The conclusion of a research report should summarize the content and purpose of the research without looking unnatural or boring. Every basic conclusion should have several key elements, but there are also many tactics that you can use to create a more effective conclusion, and many that you should avoid so as not to weaken the conclusion of your report. In this article, we'll give you some writing tips to keep in mind as you draw the conclusion of your next report.
Part 1 of 3: Write a Basic Conclusion
Step 1. Restate the topic
You should briefly restate the topic and you should also explain its importance.
- Don't spend too much time or space when you restate the topic.
- A good research report will make the importance of the topic apparent, so that in the conclusion you don't have to write an elaborate justification for your topic.
- Generally, all you need to restate your topic is a sentence.
- For example, if you are writing a report on the epidemiology of an infectious disease, you could say "Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease that affects millions of people around the world each year."
- An example from the humanities area would be a report on the Italian Renaissance: "The Italian Renaissance was an explosion of art and ideas focused on artists, writers and thinkers from Florence."
Step 2. Restate your thesis
In addition to the topic, you should also restate or paraphrase your thesis statement.
- A thesis is a focused and more specific view of the topic at hand.
- This statement should be paraphrased from the thesis you included in the introduction. It should not be identical or very similar to the sentence you originally used.
- Try to paraphrase your thesis statement in a way that complements the summary of your report's topic in the first sentence of the conclusion.
- An example of a good thesis statement, going back to the TB report, would be “TB is a widespread disease that affects millions of people around the world each year. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, health professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment and containment of this disease”.
Step 3. Briefly summarize the main points
Basically, you have to remind the reader of what you told them in the body of the report.
- A good way to do this is to reread the topic sentence of each of the most important paragraphs or sections in the body of the report.
- Find a way to briefly restate all the points made in each of the main sentences of your conclusion. Don't repeat any secondary information used in body paragraphs.
- In most circumstances, avoid writing new information in the conclusion. This is especially the case if the information is vital to the argument or research presented in your report.
- For example, in the tuberculosis article, you could summarize the information. “Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people around the world. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, health professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment and containment of this disease. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of tuberculosis infections is very high. Overcrowded conditions, poor hygiene and lack of access to medical care are factors that cause the spread of the disease. Health experts, such as those at the World Health Organization, are launching campaigns to reach out to communities in developing countries and provide diagnostic tests and treatments. However, TB treatments are very harsh and have many side effects. This means that the patient does not comply with the treatment and that variants of the disease that are immune to multiple drugs spread”.
Step 4. Explain the points consistently
If your report will proceed inductively and you have not yet explained the importance of your points, you should do so in your conclusion.
- Note that this is not necessary for all investigative reports.
- If you have already fully explained the meaning of the points in your report or the reason for their importance, you do not have to explain them in detail in your conclusion. It is enough to restate the thesis or the importance of the topic.
- The best practice is always to address the important issues and fully explain your points in the body of the report. The goal of a research report conclusion is to summarize your argument for the reader and perhaps get them to contribute research, if necessary.
Step 5. Have the reader contribute research, if appropriate
Whenever necessary, you can indicate to your readers that further research is needed for the topic of your report.
- Please note that this request for contribution is not essential for all findings. For example, unlike a report on the effect of television on young children, a research report on a literary criticism is less likely to require a contribution.
- A report that might require reader input is one that addresses a public or scientific need. Let's go back to the example of tuberculosis. This is a very serious disease that is spreading rapidly and with variants that are immune to antibiotics.
- A request for contribution in this research report could be a subsequent statement similar to “Despite new efforts to diagnose and contain the disease, more research is needed to develop new antibiotics that treat the more immune and more immune variants of tuberculosis. reduce the side effects of current treatments”.
Step 6. Answer the question about importance
The conclusion of a report will give you the opportunity to explain the larger context of the problem you have mentioned. This will also help readers understand why your topic is important. You should use the conclusion to answer the question about the importance of the topic, as it may not be obvious to your readers.
For example, if you are writing a history report, you could mention how important the historical topic is today. If you're writing about another country, you could use the conclusion to mention how the information shared can help other readers understand your country
Part 2 of 3: Make Your Conclusion As Effective As Possible
Step 1. Use a basic synthesis of the information
The most basic conclusion is the closing of the summary, which is very similar to the introduction of the report.
- Since this type of conclusion is very basic, it is vital that you synthesize the information, rather than just summarize it.
- Instead of just repeating what you've already said, paraphrase the thesis and supporting points in a way that links them.
- By doing so, you will make your research report look like a “whole thought,” rather than a collection of random and loosely related ideas.
Step 2. Restate the same ideas from the beginning
Link all the sections of your research report by directly linking the introduction to the conclusion. There are many ways of doing it.
- Ask a question in the introduction. Rephrase the question in the conclusion and provide a direct answer.
- Write an anecdote or story in the introduction, but don't tell how it ends. Instead, tell the end of the anecdote at the conclusion of the report.
- For example, if you want to get more creative and give your TB report a more humane spin, you can start the introduction with a story about a person who has the disease and you can refer to the story in the conclusion. For example, before restatement in conclusion, you can say something like: "Patient X was unable to complete treatment for tuberculosis due to serious side effects and unfortunately succumbed to the disease."
- Use, in the conclusion, the same concepts and images that you used in the introduction. The images may or may not appear elsewhere in the investigation report.
Step 3. Close with a logical opinion
If your research report presented multiple perspectives on an issue, use the conclusion to form a logical opinion based on the evidence you provided.
- Include enough information on the topic to support your statement, but don't overdo it.
- If the research did not allow you to arrive at a clear answer to the question you asked in the thesis, do not be afraid to indicate it.
- Restate your initial hypothesis and indicate if you still consider it valid or if your research has started to change your mind.
- It indicates that an answer is likely to exist and that further investigation could shed light on the issue at hand.
Step 4. Ask a question
Instead of pointing out the conclusion to the reader, have them formulate their own conclusion.
- This may not be appropriate for all types of investigative reports. Most research reports, such as one on effective treatments for diseases, will already have the information necessary to substantiate a particular argument.
- A good example of a report that might ask the reader a question at the end is one that addresses a social problem, such as poverty or government policies.
- Ask a question that leads directly to the purpose or objective of the report. This question is usually the same (or a version of it) that you asked yourself when you started the investigation.
- Make sure the question can be answered with the evidence presented in your report.
- If you want, you can briefly summarize the answer after asking the question. However, you can also leave the question unanswered for the reader to answer.
Step 5. Make a suggestion
If you are including a request for contribution in the conclusion, you can provide the reader with a recommendation on how to proceed with further research.
- You can make a recommendation to the reader even without making a contribution request.
- For example, if you are writing about a topic such as poverty in third world countries, the reader can help with this problem in many ways, and it is not necessary to ask for further research.
- Another example is a report on drug immune tuberculosis treatment, in which you might suggest making a donation to the World Health Organization or to research foundations that are developing new treatments for the disease.
Part 3 of 3: Avoid Common Mistakes
Step 1. Avoid using "in conclusion" or similar phrases
This includes "in summary" or "last."
- When these phrases are used in writing, they often sound forced, unnatural, or trivial.
- Also, using a phrase like "in conclusion" to begin the conclusion is a very direct way and often leads to a weak conclusion. A strong conclusion can stand on its own without tagging it with those elements.
Step 2. Do not wait to reach the conclusion to present the thesis
While it may be tempting to save your thesis for a dramatic ending to your report, this will make your report look less cohesive and more disorganized.
- Always state the main argument or thesis in the introduction. A research report is an analytical discussion on an academic topic, not a mystery novel.
- A good and effective research report will allow the reader to follow the main argument from beginning to end.
- That is why the best practice is to start the report with an introduction that sets out the main argument and culminate with a conclusion that restates the thesis to reiterate it.
Step 3. Skip the new information
A new idea, a new subtopic, or new evidence is too important to reserve for conclusion.
- All important information should be mentioned in the body of the report.
- Supporting evidence expands the subject of your report by making it look more detailed. A conclusion should reduce the subject to a more general point.
- A conclusion should only summarize what you have already stated in the body of your report.
- You can suggest or request that further investigation be carried out, but you should not mention new evidence or facts in the conclusion.
Step 4. Avoid changing the tone of the report
The tone of the investigation report should be consistent from start to finish.
- Typically, a change in tone occurs when a research report with an academic tone contains an emotional or sentimental conclusion.
- Even if the subject of the report is of personal importance to you, you should not indicate it in the report.
- If you want to give the report a more humane approach, you can start and end it with a story or anecdote that gives the topic a more personal meaning to the reader.
- However, this tone must be consistent throughout the report.
Step 5. Don't justify yourself
Don't make statements that downplay your authority or your findings.
- Justification statements include phrases like "I may not be an expert" or "This is just my opinion."
- Generally, statements like these can be avoided if you don't write in the first person.
- Avoid using first-person statements. Speaking in the first person is often considered very informal and does not match the formal tone of a research report.