How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay

Kelly Konya

You’ve done it. You’ve refined your introduction and your thesis. You’ve spent time researching and proving all of your supporting arguments. You’re slowly approaching the finish line of your essay and suddenly freeze up because—that’s right—it’s time to write the conclusion.

For many, the conclusion is the most dreaded part of essay writing . Condensing all the points you’ve analyzed in a tidy little package is certainly easier said than done. How can you make a good final impression while emphasizing the significance of your findings? 

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Learning how to write a conclusion for an essay doesn’t need to feel like climbing Everest. It is wholly possible to tie everything together while considering the broader issues and implications of your argument. You just need the right strategy.

What do you want to leave your readers with? Perhaps you want to end with a quotation that adds texture to your discussion. Or, perhaps you want to set your argument into a different, perhaps larger context. 

An effective conclusion paragraph should ultimately suggest to your reader that you’ve accomplished what you set out to prove.

How to write a good conclusion

As you set out to write your conclusion and end your essay on an insightful note, you’ll want to start by restating your thesis. Since the thesis is the central idea of your entire essay, it’s wise to remind the reader of the purpose of your paper. 

Once you’ve restated your thesis (in a way that’s paraphrased, of course, and offers a fresh understanding), the next step is to reiterate your supporting points. Extract all of the “main points” from each of your supporting paragraphs or individual arguments in the essay . Then, find a way to wrap up these points in a way that demonstrates the importance of the ideas. 

Depending on the length of your essay, knowing how to write a good conclusion is somewhat intuitive—you don’t want to simply summarize what you wrote. Rather, the conclusion should convey a sense of closure alongside the larger meaning and lingering possibilities of the topic. 

What your conclusion should include

Now that you know what a good conclusion encompasses, you can get into the finer details. Beyond restating your thesis and summarizing your points, what else should the conclusion include?

Here are some strategies for ending your essay in a savvy and thought-provoking way: 

Ask yourself: “So what?” 

At some point in your life, a teacher has probably told you that the end of an essay should answer the question “So what?” or “Why does it matter?” This advice holds true. It’s helpful to ask yourself this question at the start of drafting your thesis and come back to it throughout, as it can keep you in tune with the essay’s purpose. Then, at your conclusion, you won’t be left searching for something to say.

Add perspective 

If you’ve come across a fantastic quote in your research that didn’t quite make it into the essay, the conclusion is a great spot for it. Including a quote from one of your primary or secondary sources can frame your thesis or final thoughts in a different light. This can add specificity and texture to your overall argument. 

For example, if you’ve written an essay about J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, you can think about using a quote from the book itself or from a critic or scholar who complicates your main point. If your thesis is about Salinger’s desire to preserve childhood innocence, ending with a biographer’s statement about Salinger’s attitude toward his own youth might be illuminating for readers. If you decide to amplify your conclusion paragraph in this way, make sure the secondary material adds (and not detracts) from the points you already made. After all, you want to have the last word!

Consider the clincher

At the very end of the essay comes your closing sentence or clincher. As you think about how to write a good conclusion, the clincher must be top of mind. What can you say to propel the reader to a new view on the subject? This final sentence needs to help readers feel a sense of closure. It should also end on a positive note, so your audience feels glad they read your paper and that they learned something worthwhile. 

What your conclusion should not include

There are a few things that you should definitely strive to avoid when writing your conclusion paragraph. These elements will only cheapen your overall argument and belabor the obvious.

Here are several conclusion mishaps to consider:

Whereas your introduction acts as a bridge that transfers your readers from their own lives into the “space” of your argument or analysis, your conclusion should help readers transition back to their daily lives. 

By following this useful roadmap, you can feel confident that you know how to write a good conclusion that leaves readers with a solution, a call to action, or a powerful insight for further study.

How do you start a well-structured conclusion?

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Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on October 30, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 7, 2022.

The conclusion of a research paper is where you wrap up your ideas and leave the reader with a strong final impression. It has several key goals:

The content of the conclusion varies depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument through engagement with sources .

Table of contents

Step 1: restate the problem, step 2: sum up the paper, step 3: discuss the implications, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions.

The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem . You will have discussed this problem in depth throughout the body, but now the point is to zoom back out from the details to the bigger picture.

While you are restating a problem you’ve already introduced, you should avoid phrasing it identically to how it appeared in the introduction . Ideally, you’ll find a novel way to circle back to the problem from the more detailed ideas discussed in the body.

For example, an argumentative paper advocating new measures to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture might restate its problem as follows:

Meanwhile, an empirical paper studying the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues might present its problem like this:

“In conclusion …”

Avoid starting your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To conclude,” as this can come across as too obvious and make your writing seem unsophisticated. The content and placement of your conclusion should make its function clear without the need for additional signposting.

Having zoomed back in on the problem, it’s time to summarize how the body of the paper went about addressing it, and what conclusions this approach led to.

Depending on the nature of your research paper, this might mean restating your thesis and arguments, or summarizing your overall findings.

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

In an argumentative paper, you will have presented a thesis statement in your introduction, expressing the overall claim your paper argues for. In the conclusion, you should restate the thesis and show how it has been developed through the body of the paper.

Briefly summarize the key arguments made in the body, showing how each of them contributes to proving your thesis. You may also mention any counterarguments you addressed, emphasizing why your thesis holds up against them, particularly if your argument is a controversial one.

Don’t go into the details of your evidence or present new ideas; focus on outlining in broad strokes the argument you have made.

Empirical paper: Summarize your findings

In an empirical paper, this is the time to summarize your key findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth results and discussion already), but do clearly express the answers to the research questions you investigated.

Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones you expected or hoped for, and explain the overall conclusion they led you to.

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How do you start a well-structured conclusion?

Having summed up your key arguments or findings, the conclusion ends by considering the broader implications of your research. This means expressing the key takeaways, practical or theoretical, from your paper—often in the form of a call for action or suggestions for future research.

Argumentative paper: Strong closing statement

An argumentative paper generally ends with a strong closing statement. In the case of a practical argument, make a call for action: What actions do you think should be taken by the people or organizations concerned in response to your argument?

If your topic is more theoretical and unsuitable for a call for action, your closing statement should express the significance of your argument—for example, in proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research.

Empirical paper: Future research directions

In a more empirical paper, you can close by either making recommendations for practice (for example, in clinical or policy papers), or suggesting directions for future research.

Whatever the scope of your own research, there will always be room for further investigation of related topics, and you’ll often discover new questions and problems during the research process .

Finish your paper on a forward-looking note by suggesting how you or other researchers might build on this topic in the future and address any limitations of the current paper.

Full examples of research paper conclusions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

While the role of cattle in climate change is by now common knowledge, countries like the Netherlands continually fail to confront this issue with the urgency it deserves. The evidence is clear: To create a truly futureproof agricultural sector, Dutch farmers must be incentivized to transition from livestock farming to sustainable vegetable farming. As well as dramatically lowering emissions, plant-based agriculture, if approached in the right way, can produce more food with less land, providing opportunities for nature regeneration areas that will themselves contribute to climate targets. Although this approach would have economic ramifications, from a long-term perspective, it would represent a significant step towards a more sustainable and resilient national economy. Transitioning to sustainable vegetable farming will make the Netherlands greener and healthier, setting an example for other European governments. Farmers, policymakers, and consumers must focus on the future, not just on their own short-term interests, and work to implement this transition now.

As social media becomes increasingly central to young people’s everyday lives, it is important to understand how different platforms affect their developing self-conception. By testing the effect of daily Instagram use among teenage girls, this study established that highly visual social media does indeed have a significant effect on body image concerns, with a strong correlation between the amount of time spent on the platform and participants’ self-reported dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, the strength of this effect was moderated by pre-test self-esteem ratings: Participants with higher self-esteem were less likely to experience an increase in body image concerns after using Instagram. This suggests that, while Instagram does impact body image, it is also important to consider the wider social and psychological context in which this usage occurs: Teenagers who are already predisposed to self-esteem issues may be at greater risk of experiencing negative effects. Future research into Instagram and other highly visual social media should focus on establishing a clearer picture of how self-esteem and related constructs influence young people’s experiences of these platforms. Furthermore, while this experiment measured Instagram usage in terms of time spent on the platform, observational studies are required to gain more insight into different patterns of usage—to investigate, for instance, whether active posting is associated with different effects than passive consumption of social media content.

If you’re unsure about the conclusion, it can be helpful to ask a friend or fellow student to read your conclusion and summarize the main takeaways.

You can also get an expert to proofread and feedback your paper with a paper editing service .

The conclusion of a research paper has several key elements you should make sure to include:

No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion . While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

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How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.

What makes an effective discussion?

When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.

A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:

Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.

You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.

Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts. 

How do you start a well-structured conclusion?

Questions to ask yourself:

How to structure a discussion

Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:

How do you start a well-structured conclusion?

Writing Tips

While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results! 

What to do

What not to do


Snippets of Effective Discussions:

Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to submit your work. Learn how to choose a journal that will help your study reach its audience, while reflecting your values as a researcher…

Ensure appropriateness and rigor, avoid flexibility and above all never manipulate results In many fields, a statistical analysis forms the heart of…

A thoughtful, thorough approach to your revision response now can save you time in further rounds of review. You’ve just spent months…


How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph for an Essay: Structure & Tips

Essay conclusion paragraph outline

Essay conclusion structure:, what to write about in conclusion for an essay, best strategies for writing effective essay conclusions, finally, some advice on how not to end an essay.

Wondering how to structure a conclusion of your essay or research paper to ensure your audience won’t regret they’ve read your piece of writing? Writing a conclusion is an important step when you are working on any written project. A concluding paragraph is your last chance to convince your readers to accept your point of view and make them remember the key ideas. Achieving this goal is not as easy as it may seem and conclusion paragraph structure plays a crucial role in its effectiveness. It’s not enough to restate your thesis statement and just enumerate main points. Read on to learn how to write an effective conclusion that wraps your essay up and closes the discussion in a final sentence without actually closing it off. Think that is homework illegal? Think that writing a good conclusion or an engaging introduction to your paper is too challenging? Our writers will gladly help you solve any writing problem – just ask Homework Helper for assistance.

In an essay conclusion paragraph, you summarize what you’ve written about in your paper. When you’re writing a good conclusion paragraph, you need to think about the main point that you want to get across and be sure it’s included. The number of sentences in your conclusion will depend on how many paragraphs (statements) you have in the essay. A typical essay consists of 5 paragraphs .

So, first thing to come up with - conclusion paragraph outline:

1) A conclusion starter - topic sentence:

2) Supporting sentences - a summary of the main parts of your essay:

3) A concluding sentence (closing sentence):

Before creating an outline for this part of your work, look at an example essay structure . So, you will get a better understanding of every part of your work.

After - combine all sentences to the improved and expanded essay conclusion. And - here you go! Your conclusion is done! But, what about some "spicy" peculiarities of the whole conclusion "recipes" you don't want to overlook in the end..?

It’s critical to structure any conclusion in a way which ensures it conveys a sense of closure and demonstrates possibilities of the topic. Speaking about essential elements of the conclusion structure that are appropriate for different types of papers, we should mention the following ones:

These elements are important and should be included when you write longer academic papers, for example, extended analytical essays with rather complex structures, theses or dissertations. But it’s not obligatory to include all the above mentioned elements when you write an argumentative essay or a business plan. These types of papers have a simpler structure and don’t require lengthy conclusions. However, each piece of writing must include an introduction that presents its topic and a final section that wraps everything up and answers the question “so what?” to help readers see why they should care about the content of your paper.

A conclusion structure of an ordinary essay may be simpler and should consist of 3 essential parts:

Wondering what other things an essay conclusion structure may include? Here are some suggestions:

Academic writing is an essential part of a higher education so every student must complete lots of papers to earn their degree. That’s why understanding how to properly structure a compelling conclusion and what basic elements to include in it is an important skill that all students have to master. We hope that our easy tips on how to write a strong conclusion will help you successfully complete academic papers on any topic and make a powerful impression on your readers. But if you face difficulties when writing college-level papers, you can easily get qualified help with any assignment on the website of our custom writing service. Spend a few minutes to place an order and our experts will provide you with a good paper with a proper structure which was written according to your instructions. Our writers will help you accomplish your academic goals and become a successful student.

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How to Start a Conclusion Paragraph

Last Updated: February 28, 2022 References

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 1,037,079 times.

A conclusion paragraph is your last chance to leave your reader with a good impression. Your goal is to leave the reader feeling like they understand your argument and evidence. A great conclusion should tie all of your ideas together. You can do this by using some specific examples, reiterating key points, and editing carefully. There are several steps you can take to write a successful conclusion to any paper.

Crafting Your Conclusion Paragraph

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Starting Your Conclusion Paragraph

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Polishing Your Paper

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Emily Listmann, MA

To start a conclusion paragraph, signal that you’re at the end of the essay by linking the first and final paragraphs with a quote, anecdote, or reference. For example, if you started your essay talking about a dog named Sam, then return to Sam in your conclusion. Next, rephrase your thesis to return the reader to your main idea. Then, provide a quick summary or overview of your argument. Additionally, propose a plan of action to help solve the problem. Finally, leave an impression by explaining your topic's significance. To learn how to be creative with your conclusion, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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The Definitive Guide to Writing a Well-Structured Essay

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Essay writing is a skill vital to academic success at all levels. It is one of the ways in which the intelligentsia express their thoughts and ideas and communicate with the academic community.

Most professors and instructors write publication-worthy essays at a professional level and therefore have high standards for their students’ writing. Also, essay writing is a useful practice that allows students to hone their writing skills and serves as a foundation for longer, more complex forms of writing.

Very often, students fail to understand the expectations of college-level essay writing and settle for less-than-stellar grades. One of these expectations is an effective and appropriate essay structure that presents ideas in a clear, concise, and logical manner.

A well-structured essay consists of a coherent set of ideas successfully molded into an articulate, formal argument supported by logic and evidence. And since essays are linear – they present only one idea at a time – by default, each idea must be expressed in a lucid and organized manner.

Your essay writing skills can be dramatically improved simply by learning how to structure academic essays correctly. The following is a definitive guide to writing a well-structured essay.

Understanding Essay Structure

A good essay has three basic components: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The opening paragraph consists of a detailed thesis statement. It is followed by a body of paragraphs, each paragraph presenting a single idea through a clear topic sentence along with 2 or more supporting sentences.  The conclusion summarizes the major ideas presented in the essay. This format is critical for an essay’s success – imagine an essay that begins with the body paragraphs, followed by the introduction and a conclusion. The flawed logic of such an essay would make it impossible to read or understand.

1. How to Write an Introduction

While every sentence and every paragraph of an essay is important, the introductory paragraph is crucial. Many professors start evaluating your work as soon as they begin reading it. The introduction is enough to create an impression about whether your essay is interesting or dull, strong or weak, effective or ineffective. Obviously, you want it to be just right and as close to perfection as possible.

The introduction begins with a “hook” that will catch your reader’s attention and draw them in, hopefully motivating them to keep reading. The next few sentences build up to the topic of your essay and lead to the thesis statement, which announces the purpose of your writing. This can be followed by a few more sentences that explain or expand upon the thesis statement. Make sure you clearly mention the aims or goals you hope to accomplish through the essay and briefly mention some of the main points you will be setting forth in the body of the essay. This offers an overview of the entire argument and proves that you have carefully thought it through.

It is unnecessary to explore your key points in detail in the introduction, since you will be doing so later on. The reader should be able to get a thumbnail picture of the essay – the subject and how you intend to support or explain your main argument – just by reading the introduction.

2. How to Write Body Paragraphs

The paragraphs that follow the introduction and form the main bulk of the essay are referred to as the “body” of the essay.

Depending on the essay’s style and purpose, each paragraph is generally expected to be between 2-8 sentences in length. The size of the average paragraph in academic writing tends to be about 8-10 sentences. This is so because the author must back up their points with evidence before reaching a conclusion, thus requiring a greater amount of writing. Business writing, on the other hand, tends to have shorter paragraphs – usually 4-5 sentences in length – because it is expected to be as concise as possible.

The body paragraphs present the key points of the paper along with the relevant information and research data that supports the thesis. Each paragraph should contain one idea that is introduced by a topic sentence and supported by subsequent sentences. And each sentence in a body paragraph must link back to the topic sentence and add more information to it. A common mistake made by many novice writers is presenting multiple ideas in a single paragraph. This undermines the structure of the argument and confuses readers to the detriment of the essay as a whole.

3. How to Write a Conclusion

The conclusion is the final part of the essay structure. It is essentially a summary of the ideas presented in the introduction and the body paragraphs. Another important function of the conclusion is to demonstrate how the ideas stated in the introduction and the body paragraphs relate to the general thesis of the essay. The conclusion usually begins with a brief and is then followed by a one-sentence summary of the thesis and the supporting evidence. The ensuing sentences gradually expand the scope of the argument, within the context of the discussion, taking into account the evidence presented in the body of the essay. The last sentence associates the essay topic with the broader interests of readers or areas of further study.

A well-written conclusion often starts with connecting phrases such as “as we/you can see,” “in conclusion,” “summing up,” “therefore,” etc. Connecting phrases are used to link the conclusive paragraph with the ideas put forth in the essay. Depending on the subject and the overall length of the essay as well as the professor’s instructions, the length of a conclusion can vary from one paragraph to one page.

4. How to Address Counter Arguments

A well-structured essay is expected to strictly abide by the “introduction – body paragraphs – conclusion” format. However, the author does have the flexibility to include exceptions, limitations, or counter arguments to the main argument or ideas in the essay. These can be summed up in one or two paragraphs before the conclusion but should find no place in the introduction, as they would make the thesis statement far too convoluted. Counter arguments are nonetheless important because they balance the main argument and demonstrate that the author has examined the topic thoroughly.

Beginning Your Essay

Quite often, students have a solid grasp of essay structure but find it difficult to actually begin structuring their essay.

If you don’t feel confident enough to go through the writing process in a linear fashion, it is recommended that you do the body paragraphs first. Since each body paragraph contains one idea, starting here will give you a better understanding of what your key ideas are. This will make it fairly easy to form a thesis statement followed by the introduction and conclusion.

The Post-Writing Phase

Reviewing your well-structured essay is an important part of the writing process. It takes place in the post-writing phase and involves putting your essay aside for a couple of hours or a day and coming back to review it. Read through each paragraph to see if your points make sense and if you have articulated them clearly. Each paragraph must be relevant to the thesis and should relate to the main argument; if it has strayed, a rewrite or omission might be in order.

To sum up, a well-structured essay begins with a clear thesis, is followed by logical body paragraphs, and ends with a meaningful conclusion that summarizes the whole. Planning your essay with the above structure in mind will enhance your critical thinking and communication skills and help you achieve better grades.

A well-structured essay can help students get stellar grades.


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  1. How to Write a Conclusion (With Tips and Examples)

    How to write a conclusion 1. Restate the thesis. An effective conclusion brings the reader back to the main point, reminding the reader of the... 2. Reiterate supporting points. Aside from restating your thesis, you should also reiterate the points that you made to... 3. Make a connection between ...

  2. How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay | Grammarly

    How to write a good conclusion As you set out to write your conclusion and end your essay on an insightful note, you’ll want to start by restating your thesis. Since the thesis is the central idea of your entire essay, it’s wise to remind the reader of the purpose of your paper.

  3. How to Conclude an Essay | Interactive Example - Scribbr

    The conclusion might include minor pieces of new information—for example, a sentence or two discussing broader implications, or a quotation that nicely summarizes your central point. But it shouldn’t introduce any major new sources or ideas that need further explanation to understand.

  4. Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step Guide

    Table of contents Step 1: Restate the problem The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem. You will... Step 2: Sum up the paper Having zoomed back in on the problem, it’s time to summarize how the body of the paper went... Step 3: Discuss the implications

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  6. How to Write Discussions and Conclusions - PLOS

    Indicate what next steps can be taken to further pursue any unresolved questions. If dealing with a contemporary or ongoing problem, such as climate change, discuss possible consequences if the problem is avoided. Be concise. Adding unnecessary detail can distract from the main findings.

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    There are several steps you can take to write a successful conclusion to any paper. Part 1 Crafting Your Conclusion Paragraph 1 Revise your thesis statement. One of the most important components of an effective conclusion is a well-written thesis statement.

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    To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following: Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning. Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an ...

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    A well-written conclusion often starts with connecting phrases such as “as we/you can see,” “in conclusion,” “summing up,” “therefore,” etc. Connecting phrases are used to link the conclusive paragraph with the ideas put forth in the essay.