Unit 4: Fundamentals of Academic Essay Writing

32 Conclusions

Preview Questions:

  1. Why are conclusions important?
  2. What are the components of an effective conclusion?

Since the conclusion will be the last thing your audience will read, it is an opportunity to remind the audience of the main ideas in your essay. It should therefore be written thoughtfully and carefully, and ideally, it will leave the audience with something to think about. The conclusion should summarize the important points, but it should not introduce any new information.

Effective conclusions have three main parts:

  • summarize the main points of your essay; this is not simply a paraphrase of your thesis statement.
  • include an analysis of your main points, expressing a logical conclusion and answering the question, “So what?” about your topic
  • end with a final comment that leaves a memorable impression on the reader

Example of a conclusion (from the Model Essay on peer feedback)

Many studies have shown the advantages of peer review such as improving students’ writing ability and language skills, developing students’ critical thinking skills and creating a student-centered classroom environment. That peer review is a time-consuming activity for both writing teachers and students is an undeniable fact, and students who are inexperienced in peer review will need training and guidance. Nevertheless, this investment in time and training gives students a powerful way to improve not only their writing skills, but also their abilities as thinkers and problem-solvers.
Analysis of the conclusion
  • The first sentence summarizes the main ideas, using different language from the thesis statement.
  • The next sentence provides an analysis of these ideas, pointing out that peer review takes time and requires training. This sentence answers the question, “So what?” Why is peer review important?”
  • The last sentence leaves the reader with a positive impression of peer review as a way to enhance not only writing skills, but also thinking skills. Here the student has use the strategy of repeating the approach in the introduction.

Wrapping up your essay: A final comment

Providing a closing thought can make your essay more memorable. Some techniques include:

  1. Repeat the approach you used in the introduction.
  2. Use a quotation.
  3. Include a powerful related fact or detail that adds to the impact.
  4. Provide an evaluation of the content.
  5. Make a recommendation.
  6. Make a prediction.

The conclusion does not merely summarize and repeat the main ideas and thesis statement; it extends what has been written through final commentary and analysis, which will help your reader remember what’s truly important about your essay.


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