As research essays have a beginning, so do they have an ending, generally called a conclusion. While the main purpose of an introduction is to get the reader’s attention and to explain what the essay will be about, the goal of a conclusion is to bring the reader to a satisfying point of closure. In other words, a good conclusion does not merely “end” an essay; it wraps things up.
It is usually a good idea to make a connection in the conclusion of your essay with the introduction, particularly if you began your essay with something like a relevant anecdote or a rhetorical question. You may want to restate your thesis, though you don’t necessarily have to restate your thesis in exactly the same words you used in your introduction. It is also usually not a good idea to end your essay with obvious concluding cues or clichéd phrases like “in conclusion.”
Conclusions are similar to introductions on a number of different levels. First, like introductions, they are important since they leave definite “impressions” on the reader—in this case, the important “last” impression. Second, conclusions are almost as difficult to write and revise as introductions. Because of this, be sure to take extra time and care to revise your conclusion.
Here’s the conclusion of Casey Copeman’s essay, which is included at the end of this chapter:
As James Moore and Sherry Watt say in their essay “Who Are Student Athletes?”, the “marriage between higher education and intercollegiate athletics has been turbulent, and always will be" (7). The NCAA has tried to make scholarly success at least as important as athletic success with requirements like Proposition 48 and Proposition 16. But there are still too many cases where under-prepared students are admitted to college because they can play a sport, and there are too still too many instances where universities let their athletes get away with being poor students because they are a sport superstar. I like cheering for my college team as much as anyone else, but I would rather cheer for college players who were students who worried about learning and success in the classroom, too.
If you worked with the examples in Exercise 10.3, take another look at the revised introductions your wrote. Based on the work you did in that exercise, write a fitting conclusion. Once again, since you don’t have the entire essay, you’ll have to take some liberties with what you decide to include in your conclusion.