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Conclusions

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Queen's Building, Queen Mary, University of London

Introduction

The conclusion is an important part of any academic report, essay or research paper. Therefore it is essential you are able to identify the various aspects of a conclusion and the functions these aspects perform. In the following exercises you are asked to explore your ideas and thoughts about the function conclusions perform.

Whilst not all academic essays and reports have a separate conclusion, all academic work reaches a conclusion of some description, whether that be in the form of a discussion, results or summary. The ability to conclude an academic essay, report or research paper is therefore an invaluable and essential skill in the world of academia.



Click on this link to hear an audio file talking you through the learning object. It will give you an estimation of how long the learning object will take and what level of language is needed to complete the activities.


Objectives

To highlight the importance of a strong conclusion
To highlight the various elements which are needed/are not needed in a strong conclusion
To guide you through the process of writing a strong conclusion



Activity 1: What do conclusions do?

In this activity, you will consider the functions of an effective conclusion.

Instruction

In your opinion, what are the main functions of the conclusions? Write your answer in the text box beneath before checking your answer with the feedback.

Activity 2: Identifying individual functions of a conclusion

In the previous activity you were asked to think about the different functions a conclusion performs. Being familiar with the various functions a conclusion performs will enable you to better identify and subsequently write a suitable conclusion.

Instruction

Using the knowledge you acquired in the previous activity, identify which of the following functions a conclusion should perform and which functions they should not perform.

tick icon cross icon
summarise the main ideas which have been discussed
restate the thesis statement (being careful to use different words)
Introduce new ideas
make a final comment about the essay's main idea
cite important quotations from the text
draw a logical conclusion based on the supported evidence you have used to write your essay
highlight limitations of research
make a review of the literature which has been read
suggest areas for further research and study
make comparisons with other essays/research/studies

Activity 3: Analysing a conclusion in depth

In this activity you will analyse a conclusion taken from an article on asynchronous discussion forums in English for Academic Purposes and identify the function of each sentence.

Instruction

Read the conclusion beneath and choose the correct function of each sentence from the drop down menus.

In conclusion, the insights that emerged from this study have deepened our understanding of the use of forums in EAP courses. Forum writing can now be assessed in a way that is suitable to context, medium, and purpose. The criteria of reflection and reference to information in the text make the assessment suitable to the academic context; the criterion of interaction makes the assessment suitable to the digital medium; and the criterion of language makes the assessment suitable to the purpose of language courses. The assessment criteria that emerged from this study may be used as a basis for guidelines for effective academic communication.

The forums offered students the opportunity to write extensively and mindfully, to use the rich academic vocabulary encountered in their readings, to learn from teacher feedback and peer contributions, and to become aware of the criteria necessary to assess and improve their writing. Based on the positive attitudes of the students and their reflection and interaction in the forums, there seems to be a place for text-stimulated forum discussions in EAP courses.

Conclusions adapted from Kol, S & Scholnik, M. 2008. Asynchronous Forums in EAP: Assessment Issues. Language Learning and Technology. 12/2. pp 49 - 70

In conclusion, the insights that emerged from this study have deepened our understanding of the use of forums in EAP courses.

Forum writing can now be assessed in a way that is suitable to context, medium, and purpose.

The criteria of reflection and reference to information in the text make the assessment suitable to the academic context; the criterion of interaction makes the assessment suitable to the digital medium; and the criterion of language makes the assessment suitable to the purpose of language courses.

The assessment criteria that emerged from this study may be used as a basis for guidelines for effective academic communication.

The forums offered students the opportunity to write extensively and mindfully, to use the rich academic vocabulary encountered in their readings, to learn from teacher feedback and peer contributions, and to become aware of the criteria necessary to assess and improve their writing.

Based on the positive attitudes of the students and their reflection and interaction in the forums, there seems to be a place for text-stimulated forum discussions in EAP courses.

Activity 4: Identifying strong/weak conclusions

Now that you are familiar with the function of a conclusion and with the various elements which can make up a conclusion, try to determine whether the following conclusions are good examples.

Instruction

Below you see 3 conclusions to a student essay on plagiarism. Read the essay title and decide which conclusion is strong, which is weak and why.


To what extent is plagiarism the result of ignorance of academic conventions in the UK. What can educational institutions do to prevent plagiarism offences occuring in the future?

In conclusion, plagiarism can be separated into two types; intentional and unintentional. There are several identifiable reasons which lead international students to plagiarise, such as linguistic problems, cultural differences, pressure to do well in the future and misgivings in UK universities’ methods of study and assessment. Two ways of combating the existence of plagiarism are more careful explanations about the notion of plagiarism and a change in the way students are taught and assessed so that there is less of an emphasis on written assignments.



To sum up, the main reason behind students’ plagiarism is that they are ignorant of acceptable academic practice. Factors such as cultural background and low understanding of referencing skills play a huge role in such ignorance. In addition, the way students are taught in universities, for example with a focus on written assessment, may exacerbate the problem of plagiarism. Therefore, current systems of assessment need to be reviewed if a reliance on plagiarism is to be reduced.



In conclusion we must understand that there are many problems that lead to plagiarism and these must be treated in order for students to be more successful. It is much more complicated than we may assume at first glance. We must also open our eyes to the fact that harsh punishments are not always the best methods to tackling situations.



Activity 5: Reorder the sentences to make a strong conclusion

In the following activity you will reorder two conclusions taken from student essays. This activity is designed to test your knowledge of conclusions.

Instruction

Click on the links below and reorder the sentences by dragging and dropping them into the correct position. Try to make a strong conclusion.





The essay question is: China's rapid economic growth is having a considerable impact on the Environment. Is the Free Market Solution an adequate solution?

Reorder Conclusion 1

The essay question is: Discuss the various arguments which are in support of immigration. Which arguments seem most persuasive and why?

Reorder Conclusion 2

References:

Kol, S & Schcolnik, M. 2008. Asynchronous forums in EAP: assessment issues. Language Learning & Technology. 12/2. pp49-70

 


 

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© Jessica Cooper/ J.cooper@qmul.ac.uk / Queen Mary, U of L / 2010