Drawing Conclusions

Finally, your paper should propose strong conclusions. These conclusions should reflect the argument you stated in the introduction, and should summarize the material you have presented for the final consideration of the reader. In a courtroom this phase would be the prosecutor’s closing arguments, designed to encapsulate the case and to persuade the jury to accept the conclusions supported by the evidence. Restating your case is a literary device that brings the reader back to your initial claims after having reviewed the material, in order to complete the argument. Essentially you are reminding the audience of your argument and asking them to consider its validity now that you have presented all of the evidence.

A common, but tired, way to end a paper is by posing a question for the reader’s consideration. This, in most cases, should be avoided. To conclude with a rhetorical question such as “Will humanity ever learn that war is primarily a destructive phenomenon?” is an empty line of inquiry that will usually cause readers to roll their eyes, rather than inspire reflection. Rhetoric is a tempting literary device, but it is one that is intended to generate dialogue, and a reader cannot converse with your paper. Keep your conclusions focused on the evidence as it supports your argument and summarize your position concisely. If there are further  considerations related to your subject that have yet to be examined by scholars, mentioning them would be an effective way to wrap up.