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Writing a conclusion: doing it right

Definition: This is the conclusion of a text

The conclusion or the result is a solid part of most texts, in particular when it is a non-fiction text. Especially in university and working life, you will often deal with texts that incorporate a conclusion. Expert readers also tend to read “just” the introduction and the conclusion to be able to obtain the most important information despite a quick read. In short: The conclusion presents the core results of your text into a compact form once more and brings your text to a logical end. Depending on what text you’re dealing with, your conclusion can also integrate the content of the text into another context, for example in politics, culture or society. Important: You don’t repeat yourself in the conclusion, but rather compromise your core statements.

Writing a conclusion: What’s important

The following tips can help you formulate the conclusion of your text depending on the topic and questions being asked.

1. The conclusion offers no new information 

You want to give your reader brand-new input at the end? That is a bad idea – particularly in non-fictional texts, for the purpose of a conclusion is to take a look at the information presented one more time in a well-formulated and understandable way. So it holds true: If there is additional information on the topic you’ve chosen, address these facts from the beginning and don’t “surprise” the reader at the end of the text.

2. The conclusion may give answers to questions from the introduction

It is certainly possible to establish a question in the introduction that you want to answer in your text. This is the case especially in scientific writings. If you bring up one or more questions at the beginning, the conclusion has to address the question(s). It holds true: If you can’t provide a clear answer to one or more questions, you have to mention this fact in your conclusion. Because: The reader will remember the questions you asked. If you don’t come back to them at the end, the conclusion won’t seem conclusive for them – and neither will the whole text.

3. The conclusion is not too long

Length matters, also with a conclusion. This is always in relation to the length of the entire text. If you have only three pages available, it doesn’t make sense to write a one-page conclusion. A good rule of thumb: The conclusion should be two to three times the length of the short introduction at the beginning of your text. Try to cut any filler words or unnecessary repetition in your conclusion so that you can formulate the statements given there in the most compact way possible and you won’t lose the reader in redundant phrases.

4. The conclusion forges a bridge to the introduction

The introduction and conclusion literally go hand in hand. That is shown not only in picking up the questions from the introduction in the conclusion but also in the general tone and direction of the conclusion. The goal of a well-written text should be to give the reader the most important information by reading the introduction (what is it about?) and the conclusion (What information are you giving in addition? What conclusion should you reach on the topic?).

5. The conclusion can give an outlook

The conclusion might not address any new questions; however, as an author, you can give an outlook on other possible topics or texts. That means: The conclusion can also include a reference to other literature by you or others if it brings the reader further. In particular, if there are questions in the introduction that you cannot give a final answer to, a reference to other texts or information can be helpful.

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