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Conclusions to essays

The conclusion is one of the most challenging parts of the essay to write. You have included all your main points, put forward your viewpoint, hopefully supporting these with references to the literature, so it is often difficult to work out what more you can say.

One way to think of a conclusion is as a kind of review of the journey on which you have taken the reader, so a conclusion may include a paraphrase or summary of:

  • the main points of the essay

  • the writer’s viewpoint (or the thesis statement).

Academic study is, in a sense, a never-ending journey, in which knowledge is constructed and established through an on-going cycle of hypothesis, research and critical review, and for this reason conclusions often also include:

  • future implications and predictions e.g. recommendations for further research in the field, or actions which need to be taken.

In the next Step, find out how Patrick has structured the conclusion to his essay.

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This article is from the free online course:

An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study

University of Reading