2.3 Writing your thesis conclusion
Time to bring it all together. The conclusion is the rhetorical climax of your thesis, so you want to go out in style.
Don’t just sign off in a couple of burnt-out lines. Your conclusion isn’t just a summary of your ideas, but a final chance to state the full significance and implications of what you've been saying.
Bring the same sort of structural discipline you used for your introduction. Only this time, organise your conclusion section into an inverted V.
Start by rephrasing your thesis statement, and highlight how your analysis contributes to proving its claims.
Be careful: this isn't the time to bring in new evidence, or to try and lever in any leftover notes or ideas that you haven’t covered in your main chapters. The conclusion is about distilling and reflecting on your main findings in strong, persuasive language.
You may want to go further and include some questions of your own as a sign that your study has opened up new areas for exploration. What are the larger implications of your work? Did your findings open the door to further questions? How can the critical conversation be advanced by the next academic who joins the debate?
Drafts and revisions
Finished the first draft of your thesis? Walk away from it. Any useful changes you can make won't appear right away.
This is because we tend to canonise our work when it's first 'finished', so get a good head-clear in and then come back to it with fresh eyes.
The same goes for proofreading, too. You may have been looking at your work so hard for so long that you can't even spot those errors anymore. So call on friends with strong spelling and grammar and pay them in biscuits and tea.
A good option is to seek out two reviewers: one who has specialist critical knowledge of the subject, and one who doesn’t so they can focus purely on the clarity and good sense of your writing.
Next: Referencing your thesis
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