What should a conclusion do?

In college papers, your conclusion should not just be a rewording of your thesis statement or introduction. Instead, your conclusion should give your readers a sense of closure and wrap up your paper.

What are some strategies for writing a conclusion? 
Many of the strategies for writing a conclusion are the same as or compliment those for writing an introduction.

    1. Just as you can start, you can also end a paper with a clinching statement, quote, example or anecdote that reinforces the main point of your paper.
    2. If you began with a question, your conclusion can be the final answer to that question.
    3. If you began with a story, your conclusion can refer back to that story, possibly providing the conclusion to your story or an alternative ending.
    4. Just as you can funnel into your thesis in your introduction, you can funnel out in your conclusion by considering the broader implications of your argument. Just be careful not introduce new claims your paper has not supported.
    5. You can end with a call to action, inviting readers to act upon some point or proposal you have made.
    6. You can end with suggestions for further research or study.
    7. You can end with a prediction for the future that is based upon the claims you have supported in your paper.

But, beware of these common conclusion pitfalls:

    1. Do not start a new whole paper by making claims not supported by your essay.
    2. Do not conclude only the last portion of your essay.
    3. Do not use your conclusion to point out weaknesses or problems in your argument. Do this much earlier in your paper.
    4. Do not over generalize, over promise or over claim. You worked hard on this essay, but it probably will not solve all of the world’s problems.

For more on conclusions and how to write them, see this page on concluding argument papers from Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).

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