How to write a research conclusion and recommendations?

Conclusion and recommendations are the final part of the research paper, which synthesises the research, highlights its significance and provides a roadmap for future studies and practical applications. A well-crafted conclusion not only summarises the key points of the research but also emphasises its broader implications and suggests potential areas for further exploration. Similarly, research recommendations offer specific, actionable insights that can guide future research, inform policy decisions and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.

This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of how to effectively write conclusions and recommendations, detailing their purposes, components and examples across various disciplines. Additionally, it offers resources and tools to assist researchers in crafting clear, impactful final sections of their papers, ensuring they are well-prepared for publication.

What is a research conclusion?

A research conclusion is the final section of a research paper where the author wraps up the study and presents the key findings. It synthesises the main points discussed in the paper, highlights the significance of the research and suggests potential implications or applications. The conclusion leaves a lasting impression on the reader. It often includes recommendations for future research or practical applications of the study’s findings.

Purpose of a research conclusion

  1. Summarisation: To provide a concise summary of the main findings and arguments presented in the paper.
  2. Synthesis: To synthesise the information, showing how it contributes to the overall understanding of the topic.
  3. Implications: To highlight the significance of the research findings and their broader implications.
  4. Future research: To suggest areas for further investigation or unanswered questions.
  5. Closure: To provide a sense of closure to the reader, ensuring the research paper feels complete and comprehensive.

Components of a research conclusion

  1. Restatement of the thesis: Begin by restating the thesis or main research question, reflecting the insights gained from the study.
  2. Summary of main points: Summarise the key findings and arguments made in the paper. This should be concise and focused, highlighting the most critical aspects.
  3. Implications of the findings: Discuss the broader implications of the research findings. This might include their significance for the field, practical applications, policy implications or theoretical advancements.
  4. Limitations of the study: Acknowledge any limitations encountered during the research. This demonstrates a critical and reflective approach to the research process.
  5. Recommendations for future research: Suggest areas where further research is needed. This could involve new questions that arose from the study or unexplored aspects of the topic.
  6. Final thoughts: End with a strong closing statement. This could be a thought-provoking quote, a call to action or a reflection on the importance of the topic.

What are research recommendations?

Research recommendations are a section of a research paper where the author suggests specific actions, areas for further study or changes in practice based on the findings of the research. These recommendations are intended to guide future research, inform policymakers, practitioners or other stakeholders and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.

Purpose of research recommendations

  1. Guidance for future research: To provide a roadmap for future studies that can build on the current research or explore new aspects of the topic.
  2. Practical applications: To suggest practical changes or actions that can be implemented based on the research findings.
  3. Policy implications: To inform policy decisions or suggest policy changes.
  4. Contribution to knowledge: To highlight potential areas where further investigation can contribute to the broader understanding of the subject matter.

Components of research recommendations

  1. Specificity: Clearly state specific actions or studies that should be undertaken.
  2. Justification: Provide a rationale for why these recommendations are important and how they are supported by the research findings.
  3. Feasibility: Discuss the feasibility of the recommendations, considering available resources, time and potential challenges.
  4. Impact: Highlight the potential impact of implementing these recommendations on the field, practice or policy.
  5. Prioritisation: If multiple recommendations are provided, prioritise them based on their importance or urgency.

Example 1: Conclusion and recommendations in business

Conclusion

In conclusion, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumer loyalty in the retail sector. The data collected from a sample of 500 consumers across various demographics indicates a significant positive correlation between CSR initiatives and consumer loyalty. Specifically, companies that actively engage in environmental sustainability and community support programs tend to enjoy higher customer retention rates and increased brand loyalty (Smith, 2021; Johnson & Lee, 2020). These findings are consistent with previous research suggesting that modern consumers are increasingly valuing ethical business practices (Brown et al., 2019).

Recommendation

Based on these findings, it is recommended that retail companies enhance their CSR strategies to foster greater consumer loyalty. Specifically, businesses should invest in sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon footprints and supporting local communities, as these actions have been shown to positively influence consumer perceptions and loyalty (Green & White, 2022). Furthermore, future research should explore the long-term impacts of CSR on brand loyalty across different retail sectors, considering the potential differences in consumer behaviour and expectations. Implementing these recommendations could lead to a more sustainable and loyal customer base, ultimately driving long-term business success.

Example 2: Conclusion and recommendations in literary history

Conclusion

In conclusion, this analysis of Gothic literature in the nineteenth century reveals a profound connection between socio-political anxieties and the thematic elements of Gothic fiction. By examining key works such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), the study demonstrates how these novels reflect contemporary fears related to scientific advancements, immigration, and the destabilisation of traditional social structures (Jones, 2021; Parker, 2019). The recurrence of monstrous figures and dark settings in these texts underscores the period’s cultural anxieties and the writers’ responses to the changing societal landscape (Wilson, 2020).

Recommendation

To further understand the complex relationship between Gothic literature and socio-political contexts, it is recommended that future research should focus on lesser-known Gothic works and their portrayal of contemporary issues. Additionally, interdisciplinary studies that incorporate historical, sociological, and literary analysis could provide deeper insights into how Gothic fiction both shaped and was shaped by the anxieties of its time (Miller & Thompson, 2022). By expanding the scope of research to include a wider range of texts and perspectives, scholars can gain a more nuanced understanding of the Gothic genre’s role in reflecting and influencing nineteenth-century society.

Example 3: Conclusion and recommendations in environmental science

Conclusion

In conclusion, this study provides a detailed examination of the effects of urban green spaces on local air quality in metropolitan areas. The data collected from 20 cities worldwide indicates that urban green spaces significantly reduce levels of airborne pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10). Specifically, areas with dense vegetation and large parklands showed an average reduction in NO2 and PM10 levels by 20% compared to areas with minimal green cover (Garcia et al., 2021; Zhang & Li, 2020). These findings are in line with previous research demonstrating the role of vegetation in air purification and the mitigation of urban heat islands (Wang et al., 2019).

Recommendation

Based on these findings, it is recommended that urban planners and policymakers prioritise the expansion and maintenance of green spaces in urban areas to improve air quality and public health. This can be achieved through initiatives such as the creation of new parks, green roofs, and green walls, as well as the preservation of existing natural habitats (Smith & Johnson, 2022). Future research should focus on the long-term impacts of different types of vegetation on air quality and the optimal spatial distribution of green spaces for maximum environmental benefits. Implementing these recommendations could lead to healthier urban environments and enhanced quality of life for city residents.

Resources for writing research conclusions and recommendations

Academic writers and researchers can benefit greatly from a variety of resources and tools when crafting conclusions and recommendations.

Books

Online resources

  • The Harvard College Writing Center offers resources and advice on writing effective conclusions. Their guides cover how to restate the thesis, summarise key points and articulate the significance of the research.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab provides detailed guides on writing various parts of a research paper, including conclusions and recommendations. It also offers examples and exercises to help improve writing skills.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center provides tips and strategies for writing conclusions, including how to create a sense of closure and address the broader implications of your research.

Software and tools

  • EndNote is a reference management tool that helps organise research and references, making it easier to cite sources accurately.
  • Hemingway is a writing assistant that helps improve clarity, readability and style by highlighting complex sentences and common errors. It ensures that conclusions and recommendations are clear and concise.
  • Mendeley is another reference management tool that helps manage and share research papers, discover research data and collaborate online. It is useful for organising references used in writing conclusions and recommendations.

How to prepare research papers for publication?

Editing services play a crucial role in preparing research papers for publication by ensuring that the content is clear, coherent and professionally presented. Here is how different types of editing services can help specifically with conclusions and recommendations, as well as the overall quality of a research paper:

Developmental editing

Developmental editing focuses on the structure and content of the paper, ensuring logical flow and clarity. In particular, developmental editing can help with conclusions and recommendations. For instance, it improves the structure and clarity of conclusions and recommendations by ensuring they are logically organised and clearly articulated. Moreover, it provides feedback on the content, suggesting improvements or additions to make the conclusions and recommendations more impactful and comprehensive. Finally, developmental editing improves consistency by ensuring that the conclusions and recommendations are consistent with the findings and arguments presented in the body of the paper.

The overall impact of developmental editing enhances the coherence and structure of the entire research paper. In addition, it ensures that all sections of the paper, including the conclusions and recommendations, align well with the research objectives and findings.

Line editing

Line editing focuses on improving the writing style, clarity and readability at the sentence and paragraph level. It improves the clarity and precision of the language used in the conclusions and recommendations, making them more understandable and impactful. Furthermore, it enhances the flow and readability, ensuring that the sections are engaging and easy to follow. Last, line editing adjusts the tone and style to ensure they are appropriate for the intended audience and purpose of the paper.

The impact of line editing lies in enhancing the overall readability and engagement of the research paper and ensuring that the writing is clear, concise and professional.

Copyediting

Copyediting focuses on correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and syntax errors. It ensures that the conclusions and recommendations are free from grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, enhancing professionalism. In addition, copyediting ensures consistency in terminology, formatting and style throughout the sections.

Overall, it provides a polished and professional final draft and ensures that the paper adheres to the style guide or publication standards.

Translation editing

Translation editing ensures that translated texts are accurate, culturally appropriate and retain the original meaning. First, translation editing ensures that the conclusions and recommendations in translated research papers accurately reflect the original content. Next, this service ensures that the language used is culturally appropriate and understandable to the target audience. Last, translation editing maintains consistency with the original paper’s tone, style and terminology.

All in all, translation editing facilitates the dissemination of research findings to a broader, multilingual audience. Furthermore, it ensures that translated research papers meet the same high standards as the original texts.

Proofreading

Proofreading provides a final check for minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting. For instance, proofreading catches any remaining errors in the conclusions and recommendations, ensuring they are polished and professional. Moreover, it ensures consistency in formatting and presentation, aligning with publication standards.

In sum, proofreading ensures that the research paper is error-free and ready for submission or publication.

Key takeaways

A research conclusion synthesises the study’s main points, highlights its significance and suggests potential implications or applications. It summarises the findings, underscores the broader implications, acknowledges limitations and recommends future research. Essential components include restating the thesis, summarising key points, discussing implications and limitations and providing a strong closing statement.

Research recommendations propose specific actions, areas for further study or changes in practice based on the findings. They guide future research, suggest practical applications, inform policy decisions and advance knowledge. Effective recommendations are specific, justified, feasible, impactful and prioritised.

I am an editor and indexer working with academic writers, journals and presses. If your academic manuscript needs a second pair of eyes, contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount).

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Magda

I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors.