Your conclusion is your last chance to make an impression on the reader. It’s what they’ll remember long after they’ve finished reading your essay. So, how do you write a good conclusion? By making it your own, following the rules of storytelling, and working with the existing. To learn what we mean, read on.
There are a few things to keep in mind when writing a good conclusion and making it your own. First, your conclusion should mirror the introduction, especially if it started with an intriguing example or anecdote. The conclusion can also suggest future lines of research. It can make a philosophical statement about the topic. Whatever you do, make sure your conclusion is something that only you could’ve written. In other words, make it count and make it your own.
One particularly important way to make it your own is to think about how to apply the laws of storytelling to your essay. When you’re reading or watching a movie, how do you know that the story is coming to a close? Think about how to bring these techniques to your essay writing skill set. It might take the form of considering a thematic issue, like the stakes involved in a policy argument. It might take the form of resolving a story or examples you’ve used, like a “where are they now” sequence for people involved in your essay. It might mean something different. The point is the essay should end in a way that feels resolved and “closed.”
But there are some other things to keep in mind with the conclusion of your essay and how to make it your own. Think about style as well as structure. Consider “symmetry,” or the use of stylistic and content techniques to make the ending match the beginning. If your introduction started with an example or anecdote, your conclusion should also end with one. This will help create a sense of balance for the reader and will leave them with something memorable to think about. Your conclusion should also include the thesis, but the conclusion should unpack it and lay out some information about why it matters: In other words, discuss the implications of your argument and drive home why your readers should care. When your teacher tells you to “re-state” the thesis, they don’t mean you should just copy-paste. It’s never that easy!
On a more practical level, the conclusion of the essay can also be an opportunity to set the essay up within a broader conversation about research. The essay’s conclusion can also set up a conversation with the rest of the academic conversation. That means you can suggest future lines of research in your introduction, you should also mention them in your conclusion. This gives the reader a sense of closure and will remind them of the questions that still need to be answered in this field of study.
In most cases, you can consider ending your conclusion with a philosophical statement about the topic. This will leave the reader thinking about the implications of your essay long after they’ve finished reading it. To be a great essay writer, under no circumstances should you start your conclusion with the phrase “in conclusion”!
In conclusion (Ha-ha! Just kidding!), remember that your concluding paragraph of the essay has to take the concept of concluding further than simply restating the introduction—it has to give the reader something intriguing to think about, and it should be your own. It should mirror the structure and style of the introduction but take it further. A good way to do this is suggesting future lines of research or making a philosophical statement about the topic. It is also important to tie up loose ends, if possible, particularly if your essay had was a personal or other form of narrative. Whatever you do, make sure that only you could’ve written it—in other words, make it count and make it your own!