The American Psychology Association rules for citation and formatting, also known as the APA style, are used across most of the social sciences disciplines. When using this style, you must be aware of all the nuances that go with creating a proper research paper, regardless of the field of study. Citation and format should be no different in a research paper conclusion than the rest of the paper. Yet, students still make a number of mistakes. The following is a no fuss guide for creating a proper research paper conclusion in APA:
A proper APA research paper conclusion should begin with quick reference to the introduction and most importantly your thesis statement. Remind the reader what your work has focused on and what it is you have made a claim for. However, don’t simply repeat your thesis by using the exact words. Rewrite your thesis so that it conveys the same message but isn’t a simple copy and paste reiteration of the same text.
The next few sentences should summarize and synthesize the main discussion points brought up throughout the research paper. These are two separate steps. Summaries should again be rewritten statements remind the reader of the main arguments you have discussed in the body paragraphs. A synthesis of that information is essentially making connections between those main discussion points and showing the reader how they are related to one another.
One of the biggest mistakes made by students writing conclusions in the APA style is the introduction of new material. This is frowned upon by academics and will certainly cost you a letter grade. Your conclusion should only reference material you have specifically brought up in the body paragraphs. If you introduce new material you will confuse your reader and come off as a writer who isn’t confident about the material presented in the main portion of the research paper.
Finally, a great technique in ending a research paper is to close with an impactful thought that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. There are several methods for achieving this, including closing with a quotation, an anecdote that relates back to the introduction, a call to action or a question. Write out a few lines for each of these and select the one that most appropriately fits your research paper.
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