It has taken a great deal of time for me to understand this conclusion thing.
The style of conclusion taught in middle school has change. Or are you in middle school…? Guess what…? Things are changing.
I am now writing my dissertation and this last part…is the hardest.
You see…I always thought that a conclusion is a summary. But how the heck do you summarize a 90 page dissertation?
I mean, even if I were to do that, it would be 20 pages. Does it make sense? [Say No]
Don’t get me wrong. Many professors and instructors will tell you to summarize your main points in the conclusion. It is an effective way to learn but the wrong way to write.
But is this the right way to do it? What if you are doing it wrong….?
They say that a conclusion should leave a lasting memory in the reader. Yet they advise you to repeat the same thing you said in the introduction.
Ever found yourself stuck between saying the same thing you said ten minutes ago and saying something new?
Which one is interesting? Of course, saying something new is quite a thing.
I got a question from my readers and this is how it read;
“If I don’t write an essay conclusion, what will happen.”
Here is how I replied,
“nothing will happen for starters. It’s not like the moon will fall to the earth.
But, there some things you need to put in your mind about the conclusion.
A conclusion was put there for a reason; to give the reader a good memory about your paper.
Remember the person who is marking your paper is probably very busy. So he might as well forget about your paper as fast as he picked it up. So if you want to earn good grades, give the reader a lasting memory.
Furthermore, the essay conclusion is the best place for you to recheck whether you said what you were meant to says [Re-emphasizing your ideas].
One more thing I would like you to do is take all the essays they say are great, did they ever lack a conclusion? Well of course not.”
For starters, this question got me thinking. If a conclusion is not done right, what is the need of it doing it anyway?
This means that, it not just a conclusion, but an essay conclusion that has meaning.
Let me let you in a little secret… Summarizing the ideas of the essay in the conclusion is boring and redundant.
I mean it is utterly boring. I wouldn’t want to reread the same thing I read in the introduction.
As a matter of fact, I will run the hell off your essay because I will think you are fooling me. You think I don’t know what you wrote in the introduction?
If I can get this much irritated, every other reader can.
Conclusions are different from one essay to another. But they follow the same structure.
The formula in this article can be used for any essay.
A killer essay conclusion can be made in four methods:
1.Relate to course materials
More often than not, your essay is related to the course work. To connect the conclusion with the main theme of the course, ask yourself this question: What role does my essay play in this course?
For example, consider an essay about Great Gatsby and the American dream. If the paper is arguing that the American dream declined in the 1920s as shown by great Gatsby, then the conclusion will propose that the Great Gatsby shows the extent of moral and social erosion.
But this is true on the assumption that your course material is on social and moral issues.
2. Ask yourself ‘so what’?
This is probably the simplest method. All you have to do is ask yourself, ‘so what?’
I mean, after making all that argument what does it mean for your readers. You have to be strategic here. Posing the ‘so what’ question helps your readers to interact with the essay and gain a broader understanding on its ideas.
Let say the topic is, “Domestic violence.” May be you argued that ‘domestic violence affects children more than it affects the parents.’
After asking the ‘so what’ question the conclusion will argue that, “In spite of increasing domestic violence, the government is doing nothing to deal with the problem.”
3. Raise a question
When you raise a question it should be relevant to what you have covered in the essay.
In fact, the purpose of the question is for the reader to tolerate a new idea. This method is exciting to the reader and it gives them some food for thought.
For example, assume you wrote an essay on Hamlet. The essay argues that Hamlet is psychotic, but his madness changes as he interacts with different characters. A new question to pose for the conclusion might ask the thematic meaning on how Hamlet developed such an interesting character yet in the same story.
4. Address the shortcomings
Using this method needs you to take an open approach. This is where you critique your argument for weaknesses. It is not easy. But it is possible.
This method is common for analytical essays, but it can also apply to research essays. One question you can ask yourself is; how might someone else oppose my argument?
For example, you are writing an essay on the relationship between good governance and democracy. Then your argument says that many democratic nations have good governance. The essay conclusion might say that the argument was not objective enough as it used information only from secondary sources.
Now that we have the four killer methods to develop your conclusion,
How do you write the essay conclusion draft?
As you noted earlier, I said that a good conclusion is not a summary of the essay. To start writing your conclusion, you might consider asking these questions:
- What is the limitation of the argument?
- How is your argument related to what you have learnt in class?
- What might other sources say about your argument?
- If your argument was opposed, how would it be opposed?
It is not wrong to summarize the paper in one or two sentences. But this should happen if the paper is too long or complex. It does not make sense to summarize a one page paper in the conclusion.
The main reason for summarizing in the conclusion is to remind the reader of the key points if they forget. Now unless the reader has a memory problem, it is quite practical for them to remember the intro of a 1 to 3 page essay.
What is not a an essay conclusion?
- Not a summary of your essay
- It is not a paragraph of new ideas.
- Does not apologize or come off as emotional. [If you feel that your argument is weak than others don’t talk about your feeling. Don’t use phrases like, this is my take, but I think there are other better arguments…Blah blah blah…]
Like the introductions, the conclusion is the hardest part to write. Yet it seems easy.
Although it is the last part, you have to think outside the box.
A wrong essay conclusion sample
To make this easier to understand, here is a sample wrong essay conclusion.
Topic: Describe the role of the EU for the member states.
As noted, the EU plays an important role for its member states. It helps to boost trade as there is no restriction. Because of this, the rates of inflation are kept in balance. Besides, it helps to develop a culture of fair trade among member states. Indeed, the EU is an important pillar for development of its member states.”
The conclusion above notes the many roles of the EU. Thus, it’s not badly off. But, this is a repetition of the points made in the essay.
That means that your conclusion does not add any value to the essay. Whether you have it or not, it does not make a difference.
The right essay conclusion sample
Before starting off, think about your readers.
Help them understand why your argument matters.
To deal with this problem, you might consider asking yourself, “so what…”
Can the argument you made relate to bigger and better ideas? Think about the experience of your readers.
So here is the right conclusion:
Topic: Describe the role of the EU to the member states.
“As is evident, the role of the EU cannot be underestimated. Looking at all those accomplishments, it raises a question of how long the EU will remain intact. The case of Brexit is one surprising turn. Even with the hope that the EU plays a big role, the exit of Britain questions its advantages. Perhaps a deeper understanding of the EU history is good for explaining these happening.”
This conclusion is relevant and interesting. Instead of repeating the same thing, it left the reader with a new idea; the idea of Brexit and a need for further research.
P.S: Make your conclusion relevant to what your readers care about.
Edit your essay conclusion
Writing a conclusion is different from writing a good conclusion. So you have to proofread it for clarity and originality.
Avoid unnecessary phrases such as, “In short”, or “In conclusion.”
Check for grammar and spelling mistakes.
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Did this help you? or Now what problems do you face when writing you conclusion? Just leave a comment right below now. I would love to hear from you.