Art of Writing Conclusion Section to your Research Paper

Conclusion Section

Introduction

In research paper writing, a well-prepared conclusion can offer the last remark on the significance of the research and future research directions. It is often considered the most difficult part of the research paper writing for the interpretation of paper objectives.

Many times an author may feel that all discussion is already covered in the discussion section and nothing more to write for the conclusion section. Authors should keep in mind that the conclusion is a summary of the entire work; it can be easily remembered by the readers as future research direction in its best form; should be the best part of the research paper.

A good conclusion will greatly increase the purpose of the paper and appeal to the reader.  It must not be drawn from emotions in order to make the paper more appealing to the readers. It must be written in an interesting yet academic manner. Emotional praise is strictly prohibited, but a third-person or commentary on the research domain is acceptable.

The length of the conclusion section of a  research paper may be different. Generally, its length depends on the overall length of the paper. A research paper that is very long,  may require a conclusion that is extended to one or two pages. The conclusion of a research paper that is written for a conference or a journal may need only one or two paragraphs of around 200-300 words.

As you are in the last part of your research paper writing, in a hurry to submit the paper to a journal/ conference do not compromise on the quality of the conclusion as this section will be read by many researchers to find limitations and future directions. Please use a professional grammar-correcting tool and get your article including the conclusion section, proofread by a professional agency.

Essential Features of a Conclusion  Section of a Research Paper

Precise

Good conclusions that explain the objectives and results of the research work are always precise. Summarize the research paper and provide a brief description of all the results analysis. With this in mind, the tone of the conclusion should match that of the results and analysis. Not at all try to add in new thoughts and do not add new things whilst scripting a conclusion.

I suggest you take the help of some professional tools to summarize your research paper as it can make your tasks simpler.

Help for the Reader’s Memory

The conclusion of a research paper should be captivating and strong enough to attract readers’ attention. Anyone who follows the conclusion has already read the entire paper. Therefore, its conclusion must be strong enough to help readers recall the things described in detail in the paper.

The Main Elements of a Conclusion Section

1. Addressing the research objectives

Addressing the research objectives or questions in the conclusion of a research paper involves summarizing how your research has successfully tackled the initial objectives or research questions stated in the introduction. This helps demonstrate the alignment between your research goals and the actual outcomes. Here are a few examples of addressing research objectives/questions in the field:

Example 1: “In this study, our primary objective was to investigate the effectiveness of machine learning algorithms in predicting stock market trends. By conducting extensive experiments on historical financial data, we successfully evaluated and compared the performance of various algorithms, such as random forests, support vector machines, and neural networks. Our results provide valuable insights into the predictive capabilities of these algorithms and offer guidance for making informed investment decisions.”

Example 2: “The main research question driving our study was to explore the impact of parallel processing techniques on image recognition tasks. Through the development of a parallel processing framework and subsequent experimentation, we analyzed the performance of our framework in terms of speed and accuracy. Our findings reveal that parallel processing can significantly reduce the execution time of image recognition algorithms while maintaining high accuracy levels. This research provides practical implications for optimizing image processing workflows in computer vision applications.”

Example 3: “Our research objectives centred around the development of a novel cybersecurity framework for detecting and preventing advanced persistent threats (APTs). By leveraging machine learning algorithms and network traffic analysis, we designed a robust framework that effectively identified APTs in real time. The framework achieved a detection accuracy of 95% in our extensive evaluation using real-world network traffic data. These findings validate the efficacy of our approach and contribute to enhancing cybersecurity measures against sophisticated cyber threats.”

In each example, the research objectives or questions stated in the introduction are addressed and summarized in the conclusion. The focus is on highlighting how the research has successfully achieved the intended goals and provided insights or solutions to the identified problems or questions. This helps reinforce the significance and relevance of your research in the field.

2. Restate the Main findings

Restating the main findings in the conclusion of a research paper involves summarizing the key results and findings of the study in a concise and clear manner. This helps reinforce the main contributions of your research and ensures that readers understand the core outcomes of your work. Here are a few examples of restating main findings:

Example 1: “Our experimental analysis demonstrated that the proposed algorithm outperforms existing methods in terms of runtime efficiency and accuracy. Through extensive testing on a large dataset, we achieved an average speedup of 40% compared to the state-of-the-art algorithms, while maintaining a classification accuracy of 95%. These results confirm the effectiveness of our algorithm in addressing the computational challenges in real-time object recognition.”

Example 2: “The evaluation of our software framework on a variety of benchmarks showed significant improvements in resource utilization and scalability. Our framework achieved a 30% reduction in memory footprint compared to traditional approaches, enabling more efficient execution on resource-constrained devices. Additionally, the scalability experiments revealed linear scalability up to 16 processing nodes, highlighting the potential for large-scale distributed deployments.”

Example 3: “The user study conducted with 100 participants indicated a high level of user satisfaction with the proposed user interface. Our interface design achieved a 20% improvement in task completion time compared to the previous version, demonstrating its effectiveness in enhancing user productivity. Moreover, the qualitative feedback collected through interviews and surveys emphasized the intuitive nature of the interface and the ease of learning, further validating our design decisions.”

In each example, the main findings of the research are restated in a concise and clear manner, highlighting the specific metrics or improvements achieved. By summarizing the main outcomes, readers can quickly grasp the significance of the research and its impact on the domain.

For more details on how to write results and the discussion section of your research paper refer to my blog post here.

3. Discuss the implications

When discussing the implications of your research, it’s important to explore the broader implications, significance, and impact of your findings. Here are a few examples:

Example 1: “The development of our natural language processing model has significant implications for the field of artificial intelligence. By achieving state-of-the-art performance in sentiment analysis, our model can be applied to various applications, such as social media monitoring and customer feedback analysis. This has the potential to enhance decision-making processes, improve customer satisfaction, and provide valuable insights for businesses.”

Example 2: “The findings of our research on data privacy and security have crucial implications for the design of secure systems. By identifying vulnerabilities in existing encryption protocols, we have highlighted the need for enhanced cryptographic algorithms to safeguard sensitive data. Our research contributes to strengthening cybersecurity measures and ensures the protection of user privacy in an increasingly interconnected digital landscape.”

Example 3: “The development of our autonomous vehicle control system has profound implications for the transportation industry. By leveraging advanced machine learning algorithms and sensor fusion techniques, our system demonstrates enhanced accuracy and responsiveness in real-time decision-making. This breakthrough has the potential to revolutionize the concept of autonomous driving, improving road safety and transforming the future of transportation.”

In each example, the implications of the research findings are discussed, highlighting the potential impact on various domains. These implications may range from practical applications and industry advancements to societal, economic, or technological transformations. By exploring the broader implications of your research, you showcase its significance and underline the potential benefits it can bring to the field and beyond.

Unexpected  Outcomes

When conducting research, it is not uncommon to encounter unexpected results that may deviate from the initial hypotheses or expectations. These outcomes can be valuable for the research community, as they may lead to new insights or opportunities for further investigation. Therefore, it is important to address any unexpected outcomes in the conclusion section of your research paper and reflect on their significance.

One way to approach unexpected outcomes in the conclusion section is to share your thoughts on the implications of these results. This could involve discussing the potential impact of these findings on the broader research landscape or highlighting any limitations or challenges that may have contributed to the unexpected outcomes. By reflecting on these outcomes, you can demonstrate the rigor and integrity of your research, and provide insight into the potential avenues for future research in the field.

Here are some examples that demonstrate how to address unexpected outcomes in the conclusion section of a research paper:

Example 1: However, during the course of the study, you observed unexpected traffic patterns that deviated from the initial hypotheses. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could reflect on the implications of these findings and discuss how they challenge existing assumptions about network traffic. You could also suggest potential avenues for further research to investigate the causes and significance of these unexpected outcomes.

Example 2: Suppose you conducted a study on user behavior on social media with the goal of improving content recommendations. However, during the course of the study, you observed unexpected patterns of behavior that deviated from the initial hypotheses. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could reflect on the implications of these findings and discuss how they challenge existing assumptions about user behavior on social media. You could also suggest potential avenues for further research to investigate the causes and significance of these unexpected outcomes.

Example 3: Suppose you conducted a study on machine learning algorithms for natural language processing with the goal of improving language understanding. However, during the course of the study, you observed unexpected performance outcomes that deviated from the initial hypotheses. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could reflect on the implications of these findings and discuss how they challenge existing assumptions about the effectiveness of machine learning algorithms for natural language processing. You could also suggest potential avenues for further research to investigate the causes and significance of these unexpected outcomes.

4. Acknowledge the Limitations of the Study

When writing the conclusion section of your research paper, it is important to acknowledge any limitations or shortcomings you may have encountered during your research. These shortcomings may be related to your methodology, data sources, or other factors that may have impacted the validity or generalizability of your results. By addressing these shortcomings in your conclusion, you can demonstrate the transparency and honesty of your research, and provide valuable insights for future researchers in the field.

Example 1: “One of the limitations of our study is the size and diversity of the dataset used for training our machine learning model. Due to resource constraints, we were only able to obtain a relatively small dataset from a specific domain. As a result, the generalizability of our model to other domains may be limited. Future research should consider using larger and more diverse datasets to improve the robustness and applicability of the model.”

Example 2: “An inherent limitation of our research is the reliance on simulated environments for evaluating the performance of our algorithm. While the simulations provided a controlled environment to assess the algorithm’s behaviour, they may not fully capture the complexities and uncertainties of real-world scenarios. Consequently, further validation through real-world experiments and field trials is necessary to assess the algorithm’s effectiveness in practical settings.”

Example 3: “The primary limitation of our study is the reliance on self-reported data collected through surveys. Although efforts were made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the responses, there is still a potential for response bias or misinterpretation. Additionally, the use of self-reported data may introduce social desirability bias, leading to potential inaccuracies in the obtained results. Future research should consider incorporating objective measurements or alternative data collection methods to mitigate these limitations.”

In each example, the limitations of the study are acknowledged, highlighting the specific constraints or potential biases that may have affected the research process or the interpretation of the findings. By openly discussing these limitations, researchers demonstrate transparency and ensure a balanced understanding of the study’s scope and potential areas for improvement. It also encourages future researchers to address these limitations and build upon the existing work to advance the field.

5. Suggestions for Future Work

When writing the conclusion section of your research paper, it is important to provide suggestions for future work that could help build on your research and contribute to the advancement of your field. These suggestions should be practical and feasible, and should focus on areas that were not addressed in your research or that require further exploration. By providing such suggestions, you can demonstrate the potential impact and relevance of your research, and encourage other researchers to build on your work.

Remember, most researchers read your abstract and conclusion and decide whether add it to their reference or not. If they add it to their reference then it will increase your citation score. You can refer to my blog post on increasing the citation score of your research paper.

Here are some examples that demonstrate how to provide suggestions for future work in the conclusion section of a research paper:

Example 1: Suggestions for future work in a study of machine learning algorithms Suppose you conducted a study on machine learning algorithms with the goal of improving their accuracy and efficiency. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could provide suggestions for future work, such as exploring the effectiveness of the algorithms on larger datasets, or investigating the impact of different input parameters on the performance of the algorithms. You could also suggest potential applications for the algorithms in other domains, such as healthcare or finance.

Example 2: Suggestions for future work in a study of software testing techniques Suppose you conducted a study on software testing techniques with the goal of improving the quality and reliability of software products. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could provide suggestions for future work, such as investigating the effectiveness of the techniques on more complex software systems or exploring the potential of automated testing tools. You could also suggest potential collaborations with industry partners to test the techniques in real-world scenarios.

Example 3: Suggestions for future work in a study of cybersecurity threats Suppose you conducted a study on cybersecurity threats with the goal of identifying vulnerabilities and improving security measures. In the conclusion section of your research paper, you could provide suggestions for future work, such as investigating the effectiveness of different countermeasures against specific threats or developing new algorithms for detecting and preventing cyber-attacks. You could also suggest potential collaborations with government agencies or private companies to share data and insights on emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Phrasal Verbs that can be used in the Conclusion Section of a Research Paper

Here are some common academic phrases that can be used in the conclusion section of a paper or research article, along with examples of how they might be used:

PhraseExample
Restating the main findings: This phrase is used to summarize the key findings of the study.“In this study, we have shown that the proposed algorithm outperforms existing methods in terms of accuracy and processing time.”
Implications for theory and practice: This phrase is used to discuss the broader implications of the research.“Our findings have important implications for the development of machine learning algorithms and their use in real-world applications.”
Limitations of the study: This phrase is used to acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the study.“One limitation of our study is that we only evaluated the performance of the algorithm on a single dataset, and future work should investigate its performance on a wider range of datasets.”
Suggestions for future research: This phrase is used to provide suggestions for future research based on the findings of the study.“Future research should investigate the impact of different hyperparameters on the performance of the algorithm, and also explore its use in other domains such as natural language processing.”
Conclusion of the research: This phrase is used to provide a general conclusion to the research.“In conclusion, this study has demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm in improving the accuracy and efficiency of machine learning tasks, and has provided valuable insights into the development of more effective algorithms in the future.”
Phrasal Verbs that can be used in the Conclusion Section of a Research Paper

 

A Simple Checklist to Write a Conclusion

  •  Are the objectives of the research paper recollected and addressed?
  •  Have you conveyed the importance and the purpose of the paper  (in terms of social change) to the reader?
  •  Have you avoided presenting new information?
  • Have you summarized the results presented in charts and Tables?
  •  Have you compared the results with state-of-the-art methods?
  • Have you visualized the unexpected outcomes in a new way?
  • Have you suggested future directions to the budding researchers?
  • Have you avoided any emotional appeals being made regarding the domains, software, and hardware associated with the research?
  • Have you checked the grammar and proofread the section?

Example: Conclusion Section of one of My Research Papers:

“An Optimized Fuzzy Based Short Term Object Motion Prediction for Real-Life Robot Navigation Environment”

In a dynamic navigation system, a Robot with vision capabilities has to avoid stationary and moving objects to reach the final destination. Short Term motion prediction for moving objects in such an environment is a challenging problem.

This paper has proposed a simplified approach for predicting the future position of a moving object using Fuzzy Inference Rules derived from expert knowledge. Fuzzy-based prediction is more flexible and can have more real-life parameters, comparable to the existing approaches.

The results of the study indicate that the Fuzzy predictor algorithm with Mean of Maximum(MOM) defuzzification gives better performance when compared with other prediction techniques. This approach looks more promising for real-life applications like developing Robotic wheelchair for the old aged and disabled.

The authors are in the process of further optimizing the rule base and improving the response time of the predictor. The proposed approach considers the Robot as temporarily stationary while capturing the moving object’s position. Future work considers both the Robot and objects in the state of motion while capturing object positions from the Robot.

Template for Conclusion Section of Research Paper

Template for a research paper conclusion:

Elements of ConclusionDescription
Address research objectives/questions. Summarize how the research has addressed the initial objectives or research questions stated in the introduction.
Restate main findingsRecapitulate the key results and findings of the research in a concise and clear manner.
Discuss implicationsExplore the broader implications of the research and discuss its significance and impact.
LimitationsAcknowledge the limitations of the study, including any constraints or potential biases.
Future directionsSuggest potential avenues for future research and identify areas that need further investigation.
Closing remarksProvide a concise and conclusive ending to the research paper, highlighting its overall contribution to the field.
Template for a research paper conclusion

You can use this template as a starting point and adjust it according to your specific research paper, incorporating the key elements discussed earlier. Remember that the length and details of each section may vary depending on the nature of your research and the specific requirements of the paper.

Conclusion

The conclusion section gives the overall review of the paper. It highlights the aims and objectives of the paper and throws light on the methodology, results, and analysis.  This section will help a researcher to identify the limitations of the work carried out and the future directions one can think of.

After writing the conclusion section you need to write the references in a proper format. For this, you can refer to my blog post on writing references in IEEE format.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between the results and conclusion section of a research paper?

The results section highlights the results in the form of tables, graphs and charts without reasoning the implications. It can span from 1000-3000 words. The conclusion section gives a brief summary of the overall work carried out in terms of the main objective of the paper; the methodology used; the results obtained; the limitations and the future directions in 200-300 words.

What is the difference between the summary and the conclusion?

A summary is usually written to summarize a section or a paragraph. The summary can appear in any section of a research paper summarizing the concerned sections to which it belongs. However, the conclusion is written at the end of the research paper to describe the work carried out; the limitations: and the future directions.

How long should the conclusion section of a research paper be?

The length of the conclusion section in a research paper can vary depending on several factors, including the specific requirements of the journal or publication you are submitting to, the nature and scope of your research, and the depth of analysis and discussion in the preceding sections. However, there are some general guidelines to consider.
In most cases, the conclusion section is relatively concise compared to other parts of the research paper. It serves as a summary and synthesis of the main findings, key insights, and implications of your research. Typically, a conclusion section can range from around 5 to 10% of the total length of the paper.

What should you not be added in a conclusion of a research paper?

In the conclusion of a research paper, it is important to avoid certain elements to maintain the clarity, focus, and purpose of this section. Here are a few things you should not include in the conclusion:
New information: The conclusion is not the place to introduce new data, arguments, or evidence that has not been previously discussed in the paper. It should primarily summarize and synthesize the content presented in the main body of the research paper.
Unsubstantiated claims: Avoid making unsupported or speculative claims in the conclusion. Conclusions should be based on the evidence and analysis presented in the paper. If you make any assertions or draw conclusions, ensure that they are well-supported by the findings and discussion in the earlier sections.
Repetition: While the conclusion should provide a concise summary of the main points, it should not simply restate what has already been said. Avoid repeating verbatim what has been discussed in the introduction or other sections of the paper. Instead, focus on summarizing the key findings and their implications.
Apologies or excuses: The conclusion is not the place to apologize for any limitations or shortcomings of your research. While it’s important to acknowledge any limitations in the study, this can be done in a neutral and objective manner. Avoid making excuses or downplaying the significance of your research.
Personal anecdotes or unrelated information: The conclusion should maintain a professional and focused tone. Avoid including personal anecdotes, unrelated information, or tangents that do not directly contribute to summarizing the research and its implications.
New references: The conclusion section should not introduce new references or sources. It should draw upon the existing literature and research presented in the paper.
By avoiding these elements, you can ensure that your conclusion effectively summarizes your research findings, highlights their significance, and provides a satisfying ending to your research paper.

Whether the conclusion section of a survey paper differs from that of a Research Paper?

Yes, the conclusion section of a survey paper may differ from a traditional research paper. In a survey paper, the focus is on synthesizing and summarizing existing literature and research rather than presenting new empirical findings. Therefore, the conclusion section of a survey paper typically highlights the key insights, trends, and gaps identified through the literature review. Here are a few key considerations for the conclusion section of a survey paper:
Summarize the main findings: Provide a concise summary of the key findings and trends observed in the reviewed literature. Highlight the major themes, perspectives, or theories that emerge from the analysis of the surveyed works.
Discuss the implications: Explore the implications of the surveyed literature and discuss how it contributes to the understanding of the research topic. Identify the practical applications, theoretical advancements, or policy implications that can be derived from the synthesized knowledge.
Identify gaps and future research directions: Discuss the limitations and gaps identified in the existing literature. Highlight areas that require further investigation or research. Suggest potential avenues for future research that can build upon the existing knowledge and address the identified gaps.
Provide a comprehensive overview: Offer a comprehensive overview of the state of the field based on the surveyed literature. Summarize the current understanding, challenges, and opportunities within the research domain.
Concluding remarks: Conclude the survey paper by reinforcing the importance of the topic and the value of the survey itself. Highlight the significance of the surveyed literature in advancing the field and encourage further research and exploration.
The conclusion section of a survey paper aims to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the existing literature, identify knowledge gaps, and offer insights for future research. It should reflect the breadth and depth of the survey conducted, providing a valuable summary of the state of the field and potential avenues for further exploration.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]