Writing / Perfecting the conclusion is not necessarily done last but often in parallel with the introduction or abstract.

parfaire la conclusion

Perfect the conclusion, a good structure

The conclusion of a document research is where you summarize your ideas and leave the reader with a strong final impression. It has several main objectives:

  • Reformulate the research problem addressed in the article
  • Summarize your overall arguments or conclusions
  • Suggest key takeaways from your article

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

The conclusion can be constructed in a series of sentences as follows (1 or 2 sentences maximum for each point):

  • Sentence 1 Recall the subject : The trick is to make the statement as coherent and short as possible. In just one sentence, there should be information about your topic and its importance.
  • Sentence 2 Restate your thesis : Do you remember this last sentence of your introduction ? Here you need to paraphrase it so that it is not the same as the original thesis statement.
  • Sentence 3 It is time to summarize the main arguments of your research paper. It would be easier if you reread your work and highlighted only the most important ideas and evidence. Remember that the conclusion is not the place for new information. Therefore, focus only on the points you make in the main body of your article. The purpose of this brief summary is to remind your readers of the importance of the topic you are working on.
  • Sentence 4 Emphasize the importance of the results : Here you can actually say a few words about the importance of your arguments. If you explain it elsewhere in your writing, there is no need to go into detail in the conclusion. Therefore, a short but meaningful sentence can do its job well. You can also try to bring a broader perspective here. For example, describe how your findings make a difference in a particular area. If confused, it can be helpful to try to answer the question: “So what?” »
  • Sentence 5 Call to action : Note that, just like the previous point, this one is optional. If you think it would be appropriate, comment on the need for further research on the topic. Usually, articles dealing with scientific questions and public are the most appropriate choices to call readers to action. Additionally, this is a great place to leave a comment on the unanswered question in the main body if there is one.

First step, recall the problem

The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem. You will have discussed this issue in depth throughout the body, but now it's about zooming out from the details to the bigger picture.

While you are restating a problem that you have already presented, you should avoid phrasing it identically to how it appeared in the introduction. Ideally, you will find a new way to return to the problem from the more detailed ideas discussed in the body.

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

While the role of livestock in climate change is now common knowledge, countries like the Netherlands continually fail to confront this problem with the urgency it deserves.
Meanwhile, an empirical article studying the relationship between Instagram use and body image issues might present its problem like this:

As social media becomes increasingly central to young people's daily lives, it is important to understand how different platforms affect their developing self-concepts.

Avoid starting your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To conclude,” as this can seem too obvious and make your writing seem unsophisticated. The content and location of your conclusion should make its function clear without requiring additional signage.

Second step, summarize your work

Having zoomed out on the problem, it's time to summarize how the body of the paper tackled it and what conclusions this approach led to.

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

Argumentative article: Restate your thesis and arguments

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

Briefly summarize the main arguments made in the body, showing how each helps prove your thesis. You can also mention any counterarguments you have addressed, emphasizing why your thesis resists them, particularly if your argument is controversial.

Do not go into detail about your evidence or present new ideas; focus on describing in broad terms the argument you've made.

Empirical paper: Summarize your findings

In an empirical article, this is the time to summarize your main findings. Don't go into detail here (you will have already presented your in-depth results and your discussion), but clearly express the answers to the research questions you have studied.

Describe your main findings, even if they are not necessarily what you expected or hoped for, and explain the general conclusion to which they led you.

Step three, discuss the consequences

After summarizing your main arguments or conclusions, the conclusion ends by considering the broader implications of your research. This means expressing the main lessons, practical or theoretical, of your article, often in the form of a call to action or suggestions for future research.

Argumentative Document: Strong Closing Statement

An argumentative document usually ends with a strong closing statement. For a practical argument, issue a call to action: What actions do you think should be taken by the people or organizations involved in response to your argument?

If your topic is more theoretical and not suitable for a call to action, your closing statement should express the importance of your argument, for example by proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research .

Empirical article: Future research directions

In a more empirical article, you might conclude either by making recommendations for practice (e.g., in clinical or policy documents) or by suggesting directions for future research.

No matter the scope of your own research, there will always be room for further investigation into related topics, and you will often discover new questions and issues during the research process.

End your article on a forward-looking note by suggesting how you or other researchers might develop this topic in the future and address the limitations of the current article.