Presentation on theme: "Sum it Up and Point the Way Forward Conclusions: Ending on a Strong Note."— Presentation transcript:
Sum it Up and Point the Way Forward Conclusions: Ending on a Strong Note
The Conclusion... The conclusion can be the most difficult part of a paper to write, but it is your chance to have the last word on the subject. The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to summarize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel the reader to a new view on the subject. It also allows you to push beyond the boundaries of your more focused argument and to consider broader issues and make new connections. The conclusion’s overall goal is to convince your readers to agree with you because they believe and enjoy what you have written, or agree, with certainty, that your point of view is a correct one. Again, think of the essay as a first date. The introduction is important, but so is the impression you leave the person with. Ideally, after reading your essay, your readers will want to read your other work. Perhaps the most common mistake is letting your paper wind down slowly, like a clock losing battery power. The dribble-off ending is a sure sign of a weak essay, and will disappoint your audience and reveal your lack of skill as a writer.
Summary and Implications The two jobs of the conclusion are to sum up the main claim and major moves of the argument and to discuss one or more implications of the claim being true Length: Typically 1 to 1 ½ pages Summary: One paragraph; ½ to ¾ page long at most Implications: Assume that you have successfully demonstrated to the reader that your Main Claim is true. What should the reader think about next? If one thing (your claim) is true then another thing will also be true or should be true
Possible Structure… Step 1: Summary/Restate main claim (rephrased). Step 2 (Implications): Shine new light on the subject. A new understanding… Step 3 (Call to action): Get readers involved.
What to Avoid Do not simply repeat material from the opening of the paper Do not continue to argue for your main claim Do not start another fully-developed argument with reasons and evidence Do not stray far from the argument in the paper Do not begin conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion,” “To summarize,” “I conclude by,” or “And so we see that,” etc.
Strategies for Focusing the Conclusion Decide whether to address readers in general or to focus your conclusion on a specific group of stakeholders Example: At the end of the paper on childhood obesity, the writer might focus on parents or on policymakers concerned about childhood obesity Who you target determines which implications matter most If you have referenced a real or hypothetical person or group in the introduction, returning to that person or group in the conclusion can bring the paper full circle Teachers Policymakers Doctors Parents Scientists General Audience Judges Citizens Consumers Architects People suffering from depression People who buy organic Educators College students Dieticians Advocates for veterans Farmers Users of social media National security experts Anti-nuclear advocates
What Will Change? Internal Change – The reader or stakeholder has to think or feel differently about something because of your argument Direct Action – The reader or stakeholder has to change or should change his or her own behavior Indirect Action – The reader has to advocate for or should advocate for someone else to change behavior Indirect Action: Policy – The reader or stakeholder should advocate for a policy to change. Laws and regulations Institutional policies Corporate policies Policies of international organizations Etc.
The Change Must Be Practical and Reasonable Avoid the pitfall of suggesting an unrealistic or impractical change. Such suggestions leave the reader thinking you are extreme or silly or both. Uh-oh!
No Perfect Solutions! UNIV 200 topics are complex and, therefore, not easy to understand or, in the case of a problem, to solve Shoot for improvement rather than solution It is enough if someone understands the issue a little bit better or if a proposed change in behavior or policy improves a problem in some small way It is okay if the problem remains problematic!
To Avoid Sounding Extreme or Silly You can use the strategy of “In an ideal world … however, given the realities of ___________ …” This strategy makes you sound very reasonable You might talk about why a desirable change is unlikely to happen because of practical, cultural, political, economic or other barriers to that change You might talk about what else needs to be explored or researched in order to adequately understand the topic
Sound Even More Reasonable Use Qualifying Language Examples Some, many, a number of, a few May, might, could, probably will, maybe Suggests, seems to show, seems to demonstrate Likely, probable, unlikely, less likely, improbable, possible (as opposed to certain)
Explain Why! Explain How! Although you are not making a new fully-developed argument, you still need to write complete thoughts Say why Say how
Exercise Who will your conclusion address? A specific group of stakeholders or a more general audience? What do you want your readers to change in their thinking after reading your paper? (within reason) What do you want your readers to change about their behavior after reading your paper? (again, be reasonable—a reasonable change) Complete this sentence: “In an ideal world … however, given the realities of ___________ …” Is there a reason why a desirable change is unlikely to happen because of practical, cultural, political, economic or other barriers to that change? If yes, explain. What else do you think needs to be explored or researched in order to adequately understand the topic?
Dave wants to know… Step 1: Write out your main claim. Do not use the words you have used before. Rephrase them from intro. Step 2: Now, Dave wants to know: So what? (implications) Step 3: Okay, Dave understand. Now what? (Call to action)