Writing a conclusion can be somewhat of a paradox. The reason for this is that you have done the main work of your essay and are virtually at the end. Surely this should mean a cause for celebration or at the very least relief? For some strange reason, it isn’t. Writing a conclusion can cause all sorts of perplexes. The fear and bewilderment when faced with writing a conclusion results in a manner of ways:
The aforementioned methods of writing a conclusion are to be avoided. They will add nothing to your essay whatsoever. Now that we have dealt with methods that do not work, we can consider how to write a conclusion in ways that do help to improve your essay.
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A conclusion is what brings closure to your essay. It should leave the reader fully comprehending how you leave your argument, feeling satisfied and also thoughtful. A conclusion should:
In your introduction, you will have stated your thesis which is the argument that you will prove. It is difficult in the course of an article to cover all subjects so for the sake of simplicity, this article will choose a sample thesis to demonstrate the most productive way to write a conclusion. In other words, we will use the thesis:
“The work of Shakespeare has become elite. It is no longer part of the identity of the working classes.”
When you write your conclusion, you would not state that word for word. Instead you might offer “Although for centuries, the plays of William Shakespeare were accessible to the working class, it could be suggested that seeing a work of Shakespeare voluntarily in the 21st century is something that only the middle and upper classes do.”
Paraphrasing your thesis demonstrates that you fully understand your argument and that you can see the wider picture of it. It also highlights your use of language which is something that should always happen in any form of writing.
This is probably the most difficult part of writing the conclusion because it is the largest part of your essay and it needs to be reduced to a few sentences. You may find that you get carried away and your conclusion is as long as your main body simply for the fact that you want to throw everything in. Therefore, it is much easier when writing your conclusion if you have a plan.
For instance, if we return to the Shakespeare example “the work of Shakespeare has become elite. It is no longer part of the working class identity” if point one was made up of the evidence that the working class did identify with Shakespeare in the past, you may have used newspaper articles from the archives. These primary sources that were reported as they happened tell of an amateur actor called Shakespeare Hirst that owned a pub in Huddersfield. (Huddersfield Chronicle, 24th April 1879) The man in question was named after William Shakespeare because his father loved the Bard’s plays. Every Sunday night, Shakespeare Hirst would dress up and perform monologues for the people in the working class establishment. Within your essay you will have defined what you mean by identity and have argued your point using various sources such as the aforementioned one. In your conclusion, you would have to summarise. For instance, you might state:
“The use of primary sources demonstrates that the working class people of Huddersfield identified with Shakespeare both by naming their children after him and as a way of entertaining themselves.”
Don’t worry if this seems a difficult step to take. The more you practise summarising the easier it becomes, in most cases. If you find that you cannot review a point because every time you try to get it down to one or two sentences, your thought processes become jumbled or you find yourself writing a full page again, you need to stop. It is highly likely that you have got a problem in the main body of your essay. Don’t see this as catastrophic, it isn’t. it is simply something that needs to be readdressed. The reason that you cannot get your point summarised is because of one of two reasons.
Once you have worked your way through the points of your essay summarising them, you can almost relax. You are on the final stage of your conclusion. Basically, all you have to do is conclude why your argument is important to the subject that you have researched and what the further implications are. At this point, you are hoping to leave the reader of your essay thinking deeply about what you have written. As with all aspects of life, it is always easier to demonstrate a point than to merely tell it. Let’s return then to our sample:
“The work of Shakespeare has become elite. It is no longer part of the identity of our working classes.”
If in the main body of your essay, you used statistical evidence that during a children’s version of Henry V at a theatre in the North of England, the whole audience was made up of children from private schools except one state school, you could argue that Shakespeare has become elite in the 21st century. If, in another point of your essay, you have used data that you collected from interviews that suggested that 100 working class children thought that Shakespeare was not for them even though they had to study it for the curriculum, you have got the basis for the final part of your conclusion. For this sample, you could conclude that
“this research demonstrates that the cultural and educational gap is widening between the poorer children and the middle class children in our society. Fundamentally, this could have far reaching consequences for the education of the future generation.”
Basically, the more thought you put into writing your essay, the easier it will be for you to write your conclusion. The reason for this is that a well-researched argument that has a logical structure will be clear in your mind. A poorly researched argument that is cluttered and goes off on tangents will make writing a conclusion a chore. In other words, if you put the work in and follow the steps in this article, you will be able to do it.
Being a student can be exciting but it can also be difficult when the work piles up and the deadlines are screaming like banshees in the back of your brain. Therefore, if you have read how to write a conclusion well and you are still blocked, you may need help. We offer a full writing service that includes model answers for essays, dissertations, letter writing for applications, proof reading and editing. You should contact us to find out how we can help you.
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