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Academic Skills

Writing a Conclusion

The Purpose of a Conclusion

The purpose of a conclusion is to tie together, or integrate the various issues, research, etc., covered in the body of the paper, and to make comments upon the meaning of all of it. This includes noting any implications resulting from your discussion of the topic, as well as recommendations, forecasting future trends, and the need for further research.

The conclusion should:

  • be a logical ending to what has been previously been discussed. It must pull together all of the parts of your argument and refer the reader back to the focus you have outlined in your introduction and to the central topic. This gives your essay a sense of unity. 
  • never contain any new information. 
  • usually be only a paragraph in length, but in an extended essay (3000+ words) it may be better to have two or three paragraphs to pull together the different parts of the essay. 
  • add to the overall quality and impact of the essay. This is your final statement about this topic; thus it can make a great impact on the reader.

The conclusion should not:

  • just sum up
  • end with a long quotation
  • focus merely on a minor point in your argument
  • introduce new material

The content of the conclusion 

The conclusion may include:

  • a summary of the arguments presented in the body and how these relate to the essay question
  • a restatement of the main point of view presented in the introduction in response to the topic
  • the implications of this view or what might happen as a result.

The structure of the conclusion

Like introductions, it is best to keep to a simple structure.

Begin with a sentence that refers to the main subject that was discussed in the body in the essay. Make sure that this sentence also links to the preceding paragraph, or uses words such as In conclusion to signal that these are your final words on the subject.

Then, you may give a brief summary of your argument and identify the main reasons/causes/factors that relate to the question you have been asked to address. If there are two or more parts to the question, be sure to include responses to each part in your conclusion.

Finally, it is a good idea to add a sentence or two to reinforce the thesis statement which was used in your introduction. This shows the reader that you have done what you said you would do and gives a sense of unity the essay.

Additional elements that may be added include recommendations for future action and speculations on future trends. Generally, although a short pithy quote can sometimes be used to spice up your conclusion, the conclusion should be in your own words. Try to avoid direct quotations, or references to other sources.

Summary of structure

  • Link to previous paragraph: In conclusion…
  • Brief summary
  • Identify main reasons/causes/factors
  • Reinforce the thesis statement (see Introductions)
  • Recommendations/speculation on future action

A Typical Conclusion

Question: Workplace diversity is now recognised as an important feature in organisations, especially in multicultural nations like Australia. What communication problems might arise in a culturally diverse workplace, and how can managers best deal with them? (2000 word essay)

* * * * * * *

It is clear, therefore, that not only do employees have to be trained for working in the Australian multicultural workplace, but managers also need to be trained. Managers must ensure that effective in-house training programs are provided for migrant workers, so that they become more familiar with the English language, Australian communication norms and the Australian work culture. In addition, Australian native English speakers need to be made aware of the differing cultural values of their workmates; particularly the different forms of non-verbal communication used by other cultures. Furthermore, all employees must be provided with clear and detailed guidelines about company expectations. The interviews with managers and staff reveal that a majority of managers must also have training in cross cultural communication and in managing a culturally diverse workplace. Above all, in order to minimise communication problems and to maintain an atmosphere of tolerance, understanding and cooperation in the multicultural workplace, managers need to have an effective knowledge about their employees, to understand how their social conditioning affects their beliefs about work and to have the communication skills to develop confidence and self-esteem among diverse work groups. The culturally diverse Australian workplace may never be completely free of communication problems, however, further studies to identify potential problems and solutions, as well as better training in cross cultural communication for managers and employees, should result in a much more understanding and cooperative environment. (230 words)

Here is an analysis of the example given above:

1. It is clear, therefore, that not only do employees have to be trained for working in the Australian multicultural workplace, but managers also need to be trained. This sentence provides a link to the previous paragraph and refers to the main subject that was discussed in the body in the essay. It uses keywords such as 'managers' and 'multicultural workplace'.
2. Managers must ensure that effective in-house training programs are provided for migrant workers, so that they become more familiar with the English language, Australian communication norms and the Australian work culture. In addition, Australian native English speakers need to be made aware of the differing cultural values of their workmates; particularly the different forms of non-verbal communication used by other cultures. Furthermore, all employees must be provided with clear and detailed guidelines about company expectations. These sentences refer back to the particular problem areas foreshadowed in the introduction and identify solutions.
3. The interviews with managers and staff reveal that a majority of managers must also have training in cross cultural communication and in managing a culturally diverse workplace. This sentence refers back to the thesis statement in the introduction and identifies a key finding of the study.
4. Above all, in order to minimise communication problems and to maintain an atmosphere of tolerance, understanding and cooperation in the multicultural workplace, managers need to have an effective knowledge about their employees, to understand how their social conditioning affects their beliefs about work and to have the communication skills to develop confidence and self-esteem among diverse work groups. This sentence makes a definitive statement about what the writer considers to be the most important recommendation.
5.The culturally diverse Australian workplace may never be completely free of communication problems, however, further studies to identify potential problems and solution, as well as better training in cross cultural communication for managers and employees, should result in a much more understanding and cooperative environment. The final sentence suggests future trends and makes a final recommendation for further study.