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Gary Bortolotti, Biology Faculty

Conclusion

What do you look for in a conclusion?

I find that people have a problem understanding what a summary is and what a conclusion is. And, A lot of people will write even a scientific paper and write a conclusion. And I read the conclusion and I'm going, "That's what I just read." That's a summary, and that's not what a conclusion is. Summaries most people get from the idea they have to go through a paper and boil it down from a big paper to a little bit. And, there's a certain skill about economy of writing there and whatnot, but I think the bigger problem is conclusions and, sort of, synthesizing what the conceptual contribution of a paper is, or a topic and, say[ing], "this is what I think is happening," and "I would conclude that this field is going here or there or this question has not [been] solved," or whatever it be. Conclusions are much, much harder because they're more intellectually challenging. A summary, I think, is a more technical thing, i.e. "I have to boil this paper down."