What Should a Conclusion Do?
Most assignments include some type of conclusion, a final paragraph or section which brings the assignment to a clear end. The primary aim of the conclusion is to provide a final summarised version of your assignment’s core arguments and the key debates raised by the question. The conclusion is where you remind the reader of what you have done – the main issues you have addressed and what you have argued. It should link back to the introduction showing that the stated purpose and aim of the assignment has been fulfilled.
The claims you make in your conclusion should be consistent with the introduction and the points you have made in the main body of your assignment. Your introduction and conclusion should act as bookends, keeping the ideas in your assignment consistent. Your introduction provides a road map for your assignment, while your conclusion gives a snapshot of the journey you have taken with the reader.
Where the introduction goes from general to specific, the conclusion needs to go from specific back out to general. So, for your conclusion, you are doing the opposite to your introduction - moving from the specifics of what you have covered, back out to a broader, wider context. Think of your conclusion as an upside-down introduction paragraph.
How Long Should a Conclusion Be?
Conclusions should be neither too short nor too long. If the conclusion is too short, it can leave the impression that you ran out of time or were not able to bring your points together to a logical end. If the conclusion is too long, it leaves the impression that you were disorganised, trying to fit in material at the end that should have been included in the main body of the assignment. The conclusion should be no less than 5% and no more than 15% of your overall word count.
|Try answering the following questions to help generate content for your conclusion:
|Where are we?
|Here you can sum up briefly your overall answer to the assignment question
|How did we get here?
|Provide a reminder of the main points discussed and how they contributed to the overall conclusion
|Where does that leave us?
|This is where you look at your conclusion and ask yourself 'so what?' What is the significance of your conclusion?
|What is the wider context of your conclusion?
|Consult the Academic Phrasebank for helpful phraseology suitable for writing conclusions.
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