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Elizabeth Wiggs

on 23 April 2015

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Transcript of Conclusions

What did you previously write in your conclusions?
What should a GOOD conclusion do?

Well, according to UNC Chapel Hill, "Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader's life in some way. It is your gift to the reader."
Yes, yes, but what does that all MEAN?
A good conclusion will do the following:

Answer the question "So what?"
SYNTHESIZE, but NOT summarize (seriously guys...NO summary.)
Give your readers something else to think about

In other words, a conclusion is a giant analysis.
2. Look to the future. Example:
Without well-qualified teachers, schools are little more than buildings and equipment. If higher-paying careers continue to attract the best and the brightest students, there will not only be a shortage of teachers, but the teachers available may not have the best qualifications. Our youth will suffer. And when youth suffers, the future suffers.


1. Just summarize your entire paper. All this proves is that you're too lazy to synthesize your information.

2. Save all the info for the end. Don't surprise your reader. It makes us confused and uncomfortable.

3. Add information that wouldn't fit anywhere else in your paper. There's a reason it wouldn't fit. Leave it out.

4. Get all emotional. Trying to make your reader cry NEVER WORKS. EVER. It just makes you sound like a Hallmark Card: cheap and predictable.
Here's a REALLY BAD conclusion from my freshman year in college.
This is the concluding paragraph to a paper on Autism research. See if you can spot the 80,000 things wrong with it:

While underdeveloped and still unproven, each of these three ideas provides a logical and likely cause for Autism. Nicolson and Szatmari’s theory of genetic linkage is clearly proven when we look at the studies of various families afflicted with autism. Beversdorf’s prenatal theory is also grounded in factual evidence. And Rodier and Hyman’s idea of combining both genetic and environmental factors shows that autism could be a combination of any one of these various theories. Only with the multiple combining and recombining of the aforementioned research (as well as that of many other researchers) will we ever hope to find a cause (and preventative measures) for Autism.
That being said, here's a GOOD conclusion. See if you can spot what's good about it:

Of course, antithetically, Shakespeare—later in his career—will go back to witches again and again, continuing the shrew/witch discourse with The Taming of the Shrew and providing realistic witches in Macbeth. Subsequently, while using this knowledge to try and label Shakespeare as anti­witch and a progressive thinker is ostensibly futile, the fact that The Comedy of Errors does try and re­present witchcraft demonstrates that a movement away from an earnest belief in witchcraft was not uncommon in England in 1593. In fact, it could possibly help prove that while witch­hunts were still occurring at this time and for centuries afterwards, that belief system may not have been held by the majority, and may only have survived so popularly through history simply because of the fascinating nature of its topic. Regardless of whether or not the play can shed any light on the relative popularity of a belief in witchcraft, it still works with Scot’s book to demonstrate that the public mindset was undergoing a fairly dramatic shift at this time period. The progression of the various types of witches represented in The Comedy of Errors reveals a clear cognizance of the popular beliefs about witchcraft in the late­sixteenth century, and even if the Abbess’ role as the voice of reason is a small one, it still establishes the groundwork for a progression towards a new way of considering witches, women, and how to interpret things that cannot easily be explained.
1. Challenge your reader. Example:
Though serving on a jury is not only a civic responsibility but also an interesting experience, many people still view jury duty as a chore that interrupts their jobs and the routine of their daily lives. However, juries are part of America's attempt to be a free and just society. Thus, jury duty challenges us to be interested and responsible citizens.

3. FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY: Pose a question. Example:
Campaign advertisements should help us understand the candidate's qualifications and positions on the issues. Instead, most tell us what a knave the opposing candidate is, or they present general images of the candidate as a family person or God-fearing American. Do such advertisements contribute to creating an informed electorate or a people who choose political leaders the same way they choose soft drinks and soap?
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