Writing an Effective Conclusion for an Academic Essay

Writing an effective conclusion involves more than just a summary. What else should students include in their conclusions?

Few students would argue that an introduction isn’t an important part of an essay, but how many of those students feel the same way about an essay’s conclusion?

Writing an Effective Conclusion for an Academic Essay

The introduction is important because it grabs the reader’s attention, and the body of the essay is equally important because it’s the area where all the information is contained. That’s why sometimes the conclusion becomes merely an afterthought. Any online essay writer assumes that a student thinks, “Well, all the important stuff is already there. What can I say without repeating myself?” And so the conclusion is sometimes disregarded.

The essay’s conclusion is important, though. A well-written conclusion will leave a reader feeling satisfied, feeling like she did understand all she needed to; she might even continue thinking about the essay long after she has finished it.

So what, exactly, should a writer keep in mind when writing his conclusion?

A Good Conclusion Sums up the Essay’s Information

A solid conclusion should offer the reader a concise overview of what was in the essay. It should mirror the introduction in that way. The introduction gives the reader an idea of what’s coming, while the conclusion reminds the reader of the main point or points.

Sometimes with a larger paper, a conclusion will also summarize sections of the paper. Keep in mind that this is the writer’s last chance to make an impression upon the reader, so the writer needs to ask herself what she wants to read to remember as she drafts her final paragraph.

Bear in mind, though, that the conclusion should not simply repeat what has already been saying. Readers will find that approach boring and possibly even insulting.

A Great Conclusion Gives its Readers More

Excellent conclusions will, certainly, sum up the information found in the essay, but they don’t end there. They also give the readers food for thought.

The best way a writer can put together a great conclusion is to ask himself what the purpose of the essay was. Why did he write what he wrote and why does he feel it’s important? When he identifies what makes his essay meaningful, he can then settle on how to leave a lasting impression upon his readers.

Another way the writer can make this distinction is by asking herself this question: “What should all the information in my essay make the reader think, do, or act?” In other words, what final impression does the writer want to leave on the reader? When the writer decides ultimately what her purpose was for writing the essay (whether it was to inform, entertain, or educate), she can also decide what parting thoughts she wants to leave with the reader.

For example, an article about the differences between natural and artificial flavorings could easily end this way:

  • Consumers should know that natural flavorings are not necessarily any better or safer than artificial ones, so paying extra for one product over the other seems a little silly.

However, the writer may decide that he wants the reader to think even more about the subject:

  • Many nutritionists would recommend that people instead shy away from processed foods, where many of the ingredients are unknown or known to contribute to obesity and other problems. If a food has a flavor additive, it might be best to avoid that food altogether. Instead of buying a cherry-flavored piece of candy, why not just buy cherries?

Strong Conclusions Perform Many Functions

Certainly, a good conclusion will summarize the main points of a writer’s essay. It gives closure to the entirety of the project. However, great conclusions will go a little further – they will give the reader food for thought or ask questions to make the reader think more about the subject. While not every essay needs a conclusion that goes beyond a summary, giving readers more will satisfy even the most demanding audience.

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