How do I write a compelling conclusion?

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A stunning conclusion is one of the greatest struggles of any paper, but it is still within your grasp.

The key to an excellent conclusion is remembering that you experience the world in a unique way and that your thoughts are yours alone; they cannot be processed, pondered, or articulated by anyone else like they are by you.

Armed with that knowledge, remember that your conclusion should answer the question, "So what?" and it should leave your reader with a personal question: "If this paper is true, what now?" Whether you are authoring a lab report, a piece of literary analysis, or a speech in French, your paper should conclude by inviting the reader to consider these larger ramifications of your claim.

Need some help?

  • Conclusion Questions [doc]: Work through this list of questions you can answer for yourself to generate a direction for your conclusion.
  • Conclusions: Swarthmore Writing Center's take on the art of concluding a paper.

For additional hints, see the following essay [doc] from Harvard's Writing Center.