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Academic Writing for University Essays: The Conclusion

Importance of the Conclusion

- Last impression on the reader

- Your writing ability

- Influences whether or not they will agree with you

1. The function of the conclusion

a. A return to the 'big picture

b. Functions and structure

- Look Back

- Restatement of the overall purpose

- Summary of the main points

- Evaluation

- Look forward (to the future)

- e.g. a recommendation

*not all conclusions have all functions above except a summary of the main points

2. Restate the purpose of the Essay

- Part of showing that the essay achieved its purpose

- Opening the conclusion

The purpose of this essay was to explore the influence of online courses on student's academic

- Sometimes implicit (involving restatement of issue/topic)

The problem of explaining why children acquire languages more easily than adults remains to this day

a. Examples of restating the purpose

- This essay has sought to shed light upon..

- This paper set out to show that..

- This essay examined how...

- This study has provided evidence for...

b. Common opening phrase

- In conclusion, the purpose of this essay was to...

- In summary,

- To conclude,

- To sum up,

*somewhat unnecessary if the section heading 'Conclusion' is present

3. Summarise the main points

a. General Rules

- Includes restating the thesis AND the key pieces of supporting evidence

- Don't try to include everything

- Use different words as far as possible; not simple repetition

b. Language for Summarising The Main Points

- This paper has shown that..

- A key finding of this study is that..

- It was argued that..

*give the key points by referring to the questions/instructions

- With regard to [aspect of essay question], it was argued that..

- In terms of [aspect of essay question], X was identified as..

c. Example

Conclusion -> summarise and give the verdict!

d. How long should the conclusion be?

- Less is more (make it as concise/short as possible)

- One paragraph

- Maximum of about 10% of essay length

4. Evaluation

- Show the significance of the findings

- Statute within a larger context

a. Example 1

Broader importance

b. Example 2


c. Evaluation: Limitations

- Scope, omissions

- Mention only if necessary

- Linking to looking forward

Language for noting limitations

- It was not possible to consider..

- These findings cannot necessarily be generalized to X, because...

- It is unclear whether ,,,

5. Look Forward

- Recommendations; future directions

- Shows awareness of your field

- Positions you as a mature writer/researcher

Language for looking forward

- Future research should consider...

- Future studies, focusing on X, would shed light upon..


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