier conclusion types to pull off. It requires that you present ideas and points that may not have necessarily been apparent in the body of the research paper. They use the prior points in the paper to present new ideas. Using an externalizing conclusion may get your reader to think further on the topic rather than if you were to conclude in a more simplified manner.

Reflective

A reflective conclusion has less relevance in research papers than prior mentioned types. It is simply where the writer sums up the information in the paper's body and allows the writer to express what they have learned. This type is not completely unusable but may take extra work to use in a research paper.

Outline of a research paper conclusion

When you create a research paper, you may think that creating your overall outline for the research paper is enough to get everything right, but you should also consider creating an outline for your conclusion. Here are the components for a typically successful research paper conclusion.

Thesis statement

The main thing that your conclusion needs to do is reiterate the research paper's thesis statement. This is important because your thesis statement is the entire point of your paper's existence, and reiterating it strengthens it.

Summarize your main points

You must now take the main points, also known as the topic sentence in each body paragraph, of your research paper and succinctly summarize them. Do not worry about laying out complete breakdowns of your main points, as you have already done that in each body paragraph of the research paper. You need to make it feel to your reader that you have made your points as strongly as possible.

Findings and importance in concluding sentence

Your concluding sentence is where your findings and significance are made clear to the reader. This segment is where you most need to reach your research paper's point.

How to write a conclusion for a research paper

Now that you know the different conclusion types and outline of a conclusion, it’s time to get into the steps of how to write a research paper conclusion.

1. Create an outline

As previously stated, using an outline for your conclusion will help you to organize your outline so that it can be at its most effective. If you try to write a conclusion entirely free-form, then you might forget important details and hamper the conclusion's effectiveness.

2. Reintroduce your thesis statement

To bring your paper to a conclusion that your reader can agree with, you must be sure to reintroduce your thesis statement. This is not a redundancy. You are not expecting your reader to have forgotten your thesis statement; rather, you are reintroducing it within the context of the evidence you have provided to support it.

3. Recap your main topic sentences

Your main topic sentences contained the evidence you wish to convey to the reader regarding your thesis statement. For this reason, you must recap those sentences to emphasize that they reinforce your thesis statement.

4. Present solutions for your main arguments

If your main argument presents a problem related to the topic, your conclusion must offer potential solutions that are at least somewhat plausible. This is a quick way to get readers on your side.

5. Tie it all together with a conclusion

Your conclusion should not feel like you are simply cutting the research paper off and saying goodbye. The conclusion is your last chance to make a real impression on the reader and ensure that the information you have given them has stuck in their mind. Make it as memorable as you can while ensuring it is also coherent.

Tips for writing a research paper conclusion

As you begin writing your conclusion for your research paper, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Refer to the introduction

One of the best things you can do in a conclusion for a research paper is to refer to the introduction. Calling back to the beginning of a research paper can make a big impact on the reader. It also helps to tie the whole paper together thematically.

Challenge your readers

This is an important step because it allows your audience to get involved in what you have written. You can challenge their understanding of a subject, show them an opportunity for further research, or give them a genuine challenge they can take part in after they have finished reading your paper. Anything that can get your reader more invested in the research will greatly boost the paper.

Use questions

One of the best ways to get your reader thinking and becoming more invested in your paper is to frequently ask them questions. You will, of course, provide most, if not all, of the answers in the body of your text. The questions are merely a catalyst to get your reader in the mood to learn what your research paper is presenting.

Provide resolutions to your main arguments

Nobody wants to read a paper that only has problems and offers no solutions because it creates the impression that you have not thought of any potential solutions to the problem. Offering up solutions to the reader gives them the understanding that the problem can be solved. This is particularly important for real-world problems.

Have someone else read your conclusion for feedback

If you want to truly be able to gauge whether or not your conclusion is effective, then you need to have an additional person read over it. Having someone you trust to look at your conclusion will give you an additional perspective. They can tell you if your conclusion actually works, or potentially let you know what you need to do to fix it.

Get help with AI writing tools

Many writing tools are available to help you write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper, and one of the best is artificial intelligence. There is a major misconception that artificial intelligence does all the work and thinking for the writer, but the truth is that AI helps the writer input the points they want to make and how they would like to make and then receive various potential versions that the writer can use as a launchpad to creating the final written piece. 

You can try out Copy.ai for free to see how it can help you write your research paper.

Proofread with grammar tools

One of the worst ways that you can damage the credibility of your research paper is to have a paper that is technically correct but is riddled with egregious grammar and spelling errors, particularly in the conclusion. Creating a good research paper requires that your grammar be on point. Fortunately, programs such as Grammarly offer grammar proofreading for free.

What not to do with a research paper conclusion

Don't summarize your research paper

It is important to reiterate the main points in your conclusion, but do not think that means you must summarize the whole paper. This will make your paper overly long and run the risk of leaving no room for you to make your final point. Your reader just read your paper, do not make them read a shortened version and hope that is enough to count as a conclusion.

Avoid cliché conclusion phrases

One of the worst ways to conclude your research paper is to begin the first sentence of your conclusion with “In conclusion,” because it simply does not hook the reader. By using cliché conclusion phrases, you are telling the reader that they can go ahead and stop paying any real attention to the rest of your paper because it is essentially over.

Don't introduce new data

The point of a conclusion is to conclude. The conclusion is the worst place to introduce new insight and information because there is simply no room for it. You run the risk of making your paper feel incomplete by introducing new information that you are not able to explore fully.

Don't question yourself

You have created a great research paper and confidently made all of your points. You have presented evidence that backs up your claims and thesis statement. The worst thing you can do in your conclusion is to begin questioning yourself and your findings. This is the best way to destroy your paper's credibility with your reader.

FAQs for writing a conclusion for a research paper

Here are some of the most common questions people ask when writing their conclusion for a research paper.

How long should a conclusion for a research paper be?

There is no concrete rule for how long your research paper conclusion should be. However, the minimum length is certainly a full-bodied paragraph. Your conclusion should be brief, as all of your main points belong in the body of the paper.

How do you start a good conclusion for a research paper?

The best way to start a good conclusion for a research paper is by reiterating your thesis. By calling back to the beginning of your paper, you can examine whether or not the body of the paper adequately addressed or proved the thesis.

How do you end a conclusion paragraph?

The best way to end a conclusion paragraph is to leave the reader with something to think about while also tidying up the paper neatly. You can end it with a rhetorical question or recommend further research. However, if you end it, ensure the conclusion is complete and covers your thesis properly.

Final thoughts on writing a research paper conclusion

Above all, your conclusion should make your research paper feel complete. It needs to feel that every point that you have set out to make has been made and to the best of your ability, and your conclusion needs to emphasize that. If you have done that, your conclusion will be a success that ties your paper together and makes a good impression on your reader.

Related Articles:

How to Write an Elevator Pitch
How to Write a Business Requirements Document
How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay
How to Write an Essay Format for MLA, APA, and Chicago
Best Academic Writing Books

How To
11 min read

How to Write a Powerful Conclusion for a Research Paper

William Ellis
October 31, 2022

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know on how to write a conclusion for a research paper, including the different types of conclusions, how to outline one, tips for writing a compelling conclusion, and things to avoid when writing a conclusion.

When learning how to write a research paper, there are numerous objectives that you must meet, but the most important objective is to educate the reader. Throughout your paper, you will make many points that highlight facts about the topic you are talking about. However, if there is one part of your paper that will be the most critical in ensuring that the information you wish to convey sticks with the reader, it is the conclusion.

What makes for a good conclusion for a research paper?

A good conclusion needs to genuinely conclude the paper. If you create a bad conclusion, it will seem like you dumped a lot of information on the reader and then stopped doing so. To create a truly good conclusion for your research paper, you must leave the reader feeling like they learned something. This means that a good conclusion must be strong in reiterating the prior information in your paper.

What is the importance of a good conclusion for a research paper?

The conclusion is the last chance for your research paper to make an impression and hammer home the overall point of your thesis and why your thesis has merit. This makes it arguably the most important part of your paper.

Different research paper conclusion types

There are four different styles that you can employ to bring your research paper to a satisfying conclusion. 

Editorial

The editorial approach is where the writer gives their commentary or concluding ideas. This is a chance to reiterate your research paper's findings and express your thoughts or feelings about those findings. This makes it the more personal approach that you can take.

Summarizing

The summarizing conclusion is arguably the most popular approach taken with conclusions. The summarizing approach is where you provide a succinct, but detailed summary of the information in your research paper. This conclusion is particularly useful when dealing with topics that are entirely fact-based and do not lend themselves to commentary.

Externalizing

An externalizing conclusion may be one of the trickier conclusion types to pull off. It requires that you present ideas and points that may not have necessarily been apparent in the body of the research paper. They use the prior points in the paper to present new ideas. Using an externalizing conclusion may get your reader to think further on the topic rather than if you were to conclude in a more simplified manner.

Reflective

A reflective conclusion has less relevance in research papers than prior mentioned types. It is simply where the writer sums up the information in the paper's body and allows the writer to express what they have learned. This type is not completely unusable but may take extra work to use in a research paper.

Outline of a research paper conclusion

When you create a research paper, you may think that creating your overall outline for the research paper is enough to get everything right, but you should also consider creating an outline for your conclusion. Here are the components for a typically successful research paper conclusion.

Thesis statement

The main thing that your conclusion needs to do is reiterate the research paper's thesis statement. This is important because your thesis statement is the entire point of your paper's existence, and reiterating it strengthens it.

Summarize your main points

You must now take the main points, also known as the topic sentence in each body paragraph, of your research paper and succinctly summarize them. Do not worry about laying out complete breakdowns of your main points, as you have already done that in each body paragraph of the research paper. You need to make it feel to your reader that you have made your points as strongly as possible.

Findings and importance in concluding sentence

Your concluding sentence is where your findings and significance are made clear to the reader. This segment is where you most need to reach your research paper's point.

How to write a conclusion for a research paper

Now that you know the different conclusion types and outline of a conclusion, it’s time to get into the steps of how to write a research paper conclusion.

1. Create an outline

As previously stated, using an outline for your conclusion will help you to organize your outline so that it can be at its most effective. If you try to write a conclusion entirely free-form, then you might forget important details and hamper the conclusion's effectiveness.

2. Reintroduce your thesis statement

To bring your paper to a conclusion that your reader can agree with, you must be sure to reintroduce your thesis statement. This is not a redundancy. You are not expecting your reader to have forgotten your thesis statement; rather, you are reintroducing it within the context of the evidence you have provided to support it.

3. Recap your main topic sentences

Your main topic sentences contained the evidence you wish to convey to the reader regarding your thesis statement. For this reason, you must recap those sentences to emphasize that they reinforce your thesis statement.

4. Present solutions for your main arguments

If your main argument presents a problem related to the topic, your conclusion must offer potential solutions that are at least somewhat plausible. This is a quick way to get readers on your side.

5. Tie it all together with a conclusion

Your conclusion should not feel like you are simply cutting the research paper off and saying goodbye. The conclusion is your last chance to make a real impression on the reader and ensure that the information you have given them has stuck in their mind. Make it as memorable as you can while ensuring it is also coherent.

Tips for writing a research paper conclusion

As you begin writing your conclusion for your research paper, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Refer to the introduction

One of the best things you can do in a conclusion for a research paper is to refer to the introduction. Calling back to the beginning of a research paper can make a big impact on the reader. It also helps to tie the whole paper together thematically.

Challenge your readers

This is an important step because it allows your audience to get involved in what you have written. You can challenge their understanding of a subject, show them an opportunity for further research, or give them a genuine challenge they can take part in after they have finished reading your paper. Anything that can get your reader more invested in the research will greatly boost the paper.

Use questions

One of the best ways to get your reader thinking and becoming more invested in your paper is to frequently ask them questions. You will, of course, provide most, if not all, of the answers in the body of your text. The questions are merely a catalyst to get your reader in the mood to learn what your research paper is presenting.

Provide resolutions to your main arguments

Nobody wants to read a paper that only has problems and offers no solutions because it creates the impression that you have not thought of any potential solutions to the problem. Offering up solutions to the reader gives them the understanding that the problem can be solved. This is particularly important for real-world problems.

Have someone else read your conclusion for feedback

If you want to truly be able to gauge whether or not your conclusion is effective, then you need to have an additional person read over it. Having someone you trust to look at your conclusion will give you an additional perspective. They can tell you if your conclusion actually works, or potentially let you know what you need to do to fix it.

Get help with AI writing tools

Many writing tools are available to help you write a conclusion paragraph for a research paper, and one of the best is artificial intelligence. There is a major misconception that artificial intelligence does all the work and thinking for the writer, but the truth is that AI helps the writer input the points they want to make and how they would like to make and then receive various potential versions that the writer can use as a launchpad to creating the final written piece. 

You can try out Copy.ai for free to see how it can help you write your research paper.

Proofread with grammar tools

One of the worst ways that you can damage the credibility of your research paper is to have a paper that is technically correct but is riddled with egregious grammar and spelling errors, particularly in the conclusion. Creating a good research paper requires that your grammar be on point. Fortunately, programs such as Grammarly offer grammar proofreading for free.

What not to do with a research paper conclusion

Don't summarize your research paper

It is important to reiterate the main points in your conclusion, but do not think that means you must summarize the whole paper. This will make your paper overly long and run the risk of leaving no room for you to make your final point. Your reader just read your paper, do not make them read a shortened version and hope that is enough to count as a conclusion.

Avoid cliché conclusion phrases

One of the worst ways to conclude your research paper is to begin the first sentence of your conclusion with “In conclusion,” because it simply does not hook the reader. By using cliché conclusion phrases, you are telling the reader that they can go ahead and stop paying any real attention to the rest of your paper because it is essentially over.

Don't introduce new data

The point of a conclusion is to conclude. The conclusion is the worst place to introduce new insight and information because there is simply no room for it. You run the risk of making your paper feel incomplete by introducing new information that you are not able to explore fully.

Don't question yourself

You have created a great research paper and confidently made all of your points. You have presented evidence that backs up your claims and thesis statement. The worst thing you can do in your conclusion is to begin questioning yourself and your findings. This is the best way to destroy your paper's credibility with your reader.

FAQs for writing a conclusion for a research paper

Here are some of the most common questions people ask when writing their conclusion for a research paper.

How long should a conclusion for a research paper be?

There is no concrete rule for how long your research paper conclusion should be. However, the minimum length is certainly a full-bodied paragraph. Your conclusion should be brief, as all of your main points belong in the body of the paper.

How do you start a good conclusion for a research paper?

The best way to start a good conclusion for a research paper is by reiterating your thesis. By calling back to the beginning of your paper, you can examine whether or not the body of the paper adequately addressed or proved the thesis.

How do you end a conclusion paragraph?

The best way to end a conclusion paragraph is to leave the reader with something to think about while also tidying up the paper neatly. You can end it with a rhetorical question or recommend further research. However, if you end it, ensure the conclusion is complete and covers your thesis properly.

Final thoughts on writing a research paper conclusion

Above all, your conclusion should make your research paper feel complete. It needs to feel that every point that you have set out to make has been made and to the best of your ability, and your conclusion needs to emphasize that. If you have done that, your conclusion will be a success that ties your paper together and makes a good impression on your reader.

Related Articles:

How to Write an Elevator Pitch
How to Write a Business Requirements Document
How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay
How to Write an Essay Format for MLA, APA, and Chicago
Best Academic Writing Books

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