Writing a Conclusion
Writing a conclusion is the final part of the research paper, drawing everything together and tying it into your initial research.
At the beginning of the research paper, you looked at all of the previous research and boiled it down into a research question.
In the discussion, you assess how the results answer to this question and discuss its relevance to the existing knowledge in the field.
When writing a conclusion, you should try to answer a few questions, as succinctly as possible.
You will have already answered some of these in your discussion, but the key is to leave some questions that another researcher can expand upon for their research project.
If you are planning a long career as a scientist, it is something that you can return to in the future. A good research project, whatever the results, will generate leads for others to follow.
What Has Your Research Shown?
This is a very quick synopsis of the results and discussion.
Writing a conclusion involves summing up the paper and giving a very brief description of the results, although you should not go into too much detail about this.
Anybody reading the conclusion has read the entire paper, so the conclusion merely acts as an aid to memory.
How Has It Added to What is Known About the Subject?
You should then point out the importance of the study and point out how it relates to the field.
You can also point out how your findings can be used by readers, pointing out the benefits. Even if you did not manage to reject the null, there is always a reason for this, and something has been learned.
What Were the Shortcomings?
Whilst writing the conclusion, you should highlight any deficiencies in your methods, explaining how they may have affected your results.
This will allow the next researcher to refine the methodology and learn from your mistakes, one of the foundations of the scientific process.
Has Your Research Left Some Unanswered Questions?
Do your findings open up any suggestions for future research?
For a shorter paper, this is not always essential, but you can highlight any possible areas of interest and give some ideas for those following.
Are My Results of Any Use in the Real World?
Again, this is not always applicable, but you can suggest any practical uses for your findings.
For example, if you uncovered a link between diet and the speed at which children learn, you could suggest a short plan for ensuring that children receive good nutrition.
With writing the conclusion finished, you are almost at the end of your research project.
All that remains is to perform the proof-reading and formatting, a little bit dull, but a sign that you are in the final stages.
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