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This should bring your argument together, and should not introduce new analysis as such. However, it should be more than a simple summary of the points already made. The following questions may help you to clarify your ideas for the conclusion:

  • What is the significance of your argument?
  • What are its implications for our understanding of this text or its context? – or this historical event/period? – or this aspect of language use?, etc.
  • Is the theme/idea you have explored related to any other key themes/ideas in the text/period/field of study? Do your findings have relevance for these too?
  • Does your conclusion point to a reappraisal of any of the texts/periods/events/structures you have explored?
  • Does it challenge received perceptions of this material/area of study?

Serious trouble with the writing of a conclusion often suggests one of the following:

  • your argument is not well constructed
  • you don’t actually have an argument!
  • you need to spend more time thinking about the significance of your argument – you may find it hard to ‘step back’ from the detail
  • you are struggling to put your material or your ideas into a wider context (more reading will usually help here)