Writing the conclusion

The function of a conclusion is to draw together the main ideas discussed in the body of the essay. However, a good conclusion does more than that.

You may choose to also:

  • reflect on the broader significance of the topic
  • discuss why it is difficult to arrive at a definitive answer to the question posed
  • raise other questions that could be considered in a subsequent essay
  • make a prediction about what will happen to the phenomenon under investigation

When writing a conclusion, a ‘specific to general’ structure is usually recommended. Yes, this is opposite to the introduction! Begin by re-stating or re-emphasising your position on the topic, then summarise your line of argument and key points. Finish off by commenting on the significance of the issue, making a prediction about the future of the issue, or a recommendation to deal with the problem at hand.

Diagram of conclusion structure

Activity

Click on the different parts of a conclusion to identify them.

No single theory can adequately explain the relationship between age and crime, and the debate over their correlation is ongoing. Instead, each theory provides valuable insight into a particular dimension of age and crime.

The emergence of the criminal propensity versus criminal career debate in the 1980s demonstrated the importance of both arguments. It is now believed that the age-crime curve created by Gottfredson and Hirschi is a good basic indicator for the age-crime relationship. However, the criminal career position has stood up to stringent empirical testing, and has formed an integral part of developmental theories such as Thornberry’s interactional theory.

These theories provide important insight into the complex relationship between age and crime, but, more than this, are useful for developing strategies for delinquency and crime prevention.