What should I include in a research paper conclusion?
- A restatement of the research problem
- A summary of your key arguments and/or findings
- A short discussion of the implications of your research
The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper. A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement.
A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis—a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.
This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process.
No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion. While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers follow a more formal structure than this.
All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.
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