Conclusions should provide a sense of deliberate closure to your document, echoing the introduction and reminding the reader of the paper’s purpose: why was it worth writing and reading? Also, this section of a paper can hold some key elements that add value to your discussion.
As you conclude, turn towards the future and identify the implications of the paper’s findings. These implications might be real world recommendations: based on your findings, what action should be taken in the world? You might also highlight the next steps in a chain of research: how do the answers you’ve found set the stage for new questions? What scholarly work remains to be done?
It may not be until you are writing the conclusion that you have the clearest sense of your paper’s focus, argument, and claim. Use the insight from your conclusion to help you polish and refine the introduction of your paper or thesis. Tie it all together!
- Handout (printable): "Conclusions," University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Writing Center