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2 Tutorials that teach Conclusions
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Author: Mackenzie W

Understand the various ways to write an effective conclusion.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm Mackenzie. And today, we're learning about conclusions.

Have you ever noticed that some people aren't great at summarizing their ideas? In this tutorial, we'll learn about the basics of conclusions. And we'll discuss the summary approach, the expansion approach, and the hybrid approach of writing conclusions.

We'll begin by discussing the basics of what a conclusion is. The conclusion is the very last piece of a piece of writing. It summarizes the writing. It summarizes the ideas or the arguments presented in the writing. It ties everything together. And it gives the piece of writing a sense of cohesion.

It's important to understand that because the conclusion is the very last thing that the reader reads, the conclusion needs to be engaging, it grabs the attention of the reader, thoughtful-- it makes the reader think-- and it needs to be well-written to prove that the writing was successful.

Sometimes, conclusions are only one paragraph. Sometimes they're longer. It really depends on the nature of the writing itself. Oftentimes for shorter compositions, they will be about one paragraph. But they could be longer.

The way we figure out how long the conclusion should be is based on the purpose of the writing, the style in which it was written, and the rhetorical situation of the writing.

When we use a conclusion, we think about how we tie everything together. Sometimes we can relate it back to the introduction, because the introduction and the conclusion are very similar to each other. If you used an anecdote or a quotation or a definition or some other form to grab the audience's attention in the introduction, it's a good idea to use that to mirror that in the conclusion.

But you can go ahead and use those tactics in the conclusion, even if you didn't use them in the introduction. It all really depends on how you want to tie everything together at the end of your piece of writing.

To help us to identify what a successful conclusion would look like, let's first take a look at an example of a poorly written conclusion.

This conclusion reads, now you know why drinking diet soda is bad. In this essay, I told you why it's bad and explained why you shouldn't drink it, so don't drink it.

Not only is this conclusion poorly written, but it's not engaging. It's not thoughtful. It doesn't grab our attention. It doesn't give us anything to really think about.

One approach to writing a successful conclusion is called the summary approach. This is when the author restates the topic, main points, and thesis of the writing. This is helpful because it reminds the reader what the most important ideas were to take away from the writing.

When restating the thesis, it's important that it's restated in different words or in a different way than it had previously been stated earlier in the writing. This is so that it adds variety to the writing. But the thesis still maintains its original meaning.

The summary approach to a conclusion is seen as rather basic, but it's oftentimes the best option for a piece of writing. Especially if the writing is rather dense or complicated, it really lets the reader know what to focus on and what to remember from the writing.

Here's an example of what a conclusion may look like when it's written using the summary approach. "Informed consumers will know that, despite their zero-calorie appeal, diet sodas are similar to poison. The sugary, non-diet versions of these beverages are, although unhealthy themselves, a better alternative to the diet sodas that have been falsely marketed as being healthier than their full-sugar counterparts. Due to the troubling and harmful health problems caused by the ingredients in diet soda, it is important that consumers avoid drinking these beverages."

We see ideas being summarized in this conclusion. The thesis statement is at the very end, reminding the reader what was most important and what was the most specific argument made in the writing. The author also reminds the reader of what the main topic was and what the main points were throughout the writing so that the reader knows what was most important to remember after having read this piece of writing.

Another approach to consider using to write a conclusion is called the expansion approach. This is when we write the conclusion in such a way that we allude to the idea that there is more to the topic than what we've discussed in the piece of writing.

We expand the discussion beyond the scope of the writing itself. We include the idea that there's more to be said, there are questions that still need to be answered, there's further work or research that needs to be done.

We can elaborate on all of these. We can talk about related ideas that we didn't have room for in the writing that we wrote. We can mention that there's a lot more to the topic. It helps to keep the reader engaged, to let them know that this isn't the end of the conversation about this specific topic.

Using the expansion approach helps us to communicate the importance or the urgency of the topic of our writing. And this is because the expansion approach helps us to communicate the scope of the topic beyond the limitations of our own paper.

If the topic is large enough, you can't talk about everything in just one paper. And the expansion approach helps us to demonstrate that to the reader. We're creating a more sophisticated type of writing by letting the reader know that we've considered the other implications of this topic and we know that there is a lot more to the conversation than we were able to include in our writing.

This is especially useful for writers who plan to continue writing about this topic, such as future research. This may include graduate students who want to continue having a discussion about this topic.

Let's take a look at a conclusion that uses the expansion approach. This sample conclusion reads, "Requiring senior citizens to take driving tests to keep their driver's licenses is necessary because senior citizens, in general, have been proven to be potentially dangerous drivers. But this opens the door for more discussion-- should other groups of potentially dangerous drivers, such as young adults and individuals with mental illness, also face tougher regulation? Before policies can be set into place to enforce stricter requirements for driving, consideration should also be given to other demographics of drivers. The goal is to reduce property damage and save lives, both of which are important enough to necessitate thorough and fair analysis of the problem of driver safety."

By using the expansion approach we see that this author is discussing future implications and additional implications of this topic, relating it now not only to the main topic of senior citizen drivers, but also other types of drivers, stating that there could be other implications related to this.

A third option we have for writing conclusions is called the hybrid approach. It's a hybrid because it combines the summary approach and the expansion approach. We do a little bit of summarizing to remind the reader of what was most important from the writing, and then we expand on those ideas just a little bit to give the reader the idea that the conversation isn't over about this particular topic.

Here's an example of what the hybrid approach would look like. This sample conclusion reads, "With manners disappearing from American culture and politeness being replaced with self interest, lack of concern for others tops the list of societal problems resulting from increased rudeness and measures should be taken to reinstate manners into society. If American culture cannot or will not return to polite behavior, the problems related to impoliteness will only continue to worsen. Perhaps society will simply adjust, forgetting altogether that people used to be civil to one another. Even if such an adjustment does take place, it cannot overcome the repercussions of a society without manners."

We see the hybrid approach being applied to this conclusion. The first half of the paragraph summarizes what was previously discussed in the paper. We call this opening up the topic.

The second half of the paragraph illustrates the expansion. It's discussing what could likely happen in the future. We call this opening out the topic. We use the hybrid approach to open up and open out a topic, to summarize, and then to give future implications or future topics of discussion about the topic of the piece of writing.

In this tutorial, we learned about the basics of conclusions and we discussed the summary approach, the expansion approach, and the hybrid approach to writing conclusions. Conclusions help you to tie it all together.

I'm Mackenzie, thanks for listening.