In a research paper, the conclusion should never be rushed, and the importance can’t be downplayed. It’s a key part of the whole research explanation, helping the reader understand the why of the paper rather than the how. You’ve already laid out in detail how the experiment was performed and what the results were. In the conclusion, you’re reminding the reader why all of that should matter to them and/or society.
Until you began writing research articles, you were probably taught that a conclusion simply restated the introduction and summarized the main ideas. However, if you write yours this way, you miss out on a prime opportunity to synthesize the key points, suggest future research opportunities, and convince the reader how important your paper is. You get to present the last word on what you’ve discussed in your paper and summarize your thoughts and how significant the research results are. It’s also your chance to connect gaps in existing literature with your answers to those holes.
Your conclusion is where you tell the reader how important your ideas are and how new ways of thinking should be approached because of your research. So how do you write this massive and vital last part of your paper and keep it to two or three paragraphs? These tips will guide you as you attempt this endeavor.
Five Tips to Help You Write Your Ending
You already know the formulaic way to write a conclusion: restate your research topic, restate the thesis, summarize, connect, and conclude. While those steps aren’t wrong, they also aren’t exciting enough to grab the reader’s attention and leave them impressed with your paper in a way that will make them want to share it with others.
If you really want to leave your reader hanging with the idea that they just read something impactful to the field of science or their lives, use these five tips:
- Appeal to the reader on a personal level. How can what you just wrote be applied to humanity in general?
- Involve an action step. To make an impression on the reader, challenge them to do something related to your research or pose a question that makes them think long after they’ve read the last word on your paper.
- Discuss how your paper solves a need in society or in the field of science. This is often implied or inferred, but you can go into detail in your conclusion. Explain where the gaps were previously, and how your research filled those gaps and saved the day (somewhere).
- Go ahead and handle the “so what” question. You know it’s coming. Some of your readers are going to want to know what made your work so much more important that the rest of the articles on the topic out there. By nipping this in the bud and explaining that “so what” question, you can build a larger audience. You’re, in essence, telling them why your work is important and why they should care. You can even go as far as to explain why they should feel bad if they don’t care.
- Suggest where to go from there. You may be done with your research on the topic and ready to move on to greener pastures, but there are plenty of other scientists who might use your work as a springboard in their own field. Offer suggestions about other projects you could see stemming from your work, questions that are broached since your research conclusions, and ideas for how they could be answered.
Did Your Work Make an Influence? Use Impactio to Find Out
You’ve written an engaging conclusion that tied your arguments together and made your audience think about what they read. But did it do its job?
If so, then your work’s metrics should be on the rise. You can follow them on Impactio, America’s number one platform for scientific networking and data analytics. Check out how many people are citing your research article, talking about it on social media, or blogging about your ideas. You could be making a larger influence than you realize, and you’ll know it when you sign up for Impactio!