Skip to main content

Essay writing

Write a conclusion

The conclusion should make the overall message and argument clear to the reader. A conclusion is not a summary of everything you have just written.

It should end in a way that is thought provoking, and looks to the future.

The final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off. (Harvard College Writing Centre, 1998).

What should be in the conclusion?

There isn't one way to write a conclusion, and following one particular structure could lead to your conclusions becoming very formulaic.

Generally, you should briefly explain your main findings or ideas. Synthesise, don't summarise.

You should also present the main message or argument that you want your reader to take away. Make sure your conclusion is clearly supported by the evidence presented in the essay.

You must not include any new material or evidence in your conclusion. We also advise that you avoid formulaic phrases such as “In conclusion”.

At the end of your conclusion, move from the specific to the general. Can you set your discussion into a different or wider context?

Example of a conclusion

Take a look at this example of a conclusion (PDF) adapted from University of Manchester Library, University of Manchester under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0.

Harvard College Writing Centre, 1998. Ending the essay: conclusions. [Online]. [Accessed 18.05.2017]. Available from: