Further advice

  • In discussion type assignments, it is often a better idea to raise questions and problems in the conclusion than to provide oversimplified or naive answers to the assignment title. Examiners will usually be very wary of essays, theses or dissertations that presume to solve all the world's problems in a simplistic and trivial way. Remember, life is never that simple. However, remember not to introduce any new material in the conclusion.
  • There is no need to go over everything again; this would be unnecessarily boring and tedious.
  • Make sure that the conclusion is based on what you have said beforeIt is often tempting to go off at a tangent and to say things that are completely unrelated to the topic. Be wary of this.
  • It is permissible to give your opinion in the conclusion but try to do so subtly and try not to sound too pompous or authoritarian. Usually your viewpoint will be obvious from your discussion, so there is no need to conclude with statements such as: In conclusion, I think Hamlet is a great play. Allow your enthusiasm for the topic to show in how you discuss it. Make sure that you do not use the conclusion as an opportunity to engage in an over-generalised an unfocussed 'rant'.
  • Be careful with tensesIn a conclusion, you will usually want to use the present perfect (For example, The aim of this dissertation has been to....) followed by the simple past (Chapter one provided an overview of...).
  • Be very careful about using the word "conclusion" anywhere other than the conclusion itself! This can mislead the reader. If you use the word conclusion several times in an essay, the reader will give up trying to work out where the conclusion really is.