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Writing a conclusion: this is how to do it!

Whether you are writing an essay, a research project, or a thesis: you always end it by writing a conclusion. For many students, writing a conclusion is challenging. How do you summarize all your research results in only a few paragraphs? What should you include in a rock-solid conclusion? Don't worry! We have several tips on how to write a conclusion and what elements it should contain. This should make writing a conclusion easier for you. Curious? Please read on quickly!

How to write a conclusion?

Before writing a conclusion, it is essential to check the requirements for the conclusion, as defined by your study or school. This way, you’ll know exactly what is expected of you concerning, for example, the contents, length, and grammar of the conclusion.  

The main purpose of writing a conclusion is to answer the central research question of your research or thesis or to confirm the thesis statement of your essay. Therefore, always start your conclusion by repeating the research question or thesis statement. Then you can either choose to:

  • first give the answer to the central research question or statement and explain the details of the answer afterward, or
  • build up towards the final answer by first presenting partial conclusions based on your own research results, and answering your sub-questions, before coming to the final answer of the central research question or statement.

Make sure to only briefly repeat research results, and only the results that contribute to answering your research question. Explain the answer to the central research question or statement descriptively, but briefly, and take the reader on a small journey on how you came to this conclusion.

Some handy tips for writing a conclusion are to always end with a powerful final sentence. Also, make sure to never include new information in your conclusion that you haven’t mentioned somewhere else inside your thesis or essay.

Length of your conclusion

The conclusion of your document is often not longer than one page (A4 size), and anywhere between 200 and 400 words. However, your school or university may have different guidelines for the length of your conclusion. Make sure to check this carefully. Is your conclusion a bit longer at first? Don't worry! After all, deleting text is a lot easier than adding things. Just go through your conclusion again, and you’ll probably be able to write things more compactly.

Verb tenses in your conclusion

Always use correct grammar when writing your conclusion. This is because you apply two verb tenses in your conclusion:

  • Imperfect present tense:

You use this tense when describing facts, for example: "The company does not currently have a TikTok account" or "The company's ambition is to use social media more."

  • Completed present tense

You use this tense when referring to the research you have conducted yourself, such as: "The results of this research showed that company X does have an ambition for social media, but has not yet started working on it internally".

Checking the spelling in your thesis is just as important. After all, you've been working on your thesis for months so you don't always spot spelling mistakes anymore. Ask a friend who always corrects your spelling mistakes or use an online spelling check to make sure you don't get any unpleasant surprises afterward!

Have you completed writing your thesis and passed it with a good grade? Then help yourself and other students by selling your thesis on Stuvia. This way, you will earn a passive income and hopefully help others complete their studies.