Writing a conclusion for your thesis

Include these things!!

Your thesis revolves around one central research question. You will eventually answer this when you write the conclusion for your thesis. You do this by answering the sub-questions, or confirming or disproving your hypotheses. You stay close to the facts and answer the questions based on your concrete results. What exact requirements should your conclusion meet and what should it contain? You can read all about that below.

Writing a conclusion: what should it contain?

The main purpose of your conclusion is to answer your main research question. That is why you start off your conclusion by repeating your research question.

You then answer the various sub-questions, all in separate paragraphs. You do this based on the discussed results from your research. You don't have to discuss all the results of your research. Enter only the results necessary to answer the questions. Have you formed hypotheses at the start of your thesis? Please also indicate to what extent these have been confirmed or disproved.

In this way, you ultimately come to your conclusion via the answers to the sub-questions, and can answer your research question. You often mark the final conclusion using signal words such as 'so', 'in short' or 'therefore'.

Conclusion vs. discussion

Once you have finished writing the conclusion for your thesis, you will elaborate upon it in the discussion. Here you go a step further than in your conclusion chapter, and you are going to try to explain the results. In addition, possible limitations of your research and suggestions for further research are mentioned in the discussion.

If you need to make practical recommendations based on your research, for example for the company where you did your internship, you usually do that in a separate chapter after the discussion.

How long is the conclusion?

The conclusion for your thesis is usually about one A4 page long. Assume about 200 to 400 words. Incidentally, different guidelines apply to each study program. Perhaps your study program expects a more extensive conclusion. Moreover, it regularly happens that study programs ask you to turn the conclusion and discussion into one joint chapter with several paragraphs. Be sure to check your specific program guidelines for how to go about this.

What should you pay attention to when writing the conclusion for your thesis?

You must stay close to the facts in the conclusion of your thesis. Save the possible explanations for the results you found until the discussion.

These tips will help you write a conclusion for your thesis:

Do not share new information. Base your conclusion on the results you described earlier in your thesis.

Do not give examples. Stick to the important general information.

State your conclusion in a descriptive way. It is not the intention that you repeat the main question at the end and immediately put the answer below. Rather say something like: “Based on… we can therefore conclude that…”.

Do not copy formulations from the results chapter for the answers to your sub-questions. Paraphrase instead.

Make sure you rise above the results. Draw new conclusions instead of simply summarizing the results.

Use the present tense in the conclusion to describe facts (“At the moment, there are few suitable candidates for the post of postman.”). Use the present perfect tense when quoting the research conducted (“This study examined whether…”).

Write an example for the conclusion

Would you like to have an example to look at when you write your conclusion? Then search for a thesis example within your field and view its conclusion. Who knows, that might help you with writing the conclusion for your own thesis.

Need help with the structure of your thesis?

What exactly should be included in the results chapter, and what do you keep for the conclusion and the discussion? Is it all starting to make you dizzy, and do you want to be sure you don't make any mistakes? Use AthenaCheck's editors. We are happy to do a structure check for you. This way, you can be sure that your thesis is complete and that all information is in the right place.