In this article, we shall talk about how to conclude an assignment given by your teacher. Many students undermine the importance of an effective conclusion to writing. Nonetheless, we insist that a good conclusion can make or break an assignment. Do not squander your chance of getting the grade you have aimed for by writing a lousy conclusion. Instead save up a bit of energy and time on giving a suitable foreclosure to your conclusion. Your teachers will reward you for that and you will end up with the grade you deserve. Here is a list of strategies to follow and avoid if you want write an effective conclusion.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines conclusion as an act of bringing something to an end. It may be task or a job. Dictionary definitions apart, concluding an assignment needs special care and some basic thoughts. It brings a narrative to an end and gives closure to your assignment. There are a number of benefits that can be accrued by writing a crackling conclusion.
Benefits of a good conclusion:
- Like an introduction, a conclusion gives the overall conceptual thrust of your paper or what you are trying to say.
- It bridges the main narrative to the end of the paper.
- Your readers are never left in lurch and can comprehend easily the basic point that you are trying to make.
- It is also a place for the author’s personal reflection, comments and criticisms.
- It can throw open some questions for your readers to ponder upon as well.
- It can also provide you with the chance to personal observations and justify the relevance of the project you had undertaken
- Finally, it can give your readers something to take away. It can be an advice, a personal reflection, a positive message or even an exhortation.
Strategies to follow
While we certainly do not want to spoon-feed our readers on how to write an effective conclusion, nonetheless here are few strategies to come up with a great conclusion:
1. Try to question your own arguments:
The idea behind this is not to confuse your own readers but to provide your readers with food for thought. Self-questioning has several possible benefits:
- It gives an alternative view point to your research findings. ‘It also may be like this’ is the attitude that you are posing.
- Self-questioning can sharpen your arguments and can give them the analytical bite they deserve.
- It can leave a possibility for further research.
- Teachers love criticality. Self-questioning makes your conclusion more critical.
2. Try to justify your arguments:
There is another route you can follow. If you think that self-questioning might be confusing to our audience then chuck it. Instead try to follow a defensive strategy. In this strategy, you justify your project. Highlight its importance and demonstrate its relevance. This too can have its own set of benefits:
- It is especially helpful, if you are stuck at a point.
- If you have nothing more to say in a conclusion then simply try to provide a summary of the main arguments.
- It will give an added dimension to your writing and will drive home the point that you are trying to make.
3. Try to revert back to the beginning:
You can also return back to the introduction. This strategy brings your writing to a full circle. Suppose if you start with a scenario, you can bring back the scenario once again in your conclusion. On the other hand, if you start with a statement you can revisit that statement once again. This policy of revisiting has its own share of benefits:
- It can refresh the memory of your readers
- You can bring your discussion to a completion
- You can bring parallel concepts and images which you used in the introduction.
4. Try to synthesize:
Synthesis is different than summary. Do give a brief summary of the major points used in the body of the assignment but most importantly bring all the major points together to tie them into a linear narrative thread. This in turn opens up several implications:
- Readers want all disparate elements in one linear narrative
- If your main body has several scattered points, you can gather together all those points
- If there are unfinished arguments, loose ends and loop holes in your writing, you can rehash them in your conclusion.
5. Chart out a future course of action:
Charting a future course of action will help you leave a scope for further research. No assignment can cover everything. As such, providing a space for further research will help you to take up the research later. This means:
- You are being realistic and pragmatic
- You understand that your arguments and research findings have limitations
- Your teacher will appreciate your honesty
- It might give you the fodder for your PhD research proposal.
Strategies to avoid
There are certain things that you must never attempt, no matter how desperate you are:
- Try avoiding unnecessary and overused phrases
- Do not repeat what has been already stated; at least not in the same words
- Never introduce a new idea or a concept in your conclusion. You can, as we mentioned before, leave a space for future course of action
- Try not to overturn your basic research question
- Try not to be emotional or too personal
- Finally, never put any extra piece of information that could have been included in the body of the assignment.
Sample assignment conclusion: Accounting
Here are some sample assignment conclusions using the techniques which we have used earlier:
Accounting methods conclusion: Suppose you are writing on four major areas of accounting and have come up with a detailed description of the four major areas of accounting such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing and tax accounting, then a sample conclusion can look something like this:
“As we have seen there is no singular accounting method. Instead we have harped on 4 major accounting areas namely, financial, managerial, auditing and tax accounting.
In financial accounting, our major argument was that all the three major financial reports such as income statement, owner’s equity and balance are important for publicly listed companies. However, we have seen in real life, this hardly happens. Many of the public companies do not disclose their exact income statement while many of them inflate their profit margins. As such the importance of the financial reports should be taken with a pinch of salt.
In managerial accounting, job costing is the major method. We argued that predetermined MOH (manufacturing overhead cost) is most difficult to determine. However, it can be easily found out if we can determine the base which can be either labor cost or material cost.
In tax accounting, our major argument was that there are various tax structures, Taxable income should be determined according to the suitable tax structure. However, in reality we know that tax evasion is a reality and no method of tax accounting can reveal such tax evasions.
Overall we can argue that although accounting methods are useful for investors and shareholders, they are not always transparent.”
In this conclusion, we have used at least two strategies: synthesis and criticism. We pointed out our own limitations while at the same time we brought together all the loose ends within a linear narrative thread.
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