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Module 10: Sharing Your Conclusions and Recommendations

     Now that you have captured your readers' attention with your captivating Introduction . . . and you have informed them of the research questions you will pursue . . . and you explained how you went about your search . . . and you shared your findings . . . it is time to tell your readers "what you think."
     Up to this point, your readers didn't care about your thoughts.  All that they wanted to know was what studies had to say about answering your specific research questions.

Writing the Conclusions:Now it is time for you to share your own opinions. You have the opportunity to tie together the loose ends that you have discovered as you combed through the literature. This is where you can discuss what your discoveries mean to you and ultimately to the rest of the world.   This is where you cite the studies you have already introduced and share the similarities and differences you found when you were working on them.  To avoid redundancy, review the list of ideas at the bottom of this post.

Writing the Recommendation: 
Remember that this section has two parts.  It has your conclusions and then it has your recommendations for how this information should be researched/applied in the future.  The recommendations section is where you can direct your readers towards ways to extend and use your literature review.  This section will include recommendations for:

  • Future research
  • Classroom applications
  • Educational policies and procedures
  • Program revision or other warranted situations

The recommendations section is often where future researchers will get their ideas of what else to explore.  Administrators will gain their brainstorms for how to use this information to improve educational institutions.

Writing It - Do not underestimate the importance of the conclusion - it is the last thing the reader reads. It should give your writing a sense of completeness and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

     There is no one correct way to write a conclusion but you might think about the following:
  • Synthesize - don't summarize! Don't repeat things said in the main body (the reader has already read this!) but show how your ideas,  your examples and your references have combined to support your line of argument.
  • Don't introduce new information. Remember that you are bringing closure to what has already been presented.
  • Reference and Cite Studies. This is where you will be citing and referencing the research you have previously introduced.  You MUST Compare and Contrast the outcomes of those studies to support your conclusions!!
  • Bring your paper full circle by echoing the introduction. But talk about the topic now with the hindsight of having developed your ideas in the body of your review.
  • Emphasize key material but acknowledge where there are opposing viewpoints which might qualify your argument.
  • Pose questions which still remain to be answered or further explored or require further study.
  • Point out the importance of the implications of what you have said on your field of research or your area of work.
  • Describe lack of closure - You may feel you were not always able to arrive at conclusions to your questions. Being able to recognize the lack of a conclusion can be good in that it demonstrates you understand the complexity of the problem.
  • Leave on an exciting note - You might save a provocative or exciting insight or quotation to add spice to your conclusion. But take care not to risk diverting attention from the arguments you have developed - avoid leaving the reader with a new direction that needs researching when you want your ideas and deliberations on your topic to take centre stage.
Hints for Writing a Conclusion - This document does a good job of providing a mindset for writing your conclusion. Read it carefully for hints on how to begin your conclusion as well as examples of what your conclusion should NOT be. 

EXAMPLE of a Conclusions and Recommendations section from a 33-page IT Masters Degree Literature Review.


Leave your reader feeling fulfilled and on a good . . . 

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