Writing academically

Writing Conclusions

Conclusions are shorter sections of academic texts which usually serve two functions. The first is to summarise and bring together the main areas covered in the writing, which might be called "looking back"; and the second is to give a final comment or judgement on this. The final comment may also include making suggestions for improvement and speculating on future directions.

In dissertations and research papers, conclusions tend to be more complex and will also include sections on significance of the findings and recommendations for future work. Conclusions may be optional in research articles where consolidation of the study and general implications are covered in the Discussion section. However, they are usually expected in dissertations and essays.

Summarising the content

  • This paper has given an account of and the reasons for the widespread use of X ...
  • This essay has argued that X is the best instrument to ...
  • This assignment has explained the central importance of X in Y.
  • This dissertation has investigated ...

Restatement of aims (research)

  • This study set out to determine ...
  • The present study was designed to determine the effect of ...
  • In this investigation, the aim was to assess ...
  • The purpose of the current study was to determine ...
  • This project was undertaken to design ... and evaluate ...
  • Returning to the hypothesis/question posed at the beginning of this study, it is now possible to state that …

Summarising the findings (research)

  • This study has shown that ...
  • These findings suggest that in general ...
  • One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that ...
  • It was also shown that ...
  • This study has found that generally ...
  • The following conclusions can be drawn from the present study ...
  • The relevance of X is clearly supported by the current findings.
  • This study/research has shown that ...
  • The second major finding was that ...
  • The results of this investigation show that ...
  • The most obvious finding to emerge from this study is that ...
  • X, Y and Z emerged as reliable predictors of ...
  • Multiple regression analysis revealed that the ...

Suggesting implications

  • The evidence from this study suggests that ...
  • The results of this study indicate that ...
  • The results of this research support the idea that ...
  • In general, therefore, it seems that ...
  • Taken together, these results suggest that ...
  • An implication of this is the possibility that ...
  • The findings of this study suggest that ...

Significance of the findings (research contribution)

  • The X that we have identified therefore assists in our understanding of the role of ...
  • These findings enhance our understanding of ...
  • This research will serve as a base for future studies and ...
  • The current findings add substantially to our understanding of ...
  • The current findings add to a growing body of literature on ...
  • The study has gone some way towards enhancing our understanding of ...
  • The methods used for this X may be applied to other Xs elsewhere in the world.
  • The present study, however, makes several noteworthy contributions to...
  • The empirical findings in this study provide a new understanding of …
  • The findings from this study make several contributions to the current literature. First, …
  • The present study provides additional evidence with respect to …
  • Taken together, these findings suggest a role for X in promoting Y.
  • The present study confirms previous findings and contributes additional evidence that suggests ...
  • Whilst this study did not confirm X, it did partially substantiate ...

Limitations of the current study (research)

  • Finally, a number of important limitations need to be considered. First, ...
  • A number of caveats need to be noted regarding the present study.
  • The most important limitation lies in the fact that ...
  • The current investigation was limited by ...
  • The current study was unable to analyse these variables.
  • The current research was not specifically designed to evaluate factors related to ...
  • The current study has only examined ...
  • The project was limited in several ways. First, the project used a convenience sample that ...
  • However, with a small sample size, caution must be applied, as the findings might not be transferable to ...
  • The sample was nationally representative of X but would tend to miss people who were ...
  • A limitation of this study is that the numbers of patients and controls were relatively small.
  • Thirdly, the study did not evaluate the use of ...
  • However, these findings are limited by the use of a cross sectional design.
  • Our findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, these data apply only to …
  • An issue that was not addressed in this study was whether…
  • One source of weakness in this study which could hare affected the measurements of was that …
  • Several limitations to this pilot study need to be acknowledged.  The sample size is ...
  • The main weakness of this study was the paucity of …

Recommendations for further work (research)

  • This research has thrown up many questions in need of further investigation.
  • Further work needs to be done to establish whether ...
  • It is recommended that further research be undertaken in the following areas:
  • Further experimental investigations are needed to estimate ...
  • What is now needed is a cross-national study involving ...
  • More broadly, research is also needed to determine ...
  • It is suggested that the association of these factors is investigated in future studies.
  • Further research might explore/investigate ...
  • Further research in this field/regarding the role of X would be of great help in ...
  • Further investigation and experimentation into X is strongly recommended.
  • A number of possible future studies using the same experimental set up are apparent.
  • It would be interesting to assess the effects of ...
  • More information on X would help us to establish a greater degree of accuracy on this matter.
  • If the debate is to be moved forward, a better understanding of ... needs to be developed.
  • I suggest that before X is introduced, a study similar to this one should be carried out on ...
  • These findings provide the following insights for future research: ...
  • Considerably more work will need to be done to determine ...
  • Future trials should assess a full selective decontamination regimen including
  • More research is needed to better understand when implementation ends and ...
  • It would be interesting to compare experiences of individuals within the same … group.
  • A further study could assess …
  • A future study investigating … would be very interesting.
  • The issue of X is an intriguing one which could be usefully explored in further research.
  • Future research should therefore concentrate on the investigation of …
  • Large randomised controlled trials could provide more definitive evidence.

Implications/recommendations for practice or policy

  • These findings suggest several courses of action for ...
  • An implication of these findings is that both X and Y should be taken into account when ...
  • The findings of this study have a number of important implications for future practice.
  • There is, therefore, a definite need for ...
  • There are a number of important changes which need to be made.
  • Another important practical implication is that ...
  • Moreover, more X should be made available to ...
  • Other types of X could include : a), b). ...
  • Unless governments adopt X, Y will not be attained.
  • This information can be used to develop targeted interventions aimed at ...
  • A reasonable approach to tackle this issue could be to ...
  • Taken together, these findings do not support strong recommendations to ...

Study guide adapted from Manchester university’s phrasebank

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