Academic Writing

Rhetorical functions in academic writing: Drawing conclusions

After evidence or data has been produced and described or arguments made, it is necessary to come to a conclusion. This should follow logically from what it follows and should be clearly signalled. It is particularly important to have a good conclusion in the the conclusion section of your writing (See Writing a Conclusion), but you need to come to intermediate conclusions throughout your writing.

Analysis

Read the following example of the conclusion from the field of computer assisted language learning and teaching. The study investigated the use of the World-Wide-Web for teaching writing in a British university. After a summary of the research, sentences 4 & 5 describe the final conclusion that has been reached.

Use Of A Writing Web-Site By Pre-Masters Students On An English for Academic Purposes Course.

A. J. Gillett, University of Hertfordshire

Conclusion

1During the past 10 years, the use of computers in education has increased dramatically and a wide range of educational computer programmes are now widely available for individual and classroom use. 2However, there has been very little research reported on the effectiveness of such use. 3The purpose of the present study was therefore to ascertain the effectiveness of using computer-assisted instruction as compared to traditional classroom instruction in an EAP writing class.4The findings clearly suggest that the inclusion of web-based materials in EAP writing courses for post-graduate students from East-Asia on an English language preparation course is effective. 5Further research is needed, however, before the use of such materials can be recommended for all students in all subject areas at all levels.

Examples

Read the following conclusions:

In conclusion, therefore, it can be seen that millions of people continue to be affected by water-related problems and, contrary to popular belief, future water supplies are not inexhaustible. So the situation is very serious, especially in view of the UN estimates of demand. Although projects to provide ever-increasing supplies of water indicate that a growing number of countries are aware of the present problems and of those to come, these more often than not are highly expensive and not very practical - and very time-consuming when time is a commodity in short supply. So, while research in these areas is important, the eventual solution would definitely appear to be worldwide conservation and pollution control - in other words, a greater respect for our most valuable natural resource.

 

Altogether, it seems that we cannot accept without question the dramatic increase in recorded crime as corresponding to a real increase in victimization of the same proportions. But, however good it would be to explain away all, or even most, of the increase as an artefact of recording changes, this cannot be shown to be the case. We can plausibly infer that crime has been increasing in the last two to three decades, presenting a problem for explanation and policy.

Language

In short,
In a word,
In brief,
To sum up,
To conclude,
To summarise
In conclusion,
On the whole,
Altogether,
In all,

....

It is

generally
widely

accepted
argued
held
believed

that ....


Therefore,
Thus,
On this basis,
Given this,

it

can
may

be

concluded
deduced
inferred

that... .


From

Table 1

it

can
may

be

seen
concluded
shown
estimated
calculated
inferred

that ....

the

table
figures
data
results
information


In conclusion,
Finally

we/may say
it can/may be said

that ....

Recommendations

Conclusions often need recommendations.

See: Writing Functions 32: Recommending

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