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2 Tutorials that teach Conclusions
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Conclusions

Conclusions

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Author: Martina Shabram
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In this lesson, students will learn about the different types of conclusions, as well as the particular purposes they serve within an essay.

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Tutorial

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Hello, students. My name is Dr. Martina Shabram. And I will be your instructor for today's lesson. I'm genuinely excited to teach you these concepts. So let's get started.

What are we going to learn today? This lesson is about conclusions. We'll discuss why conclusions are important, how we can write different kinds of conclusions, and what makes a conclusion particularly effective.

So we know that an essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject. And therefore, a conclusion is typically the last thing in a piece of writing, often the last paragraph of an essay. Conclusions offer closure to our readers, summing up what an essay has taught them.

And since this is the last chance you have to speak to your reader, you want your conclusions to be thorough, well-crafted, and thoughtful. There are a few ways you may craft your conclusion, depending on the goal or purpose of the essay. You can write conclusions that summarize, expand the discussion, offer a solution to the problem, or predict the future of these issues.

So let's say you're writing your outline, which is a plan for an essay, usually written in the form of a list of ideas that summarizes important points that will be made in the essay. Maybe that would look something like this. What should we fill in for the conclusion? Let's take a look at our options.

For this kind of conclusion, we summarize the main points the essay has introduced, briefly mentioning each main point and restating the thesis. In order to avoid feeling repetitious, we shouldn't just repeat ourselves verbatim and instead should summarize what we've previously written in a new way.

This is one of the most basic ways to write a conclusion, but it can be especially useful when the essay itself has been multifaceted, has had many complex parts, or has included dense, complicated information. In that case, summarizing can actually help your readers remember everything that you argued. So these are best for longer essays, as summaries of very short essays might just feel redundant if your readers don't need the help remembering.

So if we think back to our outline, a summarizing conclusion might look like this. See how this reflects the topic sentences of each main point? Topic sentences being a sentence expressing the thesis of a paragraph.

Now when we write conclusions like this, we take the narrow scope of a thesis statement and enlarge it, expanding the topic into new areas of potential interest and making new connections. This could help show how the smaller focus of the essay is related to the big picture, or how it's relevant to a broader context.

If you're writing this kind of conclusion, you might bring up questions that still need to be answered, research that still need to be performed, and ideas that are related to your topic but which you couldn't include due to the space or purpose of this particular writing project. And this can be particularly useful if you want to show how your topic is significant in a bigger way, maybe to the general public or within a particular debate.

For our outline, this might look this way. See how this points to the different directions and other possible connections for this topic? Now if you've discussed a problem in your essay, proposing a solution is a great way to conclude your essay. This is a way of getting your reader fired up to engage with the topic, encouraging action that readers can take to solve these problems themselves.

So this is particularly useful when your essay has discussed a political or social issue about which you readers can act and might care to act. For our outline, that might look like this. See how this points towards steps you, the reader, could take to encourage these kinds of changes to manifest in the world?

So perhaps your essay discussed a problem or event that will continue into the future. Imagining how it will look in future is another conclusion option. This can help to show your readers how your topic is significant, or what bigger effects it might have. And by casting the imagination of your readers forward, this kind of conclusion can help readers gain new perspective on your topic.

So if you've discussed a problem or controversy, this might be the conclusion for you. For our topic, this kind of conclusion might look like this. Notice how this is a little bit of a science fiction approach. Here, we look forward into the future and let our imaginations run, predicting what might come if we make these changes.

OK, now you've seen some examples of the different kinds of conclusions we can write. But how can we make any conclusion the most effective conclusion it can be? Well, truly effective conclusions will do more than just repeat information that the essay presented. Keep focused on the topic and avoid changing the subject or including unrelated information. And avoid introducing anything to contradict what the paper has presented.

So here are three very short sample conclusions. Read them by pausing. And press play when you're ready to discuss. Which do you like best? This one isn't on topic at all. It takes one tiny element of the discussion and focuses solely on that. So it's not effectively related to the thesis statement or even to the overall scope of the argument.

Now what about this one? Well, it's not great but it's also not terrible. The big problem is that it mostly just restates the thesis and doesn't leave a reader with much new. While this one, however, is really effective. It uses a compelling narrative approach that looks to the future and advocates for our readers to act. It makes me want to go back and re-read. So that is how you write an effective conclusion.

So what have we learned today? This lesson introduced us to the art of the conclusion, exploring the different conclusion styles-- summary, expansion, solution, and forward-looking, and the features of effective, successful conclusions.

Well, students, I hope you had as much fun as I did. Thank you.

Notes on "Conclusions"

(00:00 – 00:09) Introduction

(00:10 – 00:23) What are we going to learn today?

(00:24 – 01:26) Conclusions and their Types

(01:27 – 02:32) Summary Conclusions

(02:33 – 03:28) Expansion Conclusions

(03:29 – 04:05) Solution Conclusions

(04:06 – 04:52) Looking Forward Conclusions

(04:53 – 06:11) Effective Conclusions

(06:12 – 06:30) Recap and Goodbye

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Essay

    A short piece of writing on a particular subject.

  • Outline

    A plan for an essay, usually written in the form of a list of ideas that summarize important points that will be made in the essay.

  • Conclusion

    Typically, the last thing in a piece of writing; often the last paragraph of an essay.

  • Topic Sentence

    A sentence expressing the thesis of a paragraph.