There is a widespread unjustified conviction according to which the conclusion of an academic paper should contain mere restatement of the main thesis, and perhaps some additional explanations concerning it.
As a matter of fact, conclusion is a necessary part of every possible type of essay, whether it has a “strong” thesis, “vague” thesis, or does not have it at all. The classical function of a conclusion is to summarize the information given in the body text. With the course of time writers have been employing different strategies for formulating their conclusions. Here you will find several main approaches which are applied to school and college essays.
This approach includes a short description of the paper: its context, main research goal, its thesis, and probably the method applied by you. This is the most popular strategy. Its drawback seems to be that it does not say anything new to the reader, and also the author of the paper is tempted merely to repeat the paragraph containing the main thesis. Besides, there is a possibility of making the reader bored by providing them with the same information. The advantage of this approach is that it is comparatively easy to be carried out and does not require additional reflections or clarifications. If you work on an academic paper, this strategy is perhaps the most suitable for you.
Instead of repeating the same goals and theses already formulated in the text, you may direct the reader’s attention to some research questions. You can address questions like:
- What should be changed in the ways of research in the given field? Are there any new methods to be employed?
- How, according to you, the research in the field will go on? Do you expect surprising phenomena, data, or discrepancies?
- What does your research need in order to be complete?
You may also write a “message” to the reader; for instance give them some instructions for research, or refer to some important theories which you have not incorporated in your text (but you conceive them as very significant in general).
3. “Philosophical” approach
Some authors prefer employing aphorisms or famous quotations. In this way the reader becomes more impressed by the paper, and also they are able to see from another point of view the issue analyzed in the paper. There is an immanent flaw in this strategy – the reader may find the paper incoherent and containing parts which are not connected logically. Thus, it is always better to hold onto such an approach when you are writing an essay on a very abstract topic. Do not use it in natural sciences, as strict logical inferences are required in this field.
Our advice for you is to use features from all three strategies: to summarize a little, to present some perspectives on future research, and to conclude with a witty aphorism. Write up to five sentences, no more than fifteen lines, and try to use scientific terminology (for college level essays). Remember: good conclusion does not add new information, but presents the main points from general standpoint.