In an ENG 101 or ENG 102 essay, the conclusion is a paragraph placed at the end of the essay, after the body paragraphs. The purpose of a conclusion is to summarize (and so reinforce) the writer’s claims and provide a sense of closure to the essay.
A conclusion may also look beyond the context of the current argument, to make predictions or give recommendations for action. Though it is not necessary, it is sometimes artful to refer back to one’s opening thoughts in an essay, to remind the reader of where the argument began. Additionally, conclusions of research studies may identify limitations or weaknesses of the study (if it is based on primary research) with a view to improvement.
A well-rounded and well-developed conclusion may include the following elements (while 3-6 are optional, try to include at least one element):
- RESTATEMENT OF THESIS in different words, i.e., a brief SUMMARY of your 3 (or more) main points
- DO NOT ADD NEW DETAILED SUPPORT!
- FINAL THOUGHT about the broader implications of the topic, which could include:
- LIMITATIONS of the current study
- RECOMMENDATIONS for action, policy or research
- PREDICTIONS for the future
- REFER BACK to the opening of the essay
- Conclusions are usually best written after the body paragraphs (because of the summary), and after the introduction (if you want to link back to it)
- Academic writers often may not provide a summary of their main ideas in the conclusion, or may introduce new ideas at the end of an essay. This does not mean you should do this as an ENG 101 student (see the advice on “organizational structure” in the FAEP Writing Criteria Glossary)