Module 3.3: Structure of a conclusion

The Conclusion has three stages that are all essential

Summary of the major points discussed

This is to remind the reader of the major ideas presented in the essay. The summary may be preceded by restatement of the thesis.

Restatement of the thesis or qualifying the thesis

This stage may occur at any point in the conclusion. Sometimes it is appropriate to highlight the most significant points raised and indicate why they are so important/relevant.

Some evaluation / comment of the major points raised

The final sentence of the conclusion may set the problem within a wider context to highlight its significance. This sentence usually answers the question ‘So what is the significance of this topic (or the most important aspect of the topic)?’

Example 1

Consider the following conclusion. It identifies the stages mentioned above.

In this chapter, some of the moral conflicts involved in being a nurse have been explored. The conflicts between patients' needs and the need for routine have also been considered as well as the dangers of labelling patients and becoming over involved with patients. (Summary of major points discussed). These issues give some indication of the variety of moral choices which nurses have to make on a daily basis throughout their professional careers (Evaluation). This chapter has confirmed that nursing is only one area of life in which we face moral choices and while it has many unique features, it also has much in common with the rest of one's moral experience (confirming thesis).

[Source: Thompson, I.,  Melia, K., & Boyd, K. (1988). Nursing Ethics. (2nd ed). New York;NY; Churchill Livingstone.]

Example 2

1. This report has highlighted elder abuse as a complex social problem.  2. While acknowledging the serious nature of physical and social abuse and carer neglect, it is the more subtle forms of elder abuse which are of greater concern. 3. Emotional or psychological abuse may be less obvious to the casual visitor, which may leave the victim feeling   unsupported, anxious, and frightened.  4. This report has also discussed the importance of public education campaigns to alert carers and service providers to their responsibilities and victims of their rights. 5. It is important to consider also that the relationship between carer and the elder may exacerbated by a difficult shared history and that the relationship may be mutually abusive.  6. However public awareness campaigns of elder abuse may assist family members, health professionals and the wider community to identify incidences of elder abuse and then to work towards their resolution.

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