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Conclusions

The conclusion paragraph serves two functions:

The final paragraph of a paper, the conclusion, is one of the most important paragraphs in the paper. The conclusion should give your paper a nice ending and a sense of wholeness. Because the conclusion is last, it is the part that is left with the audience, the part that lingers longest in the memory.

1. It should help to frame the paper. This does NOT mean that you simply restate the thesis and summarize the points you explored in each body paragraph. Instead, you should be a bit more creative! Start by looking back to your hook. This was the very first part of the introductory paragraph meant to capture the readers attention and set the stage for the rest of the paper. By looking back to the hook you are taking the reader back to the beginning of your paper, but youre also adding a new twist. Now that you have gone through the entire paper and explored all of your ideas, how does this change/expand/inform your hook? How has the hook evolved? 2. Once youve set the stage for your reader to exit the paper, you MIGHT (or you might not) need to provide a BRIEF summary. At the end, you need to give the reader something to take away from the paper. Here are some techniques you might use: a. Express an emotion: Let the reader know how you feel about the topic. What emotional response has it created in you? b. Outlook or behavior modification: Show how something has affected your behavior or outlook on life as a result of your experience with the topic. c. Question(s): Ask one or more questions that might grow from your topic. IMPORTANT: if youre going to ask questions, you should also explore possible answers. d. Reflective statement: Tell your reader something that your topic suggests to you beyond the points made in the body paragraphs. Think of some larger or more general application to the world around you. e. Call to action: Suggest that your reader or someone else act on the information you have provided. f. Solution: If your paper explores a certain problem, then it might be appropriate to use the conclusion as an opportunity to present your solution to the problem. Above all, the conclusion should tie up any loose ends in the paper. Remember: this is the last paragraph that the reader will read, so make it a good one! The above tips are just those: tips. This paragraph is ultimately closer to a carefully crafted piece of art than it is a dry, formulaic, re-statement of everything you talked about in your paper.

Adapted from the handouts Conclusions and Classical Rhetoric by Mary Kay Harrington and Chapter 12 of Bob Brannans A Writers Workshop: Crafting Paragraphs, Building Essays.

Creating A conclusion
1)
Framing the paper
What was the hook in your introduction? Now that youve presented all of the ideas in your paper, how has the hook evolved? ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

2)

Summary

IF the paper is long enough and/or complex enough that the reader should reminded of a few key points before finishing the paper, then you may provide a BRIEF (sentence or two) summary. ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

3)

Finishing off the paper

Choose one (or a combination) of the following techniques: Express and emotion Reflective statement Outlook or behavior modification Call to action Question(s) Solution Now, jot down some ideas on how you might use the technique(s) you chose to finish off the paper: ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________

4)

Drafting the conclusion

Take the above information and start drafting your conclusion. The actual length of the conclusion is not important, but it should be long enough to bring the paper to a nice finish and appropriately tie up all of the loose ends. Do not rush through the conclusion, but dont be too long-winded.