What Should Happen in Conclusions?

Rule #6: Scholarly writing changes the readers' world, and its conclusions have consequences.  In an academic paper, never, ever, merely restate what you believe you have proven.  Take seriously the demand your writing has made on your readers and consider the consequences of their agreement with your thesis.

        Conclusions, like introductions, often require serious and deep thinking before writers can undertake their revision.  Anyone can slap together a simple "restatement" conclusion, but it takes time to end a document with a logical appraisal of the next necessary steps readers must take.  Give your writing time to cool down.  Get another opinion of your thesis and support.  Talk about possibilities and probabilities that occur to you if the thesis is correct, and persuasive.  What will readers probably do if they believe you?  What might they do?  What should they do?  These are questions which can help to develop conclusions which grow organically from the arguments they conclude.

Here are some functions conclusions can serve, depending on what kind of argument you are constructing:

Project the thesis beyond the immediate context into some distant or wider context.

Call for specific corrective action and/or name the parties with the greatest responsibility or benefit to take that action.

Redirect future research to make possible the next step toward solving the problem your thesis has identified or helped to explain.