Key Elements of Writing a Proper Research Paper Conclusion

Every paper needs to have a conclusion, wherein you summarize your main points as presented in the paper. The conclusion should bring your arguments around full circle, it should finish framing your argument. This is the final paragraph in your essay, and it should leave the readers with a sense of completion and satisfaction.

Your concluding paragraph needs to:

  • Remind your reader of the things you said.
  • It needs to restate the validity of the things you said.
  • It should reassert the point you made in a creative fashion
  • It should offer further reading or further explanation as to why the topic is important to the reader
  • It should synthetize the entire paper in an academic tone
  • It should be authoritative

Do not wimp out now. Make sure you remain as confident in this area of your paper as you were for the rest of it. Give the reader one lasting impression that you are an expert in the matter and really know what you are talking about.

Make sure your conclusion does not:

  • Ever present new ideas that were not covered in the paper
  • Introduce any new evidence not previously covered in the paper
  • Sound too dramatic
  • Sound too similar to the introduction

One common mistake made by students is to add some form of dramatic flair at the end of the paper, but this only conflicts with the professional and academic voice used in the rest of the paper and should be avoided here.

As a rule of thumb, your conclusion paragraph should be the same as your introduction. It should amount for roughly 10% of your total paper length. That being said, a paper that is only five paragraphs will have a smaller conclusion compared to a research paper that is ten pages. Your conclusion not only needs to adhere to these rules, but it should be made up of the same average number of sentences as the rest of your paragraphs: between four and six.

The conclusion needs to have the following sentences:

  1. It needs to have one sentence to rephrase your thesis.
  2. It needs to have one sentence to surmise the key idea and supporting evidence presented in your body paragraphs. There should be one sentence for each body paragraph or key idea.
  3. Finally, it needs to have one sentence that leaves the reader with a thought provoking question or idea.