Taking Your Audience Somewhere New
Conclusions, in any kind of writing, should never merely repeat what came before: they are not reruns, but cliffhangers. The worst conclusions make this basic move: In conclusion, here’s what I’ve already said. “We know!” I want to exclaim: “we just read your paper!”
Such conclusions reward a lazy skimmer who missed the point in what came before, but they do not do much for the engaged reader who is so intrigued by the preceding conversation, and by the author’s suggestive analysis, that she wants to learn more.
The conclusion to the “Final Project” serves a very important purpose because, as we’ve discussed, the “Final Project” is not quite a full-fledged research paper. It leaves crucial work to be done. The purpose of your conclusion is not to repeat what has just been said, but to describe the kind of work that waits to be done. What kinds of close readings, what theoretical engagements, would continue to elucidate your argument? In short, show your reader what lies ahead…