The conclusion should remind the reader (examiner) what you have accomplished during the essay. Some of the best conclusions are short and very much to the point. Use a maximum of 8-10 lines or 6-7 sentences (this is just an advice but it is helpful because it contains and defines the conclusion). You will remember that we referred to the essay as a journey. By the time you write the conclusion you will have reached your ”destination”. The conclusion is not supposed to be a bland endorsement of the essay question or a simple restatement of what has gone before. It is important to:
- State clearly your main idea, argument or explanation, i.e. what seems most important to you in your answer.
- Show how and why the argument or answer you have offered differs from, or qualifies, the essay title.
You can refer to the wording of the title to make clear the importance of your answer to the question set. Say how and why your answer relates to:
- The question.
- Your intentions as set out in the introduction.
Try to avoid being overcome by the sense of relief at finishing which produces a vague summary or a conclusion of the “thus it can be seen…” variety. The conclusion to your essay will be determined by what has preceded it. As one examiner put it ”The conclusion must confront the title with your main point or argument to show that you have satisfied the question”
In Hugh Robertsons book ”The Research Essay” he states ”The final section is comprised of your conclusions which, after the investigation and weighing of the evidence, form the most logical answer to the research question. In other words, you are weaving together the various threads of the thesis and summing up the major supporting points. It is not a dull, dry, restating of the major sections but a subtle linking together of the main arguments. Sometimes it can be effective to start the concluding summary with the research question since this reminds the reader of the purpose of the essay. Avoid adding new information in the concluding summary as this will confuse the reader”. He ends by ststing ”The concluding summary is brief, but it is important because it is the last opportunity to impress the reader with the validity of your arguments: remember that last impressions are usually lasting impressions”.