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Writing an Adequate Conclusion for a Research Paper

So, You’ve Written a Great Research Paper

So you’ve been working very hard on a lengthy research paper. You’ve written your introduction and supplied evidence paragraphs, with documented references to each source you have consulted, and now you want the perfect conclusion to make the essay really sing (not to mention receive an A+ on it, right).

I’m going to give you some of the best ideas I know of from my years of teaching as a professor of English on how to write a stellar concluding paragraph.

The Conclusion Offers Opportunities To . . .

The concluding paragraph of any essay offers you certain opportunities.

It offers you the chance to summarize the essay, and

  • To say something new about your topic
  • To discuss recent events that have happened with your topic
  • To make your readers think
  • To leave a great impression on your reader
  • To consider the broader implications of all you have discussed
  • To touch your reader in a new way than you could in the more clinical, researched part of your essay.

Sure Fire Methods for Conclusions

One trick I’ve found to teaching the art of the concluding paragraph is to have students bring their essays into the very present moment . . . to discuss what is going on in the very present in regards to their topic.

See, most research papers are very clinical animals. They behave in certain predictable ways. They discuss the scientific, researched view of things and, therefore, you cannot say anything dramatic within them.

The conclusion is your chance to say something ultimate about your topic.

Bringing it Into the Very Present

All topics you might be writing about have things you can discuss that have happened very recently. Do Google searches for “recent news about global warming” or “what’s going on with global warming now.”

If my topic were global warming, for example, I could discuss what scientists are saying about the likelihood of our saving certain animals that seem doomed for extinction if we don’t act now: like the polar bears, some sea turtles, and other animals who live in seas that cannot handle the rising temperatures.

That way you could move to discuss something dramatic in this fashion, “Just this week, scientists said that polar bears are becoming extinct due to the melting of the glaciers.”

Hook your readers with a closing like this, and you’ll have a slam dunk on your hands.


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