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Writing a Research Paper Conclusion | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on October 30, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on April 13, 2023.

  • Restate the problem statement addressed in the paper
  • Summarize your overall arguments or findings
  • Suggest the key takeaways from your paper

Research paper conclusion

The content of the conclusion varies depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument through engagement with sources .

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Table of contents

Step 1: restate the problem, step 2: sum up the paper, step 3: discuss the implications, research paper conclusion examples, frequently asked questions about research paper conclusions.

The first task of your conclusion is to remind the reader of your research problem . You will have discussed this problem in depth throughout the body, but now the point is to zoom back out from the details to the bigger picture.

While you are restating a problem you’ve already introduced, you should avoid phrasing it identically to how it appeared in the introduction . Ideally, you’ll find a novel way to circle back to the problem from the more detailed ideas discussed in the body.

For example, an argumentative paper advocating new measures to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture might restate its problem as follows:

Meanwhile, an empirical paper studying the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues might present its problem like this:

“In conclusion …”

Avoid starting your conclusion with phrases like “In conclusion” or “To conclude,” as this can come across as too obvious and make your writing seem unsophisticated. The content and placement of your conclusion should make its function clear without the need for additional signposting.

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research paper how to write the conclusion

Having zoomed back in on the problem, it’s time to summarize how the body of the paper went about addressing it, and what conclusions this approach led to.

Depending on the nature of your research paper, this might mean restating your thesis and arguments, or summarizing your overall findings.

Argumentative paper: Restate your thesis and arguments

In an argumentative paper, you will have presented a thesis statement in your introduction, expressing the overall claim your paper argues for. In the conclusion, you should restate the thesis and show how it has been developed through the body of the paper.

Briefly summarize the key arguments made in the body, showing how each of them contributes to proving your thesis. You may also mention any counterarguments you addressed, emphasizing why your thesis holds up against them, particularly if your argument is a controversial one.

Don’t go into the details of your evidence or present new ideas; focus on outlining in broad strokes the argument you have made.

Empirical paper: Summarize your findings

In an empirical paper, this is the time to summarize your key findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth results and discussion already), but do clearly express the answers to the research questions you investigated.

Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones you expected or hoped for, and explain the overall conclusion they led you to.

Having summed up your key arguments or findings, the conclusion ends by considering the broader implications of your research. This means expressing the key takeaways, practical or theoretical, from your paper—often in the form of a call for action or suggestions for future research.

Argumentative paper: Strong closing statement

An argumentative paper generally ends with a strong closing statement. In the case of a practical argument, make a call for action: What actions do you think should be taken by the people or organizations concerned in response to your argument?

If your topic is more theoretical and unsuitable for a call for action, your closing statement should express the significance of your argument—for example, in proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research.

Empirical paper: Future research directions

In a more empirical paper, you can close by either making recommendations for practice (for example, in clinical or policy papers), or suggesting directions for future research.

Whatever the scope of your own research, there will always be room for further investigation of related topics, and you’ll often discover new questions and problems during the research process .

Finish your paper on a forward-looking note by suggesting how you or other researchers might build on this topic in the future and address any limitations of the current paper.

Full examples of research paper conclusions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

While the role of cattle in climate change is by now common knowledge, countries like the Netherlands continually fail to confront this issue with the urgency it deserves. The evidence is clear: To create a truly futureproof agricultural sector, Dutch farmers must be incentivized to transition from livestock farming to sustainable vegetable farming. As well as dramatically lowering emissions, plant-based agriculture, if approached in the right way, can produce more food with less land, providing opportunities for nature regeneration areas that will themselves contribute to climate targets. Although this approach would have economic ramifications, from a long-term perspective, it would represent a significant step towards a more sustainable and resilient national economy. Transitioning to sustainable vegetable farming will make the Netherlands greener and healthier, setting an example for other European governments. Farmers, policymakers, and consumers must focus on the future, not just on their own short-term interests, and work to implement this transition now.

As social media becomes increasingly central to young people’s everyday lives, it is important to understand how different platforms affect their developing self-conception. By testing the effect of daily Instagram use among teenage girls, this study established that highly visual social media does indeed have a significant effect on body image concerns, with a strong correlation between the amount of time spent on the platform and participants’ self-reported dissatisfaction with their appearance. However, the strength of this effect was moderated by pre-test self-esteem ratings: Participants with higher self-esteem were less likely to experience an increase in body image concerns after using Instagram. This suggests that, while Instagram does impact body image, it is also important to consider the wider social and psychological context in which this usage occurs: Teenagers who are already predisposed to self-esteem issues may be at greater risk of experiencing negative effects. Future research into Instagram and other highly visual social media should focus on establishing a clearer picture of how self-esteem and related constructs influence young people’s experiences of these platforms. Furthermore, while this experiment measured Instagram usage in terms of time spent on the platform, observational studies are required to gain more insight into different patterns of usage—to investigate, for instance, whether active posting is associated with different effects than passive consumption of social media content.

If you’re unsure about the conclusion, it can be helpful to ask a friend or fellow student to read your conclusion and summarize the main takeaways.

  • Do they understand from your conclusion what your research was about?
  • Are they able to summarize the implications of your findings?
  • Can they answer your research question based on your conclusion?

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research paper how to write the conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper has several key elements you should make sure to include:

  • A restatement of the research problem
  • A summary of your key arguments and/or findings
  • A short discussion of the implications of your research

No, it’s not appropriate to present new arguments or evidence in the conclusion . While you might be tempted to save a striking argument for last, research papers follow a more formal structure than this.

All your findings and arguments should be presented in the body of the text (more specifically in the results and discussion sections if you are following a scientific structure). The conclusion is meant to summarize and reflect on the evidence and arguments you have already presented, not introduce new ones.

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How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

How to Write a Conclusion for Research Papers (with Examples)

The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial section that plays a significant role in the overall impact and effectiveness of your research paper. However, this is also the section that typically receives less attention compared to the introduction and the body of the paper. The conclusion serves to provide a concise summary of the key findings, their significance, their implications, and a sense of closure to the study. Discussing how can the findings be applied in real-world scenarios or inform policy, practice, or decision-making is especially valuable to practitioners and policymakers. The research paper conclusion also provides researchers with clear insights and valuable information for their own work, which they can then build on and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field.

The research paper conclusion should explain the significance of your findings within the broader context of your field. It restates how your results contribute to the existing body of knowledge and whether they confirm or challenge existing theories or hypotheses. Also, by identifying unanswered questions or areas requiring further investigation, your awareness of the broader research landscape can be demonstrated.

Remember to tailor the research paper conclusion to the specific needs and interests of your intended audience, which may include researchers, practitioners, policymakers, or a combination of these.

Table of Contents

What is a conclusion in a research paper, summarizing conclusion, editorial conclusion, externalizing conclusion, importance of a good research paper conclusion, how to write a conclusion for your research paper, research paper conclusion examples.

  • How to write a research paper conclusion with Paperpal? 

Frequently Asked Questions

A conclusion in a research paper is the final section where you summarize and wrap up your research, presenting the key findings and insights derived from your study. The research paper conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or data that was not discussed in the main body of the paper. When working on how to conclude a research paper, remember to stick to summarizing and interpreting existing content. The research paper conclusion serves the following purposes: 1

  • Warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.
  • Recommend specific course(s) of action.
  • Restate key ideas to drive home the ultimate point of your research paper.
  • Provide a “take-home” message that you want the readers to remember about your study.

research paper how to write the conclusion

Types of conclusions for research papers

In research papers, the conclusion provides closure to the reader. The type of research paper conclusion you choose depends on the nature of your study, your goals, and your target audience. I provide you with three common types of conclusions:

A summarizing conclusion is the most common type of conclusion in research papers. It involves summarizing the main points, reiterating the research question, and restating the significance of the findings. This common type of research paper conclusion is used across different disciplines.

An editorial conclusion is less common but can be used in research papers that are focused on proposing or advocating for a particular viewpoint or policy. It involves presenting a strong editorial or opinion based on the research findings and offering recommendations or calls to action.

An externalizing conclusion is a type of conclusion that extends the research beyond the scope of the paper by suggesting potential future research directions or discussing the broader implications of the findings. This type of conclusion is often used in more theoretical or exploratory research papers.

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The conclusion in a research paper serves several important purposes:

  • Offers Implications and Recommendations : Your research paper conclusion is an excellent place to discuss the broader implications of your research and suggest potential areas for further study. It’s also an opportunity to offer practical recommendations based on your findings.
  • Provides Closure : A good research paper conclusion provides a sense of closure to your paper. It should leave the reader with a feeling that they have reached the end of a well-structured and thought-provoking research project.
  • Leaves a Lasting Impression : Writing a well-crafted research paper conclusion leaves a lasting impression on your readers. It’s your final opportunity to leave them with a new idea, a call to action, or a memorable quote.

research paper how to write the conclusion

Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper is essential to leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here’s a step-by-step process to help you create and know what to put in the conclusion of a research paper: 2

  • Research Statement : Begin your research paper conclusion by restating your research statement. This reminds the reader of the main point you’ve been trying to prove throughout your paper. Keep it concise and clear.
  • Key Points : Summarize the main arguments and key points you’ve made in your paper. Avoid introducing new information in the research paper conclusion. Instead, provide a concise overview of what you’ve discussed in the body of your paper.
  • Address the Research Questions : If your research paper is based on specific research questions or hypotheses, briefly address whether you’ve answered them or achieved your research goals. Discuss the significance of your findings in this context.
  • Significance : Highlight the importance of your research and its relevance in the broader context. Explain why your findings matter and how they contribute to the existing knowledge in your field.
  • Implications : Explore the practical or theoretical implications of your research. How might your findings impact future research, policy, or real-world applications? Consider the “so what?” question.
  • Future Research : Offer suggestions for future research in your area. What questions or aspects remain unanswered or warrant further investigation? This shows that your work opens the door for future exploration.
  • Closing Thought : Conclude your research paper conclusion with a thought-provoking or memorable statement. This can leave a lasting impression on your readers and wrap up your paper effectively. Avoid introducing new information or arguments here.
  • Proofread and Revise : Carefully proofread your conclusion for grammar, spelling, and clarity. Ensure that your ideas flow smoothly and that your conclusion is coherent and well-structured.

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Remember that a well-crafted research paper conclusion is a reflection of the strength of your research and your ability to communicate its significance effectively. It should leave a lasting impression on your readers and tie together all the threads of your paper. Now you know how to start the conclusion of a research paper and what elements to include to make it impactful, let’s look at a research paper conclusion sample.

research paper how to write the conclusion

How to write a research paper conclusion with Paperpal?

A research paper conclusion is not just a summary of your study, but a synthesis of the key findings that ties the research together and places it in a broader context. A research paper conclusion should be concise, typically around one paragraph in length. However, some complex topics may require a longer conclusion to ensure the reader is left with a clear understanding of the study’s significance. Paperpal, an AI writing assistant trusted by over 800,000 academics globally, can help you write a well-structured conclusion for your research paper. 

  • Sign Up or Log In: Create a new Paperpal account or login with your details.  
  • Navigate to Features : Once logged in, head over to the features’ side navigation pane. Click on Templates and you’ll find a suite of generative AI features to help you write better, faster.  
  • Generate an outline: Under Templates, select ‘Outlines’. Choose ‘Research article’ as your document type.  
  • Select your section: Since you’re focusing on the conclusion, select this section when prompted.  
  • Choose your field of study: Identifying your field of study allows Paperpal to provide more targeted suggestions, ensuring the relevance of your conclusion to your specific area of research. 
  • Provide a brief description of your study: Enter details about your research topic and findings. This information helps Paperpal generate a tailored outline that aligns with your paper’s content. 
  • Generate the conclusion outline: After entering all necessary details, click on ‘generate’. Paperpal will then create a structured outline for your conclusion, to help you start writing and build upon the outline.  
  • Write your conclusion: Use the generated outline to build your conclusion. The outline serves as a guide, ensuring you cover all critical aspects of a strong conclusion, from summarizing key findings to highlighting the research’s implications. 
  • Refine and enhance: Paperpal’s ‘Make Academic’ feature can be particularly useful in the final stages. Select any paragraph of your conclusion and use this feature to elevate the academic tone, ensuring your writing is aligned to the academic journal standards. 

By following these steps, Paperpal not only simplifies the process of writing a research paper conclusion but also ensures it is impactful, concise, and aligned with academic standards. Sign up with Paperpal today and write your research paper conclusion 2x faster .  

The research paper conclusion is a crucial part of your paper as it provides the final opportunity to leave a strong impression on your readers. In the research paper conclusion, summarize the main points of your research paper by restating your research statement, highlighting the most important findings, addressing the research questions or objectives, explaining the broader context of the study, discussing the significance of your findings, providing recommendations if applicable, and emphasizing the takeaway message. The main purpose of the conclusion is to remind the reader of the main point or argument of your paper and to provide a clear and concise summary of the key findings and their implications. All these elements should feature on your list of what to put in the conclusion of a research paper to create a strong final statement for your work.

A strong conclusion is a critical component of a research paper, as it provides an opportunity to wrap up your arguments, reiterate your main points, and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Here are the key elements of a strong research paper conclusion: 1. Conciseness : A research paper conclusion should be concise and to the point. It should not introduce new information or ideas that were not discussed in the body of the paper. 2. Summarization : The research paper conclusion should be comprehensive enough to give the reader a clear understanding of the research’s main contributions. 3 . Relevance : Ensure that the information included in the research paper conclusion is directly relevant to the research paper’s main topic and objectives; avoid unnecessary details. 4 . Connection to the Introduction : A well-structured research paper conclusion often revisits the key points made in the introduction and shows how the research has addressed the initial questions or objectives. 5. Emphasis : Highlight the significance and implications of your research. Why is your study important? What are the broader implications or applications of your findings? 6 . Call to Action : Include a call to action or a recommendation for future research or action based on your findings.

The length of a research paper conclusion can vary depending on several factors, including the overall length of the paper, the complexity of the research, and the specific journal requirements. While there is no strict rule for the length of a conclusion, but it’s generally advisable to keep it relatively short. A typical research paper conclusion might be around 5-10% of the paper’s total length. For example, if your paper is 10 pages long, the conclusion might be roughly half a page to one page in length.

In general, you do not need to include citations in the research paper conclusion. Citations are typically reserved for the body of the paper to support your arguments and provide evidence for your claims. However, there may be some exceptions to this rule: 1. If you are drawing a direct quote or paraphrasing a specific source in your research paper conclusion, you should include a citation to give proper credit to the original author. 2. If your conclusion refers to or discusses specific research, data, or sources that are crucial to the overall argument, citations can be included to reinforce your conclusion’s validity.

The conclusion of a research paper serves several important purposes: 1. Summarize the Key Points 2. Reinforce the Main Argument 3. Provide Closure 4. Offer Insights or Implications 5. Engage the Reader. 6. Reflect on Limitations

Remember that the primary purpose of the research paper conclusion is to leave a lasting impression on the reader, reinforcing the key points and providing closure to your research. It’s often the last part of the paper that the reader will see, so it should be strong and well-crafted.

  • Makar, G., Foltz, C., Lendner, M., & Vaccaro, A. R. (2018). How to write effective discussion and conclusion sections. Clinical spine surgery, 31(8), 345-346.
  • Bunton, D. (2005). The structure of PhD conclusion chapters.  Journal of English for academic purposes ,  4 (3), 207-224.

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  • How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

How to Write Discussions and Conclusions

The discussion section contains the results and outcomes of a study. An effective discussion informs readers what can be learned from your experiment and provides context for the results.

What makes an effective discussion?

When you’re ready to write your discussion, you’ve already introduced the purpose of your study and provided an in-depth description of the methodology. The discussion informs readers about the larger implications of your study based on the results. Highlighting these implications while not overstating the findings can be challenging, especially when you’re submitting to a journal that selects articles based on novelty or potential impact. Regardless of what journal you are submitting to, the discussion section always serves the same purpose: concluding what your study results actually mean.

A successful discussion section puts your findings in context. It should include:

  • the results of your research,
  • a discussion of related research, and
  • a comparison between your results and initial hypothesis.

Tip: Not all journals share the same naming conventions.

You can apply the advice in this article to the conclusion, results or discussion sections of your manuscript.

Our Early Career Researcher community tells us that the conclusion is often considered the most difficult aspect of a manuscript to write. To help, this guide provides questions to ask yourself, a basic structure to model your discussion off of and examples from published manuscripts. 

research paper how to write the conclusion

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Was my hypothesis correct?
  • If my hypothesis is partially correct or entirely different, what can be learned from the results? 
  • How do the conclusions reshape or add onto the existing knowledge in the field? What does previous research say about the topic? 
  • Why are the results important or relevant to your audience? Do they add further evidence to a scientific consensus or disprove prior studies? 
  • How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done? 
  • What is the “take-home” message you want your reader to leave with?

How to structure a discussion

Trying to fit a complete discussion into a single paragraph can add unnecessary stress to the writing process. If possible, you’ll want to give yourself two or three paragraphs to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of your study as a whole. Here’s one way to structure an effective discussion:

research paper how to write the conclusion

Writing Tips

While the above sections can help you brainstorm and structure your discussion, there are many common mistakes that writers revert to when having difficulties with their paper. Writing a discussion can be a delicate balance between summarizing your results, providing proper context for your research and avoiding introducing new information. Remember that your paper should be both confident and honest about the results! 

What to do

  • Read the journal’s guidelines on the discussion and conclusion sections. If possible, learn about the guidelines before writing the discussion to ensure you’re writing to meet their expectations. 
  • Begin with a clear statement of the principal findings. This will reinforce the main take-away for the reader and set up the rest of the discussion. 
  • Explain why the outcomes of your study are important to the reader. Discuss the implications of your findings realistically based on previous literature, highlighting both the strengths and limitations of the research. 
  • State whether the results prove or disprove your hypothesis. If your hypothesis was disproved, what might be the reasons? 
  • Introduce new or expanded ways to think about the research question. Indicate what next steps can be taken to further pursue any unresolved questions. 
  • If dealing with a contemporary or ongoing problem, such as climate change, discuss possible consequences if the problem is avoided. 
  • Be concise. Adding unnecessary detail can distract from the main findings. 

What not to do

Don’t

  • Rewrite your abstract. Statements with “we investigated” or “we studied” generally do not belong in the discussion. 
  • Include new arguments or evidence not previously discussed. Necessary information and evidence should be introduced in the main body of the paper. 
  • Apologize. Even if your research contains significant limitations, don’t undermine your authority by including statements that doubt your methodology or execution. 
  • Shy away from speaking on limitations or negative results. Including limitations and negative results will give readers a complete understanding of the presented research. Potential limitations include sources of potential bias, threats to internal or external validity, barriers to implementing an intervention and other issues inherent to the study design. 
  • Overstate the importance of your findings. Making grand statements about how a study will fully resolve large questions can lead readers to doubt the success of the research. 

Snippets of Effective Discussions:

Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach

Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

3-minute read

  • 29th August 2023

If you’re writing a research paper, the conclusion is your opportunity to summarize your findings and leave a lasting impression on your readers. In this post, we’ll take you through how to write an effective conclusion for a research paper and how you can:

·   Reword your thesis statement

·   Highlight the significance of your research

·   Discuss limitations

·   Connect to the introduction

·   End with a thought-provoking statement

Rewording Your Thesis Statement

Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis statement in a way that is slightly different from the wording used in the introduction. Avoid presenting new information or evidence in your conclusion. Just summarize the main points and arguments of your essay and keep this part as concise as possible. Remember that you’ve already covered the in-depth analyses and investigations in the main body paragraphs of your essay, so it’s not necessary to restate these details in the conclusion.

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Highlighting the Significance of Your Research

The conclusion is a good place to emphasize the implications of your research . Avoid ambiguous or vague language such as “I think” or “maybe,” which could weaken your position. Clearly explain why your research is significant and how it contributes to the broader field of study.

Here’s an example from a (fictional) study on the impact of social media on mental health:

Discussing Limitations

Although it’s important to emphasize the significance of your study, you can also use the conclusion to briefly address any limitations you discovered while conducting your research, such as time constraints or a shortage of resources. Doing this demonstrates a balanced and honest approach to your research.

Connecting to the Introduction

In your conclusion, you can circle back to your introduction , perhaps by referring to a quote or anecdote you discussed earlier. If you end your paper on a similar note to how you began it, you will create a sense of cohesion for the reader and remind them of the meaning and significance of your research.

Ending With a Thought-Provoking Statement

Consider ending your paper with a thought-provoking and memorable statement that relates to the impact of your research questions or hypothesis. This statement can be a call to action, a philosophical question, or a prediction for the future (positive or negative). Here’s an example that uses the same topic as above (social media and mental health):

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Home » Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples

Research Paper Conclusion – Writing Guide and Examples

Table of Contents

Research Paper Conclusion

Research Paper Conclusion

Definition:

A research paper conclusion is the final section of a research paper that summarizes the key findings, significance, and implications of the research. It is the writer’s opportunity to synthesize the information presented in the paper, draw conclusions, and make recommendations for future research or actions.

The conclusion should provide a clear and concise summary of the research paper, reiterating the research question or problem, the main results, and the significance of the findings. It should also discuss the limitations of the study and suggest areas for further research.

Parts of Research Paper Conclusion

The parts of a research paper conclusion typically include:

Restatement of the Thesis

The conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement from the introduction in a different way. This helps to remind the reader of the main argument or purpose of the research.

Summary of Key Findings

The conclusion should summarize the main findings of the research, highlighting the most important results and conclusions. This section should be brief and to the point.

Implications and Significance

In this section, the researcher should explain the implications and significance of the research findings. This may include discussing the potential impact on the field or industry, highlighting new insights or knowledge gained, or pointing out areas for future research.

Limitations and Recommendations

It is important to acknowledge any limitations or weaknesses of the research and to make recommendations for how these could be addressed in future studies. This shows that the researcher is aware of the potential limitations of their work and is committed to improving the quality of research in their field.

Concluding Statement

The conclusion should end with a strong concluding statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. This could be a call to action, a recommendation for further research, or a final thought on the topic.

How to Write Research Paper Conclusion

Here are some steps you can follow to write an effective research paper conclusion:

  • Restate the research problem or question: Begin by restating the research problem or question that you aimed to answer in your research. This will remind the reader of the purpose of your study.
  • Summarize the main points: Summarize the key findings and results of your research. This can be done by highlighting the most important aspects of your research and the evidence that supports them.
  • Discuss the implications: Discuss the implications of your findings for the research area and any potential applications of your research. You should also mention any limitations of your research that may affect the interpretation of your findings.
  • Provide a conclusion : Provide a concise conclusion that summarizes the main points of your paper and emphasizes the significance of your research. This should be a strong and clear statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Offer suggestions for future research: Lastly, offer suggestions for future research that could build on your findings and contribute to further advancements in the field.

Remember that the conclusion should be brief and to the point, while still effectively summarizing the key findings and implications of your research.

Example of Research Paper Conclusion

Here’s an example of a research paper conclusion:

Conclusion :

In conclusion, our study aimed to investigate the relationship between social media use and mental health among college students. Our findings suggest that there is a significant association between social media use and increased levels of anxiety and depression among college students. This highlights the need for increased awareness and education about the potential negative effects of social media use on mental health, particularly among college students.

Despite the limitations of our study, such as the small sample size and self-reported data, our findings have important implications for future research and practice. Future studies should aim to replicate our findings in larger, more diverse samples, and investigate the potential mechanisms underlying the association between social media use and mental health. In addition, interventions should be developed to promote healthy social media use among college students, such as mindfulness-based approaches and social media detox programs.

Overall, our study contributes to the growing body of research on the impact of social media on mental health, and highlights the importance of addressing this issue in the context of higher education. By raising awareness and promoting healthy social media use among college students, we can help to reduce the negative impact of social media on mental health and improve the well-being of young adults.

Purpose of Research Paper Conclusion

The purpose of a research paper conclusion is to provide a summary and synthesis of the key findings, significance, and implications of the research presented in the paper. The conclusion serves as the final opportunity for the writer to convey their message and leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The conclusion should restate the research problem or question, summarize the main results of the research, and explain their significance. It should also acknowledge the limitations of the study and suggest areas for future research or action.

Overall, the purpose of the conclusion is to provide a sense of closure to the research paper and to emphasize the importance of the research and its potential impact. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the main findings and why they matter. The conclusion serves as the writer’s opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

When to Write Research Paper Conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper should be written after the body of the paper has been completed. It should not be written until the writer has thoroughly analyzed and interpreted their findings and has written a complete and cohesive discussion of the research.

Before writing the conclusion, the writer should review their research paper and consider the key points that they want to convey to the reader. They should also review the research question, hypotheses, and methodology to ensure that they have addressed all of the necessary components of the research.

Once the writer has a clear understanding of the main findings and their significance, they can begin writing the conclusion. The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, and should reiterate the main points of the research while also providing insights and recommendations for future research or action.

Characteristics of Research Paper Conclusion

The characteristics of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Clear and concise: The conclusion should be written in a clear and concise manner, summarizing the key findings and their significance.
  • Comprehensive: The conclusion should address all of the main points of the research paper, including the research question or problem, the methodology, the main results, and their implications.
  • Future-oriented : The conclusion should provide insights and recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the research.
  • Impressive : The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader, emphasizing the importance of the research and its potential impact.
  • Objective : The conclusion should be based on the evidence presented in the research paper, and should avoid personal biases or opinions.
  • Unique : The conclusion should be unique to the research paper and should not simply repeat information from the introduction or body of the paper.

Advantages of Research Paper Conclusion

The advantages of a research paper conclusion include:

  • Summarizing the key findings : The conclusion provides a summary of the main findings of the research, making it easier for the reader to understand the key points of the study.
  • Emphasizing the significance of the research: The conclusion emphasizes the importance of the research and its potential impact, making it more likely that readers will take the research seriously and consider its implications.
  • Providing recommendations for future research or action : The conclusion suggests practical recommendations for future research or action, based on the findings of the study.
  • Providing closure to the research paper : The conclusion provides a sense of closure to the research paper, tying together the different sections of the paper and leaving a lasting impression on the reader.
  • Demonstrating the writer’s contribution to the field : The conclusion provides the writer with an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the field and to inspire further research and action.

Limitations of Research Paper Conclusion

While the conclusion of a research paper has many advantages, it also has some limitations that should be considered, including:

  • I nability to address all aspects of the research: Due to the limited space available in the conclusion, it may not be possible to address all aspects of the research in detail.
  • Subjectivity : While the conclusion should be objective, it may be influenced by the writer’s personal biases or opinions.
  • Lack of new information: The conclusion should not introduce new information that has not been discussed in the body of the research paper.
  • Lack of generalizability: The conclusions drawn from the research may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, limiting the generalizability of the study.
  • Misinterpretation by the reader: The reader may misinterpret the conclusions drawn from the research, leading to a misunderstanding of the findings.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

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By the time you write the conclusion, you should have pointed out in the body of your research paper why your topic is important to the reader, and you should have presented the reader with all your arguments. It is critical that you do not introduce new information or ideas in your conclusion. If you find that you have not yet made the arguments you wished to make or pointed out evidence you feel is crucial to your reader’s understanding of your subject, you are not yet ready to write the conclusion; add another body paragraph before writing the conclusion.

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Your research paper should have a strong, succinct concluding section, where you draw together your findings. Think of it as a conclusion, not a summary. The difference is that you are reaching overall judgments about your topic, not summarizing everything you wrote about it. How to write a conclusion for a research paper? The focus should be on:

  • Saying what your research has found, what the findings mean, and how well they support the argument of your thesis statement.
  • Establishing the limits of your argument: How widely does it apply? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your method? How clear-cut are your findings?
  • Explaining how your findings and argument fit into your field, relating them to answers others have given and to the existing literature.

You may also want to add some concise comments about possible future developments or what kind of research should come next, but don’t lay it on too thick. The place of honor goes to your own explanation. Don’t spend too much of your final section criticizing others. Don’t introduce any big new topics or ideas. You certainly don’t expect to see new characters in the last scene of a movie. For the same reasons, you shouldn’t find any big new topics being introduced in the last paragraphs of a research paper.

Your concluding statement should focus on what your findings mean. How do you interpret them? Are they just as easily explained by alternative theories or other perspectives? Here, you are returning to the questions that first animated you and answering them, based on your research. You not only want to give the answers; you also want to explain their significance. What do they mean for policy, theory, literary interpretation, moral action, or whatever? You are answering the old, hard question: “So what?”

Be wary of overreaching. You really need to do two things at the same time: explain the significance of your findings and stake out their limits. You may have a hunch that your findings apply widely but, as a social scientist, you need to assess whether you can say so confidently, based on your current research. Your reader needs to know: “Do these findings apply to all college students, to all adults, or only to white mice?” White mice don’t come up much in the humanities, but the reader still wants to know how far your approach reaches. Does your analysis apply only to this novel or this writer, or could it apply to a whole literary genre?

Make it a priority to discuss these conclusions with your professor or adviser. The main danger here is that students finally reach this final section with only a week or two left before the due date. They don’t have enough time to work through their conclusions and revise them. That leaves the research paper weakest at the end, precisely where it should be strongest, nailing down the most significant points.

Begin discussing your major findings with your adviser while you are still writing the heart of the research paper. Of course, your conclusions will be tentative at that stage, but it helps to begin talking about them. As always, a little writing helps. You could simply list your main findings or write out a few paragraphs about them. Either would serve as a launching pad for meetings with your adviser. You will find these discussions also shed light on the research that leads to these findings. That, in turn, will strengthen your middle sections. Later, when you draft the conclusion, review your notes on these talks and the short documents you wrote for them. They will serve as prewriting for the final section.

The opening sentence of the conclusion should flow smoothly and logically from the transition sentence in the previous paragraph and lead the reader to reflect on your thesis. A good conclusion however, does not simply restate the thesis. You want to remind the reader of the thesis in your conclusion but reword it in a stronger fashion so that it is interesting and memorable to your audience.After reminding the reader of the thesis, the conclusion should then reflect on the topics in the body of the paper and summarize the key findings of your research. If you are writing a persuasive paper, it should summarize your key arguments and logically point your readers to the conclusion you wish them to reach.

Phrases for Conclusions of Research Papers

  • All this requires us to (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • Altogether, these findings indicate (point out the logical result).
  • Finally, it is important to note (make your strongest point and follow with a recommendation).
  • In conclusion (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • It is evident that (point out the logical result or obvious next action).
  • In light of the evidence, (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • In short, (summarize your findings).
  • It should be evident that we need to (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • In summary, (summarize your findings).
  • Looking ahead, it is obvious that (propose the next action or an alternative idea).
  • My conclusion is (restate your thesis with greater emphasis).
  • One last word must be said. (Follow with your opinion and propose a next action.)
  • One concludes that (give your opinion).
  • Overall, (summarize your findings).
  • Reflecting on these facts,we can see that …
  • The evidence presented above shows that (give your opinion).
  • The reader can conclude (make the point you wish to make).
  • These facts and observations support the idea that (offer a theory).
  • This analysis reveals (state your findings).
  • To conclude, (give an opinion based on the findings presented in the paper).
  • To sum up this discussion, (summarize your findings).
  • To summarize, (summarize your findings).
  • We arrive at the following conclusion: (give an opinion based on the findings presented in the paper).
  • We cannot ignore the fact that (state an important concern and follow with a call to action).
  • We can postulate (give your opinion or offer a theory).
  • We come to the conclusion that (give your opinion or offer a theory).
  • We can now present the theory that (give your opinion or offer a theory).

Examples of Strong Conclusions

As an example of how to end your research paper, let’s turn again to John Dower’s splendid book on postwar Japan, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II . In the final pages, Dower pulls together his findings on war-ravaged Japan and its efforts to rebuild. He then judges the legacies of that period: its continuing impact on the country’s social, political, and economic life. Some insights are unexpected, at least to me. He argues that Japan has pursued trade protection as the only acceptable avenue for its persistent nationalism. America’s overwhelming power and Japan’s self-imposed restraints—the intertwined subjects of the book—blocked any political or military expression of Japan’s nationalist sentiment. Those avenues were simply too dangerous, he says, while economic nationalism was not. Dower ends with these paragraphs:

The Japanese economists and bureaucrats who drafted the informal 1946 blueprint for a planned economy were admirably clear on these objectives [of “demilitarization and democratization”]. They sought rapid recovery and maximum economic growth, of course—but they were just as concerned with achieving economic demilitarization and economic democracy. . . . Japan became wealthy. The standard of living rose impressively at every level of society. Income distribution was far more equitable than in the United States. Job security was assured. Growth was achieved without inordinate dependence on a military-industrial complex or a thriving trade in armaments. These are hardly trivial ideas, but they are now being discarded along with all the deservedly bankrupt aspects of the postwar system. The lessons and legacies of defeat have been many and varied indeed; and their end is not yet in sight. (John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II . New York: W. W. Norton, 1999, pp. 563–64)

Remember the anecdotal opening of Herbert’s book Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society , with Henry Tuckerman’s 1867 arrival in a much-changed Paris? (see research paper introduction examples) Herbert strikes a completely different tone in his conclusion. It synthesizes the art history he has presented, offers a large judgment about where Impressionism fits among art movements, and suggests why exhibitions of Monet, Manet, and Renoir are still so popular. He manages to do all that in a few well-crafted sentences:

Although we credit [Impressionism] with being the gateway to modern art, we also treat it as the last of the great Western styles based upon a perception of harmony with natural vision. That harmony, long since lost to us in this century of urbanization, industrialization, and world wars, remains a longed-for idea, so we look back to Impressionism as the painting of a golden era. We flock into exhibitions of paintings that represent cafes, boating, promenading, and peaceful landscapes precisely because of our yearning for less troubled times. The only history that we feel deeply is the kind that is useful to us. Impressionism still looms large at the end of the twentieth century because we use its leisure-time subjects and its brilliantly colored surfaces to construct a desirable history. (Herbert, Impressionism , p. 306)

Robert Dallek offers similarly accessible, powerful judgments in his conclusion to Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 :

[Johnson’s] presidency was a story of great achievement and terrible failure, of lasting gains and unforgettable losses. . . . In a not so distant future, when coming generations have no direct experience of the man and the passions of the sixties are muted, Johnson will probably be remembered as a President who faithfully reflected the country’s greatness and limitations—a man notable for his successes and failures, for his triumphs and tragedy. Only one thing seems certain: Lyndon Johnson will not join the many obscure—almost nameless, faceless—Presidents whose terms of office register on most Americans as blank slates. He will not be forgotten. (Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973 . New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 628)

Some writers not only synthesize their findings or compare them to others; they use the conclusion to say what their work means for appropriate methods or subject matter in their field. That is what Robert Bruegmann does in his final statement in The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880–1918 . His conclusion goes beyond saying that this was a great architectural firm or that it designed buildings of lasting importance. Bruegmann tells us that Holabird & Roche helped shape modern Chicago and that its work, properly studied, helps us understand “the city as the ultimate human artifact”:

Traditional architectural history has tended to see the city less as a process than as a product, a collection of high art architectural objects in a setting dominated by mundane buildings of little interest. This tended to perpetuate a destructive and divisive attitude about the built environment, suggesting that only a few buildings are worthy of careful study and preservation while all others are mere backdrop. I hope that these explorations in the work of Holabird & Roche have shed light on parts of the city rarely visited by the architectural historian and on some little explored aspects of its history. If so, perhaps it has achieved its most basic goal: providing an insight into the city as the ultimate human artifact, our most complex and prodigious social creation, and the most tangible result of the actions over time of all its citizens. (Robert Bruegmann, The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880–1918 . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997, p. 443)

These are powerful conclusions, ending major works of scholarship on a high note. What concluding paragraphs should never do is gaze off into the sunset, offer vague homilies, or claim you have found the meaning of human existence. Be concrete. Stick to your topic. Make sure your research paper conclusions stand on solid ground. Avoid vague platitudes in your conclusion. Your goal should be reaching strong, sound judgments, firmly grounded in your readings and research. Better to claim too little than too much. Best of all, claim what you’ve earned the right to say: what your research really means.

Having finished the main parts of a research paper you can write an abstract.

Back to  How To Write A Research Paper .

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 9. The Conclusion
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The conclusion is intended to help the reader understand why your research should matter to them after they have finished reading the paper. A conclusion is not merely a summary of the main topics covered or a re-statement of your research problem, but a synthesis of key points derived from the findings of your study and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. For most college-level research papers, two or three well-developed paragraphs is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, more paragraphs may be required in describing the key findings and their significance.

Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University.

Importance of a Good Conclusion

A well-written conclusion provides you with important opportunities to demonstrate to the reader your understanding of the research problem. These include:

  • Presenting the last word on the issues you raised in your paper . Just as the introduction gives a first impression to your reader, the conclusion offers a chance to leave a lasting impression. Do this, for example, by highlighting key findings in your analysis that advance new understanding about the research problem, that are unusual or unexpected, or that have important implications applied to practice.
  • Summarizing your thoughts and conveying the larger significance of your study . The conclusion is an opportunity to succinctly re-emphasize  your answer to the "So What?" question by placing the study within the context of how your research advances past research about the topic.
  • Identifying how a gap in the literature has been addressed . The conclusion can be where you describe how a previously identified gap in the literature [first identified in your literature review section] has been addressed by your research and why this contribution is significant.
  • Demonstrating the importance of your ideas . Don't be shy. The conclusion offers an opportunity to elaborate on the impact and significance of your findings. This is particularly important if your study approached examining the research problem from an unusual or innovative perspective.
  • Introducing possible new or expanded ways of thinking about the research problem . This does not refer to introducing new information [which should be avoided], but to offer new insight and creative approaches for framing or contextualizing the research problem based on the results of your study.

Bunton, David. “The Structure of PhD Conclusion Chapters.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4 (July 2005): 207–224; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Kretchmer, Paul. Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  General Rules

The general function of your paper's conclusion is to restate the main argument . It reminds the reader of the strengths of your main argument(s) and reiterates the most important evidence supporting those argument(s). Do this by clearly summarizing the context, background, and necessity of pursuing the research problem you investigated in relation to an issue, controversy, or a gap found in the literature. However, make sure that your conclusion is not simply a repetitive summary of the findings. This reduces the impact of the argument(s) you have developed in your paper.

When writing the conclusion to your paper, follow these general rules:

  • Present your conclusions in clear, concise language. Re-state the purpose of your study, then describe how your findings differ or support those of other studies and why [i.e., what were the unique, new, or crucial contributions your study made to the overall research about your topic?].
  • Do not simply reiterate your findings or the discussion of your results. Provide a synthesis of arguments presented in the paper to show how these converge to address the research problem and the overall objectives of your study.
  • Indicate opportunities for future research if you haven't already done so in the discussion section of your paper. Highlighting the need for further research provides the reader with evidence that you have an in-depth awareness of the research problem but that further investigations should take place beyond the scope of your investigation.

Consider the following points to help ensure your conclusion is presented well:

  • If the argument or purpose of your paper is complex, you may need to summarize the argument for your reader.
  • If, prior to your conclusion, you have not yet explained the significance of your findings or if you are proceeding inductively, use the end of your paper to describe your main points and explain their significance.
  • Move from a detailed to a general level of consideration that returns the topic to the context provided by the introduction or within a new context that emerges from the data [this is opposite of the introduction, which begins with general discussion of the context and ends with a detailed description of the research problem]. 

The conclusion also provides a place for you to persuasively and succinctly restate the research problem, given that the reader has now been presented with all the information about the topic . Depending on the discipline you are writing in, the concluding paragraph may contain your reflections on the evidence presented. However, the nature of being introspective about the research you have conducted will depend on the topic and whether your professor wants you to express your observations in this way. If asked to think introspectively about the topics, do not delve into idle speculation. Being introspective means looking within yourself as an author to try and understand an issue more deeply, not to guess at possible outcomes or make up scenarios not supported by the evidence.

II.  Developing a Compelling Conclusion

Although an effective conclusion needs to be clear and succinct, it does not need to be written passively or lack a compelling narrative. Strategies to help you move beyond merely summarizing the key points of your research paper may include any of the following:

  • If your essay deals with a critical, contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem proactively.
  • Recommend a specific course or courses of action that, if adopted, could address a specific problem in practice or in the development of new knowledge leading to positive change.
  • Cite a relevant quotation or expert opinion already noted in your paper in order to lend authority and support to the conclusion(s) you have reached [a good source would be from your literature review].
  • Explain the consequences of your research in a way that elicits action or demonstrates urgency in seeking change.
  • Restate a key statistic, fact, or visual image to emphasize the most important finding of your paper.
  • If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point by drawing from your own life experiences.
  • Return to an anecdote, an example, or a quotation that you presented in your introduction, but add further insight derived from the findings of your study; use your interpretation of results from your study to recast it in new or important ways.
  • Provide a "take-home" message in the form of a succinct, declarative statement that you want the reader to remember about your study.

III. Problems to Avoid

Failure to be concise Your conclusion section should be concise and to the point. Conclusions that are too lengthy often have unnecessary information in them. The conclusion is not the place for details about your methodology or results. Although you should give a summary of what was learned from your research, this summary should be relatively brief, since the emphasis in the conclusion is on the implications, evaluations, insights, and other forms of analysis that you make. Strategies for writing concisely can be found here .

Failure to comment on larger, more significant issues In the introduction, your task was to move from the general [the field of study] to the specific [the research problem]. However, in the conclusion, your task is to move from a specific discussion [your research problem] back to a general discussion framed around the implications and significance of your findings [i.e., how your research contributes new understanding or fills an important gap in the literature]. In short, the conclusion is where you should place your research within a larger context [visualize your paper as an hourglass--start with a broad introduction and review of the literature, move to the specific analysis and discussion, conclude with a broad summary of the study's implications and significance].

Failure to reveal problems and negative results Negative aspects of the research process should never be ignored. These are problems, deficiencies, or challenges encountered during your study. They should be summarized as a way of qualifying your overall conclusions. If you encountered negative or unintended results [i.e., findings that are validated outside the research context in which they were generated], you must report them in the results section and discuss their implications in the discussion section of your paper. In the conclusion, use negative results as an opportunity to explain their possible significance and/or how they may form the basis for future research.

Failure to provide a clear summary of what was learned In order to be able to discuss how your research fits within your field of study [and possibly the world at large], you need to summarize briefly and succinctly how it contributes to new knowledge or a new understanding about the research problem. This element of your conclusion may be only a few sentences long.

Failure to match the objectives of your research Often research objectives in the social and behavioral sciences change while the research is being carried out. This is not a problem unless you forget to go back and refine the original objectives in your introduction. As these changes emerge they must be documented so that they accurately reflect what you were trying to accomplish in your research [not what you thought you might accomplish when you began].

Resist the urge to apologize If you've immersed yourself in studying the research problem, you presumably should know a good deal about it [perhaps even more than your professor!]. Nevertheless, by the time you have finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you have produced. Repress those doubts! Don't undermine your authority as a researcher by saying something like, "This is just one approach to examining this problem; there may be other, much better approaches that...." The overall tone of your conclusion should convey confidence to the reader about the study's validity and realiability.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8; Concluding Paragraphs. College Writing Center at Meramec. St. Louis Community College; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Conclusions. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Freedman, Leora  and Jerry Plotnick. Introductions and Conclusions. The Lab Report. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Leibensperger, Summer. Draft Your Conclusion. Academic Center, the University of Houston-Victoria, 2003; Make Your Last Words Count. The Writer’s Handbook. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin Madison; Miquel, Fuster-Marquez and Carmen Gregori-Signes. “Chapter Six: ‘Last but Not Least:’ Writing the Conclusion of Your Paper.” In Writing an Applied Linguistics Thesis or Dissertation: A Guide to Presenting Empirical Research . John Bitchener, editor. (Basingstoke,UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), pp. 93-105; Tips for Writing a Good Conclusion. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Kretchmer, Paul. Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion. San Francisco Edit, 2003-2008; Writing Conclusions. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University; Writing: Considering Structure and Organization. Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College.

Writing Tip

Don't Belabor the Obvious!

Avoid phrases like "in conclusion...," "in summary...," or "in closing...." These phrases can be useful, even welcome, in oral presentations. But readers can see by the tell-tale section heading and number of pages remaining that they are reaching the end of your paper. You'll irritate your readers if you belabor the obvious.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8.

Another Writing Tip

New Insight, Not New Information!

Don't surprise the reader with new information in your conclusion that was never referenced anywhere else in the paper. This why the conclusion rarely has citations to sources. If you have new information to present, add it to the discussion or other appropriate section of the paper. Note that, although no new information is introduced, the conclusion, along with the discussion section, is where you offer your most "original" contributions in the paper; the conclusion is where you describe the value of your research, demonstrate that you understand the material that you’ve presented, and position your findings within the larger context of scholarship on the topic, including describing how your research contributes new insights to that scholarship.

Assan, Joseph. "Writing the Conclusion Chapter: The Good, the Bad and the Missing." Liverpool: Development Studies Association (2009): 1-8; Conclusions. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

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research paper how to write the conclusion

How to Write Conclusion in Research Paper (With Example)

Writing a strong conclusion is a crucial part of any research paper. It provides a final opportunity to summarize your key findings, restate your thesis, and leave a lasting impression on your reader. However, many students struggle with how to effectively write a conclusion that ties everything together.

In this article, we’ll provide some tips and strategies for writing a compelling conclusion, along with an example to help illustrate the process. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your research paper ends on a high note and leaves a lasting impact on your audience.

Why Conclusion is Important in Research Paper

The conclusion is the final chapter of your research paper journey, sealing the deal on all your hard work. After thoroughly laying out your main points and arguments in the body paragraphs, the conclusion gives you a chance to tie everything together into a neat, cohesive package.

More than just summarizing your key ideas, an effective conclusion shows readers the bigger picture of your research and why it matters. It highlights the significance of your findings , explains how your work contributes to the field, and points to potential future directions stemming from your study.

The conclusion is your last chance to leave a lasting impact and compel readers to seriously consider your perspective. With the right phrasing and tone, you can amplify the power of your work. Choose your words wisely, be persuasive yet diplomatic, and guide readers to walk away feeling satisfied by your reasoning and conclusions.

Approach the conclusion thoughtfully, reflect deeply on the larger meaning of your research, and craft impactful final sentences that linger in the reader’s mind. Wield your conclusion skillfully to make your research paper transformative and memorable. A powerful, thoughtful conclusion inspires action, sparks curiosity, and showcases the valuable insights you bring to the academic conversation.

How to Write Conclusion for a Research Paper

Crafting an effective conclusion in research paper requires thoughtful consideration and deliberate effort. After presenting your findings and analysis, the conclusion allows you to close your work with a flourish.

Begin by briefly summarizing the main points of your paper, provide a quick recap of your thesis, methodology, and key findings without repeating too much details from the body. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce your main argument and position within the field.

Next, highlight the significance and implications of your research. What new insights or perspectives does your work contribute? Discuss how your findings can inform future studies or practical applications. Convey why your research matters and how it moves the needle forward in your discipline.

Address any limitations of the current study and propose potential next steps that could be taken by you or other scholars to further the research. This shows readers you have critically considered ways to continue expanding knowledge in this area.

Finally, close with a memorable statement that captures the essence of your work and leaves a lasting impression. This could be an apt metaphor, a call to action, or a thought provoking question for readers to ponder. Choose words that will resonate with your audience and demonstrate the impact of your research.

With care and creativity, your conclusion can elevate your paper and cement your scholarly authority. Revisit often as you write to ensure your conclusion accomplishes its purpose, to convince readers of the value of your study and ignite further progress in your field.

What Not to Include in a Research Paper Conclusion

1. New Data: In a research paper conclusion, avoid presenting new data or evidence that wasn’t discussed earlier in the paper. It’s the time to summarize, analyze, or explain the significance of data already provided, not to introduce new material.

2. Irrelevant Details: The conclusion is not the spot for extraneous details not directly related to your research or its findings. Be focused and concise, tying up the paper neatly without going off-target.

3. Personal Opinions: Try not to include personal beliefs or subjective opinions unless your paper calls for it. Stick to empirical evidence, facts, and objective interpretation of your research.

4. Vague Summarization: While summarizing is the essence of a conclusion, too much of a broad or vague narrative should be avoided. Your conclusion shouldn’t be a generalization of the research but should specifically state your significant findings and their implications.

5. Overstating Results: No matter how exhilarating your research may be, don’t exaggerate its implications or general applications. Remember to acknowledge limitations or potential areas for future exploration.

6. Procrastinating: Refrain from leaving unresolved issues for future research. The conclusion is meant to tie up loose ends, not create more.

7. Repetition: While some reiteration is necessary, completely repeating the same phrases and points made previously can make your conclusion sound boring and redundant. Instead, try to look at your argument from a fresh, summarized perspective.

8. Apologies: Do not apologize or discredit your research efforts. Avoid phrases like, “This research was only” or “Although the study wasn’t able to prove”. A conclusion should confidently present your research results even if they’re unexpected or differ from your hypothesis.

9. Impractical Recommendations: While it’s often good to suggest directions for future research, don’t go overboard by proposing impractical or unachievable goals. Keep your recommendations relevant to your findings and within the realm of possibility.

10. Too Much Jargon: While it’s appropriate to use technical language throughout your research paper, remember the conclusion might be what a layman reads. Stick with a happy medium of professional lingo intermixed with understandable, plain language.

Also Check:   Conclusion for Internship Report

Conclusion in research Example

Research: Impact of Social Media Use on Adolescent Mental Health.

In conclusion, this study has demonstrated the significant impact of social media use on adolescent mental health. Our findings indicate that frequent social media use is associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression, particularly among girls. These results underscore the need for continued research in this area, as well as the development of interventions and strategies to promote healthy social media use among young people. By addressing this issue, we can help to ensure the well-being and success of the next generation.

Conclusion in research

Conclusion in Research Paper Example

Research: Impact of climate change on coral reefs in Florida.

In conclusion, the effect of climate change on Florida’s coral reefs presents a significant concern for the state’s ecosystem and economy. The data collected during this investigation reveal a direct correlation between rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching events. This pattern has increased over the past decade, indicating that coral reefs’ health directly correlates with climate change effects.

Example Conclusion in Research

Research: The Influence of Social Media on Consumer Buying Behavior

Social media significantly shapes consumer buying behavior. Its power to influence is seen through peer opinions, online advertising, and brand communication. However, with the potential for misinformation, the reliability and quality of information are areas for further study. Despite these concerns, businesses leveraging social media can effectively boost their market reach and sales.

Conclusion in Research Paper Example

Research Paper Conclusion

Research: Impacts of Remote Work on Employee Productivity

Remote work has been found to notably enhance employee productivity. The elimination of commuting time, flexible scheduling, and comforting environment contribute to this increase. However, factors like home distractions and technological difficulties offer room for further research. Yet, integrating remote work can be a strategic pathway towards improved efficiency and workforce satisfaction.

These examples demonstrate techniques for crafting an effective conclusion in a research paper, providing your thesis with a powerful final statement. Now it is your turn to compose a strong concluding paragraph that summarizes your findings, reinforces your central argument, and leaves readers with a memorable takeaway.

Remember to restate your thesis without repeating it verbatim, highlight your main points without introducing new evidence, and end on a note that conveys the significance of your research. With a clear structure and purpose, proper grammar, and impactful writing, you can give your paper the persuasive conclusion it deserves.

Writing an effective conclusion takes practice, but by honing these skills you will elevate your academic writing to new heights. Use the strategies outlined here as a guide, believe in your capabilities, and soon you will be adept at concluding research papers powerfully. The final paragraph is your last chance to impress readers, so make it count!

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Last Updated: June 29, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 42 testimonials and 82% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,256,425 times.

The conclusion of a research paper needs to summarize the content and purpose of the paper without seeming too wooden or dry. Every basic conclusion must share several key elements, but there are also several tactics you can play around with to craft a more effective conclusion and several you should avoid to prevent yourself from weakening your paper's conclusion. Here are some writing tips to keep in mind when creating a conclusion for your next research paper.

Sample Conclusions

Writing a basic conclusion.

Step 1 Restate the topic.

  • Do not spend a great amount of time or space restating your topic.
  • A good research paper will make the importance of your topic apparent, so you do not need to write an elaborate defense of your topic in the conclusion.
  • Usually a single sentence is all you need to restate your topic.
  • An example would be if you were writing a paper on the epidemiology of infectious disease, you might say something like "Tuberculosis is a widespread infectious disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year."
  • Yet another example from the humanities would be a paper about the Italian Renaissance: "The Italian Renaissance was an explosion of art and ideas centered around artists, writers, and thinkers in Florence."

Step 2 Restate your thesis.

  • A thesis is a narrowed, focused view on the topic at hand.
  • This statement should be rephrased from the thesis you included in your introduction. It should not be identical or too similar to the sentence you originally used.
  • Try re-wording your thesis statement in a way that complements your summary of the topic of your paper in your first sentence of your conclusion.
  • An example of a good thesis statement, going back to the paper on tuberculosis, would be "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease ."

Step 3 Briefly summarize your main points.

  • A good way to go about this is to re-read the topic sentence of each major paragraph or section in the body of your paper.
  • Find a way to briefly restate each point mentioned in each topic sentence in your conclusion. Do not repeat any of the supporting details used within your body paragraphs.
  • Under most circumstances, you should avoid writing new information in your conclusion. This is especially true if the information is vital to the argument or research presented in your paper.
  • For example, in the TB paper you could summarize the information. "Tuberculosis is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Due to the alarming rate of the spread of tuberculosis, particularly in poor countries, medical professionals are implementing new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and containment of this disease. In developing countries, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of TB infections is soaring. Crowded conditions, poor sanitation, and lack of access to medical care are all compounding factors in the spread of the disease. Medical experts, such as those from the World Health Organization are now starting campaigns to go into communities in developing countries and provide diagnostic testing and treatments. However, the treatments for TB are very harsh and have many side effects. This leads to patient non-compliance and spread of multi-drug resistant strains of the disease."

Step 4 Add the points up.

  • Note that this is not needed for all research papers.
  • If you already fully explained what the points in your paper mean or why they are significant, you do not need to go into them in much detail in your conclusion. Simply restating your thesis or the significance of your topic should suffice.
  • It is always best practice to address important issues and fully explain your points in the body of your paper. The point of a conclusion to a research paper is to summarize your argument for the reader and, perhaps, to call the reader to action if needed.

Step 5 Make a call to action when appropriate.

  • Note that a call for action is not essential to all conclusions. A research paper on literary criticism, for instance, is less likely to need a call for action than a paper on the effect that television has on toddlers and young children.
  • A paper that is more likely to call readers to action is one that addresses a public or scientific need. Let's go back to our example of tuberculosis. This is a very serious disease that is spreading quickly and with antibiotic-resistant forms.
  • A call to action in this research paper would be a follow-up statement that might be along the lines of "Despite new efforts to diagnose and contain the disease, more research is needed to develop new antibiotics that will treat the most resistant strains of tuberculosis and ease the side effects of current treatments."

Step 6 Answer the “so what” question.

  • For example, if you are writing a history paper, then you might discuss how the historical topic you discussed matters today. If you are writing about a foreign country, then you might use the conclusion to discuss how the information you shared may help readers understand their own country.

Making Your Conclusion as Effective as Possible

Step 1 Stick with a basic synthesis of information.

  • Since this sort of conclusion is so basic, you must aim to synthesize the information rather than merely summarizing it.
  • Instead of merely repeating things you already said, rephrase your thesis and supporting points in a way that ties them all together.
  • By doing so, you make your research paper seem like a "complete thought" rather than a collection of random and vaguely related ideas.

Step 2 Bring things full circle.

  • Ask a question in your introduction. In your conclusion, restate the question and provide a direct answer.
  • Write an anecdote or story in your introduction but do not share the ending. Instead, write the conclusion to the anecdote in the conclusion of your paper.
  • For example, if you wanted to get more creative and put a more humanistic spin on a paper on tuberculosis, you might start your introduction with a story about a person with the disease, and refer to that story in your conclusion. For example, you could say something like this before you re-state your thesis in your conclusion: "Patient X was unable to complete the treatment for tuberculosis due to severe side effects and unfortunately succumbed to the disease."
  • Use the same concepts and images introduced in your introduction in your conclusion. The images may or may not appear at other points throughout the research paper.

Step 3 Close with logic.

  • Include enough information about your topic to back the statement up but do not get too carried away with excess detail.
  • If your research did not provide you with a clear-cut answer to a question posed in your thesis, do not be afraid to indicate as much.
  • Restate your initial hypothesis and indicate whether you still believe it or if the research you performed has begun swaying your opinion.
  • Indicate that an answer may still exist and that further research could shed more light on the topic at hand.

Step 4 Pose a question.

  • This may not be appropriate for all types of research papers. Most research papers, such as one on effective treatment for diseases, will have the information to make the case for a particular argument already in the paper.
  • A good example of a paper that might ask a question of the reader in the ending is one about a social issue, such as poverty or government policy.
  • Ask a question that will directly get at the heart or purpose of the paper. This question is often the same question, or some version of it, that you may have started with when you began your research.
  • Make sure that the question can be answered by the evidence presented in your paper.
  • If desired you can briefly summarize the answer after stating the question. You could also leave the question hanging for the reader to answer, though.

Step 5 Make a suggestion.

  • Even without a call to action, you can still make a recommendation to your reader.
  • For instance, if you are writing about a topic like third-world poverty, you can various ways for the reader to assist in the problem without necessarily calling for more research.
  • Another example would be, in a paper about treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis, you could suggest donating to the World Health Organization or research foundations that are developing new treatments for the disease.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Step 1 Avoid saying

  • These sayings usually sound stiff, unnatural, or trite when used in writing.
  • Moreover, using a phrase like "in conclusion" to begin your conclusion is a little too straightforward and tends to lead to a weak conclusion. A strong conclusion can stand on its own without being labeled as such.

Step 2 Do not wait until the conclusion to state your thesis.

  • Always state the main argument or thesis in the introduction. A research paper is an analytical discussion of an academic topic, not a mystery novel.
  • A good, effective research paper will allow your reader to follow your main argument from start to finish.
  • This is why it is best practice to start your paper with an introduction that states your main argument and to end the paper with a conclusion that re-states your thesis for re-iteration.

Step 3 Leave out new information.

  • All significant information should be introduced in the body of the paper.
  • Supporting evidence expands the topic of your paper by making it appear more detailed. A conclusion should narrow the topic to a more general point.
  • A conclusion should only summarize what you have already stated in the body of your paper.
  • You may suggest further research or a call to action, but you should not bring in any new evidence or facts in the conclusion.

Step 4 Avoid changing the tone of the paper.

  • Most often, a shift in tone occurs when a research paper with an academic tone gives an emotional or sentimental conclusion.
  • Even if the topic of the paper is of personal significance for you, you should not indicate as much in your paper.
  • If you want to give your paper a more humanistic slant, you could start and end your paper with a story or anecdote that would give your topic more personal meaning to the reader.
  • This tone should be consistent throughout the paper, however.

Step 5 Make no apologies.

  • Apologetic statements include phrases like "I may not be an expert" or "This is only my opinion."
  • Statements like this can usually be avoided by refraining from writing in the first-person.
  • Avoid any statements in the first-person. First-person is generally considered to be informal and does not fit with the formal tone of a research paper.

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  • ↑ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/04/
  • ↑ http://www.crlsresearchguide.org/18_Writing_Conclusion.asp
  • ↑ http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html#conclusion
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/conclusions/
  • ↑ http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/conclude.html

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a conclusion for a research paper, start by restating your thesis statement to remind your readers what your main topic is and bring everything full circle. Then, briefly summarize all of the main points you made throughout your paper, which will help remind your readers of everything they learned. You might also want to include a call to action if you think more research or work needs to be done on your topic by writing something like, "Despite efforts to contain the disease, more research is needed to develop antibiotics." Finally, end your conclusion by explaining the broader context of your topic and why your readers should care about it, which will help them understand why your topic is relevant and important. For tips from our Academic co-author, like how to avoid common pitfalls when writing your conclusion, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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In a short paper—even a research paper—you don’t need to provide an exhaustive summary as part of your conclusion. But you do need to make some kind of transition between your final body paragraph and your concluding paragraph. This may come in the form of a few sentences of summary. Or it may come in the form of a sentence that brings your readers back to your thesis or main idea and reminds your readers where you began and how far you have traveled.

So, for example, in a paper about the relationship between ADHD and rejection sensitivity, Vanessa Roser begins by introducing readers to the fact that researchers have studied the relationship between the two conditions and then provides her explanation of that relationship. Here’s her thesis: “While socialization may indeed be an important factor in RS, I argue that individuals with ADHD may also possess a neurological predisposition to RS that is exacerbated by the differing executive and emotional regulation characteristic of ADHD.”

In her final paragraph, Roser reminds us of where she started by echoing her thesis: “This literature demonstrates that, as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”  

Highlight the “so what”  

At the beginning of your paper, you explain to your readers what’s at stake—why they should care about the argument you’re making. In your conclusion, you can bring readers back to those stakes by reminding them why your argument is important in the first place. You can also draft a few sentences that put those stakes into a new or broader context.

In the conclusion to her paper about ADHD and RS, Roser echoes the stakes she established in her introduction—that research into connections between ADHD and RS has led to contradictory results, raising questions about the “behavioral mediation hypothesis.”

She writes, “as with many other conditions, ADHD and RS share a delicately intertwined pattern of neurological similarities that is rooted in the innate biology of an individual’s mind, a connection that cannot be explained in full by the behavioral mediation hypothesis.”  

Leave your readers with the “now what”  

After the “what” and the “so what,” you should leave your reader with some final thoughts. If you have written a strong introduction, your readers will know why you have been arguing what you have been arguing—and why they should care. And if you’ve made a good case for your thesis, then your readers should be in a position to see things in a new way, understand new questions, or be ready for something that they weren’t ready for before they read your paper.

In her conclusion, Roser offers two “now what” statements. First, she explains that it is important to recognize that the flawed behavioral mediation hypothesis “seems to place a degree of fault on the individual. It implies that individuals with ADHD must have elicited such frequent or intense rejection by virtue of their inadequate social skills, erasing the possibility that they may simply possess a natural sensitivity to emotion.” She then highlights the broader implications for treatment of people with ADHD, noting that recognizing the actual connection between rejection sensitivity and ADHD “has profound implications for understanding how individuals with ADHD might best be treated in educational settings, by counselors, family, peers, or even society as a whole.”

To find your own “now what” for your essay’s conclusion, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What can my readers now understand, see in a new light, or grapple with that they would not have understood in the same way before reading my paper? Are we a step closer to understanding a larger phenomenon or to understanding why what was at stake is so important?  
  • What questions can I now raise that would not have made sense at the beginning of my paper? Questions for further research? Other ways that this topic could be approached?  
  • Are there other applications for my research? Could my questions be asked about different data in a different context? Could I use my methods to answer a different question?  
  • What action should be taken in light of this argument? What action do I predict will be taken or could lead to a solution?  
  • What larger context might my argument be a part of?  

What to avoid in your conclusion  

  • a complete restatement of all that you have said in your paper.  
  • a substantial counterargument that you do not have space to refute; you should introduce counterarguments before your conclusion.  
  • an apology for what you have not said. If you need to explain the scope of your paper, you should do this sooner—but don’t apologize for what you have not discussed in your paper.  
  • fake transitions like “in conclusion” that are followed by sentences that aren’t actually conclusions. (“In conclusion, I have now demonstrated that my thesis is correct.”)
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How to Write a Research Paper Conclusion Section

research paper how to write the conclusion

What is a conclusion in a research paper?

The conclusion in a research paper is the final paragraph or two in a research paper. In scientific papers, the conclusion usually follows the Discussion section , summarizing the importance of the findings and reminding the reader why the work presented in the paper is relevant.

However, it can be a bit confusing to distinguish the conclusion section/paragraph from a summary or a repetition of your findings, your own opinion, or the statement of the implications of your work. In fact, the conclusion should contain a bit of all of these other parts but go beyond it—but not too far beyond! 

The structure and content of the conclusion section can also vary depending on whether you are writing a research manuscript or an essay. This article will explain how to write a good conclusion section, what exactly it should (and should not) contain, how it should be structured, and what you should avoid when writing it.  

Table of Contents:

What does a good conclusion section do, what to include in a research paper conclusion.

  • Conclusion in an Essay
  • Research Paper Conclusion 
  • Conclusion Paragraph Outline and Example
  • What Not to Do When Writing a Conclusion

The conclusion of a research paper has several key objectives. It should:

  • Restate your research problem addressed in the introduction section
  • Summarize your main arguments, important findings, and broader implications
  • Synthesize key takeaways from your study

The specific content in the conclusion depends on whether your paper presents the results of original scientific research or constructs an argument through engagement with previously published sources.

You presented your general field of study to the reader in the introduction section, by moving from general information (the background of your work, often combined with a literature review ) to the rationale of your study and then to the specific problem or topic you addressed, formulated in the form of the statement of the problem in research or the thesis statement in an essay.

In the conclusion section, in contrast, your task is to move from your specific findings or arguments back to a more general depiction of how your research contributes to the readers’ understanding of a certain concept or helps solve a practical problem, or fills an important gap in the literature. The content of your conclusion section depends on the type of research you are doing and what type of paper you are writing. But whatever the outcome of your work is, the conclusion is where you briefly summarize it and place it within a larger context. It could be called the “take-home message” of the entire paper.

What to summarize in the conclusion

Your conclusion section needs to contain a very brief summary of your work , a very brief summary of the main findings of your work, and a mention of anything else that seems relevant when you now look at your work from a bigger perspective, even if it was not initially listed as one of your main research questions. This could be a limitation, for example, a problem with the design of your experiment that either needs to be considered when drawing any conclusions or that led you to ask a different question and therefore draw different conclusions at the end of your study (compared to when you started out).

Once you have reminded the reader of what you did and what you found, you need to go beyond that and also provide either your own opinion on why your work is relevant (and for whom, and how) or theoretical or practical implications of the study , or make a specific call for action if there is one to be made.   

How to Write an Essay Conclusion

Academic essays follow quite different structures than their counterparts in STEM and the natural sciences. Humanities papers often have conclusion sections that are much longer and contain more detail than scientific papers. There are three main types of academic essay conclusions.

Summarizing conclusion

The most typical conclusion at the end of an analytical/explanatory/argumentative essay is a summarizing conclusion . This is, as the name suggests, a clear summary of the main points of your topic and thesis. Since you might have gone through a number of different arguments or subtopics in the main part of your essay, you need to remind the reader again what those were, how they fit into each other, and how they helped you develop or corroborate your hypothesis.

For an essay that analyzes how recruiters can hire the best candidates in the shortest time or on “how starving yourself will increase your lifespan, according to science”, a summary of all the points you discussed might be all you need. Note that you should not exactly repeat what you said earlier, but rather highlight the essential details and present those to your reader in a different way. 

Externalizing conclusion

If you think that just reminding the reader of your main points is not enough, you can opt for an externalizing conclusion instead, that presents new points that were not presented in the paper so far. These new points can be additional facts and information or they can be ideas that are relevant to the topic and have not been mentioned before.

Such a conclusion can stimulate your readers to think about your topic or the implications of your analysis in a whole new way. For example, at the end of a historical analysis of a specific event or development, you could direct your reader’s attention to some current events that were not the topic of your essay but that provide a different context for your findings.

Editorial conclusion

In an editorial conclusion , another common type of conclusion that you will find at the end of papers and essays, you do not add new information but instead present your own experiences or opinions on the topic to round everything up. What makes this type of conclusion interesting is that you can choose to agree or disagree with the information you presented in your paper so far. For example, if you have collected and analyzed information on how a specific diet helps people lose weight, you can nevertheless have your doubts on the sustainability of that diet or its practicability in real life—if such arguments were not included in your original thesis and have therefore not been covered in the main part of your paper, the conclusion section is the place where you can get your opinion across.    

How to Conclude an Empirical Research Paper

An empirical research paper is usually more concise and succinct than an essay, because, if it is written well, it focuses on one specific question, describes the method that was used to answer that one question, describes and explains the results, and guides the reader in a logical way from the introduction to the discussion without going on tangents or digging into not absolutely relevant topics.

Summarize the findings

In a scientific paper, you should include a summary of the findings. Don’t go into great detail here (you will have presented your in-depth  results  and  discussion  already), but do clearly express the answers to the  research questions  you investigated.

Describe your main findings, even if they weren’t necessarily the ones anticipated, and explain the conclusion they led you to. Explain these findings in as few words as possible.

Instead of beginning with “ In conclusion, in this study, we investigated the effect of stress on the brain using fMRI …”, you should try to find a way to incorporate the repetition of the essential (and only the essential) details into the summary of the key points. “ The findings of this fMRI study on the effect of stress on the brain suggest that …” or “ While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study show that, surprisingly… ” would be better ways to start a conclusion. 

You should also not bring up new ideas or present new facts in the conclusion of a research paper, but stick to the background information you have presented earlier, to the findings you have already discussed, and the limitations and implications you have already described. The one thing you can add here is a practical recommendation that you haven’t clearly stated before—but even that one needs to follow logically from everything you have already discussed in the discussion section.

Discuss the implications

After summing up your key arguments or findings, conclude the paper by stating the broader implications of the research , whether in methods , approach, or findings. Express practical or theoretical takeaways from your paper. This often looks like a “call to action” or a final “sales pitch” that puts an exclamation point on your paper.

If your research topic is more theoretical in nature, your closing statement should express the significance of your argument—for example, in proposing a new understanding of a topic or laying the groundwork for future research.

Future research example

Future research into education standards should focus on establishing a more detailed picture of how novel pedagogical approaches impact young people’s ability to absorb new and difficult concepts. Moreover, observational studies are needed to gain more insight into how specific teaching models affect the retention of relationships and facts—for instance, how inquiry-based learning and its emphasis on lateral thinking can be used as a jumping-off point for more holistic classroom approaches.

Research Conclusion Example and Outline

Let’s revisit the study on the effect of stress on the brain we mentioned before and see what the common structure for a conclusion paragraph looks like, in three steps. Following these simple steps will make it easy for you to wrap everything up in one short paragraph that contains all the essential information: 

One: Short summary of what you did, but integrated into the summary of your findings:

While it has been known for a long time that stress has an effect on the brain, the findings of this fMRI study in 25 university students going through mid-term exams show that, surprisingly, one’s attitude to the experienced stress significantly modulates the brain’s response to it. 

Note that you don’t need to repeat any methodological or technical details here—the reader has been presented with all of these before, they have read your results section and the discussion of your results, and even (hopefully!) a discussion of the limitations and strengths of your paper. The only thing you need to remind them of here is the essential outcome of your work. 

Two: Add implications, and don’t forget to specify who this might be relevant for: 

Students could be considered a specific subsample of the general population, but earlier research shows that the effect that exam stress has on their physical and mental health is comparable to the effects of other types of stress on individuals of other ages and occupations. Further research into practical ways of modulating not only one’s mental stress response but potentially also one’s brain activity (e.g., via neurofeedback training) are warranted.

This is a “research implication”, and it is nicely combined with a mention of a potential limitation of the study (the student sample) that turns out not to be a limitation after all (because earlier research suggests we can generalize to other populations). If there already is a lot of research on neurofeedback for stress control, by the way, then this should have been discussed in your discussion section earlier and you wouldn’t say such studies are “warranted” here but rather specify how your findings could inspire specific future experiments or how they should be implemented in existing applications. 

Three: The most important thing is that your conclusion paragraph accurately reflects the content of your paper. Compare it to your research paper title , your research paper abstract , and to your journal submission cover letter , in case you already have one—if these do not all tell the same story, then you need to go back to your paper, start again from the introduction section, and find out where you lost the logical thread. As always, consistency is key.    

Problems to Avoid When Writing a Conclusion 

  • Do not suddenly introduce new information that has never been mentioned before (unless you are writing an essay and opting for an externalizing conclusion, see above). The conclusion section is not where you want to surprise your readers, but the take-home message of what you have already presented.
  • Do not simply copy your abstract, the conclusion section of your abstract, or the first sentence of your introduction, and put it at the end of the discussion section. Even if these parts of your paper cover the same points, they should not be identical.
  • Do not start the conclusion with “In conclusion”. If it has its own section heading, that is redundant, and if it is the last paragraph of the discussion section, it is inelegant and also not really necessary. The reader expects you to wrap your work up in the last paragraph, so you don’t have to announce that. Just look at the above example to see how to start a conclusion in a natural way.
  • Do not forget what your research objectives were and how you initially formulated the statement of the problem in your introduction section. If your story/approach/conclusions changed because of methodological issues or information you were not aware of when you started, then make sure you go back to the beginning and adapt your entire story (not just the ending). 

Consider Receiving Academic Editing Services

When you have arrived at the conclusion of your paper, you might want to head over to Wordvice AI’s AI Writing Assistant to receive a free grammar check for any academic content. 

After drafting, you can also receive English editing and proofreading services , including paper editing services for your journal manuscript. If you need advice on how to write the other parts of your research paper , or on how to make a research paper outline if you are struggling with putting everything you did together, then head over to the Wordvice academic resources pages , where we have a lot more articles and videos for you.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Writing a conclusion for a research paper is a critical step that often determines the overall impact and impression the paper leaves on the reader. While some may view the conclusion as a mere formality, it is actually an opportunity to wrap up the main points, provide closure, and leave a lasting impression. In this article, we will explore the importance of a well-crafted conclusion and discuss various tips and strategies to help you write an engaging and impactful conclusion for your research paper.

Introduction

Before delving into the specifics of writing a conclusion, it is important to understand why it is such a crucial component of a research paper. The conclusion serves to summarize the main points of the paper and reemphasize their significance. A well-written conclusion can leave the reader satisfied and inspired, while a poorly executed one may undermine the credibility of the entire paper. Therefore, it is essential to give careful thought and attention to crafting an effective conclusion.

When writing a research paper, the conclusion acts as the final destination for the reader. It is the point where all the information, arguments, and evidence presented throughout the paper converge. Just as a traveler reaches the end of a journey, the reader reaches the conclusion to find closure and a sense of fulfillment. This is why the conclusion should not be taken lightly; it is a critical opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the reader.

Moreover, the conclusion is not merely a repetition of the introduction or a summary of the main points. It goes beyond that by providing a deeper understanding of the research findings and their implications. It allows the writer to reflect on the significance of their work and its potential contributions to the field. By doing so, the conclusion elevates the research paper from a mere collection of facts to a thought-provoking piece of scholarship.

In the following sections, we will explore various strategies and techniques for crafting a compelling conclusion. By understanding the importance of the conclusion and learning how to write one effectively, you will be equipped to create impactful research papers.

Structuring the Conclusion

In order to create an effective conclusion, it is important to consider its structure. A well-structured conclusion should begin by restating the thesis statement and summarizing the main points of the paper. It should then move on to provide a concise synthesis of the key findings and arguments, highlighting their implications and relevance. Finally, the conclusion should end with a thought-provoking statement that leaves the reader with a lasting impression.

Additionally, using phrases like "this research demonstrates," "the findings show," or "it is clear that" can help to highlight the significance of your research and emphasize your main conclusions.

Tips for Writing an Engaging Conclusion

Writing an engaging conclusion requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you create an impactful conclusion for your research paper:

  • Revisit the Introduction: Start your conclusion by referencing your introduction. Remind the reader of the research question or problem you initially posed and show how your research has addressed it.
  • Summarize Your Main Points: Provide a concise summary of the main points and arguments presented in your paper. Be sure to restate your thesis statement and highlight the key findings.
  • Offer a Fresh Perspective: Use the conclusion as an opportunity to provide a fresh perspective or offer insights that go beyond the main body of the paper. This will leave the reader with something new to consider.
  • Leave a Lasting Impression: End your conclusion with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action. This will leave a lasting impression on the reader and encourage further exploration of the research topic.

Addressing Counter Arguments In Conclusion

While crafting your conclusion, you can address any potential counterarguments or limitations of your research. This will demonstrate that you have considered alternative perspectives and have taken them into account in your conclusions. By acknowledging potential counterarguments, you can strengthen the credibility and validity of your research. And by openly discussing limitations, you demonstrate transparency and honesty in your research process.

Language and Tone To Be Used In Conclusion

The language and tone of your conclusion play a crucial role in shaping the overall impression of your research paper. It is important to use clear and concise language that is appropriate for the academic context. Avoid using overly informal or colloquial language that may undermine the credibility of your research. Additionally, consider the tone of your conclusion – it should be professional, confident, and persuasive, while still maintaining a respectful and objective tone.

When it comes to the language used in your conclusion, precision is key. You want to ensure that your ideas are communicated effectively and that there is no room for misinterpretation. Using clear and concise language will not only make your conclusion easier to understand but will also demonstrate your command of the subject matter.

Furthermore, it is important to strike the right balance between formality and accessibility. While academic writing typically requires a more formal tone, you should still aim to make your conclusion accessible to a wider audience. This means avoiding jargon or technical terms that may confuse readers who are not familiar with the subject matter. Instead, opt for language that is clear and straightforward, allowing anyone to grasp the main points of your research.

Another aspect to consider is the tone of your conclusion. The tone should reflect the confidence you have in your research findings and the strength of your argument. By adopting a professional and confident tone, you are more likely to convince your readers of the validity and importance of your research. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid sounding arrogant or dismissive of opposing viewpoints. Maintaining a respectful and objective tone will help you engage with your audience in a more persuasive manner.

Moreover, the tone of your conclusion should align with the overall tone of your research paper. Consistency in tone throughout your paper will create a cohesive and unified piece of writing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Conclusion

When writing a conclusion, there are several common mistakes that researchers often make. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can avoid them and create a more effective conclusion for your research paper. Some common mistakes include:

  • Repeating the Introduction: A conclusion should not simply be a reworded version of the introduction. While it is important to revisit the main points, try to present them in a fresh and broader perspective, by foregrounding the implications/impacts of your research.
  • Introducing New Information: The conclusion should not introduce any new information or arguments. Instead, it should focus on summarizing and synthesizing the main points presented in the paper.
  • Being Vague or General: Avoid using vague or general statements in your conclusion. Instead, be specific and provide concrete examples or evidence to support your main points.
  • Ending Abruptly: A conclusion should provide a sense of closure and completeness. Avoid ending your conclusion abruptly or leaving the reader with unanswered questions.

Editing and Revising the Conclusion

Just like the rest of your research paper, the conclusion should go through a thorough editing and revising process. This will help to ensure clarity, coherence, and impact in the conclusion. As you revise your conclusion, consider the following:

  • Check for Consistency: Ensure that your conclusion aligns with the main body of the paper and does not introduce any new or contradictory information.
  • Eliminate Redundancy: Remove any repetitive or redundant information in your conclusion. Instead, focus on presenting the key points in a concise and engaging manner.
  • Proofread for Clarity: Read your conclusion aloud or ask someone else to read it to ensure that it is clear and understandable. Check for any grammatical or spelling errors that may distract the reader.
  • Seek Feedback: Consider sharing your conclusion with peers or mentors to get their feedback and insights. This can help you strengthen your conclusion and make it more impactful.

How to Write Conclusion as a Call to Action

Finally, consider using your conclusion as a call to action. Encourage the reader to take further action, such as conducting additional research or considering the implications of your findings. By providing a clear call to action, you can inspire the reader to actively engage with your research and continue the conversation on the topic.

Adapting to Different Research Paper Types

It is important to adapt your conclusion approach based on the type of research paper you are writing. Different research paper types may require different strategies and approaches to writing the conclusion. For example, a scientific research paper may focus more on summarizing the key findings and implications, while a persuasive research paper may emphasize the call to action and the potential impact of the research. Tailor your conclusion to suit the specific goals and requirements of your research paper.

Final Thoughts

A well-crafted conclusion can leave a lasting impression on the reader and enhance the impact of your research. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can create an engaging and impactful conclusion that effectively summarizes your main points, addresses potential counterarguments, and leaves the reader with a sense of closure and inspiration. Embrace the importance of the conclusion and view it as an opportunity to showcase the significance and relevance of your research.

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How to write a conclusion for a research paper

How to write a conclusion for a research paper

Research paper conclusions provide closure for your paper—but they can be difficult to write. What should you include? In this post, we discuss how to write a conclusion for a research paper.

What is a conclusion?

The conclusion to a research paper sums of your main argument and provides closure for your reader. It will return to your thesis statement and revisit the ways that you proved it.

The content and format of your conclusion will ultimately differ depending on the subject of your paper. Some fields have more specific expectations for what needs to be included.

You should always check your assignment’s guidelines or rubric to ensure that you understand what your instructor expects in a research paper conclusion.

How to write a conclusion

In this section, we break down the main parts of a conclusion and provide tips on how to approach each one.

The opening of a conclusion

The point of a conclusion’s opening statement is to transition from the main body of your paper to the concluding section. Some types of research papers include section headers that label each part of the paper. In these cases, your reader will be able to clearly see that you’re about to conclude.

In most other cases, begin your conclusion with a signal that indicates that you’re moving into the concluding section of your paper. For instance, you might start your conclusion by stating “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” or “in sum.”

What you can include in a conclusion

Although you shouldn’t include any new data or evidence in a conclusion, you can include suggestions for further research, insights about how your research could be applied in different contexts, or a course of action.

The bulk of the conclusion should synthesize—not summarize—the main points of your paper. If your introduction included historical information or an anecdote, return to that information now.

Your conclusion should also answer the “so what” question: why is this research relevant? Who should care about your argument and why?

The ending of a conclusion

Finally, you’ll want to end your conclusion with a closing statement that wraps up your concluding section (and your paper as a whole).

Tips for writing a conclusion

1. don’t include new data or evidence.

Your conclusion should provide closure to your paper, so introducing new information is not appropriate and will likely confuse your reader.

2. Don’t simply restate your thesis

You should never simply copy and paste your thesis statement into your conclusion. Instead, revisit your thesis in light of the evidence and analysis that you put forth in the main body of your paper.

3. Provide closure for your reader

A strong conclusion provides closure for the reader by synthesizing the main points of the paper and putting to rest any questions that the reader may have during the process of reading. The best way to test if your conclusion provides closure is to ask someone to read your paper.

4. Make suggestions for further research

While conclusions should not introduce new data or arguments, they can include suggestions for further research. A single research paper never covers everything—there are always possible new angles and approaches.

Next steps for a successful research paper

Once you’ve written your conclusion, you should review what you’ve written and make revisions, as needed. Then, double-check that you’ve cited all borrowed material and that your paper has a bibliography with accurate citations.

Use BibGuru’s citation generator to quickly create accurate citations for the books, articles, websites, and other sources that you used in your research paper.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to write a conclusion for a research paper

A conclusion contains an opening statement (often a restatement of the thesis), recommendations for further studies or applications, and a closing statement.

Start by signaling to the reader that you are moving into the concluding section.

The length of your conclusion will depend on the length of your paper. Most research paper conclusions will be around 1-2 paragraphs.

End your conclusion with a closing statement that wraps up the paper and provides closure to your reader.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper that Resonates

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The conclusion of a research paper is a crucial part of the entire document. The final section summarizes the main points, restates the thesis statement, and provides closure to the reader. Writing a strong conclusion for a research paper can be challenging because you must bring together all the ideas you’ve presented concisely and compellingly. Don’t fret, as we’ll let you know how to write a conclusion for a research paper like a professional  paper writing service  provider. So, let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

The Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

A great conclusion makes your paper stand out and leaves a lasting impression on your readers. Let us help you figure out how to write a killer conclusion for your research paper.

Four Important Elements of a Research Paper Conclusion

These are the essential elements you must include in the conclusion of your  research paper writing  for a lasting impression.

Restate the Thesis Statement

It’s really important to remind readers of the main argument in your paper. You should state the  thesis statement  in the intro and then again in the conclusion. But don’t just copy and paste the same words! It’s better to rephrase it in a slightly different way so readers know you understand the topic.

Summarize the Main Points of the Research Paper

It’s important to sum up the paper’s main points to show the reader it’s covered the topic well. Just use the topic sentences from the body paragraphs and make it brief; that should do it.

Discuss the Implications of the Research

It’s important to cover the implications of the research so the reader can understand the bigger picture. This part should emphasize the real-world or theoretical implications of the research and explain why the results are important. These implications can involve multiple topics, such as policy, practices, theories, or further research.

Provide Closure to the Reader

A satisfying research paper conclusion is the key to its success. This last section should link together the main points made throughout the paper and make the reader feel like the paper has come to its natural conclusion. It’s a great idea to finish the conclusion with a thought-provoking statement, an invitation to take action or a question that will leave the reader pondering.

For Example:

Tips for Writing A Strong Conclusion

These are the expert tips to help you write a strong conclusion for your research paper:

Tip 1: Keep it Concise and to The Point

Make sure your conclusion is short and sweet, summing up the main points of your research paper without adding anything new. Don’t use different words or phrases to fill up space – say what needs to be said in a simple, straightforward way.

Tip 2: Use language that is clear and easy to understand

Make sure everyone easily understands your conclusion. Don’t use technical words. Stick to the main points and make sure everyone can follow along.

Tip 3: Avoid Introducing New Information

Your conclusion should wrap up the ideas you’ve presented in your paper, not add anything new. Summarize the main ideas and arguments that you’ve presented and show how they back up your thesis.

Tip 4: Use a Strong Concluding Sentence

Wrapping up your paper with a strong conclusion helps tie everything together and leaves an impact on the reader. Why not finish with a thought-provoking question, a call to action or a powerful statement? It’ll be sure to stick with them.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when writing a conclusion for your research paper:

Don’t Repeat the Information

In your research paper conclusion, try not to copy what’s already been said in the body of the paper. Sum up the main points, but don’t just repeat them word for word. Show how the evidence and ideas in the paper back up the thesis.

Avoid Including Personal Opinions and or Biases

Be careful not to let your feelings sneak into the conclusion. Stick to the facts and sum up the main points of your paper instead of giving your own opinion. Keep it objective!

Don’t Use Weak Language or Cliches:

Don’t use weak language or cliches like “in conclusion” or “it can be said that.” Also, don’t say “more research is needed” since it makes your conclusion seem unfulfilled. Instead, be clear about when and where you’re talking about and emphasize the importance of your research.

Example of Good Research Paper Conclusions

It’s important to make a lasting impression on your reader, so having a good conclusion to your research paper is key. Here are some examples of what makes a strong conclusion and the elements that make it effective:

Example 1 – A Research Paper on The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health:

Through the research analysis, it is clear that social media use can significantly negatively affect mental health. To address this issue, individuals and society need to recognize social media’s impact and take steps to mitigate its negative effects. This research highlights the need for further investigation into the relationship between social media and mental health, as well as the development of strategies to promote healthy social media use.

Example 2 – A Research Paper on The Benefits of Exercise:

The findings of this study demonstrate the numerous benefits of regular exercise, including improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, and reduced stress levels. These benefits highlight the importance of physical activity for individuals of all ages and abilities. Individuals and society need to prioritize exercise and promote physical activity to improve overall health and well-being.

Finishing your research paper with a strong conclusion is key to leaving a lasting impact on your reader. We are summarizing the conclusion for a research paper in brief points.

  •  Sum up the main points of your paper and restate your thesis statement.
  • Think about the implications of your research and provide closure for your reader.
  • Keep your language clear and avoid introducing new info.
  • Use a strong conclusion sentence, and don’t make mistakes like repeating yourself or adding personal opinions or bias.

Hopefully you won’t need to search how to write conclusion in research again. Still, if you need help with a conclusion in research paper, you can order today so  our writers  can assist you immediately.

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How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Do you ever feel like you’re inside a black hole when it comes time to write your research paper conclusion? You’ve spent weeks (or months!) gathering reliable sources and supporting evidence, but now that the big moment has come, you don’t know how to sum up all of your hard work! But fear not: even though reaching an effective conclusion for a research paper can seem daunting at times, with a few tips and tricks from experts in the field, anyone can learn how to master this crucial writing skill. In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the most successful strategies for crafting an impressive conclusion for your next masterpiece.

Summarize the main points of your research paper

One of the most important parts of research writing is the conclusion, as it acts as not only a summary of not only your research paper but also a representation of your overall writing ability. Crafting an effective research paper conclusion requires careful consideration of the research evidence and an ability to identify themes and draw connections between these themes. Fortunately, there are several tips to help writers in their journey to composing an effective research paper conclusion. From making sure the conclusion connects to the introduction to summarizing research findings in new and creative ways, following a few simple steps can ensure that writers finish their research papers with confidence.

Identify any unresolved questions or issues in the paper

Finishing up a research paper can often be the hardest part, leading to advice such as “write the conclusion last.” Unaddressed questions and issues within the paper present an additional challenge when writing the closing remarks. Careful consideration of how to end a research paper should include an honest assessment of what remains unresolved after studying the topic. Addressing any remaining questions or issues will not only ensure closure on your research paper; it also has lasting benefits by providing advice for future studies on similar topics.

Offer a solution or suggestion for future research

To successfully conclude a research paper, it is important to apply certain tricks and advice from experts. Future research should focus on understanding the ways in which a good conclusion can be written so as to add value to the overall paper. Discussions could focus on elements that are generally valued in concluding paragraphs, such as summarizing key findings and implications of the study, validating the research problem statement, and linking back to previously presented evidence. With this kind of insight into concluding statements, researchers would have better chances of producing worthwhile scholarly contributions .

Reflect on the overall implications of your findings

After completing the research process and coming to a conclusion, it is important to reflect on its overall implication. When it comes to how to end a research paper, one must think about what the conclusion implies for future endeavors and application of knowledge. Reflecting on implications can create questions for further research opportunities or exalt original interpretations from the conclusion. Writing with this in mind allows conclusion statements that truly encapsulate the importance of research outcomes.

Restate the thesis in different terms

Writing a strong conclusion for your research paper can be tricky, but there are tips and tricks that can help. One great technique is to restate the thesis in different terms. Doing so allows you to emphasize the main points of your paper and tie them all together into one appealing conclusion. Additionally, it needs to follow from the content covered throughout the body of your essay and connect it with other information presented at the beginning or throughout the paper. With some clever word choices and rhetorical devices, you have the potential to create an effective ending that will leave your reader with a lasting impression.

End with a call to action for readers to take away from your work

As concluding a research paper can be challenging, it is important to reiterate the main ideas and provide an actionable call to conclusion. While providing advice to readers is a great way to tie up loose ends in any research paper, one must also think carefully about what advice they provide. Offer up a course of action that pushes forward your thesis while remaining conscious of the limitations and complexities behind your work. An effective concluding statement speaks on behalf of both those researching and reading, leaving a lasting impression without unintentionally oversimplifying the material.

If you would like help transforming your ideas into clear and well-structured writing, contact Elite Editing today.

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Top 50 Geography Research Topics [Revised]

Geography Research Topics

Geography isn’t just about maps and memorizing capital cities; it’s a dynamic field that delves into everything from understanding our planet’s physical features to unraveling the complexities of human societies. In this blog, we’ll embark on a journey through fascinating geography research topics, ranging from climate change and urbanization to cultural dynamics and emerging trends. Whether you’re a curious student or simply someone intrigued by the world around you, join us as we explore the diverse realms of geography research.

What Are The Three Main Topics Of Geography?

Table of Contents

  • Physical Geography
  • Study of Earth’s physical features, processes, and phenomena.
  • Example: Investigating the formation of mountains, erosion patterns in river systems, or the impact of climate change on ecosystems.
  • Human Geography
  • Examination of the interactions between human societies and their environments.
  • Example: Analyzing urbanization trends, migration patterns, cultural landscapes, or economic activities within specific regions.
  • Environmental Geography
  • Focus on the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings, including the impact of human activities on the environment.
  • Example: Researching pollution levels in urban areas, deforestation rates in tropical rainforests, or the conservation of endangered species and habitats.

50 Geography Research Topics: Category Wise

Physical geography research topics.

  • Impact of climate change on polar ice caps.
  • Patterns of desertification in arid regions.
  • Formation and evolution of volcanic islands.
  • Study of river meandering and channel migration.
  • Factors influencing the distribution of biomes worldwide.

Human Geography Research Topics

  • Urbanization dynamics in developing countries.
  • Social and economic impacts of gentrification in urban neighborhoods.
  • Migration patterns and trends in Europe.
  • Cultural landscapes and identity politics in contested territories.
  • Gender disparities in access to resources and opportunities in rural areas.

Environmental Geography Research Topics

  • Analysis of air quality in megacities.
  • Impacts of deforestation on local biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest.
  • Water scarcity and management strategies in arid regions.
  • Ecotourism and its role in sustainable development.
  • Effects of marine pollution on coral reef ecosystems.

Geographical Techniques and Tools Research Topics

  • Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in disaster management.
  • Remote sensing techniques for monitoring agricultural productivity.
  • Cartographic visualization of population density and distribution.
  • Spatial analysis of crime patterns in urban areas.
  • Geographical modeling of disease spread and containment strategies.

Regional Geography Research Topics

  • Socioeconomic disparities between urban and rural regions in India.
  • Geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea.
  • Cultural diversity and integration in multicultural cities like London or New York.
  • Environmental challenges facing the African Sahel region.
  • Regional impacts of globalization on indigenous communities in South America.

Cultural Geography Research Topics

  • Influence of religion on cultural landscapes in the Middle East.
  • Cultural diffusion and globalization in the digital age.
  • Preservation of intangible cultural heritage in UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures in Australia.
  • Gender roles and cultural practices in traditional societies.

Economic Geography Research Topics

  • Spatial distribution of industries in emerging economies.
  • Trade patterns and economic integration in the European Union.
  • Impact of globalization on labor markets in Southeast Asia.
  • Role of transportation infrastructure in regional economic development.
  • Economic consequences of natural disasters on local communities.

Political Geography Research Topics

  • Border disputes and territorial conflicts in the Middle East.
  • Secessionist movements and autonomy struggles in Europe.
  • Role of international organizations in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
  • Geopolitical implications of Arctic resource extraction.
  • Influence of soft power and cultural diplomacy in international relations.

Social Geography Research Topics

  • Spatial patterns of poverty and social exclusion in urban areas.
  • Dynamics of neighborhood segregation and integration in diverse cities.
  • Impact of social media on community engagement and activism.
  • Gender-based violence and spatial justice in urban environments.
  • Cultural dimensions of health disparities in rural communities.

Historical Geography Research Topics

  • Legacy of colonialism in shaping urban landscapes in former colonies.
  • Evolution of trade routes and their impact on cultural diffusion.
  • Archaeological landscape studies of ancient civilizations.
  • Historical geography of migration and diaspora communities.
  • Environmental history of industrialization and its long-term impacts on ecosystems.

How To Write A Geography Research Paper?

Writing a geography research paper involves several key steps to ensure a well-structured, coherent, and informative document. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a geography research paper:

  • Choose a Topic: Select a specific and focused research topic within the field of geography that interests you. Consider the scope of your paper, available resources, and the significance of the topic in the field.
  • Conduct Research: Gather relevant sources of information such as scholarly articles, books, journals, government publications, and online databases. Use both primary and secondary sources to support your research and develop a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
  • Develop a clear and short thesis statement that explains what your research paper is about. This statement should show the main idea or point you’re going to talk about in your paper.
  • Organize your paper by making a plan or outline. Split it into different parts like the introduction, where you start talking about your topic and explain why it’s important. Then, include a literature review where you talk about what others have already studied about your topic. If you did any special methods in your research, talk about them in the methodology section. Then, show your findings or results, discuss them, and finally, conclude your paper. Make sure you outline all the important things you want to talk about in each section.
  • Start your paper with an interesting introduction. Tell the reader some background information about your topic and why it’s important. Also, introduce your thesis statement here. Explain what you’ll be talking about in your research paper to help guide the reader through your paper.
  • Conduct a Literature Review: Review existing literature and research related to your topic to contextualize your study and identify gaps or areas for further investigation. Summarize key findings, methodologies, and theories from previous studies to support your own research.
  • Describe Your Methodology (If Applicable): If your research involves empirical data collection or analysis, describe the methodology and research design used in your study. Explain the research methods, data sources, sampling techniques, and analytical tools employed to gather and analyze data.
  • Present Your Findings: Present the results of your research in a clear and systematic manner. Use tables, graphs, maps, and other visual aids to illustrate your findings and enhance comprehension. Provide descriptive and analytical interpretations of the data to support your arguments.
  • Discuss Your Results: Analyze and interpret the significance of your research findings in relation to your thesis statement and research objectives. Discuss any patterns, trends, or relationships observed in the data and explore their implications for the broader field of geography.
  • Draw Conclusions: Summarize the main findings of your research and reiterate the significance of your study. Discuss any limitations or constraints encountered during the research process and propose areas for future research or further investigation.
  • Cite Your Sources: Ensure that you properly cite all sources of information used in your research paper according to the citation style specified by your instructor or academic institution. Use in-text citations and include a comprehensive bibliography or reference list at the end of your paper.
  • Proofread and Revise: Review your research paper carefully for grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies. Revise and refine your writing to improve clarity, coherence, and overall quality. Consider seeking feedback from peers, mentors, or academic advisors to further enhance your paper.

Emerging Topics in Geography Research

As our world continues to evolve, new frontiers of geography research are constantly emerging. From the quest for sustainable development to the rise of smart cities and the challenges of climate resilience, researchers are grappling with complex issues that defy easy solutions.

One promising avenue of research is the integration of indigenous knowledge and perspectives into geographic studies. By recognizing the wisdom of traditional cultures and their deep connection to the land, researchers can develop more holistic approaches to environmental management and conservation.

In conclusion, geography research offers a rich tapestry of topics that span the natural and social sciences. Whether it’s unraveling the mysteries of climate change, exploring the dynamics of urbanization, or celebrating the diversity of cultural landscapes, there’s something for everyone in the world of geography research.

So, whether you’re a student embarking on geography research topics or simply a curious explorer seeking to understand the world around you, take heart in knowing that the adventure has only just begun. Happy exploring!

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GOVT 3557 Exceptionalism Questioned: America and Europe

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Do you want to learn the discussion-based case method as taught at the Harvard Business School? Do you want to learn how to write a long research paper? Do you not want to take a final examination? If so this course may be for you. Since the beginning of the republic, American intellectuals, politicians and businessmen have extolled the exceptionalism of America. In a world of diverse forms of capitalism, can this view be sustained? Is America a shining city on the hill or a darkened city in the valley? Comparison is an effective way to discern and assess what is unique and what is general in the distinctive form of America's capitalist democracy. In this course the liberal market economy of the United States with its distinctive strengths and weaknesses is put side-by-side with different forms of liberal, corporatist and statist market economies that characterize different European countries in the emerging European polity. The diversity of capitalism points to one overarching conclusion: all of these countries are arguably capitalist, democratic market economies belonging to "the West;" and each of them has distinctive strengths and weaknesses. Like all other countries, America is ordinary in mobilizing its formidable capacities and displaying its glaring weaknesses as it copes with change. 

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The news and editorial staff of the Delco Daily Times had no role in this post’s preparation.

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  • Published: 26 March 2024

Predicting and improving complex beer flavor through machine learning

  • Michiel Schreurs   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9449-5619 1 , 2 , 3   na1 ,
  • Supinya Piampongsant 1 , 2 , 3   na1 ,
  • Miguel Roncoroni   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7461-1427 1 , 2 , 3   na1 ,
  • Lloyd Cool   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9936-3124 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,
  • Beatriz Herrera-Malaver   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5096-9974 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Christophe Vanderaa   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7443-5427 4 ,
  • Florian A. Theßeling 1 , 2 , 3 ,
  • Łukasz Kreft   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7620-4657 5 ,
  • Alexander Botzki   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6691-4233 5 ,
  • Philippe Malcorps 6 ,
  • Luk Daenen 6 ,
  • Tom Wenseleers   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1434-861X 4 &
  • Kevin J. Verstrepen   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3077-6219 1 , 2 , 3  

Nature Communications volume  15 , Article number:  2368 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Chemical engineering
  • Gas chromatography
  • Machine learning
  • Metabolomics
  • Taste receptors

The perception and appreciation of food flavor depends on many interacting chemical compounds and external factors, and therefore proves challenging to understand and predict. Here, we combine extensive chemical and sensory analyses of 250 different beers to train machine learning models that allow predicting flavor and consumer appreciation. For each beer, we measure over 200 chemical properties, perform quantitative descriptive sensory analysis with a trained tasting panel and map data from over 180,000 consumer reviews to train 10 different machine learning models. The best-performing algorithm, Gradient Boosting, yields models that significantly outperform predictions based on conventional statistics and accurately predict complex food features and consumer appreciation from chemical profiles. Model dissection allows identifying specific and unexpected compounds as drivers of beer flavor and appreciation. Adding these compounds results in variants of commercial alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers with improved consumer appreciation. Together, our study reveals how big data and machine learning uncover complex links between food chemistry, flavor and consumer perception, and lays the foundation to develop novel, tailored foods with superior flavors.

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Introduction

Predicting and understanding food perception and appreciation is one of the major challenges in food science. Accurate modeling of food flavor and appreciation could yield important opportunities for both producers and consumers, including quality control, product fingerprinting, counterfeit detection, spoilage detection, and the development of new products and product combinations (food pairing) 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 . Accurate models for flavor and consumer appreciation would contribute greatly to our scientific understanding of how humans perceive and appreciate flavor. Moreover, accurate predictive models would also facilitate and standardize existing food assessment methods and could supplement or replace assessments by trained and consumer tasting panels, which are variable, expensive and time-consuming 7 , 8 , 9 . Lastly, apart from providing objective, quantitative, accurate and contextual information that can help producers, models can also guide consumers in understanding their personal preferences 10 .

Despite the myriad of applications, predicting food flavor and appreciation from its chemical properties remains a largely elusive goal in sensory science, especially for complex food and beverages 11 , 12 . A key obstacle is the immense number of flavor-active chemicals underlying food flavor. Flavor compounds can vary widely in chemical structure and concentration, making them technically challenging and labor-intensive to quantify, even in the face of innovations in metabolomics, such as non-targeted metabolic fingerprinting 13 , 14 . Moreover, sensory analysis is perhaps even more complicated. Flavor perception is highly complex, resulting from hundreds of different molecules interacting at the physiochemical and sensorial level. Sensory perception is often non-linear, characterized by complex and concentration-dependent synergistic and antagonistic effects 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 that are further convoluted by the genetics, environment, culture and psychology of consumers 22 , 23 , 24 . Perceived flavor is therefore difficult to measure, with problems of sensitivity, accuracy, and reproducibility that can only be resolved by gathering sufficiently large datasets 25 . Trained tasting panels are considered the prime source of quality sensory data, but require meticulous training, are low throughput and high cost. Public databases containing consumer reviews of food products could provide a valuable alternative, especially for studying appreciation scores, which do not require formal training 25 . Public databases offer the advantage of amassing large amounts of data, increasing the statistical power to identify potential drivers of appreciation. However, public datasets suffer from biases, including a bias in the volunteers that contribute to the database, as well as confounding factors such as price, cult status and psychological conformity towards previous ratings of the product.

Classical multivariate statistics and machine learning methods have been used to predict flavor of specific compounds by, for example, linking structural properties of a compound to its potential biological activities or linking concentrations of specific compounds to sensory profiles 1 , 26 . Importantly, most previous studies focused on predicting organoleptic properties of single compounds (often based on their chemical structure) 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , thus ignoring the fact that these compounds are present in a complex matrix in food or beverages and excluding complex interactions between compounds. Moreover, the classical statistics commonly used in sensory science 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 require a large sample size and sufficient variance amongst predictors to create accurate models. They are not fit for studying an extensive set of hundreds of interacting flavor compounds, since they are sensitive to outliers, have a high tendency to overfit and are less suited for non-linear and discontinuous relationships 40 .

In this study, we combine extensive chemical analyses and sensory data of a set of different commercial beers with machine learning approaches to develop models that predict taste, smell, mouthfeel and appreciation from compound concentrations. Beer is particularly suited to model the relationship between chemistry, flavor and appreciation. First, beer is a complex product, consisting of thousands of flavor compounds that partake in complex sensory interactions 41 , 42 , 43 . This chemical diversity arises from the raw materials (malt, yeast, hops, water and spices) and biochemical conversions during the brewing process (kilning, mashing, boiling, fermentation, maturation and aging) 44 , 45 . Second, the advent of the internet saw beer consumers embrace online review platforms, such as RateBeer (ZX Ventures, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV) and BeerAdvocate (Next Glass, inc.). In this way, the beer community provides massive data sets of beer flavor and appreciation scores, creating extraordinarily large sensory databases to complement the analyses of our professional sensory panel. Specifically, we characterize over 200 chemical properties of 250 commercial beers, spread across 22 beer styles, and link these to the descriptive sensory profiling data of a 16-person in-house trained tasting panel and data acquired from over 180,000 public consumer reviews. These unique and extensive datasets enable us to train a suite of machine learning models to predict flavor and appreciation from a beer’s chemical profile. Dissection of the best-performing models allows us to pinpoint specific compounds as potential drivers of beer flavor and appreciation. Follow-up experiments confirm the importance of these compounds and ultimately allow us to significantly improve the flavor and appreciation of selected commercial beers. Together, our study represents a significant step towards understanding complex flavors and reinforces the value of machine learning to develop and refine complex foods. In this way, it represents a stepping stone for further computer-aided food engineering applications 46 .

To generate a comprehensive dataset on beer flavor, we selected 250 commercial Belgian beers across 22 different beer styles (Supplementary Fig.  S1 ). Beers with ≤ 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) were classified as non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic. Blonds and Tripels constitute a significant portion of the dataset (12.4% and 11.2%, respectively) reflecting their presence on the Belgian beer market and the heterogeneity of beers within these styles. By contrast, lager beers are less diverse and dominated by a handful of brands. Rare styles such as Brut or Faro make up only a small fraction of the dataset (2% and 1%, respectively) because fewer of these beers are produced and because they are dominated by distinct characteristics in terms of flavor and chemical composition.

Extensive analysis identifies relationships between chemical compounds in beer

For each beer, we measured 226 different chemical properties, including common brewing parameters such as alcohol content, iso-alpha acids, pH, sugar concentration 47 , and over 200 flavor compounds (Methods, Supplementary Table  S1 ). A large portion (37.2%) are terpenoids arising from hopping, responsible for herbal and fruity flavors 16 , 48 . A second major category are yeast metabolites, such as esters and alcohols, that result in fruity and solvent notes 48 , 49 , 50 . Other measured compounds are primarily derived from malt, or other microbes such as non- Saccharomyces yeasts and bacteria (‘wild flora’). Compounds that arise from spices or staling are labeled under ‘Others’. Five attributes (caloric value, total acids and total ester, hop aroma and sulfur compounds) are calculated from multiple individually measured compounds.

As a first step in identifying relationships between chemical properties, we determined correlations between the concentrations of the compounds (Fig.  1 , upper panel, Supplementary Data  1 and 2 , and Supplementary Fig.  S2 . For the sake of clarity, only a subset of the measured compounds is shown in Fig.  1 ). Compounds of the same origin typically show a positive correlation, while absence of correlation hints at parameters varying independently. For example, the hop aroma compounds citronellol, and alpha-terpineol show moderate correlations with each other (Spearman’s rho=0.39 and 0.57), but not with the bittering hop component iso-alpha acids (Spearman’s rho=0.16 and −0.07). This illustrates how brewers can independently modify hop aroma and bitterness by selecting hop varieties and dosage time. If hops are added early in the boiling phase, chemical conversions increase bitterness while aromas evaporate, conversely, late addition of hops preserves aroma but limits bitterness 51 . Similarly, hop-derived iso-alpha acids show a strong anti-correlation with lactic acid and acetic acid, likely reflecting growth inhibition of lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria, or the consequent use of fewer hops in sour beer styles, such as West Flanders ales and Fruit beers, that rely on these bacteria for their distinct flavors 52 . Finally, yeast-derived esters (ethyl acetate, ethyl decanoate, ethyl hexanoate, ethyl octanoate) and alcohols (ethanol, isoamyl alcohol, isobutanol, and glycerol), correlate with Spearman coefficients above 0.5, suggesting that these secondary metabolites are correlated with the yeast genetic background and/or fermentation parameters and may be difficult to influence individually, although the choice of yeast strain may offer some control 53 .

figure 1

Spearman rank correlations are shown. Descriptors are grouped according to their origin (malt (blue), hops (green), yeast (red), wild flora (yellow), Others (black)), and sensory aspect (aroma, taste, palate, and overall appreciation). Please note that for the chemical compounds, for the sake of clarity, only a subset of the total number of measured compounds is shown, with an emphasis on the key compounds for each source. For more details, see the main text and Methods section. Chemical data can be found in Supplementary Data  1 , correlations between all chemical compounds are depicted in Supplementary Fig.  S2 and correlation values can be found in Supplementary Data  2 . See Supplementary Data  4 for sensory panel assessments and Supplementary Data  5 for correlation values between all sensory descriptors.

Interestingly, different beer styles show distinct patterns for some flavor compounds (Supplementary Fig.  S3 ). These observations agree with expectations for key beer styles, and serve as a control for our measurements. For instance, Stouts generally show high values for color (darker), while hoppy beers contain elevated levels of iso-alpha acids, compounds associated with bitter hop taste. Acetic and lactic acid are not prevalent in most beers, with notable exceptions such as Kriek, Lambic, Faro, West Flanders ales and Flanders Old Brown, which use acid-producing bacteria ( Lactobacillus and Pediococcus ) or unconventional yeast ( Brettanomyces ) 54 , 55 . Glycerol, ethanol and esters show similar distributions across all beer styles, reflecting their common origin as products of yeast metabolism during fermentation 45 , 53 . Finally, low/no-alcohol beers contain low concentrations of glycerol and esters. This is in line with the production process for most of the low/no-alcohol beers in our dataset, which are produced through limiting fermentation or by stripping away alcohol via evaporation or dialysis, with both methods having the unintended side-effect of reducing the amount of flavor compounds in the final beer 56 , 57 .

Besides expected associations, our data also reveals less trivial associations between beer styles and specific parameters. For example, geraniol and citronellol, two monoterpenoids responsible for citrus, floral and rose flavors and characteristic of Citra hops, are found in relatively high amounts in Christmas, Saison, and Brett/co-fermented beers, where they may originate from terpenoid-rich spices such as coriander seeds instead of hops 58 .

Tasting panel assessments reveal sensorial relationships in beer

To assess the sensory profile of each beer, a trained tasting panel evaluated each of the 250 beers for 50 sensory attributes, including different hop, malt and yeast flavors, off-flavors and spices. Panelists used a tasting sheet (Supplementary Data  3 ) to score the different attributes. Panel consistency was evaluated by repeating 12 samples across different sessions and performing ANOVA. In 95% of cases no significant difference was found across sessions ( p  > 0.05), indicating good panel consistency (Supplementary Table  S2 ).

Aroma and taste perception reported by the trained panel are often linked (Fig.  1 , bottom left panel and Supplementary Data  4 and 5 ), with high correlations between hops aroma and taste (Spearman’s rho=0.83). Bitter taste was found to correlate with hop aroma and taste in general (Spearman’s rho=0.80 and 0.69), and particularly with “grassy” noble hops (Spearman’s rho=0.75). Barnyard flavor, most often associated with sour beers, is identified together with stale hops (Spearman’s rho=0.97) that are used in these beers. Lactic and acetic acid, which often co-occur, are correlated (Spearman’s rho=0.66). Interestingly, sweetness and bitterness are anti-correlated (Spearman’s rho = −0.48), confirming the hypothesis that they mask each other 59 , 60 . Beer body is highly correlated with alcohol (Spearman’s rho = 0.79), and overall appreciation is found to correlate with multiple aspects that describe beer mouthfeel (alcohol, carbonation; Spearman’s rho= 0.32, 0.39), as well as with hop and ester aroma intensity (Spearman’s rho=0.39 and 0.35).

Similar to the chemical analyses, sensorial analyses confirmed typical features of specific beer styles (Supplementary Fig.  S4 ). For example, sour beers (Faro, Flanders Old Brown, Fruit beer, Kriek, Lambic, West Flanders ale) were rated acidic, with flavors of both acetic and lactic acid. Hoppy beers were found to be bitter and showed hop-associated aromas like citrus and tropical fruit. Malt taste is most detected among scotch, stout/porters, and strong ales, while low/no-alcohol beers, which often have a reputation for being ‘worty’ (reminiscent of unfermented, sweet malt extract) appear in the middle. Unsurprisingly, hop aromas are most strongly detected among hoppy beers. Like its chemical counterpart (Supplementary Fig.  S3 ), acidity shows a right-skewed distribution, with the most acidic beers being Krieks, Lambics, and West Flanders ales.

Tasting panel assessments of specific flavors correlate with chemical composition

We find that the concentrations of several chemical compounds strongly correlate with specific aroma or taste, as evaluated by the tasting panel (Fig.  2 , Supplementary Fig.  S5 , Supplementary Data  6 ). In some cases, these correlations confirm expectations and serve as a useful control for data quality. For example, iso-alpha acids, the bittering compounds in hops, strongly correlate with bitterness (Spearman’s rho=0.68), while ethanol and glycerol correlate with tasters’ perceptions of alcohol and body, the mouthfeel sensation of fullness (Spearman’s rho=0.82/0.62 and 0.72/0.57 respectively) and darker color from roasted malts is a good indication of malt perception (Spearman’s rho=0.54).

figure 2

Heatmap colors indicate Spearman’s Rho. Axes are organized according to sensory categories (aroma, taste, mouthfeel, overall), chemical categories and chemical sources in beer (malt (blue), hops (green), yeast (red), wild flora (yellow), Others (black)). See Supplementary Data  6 for all correlation values.

Interestingly, for some relationships between chemical compounds and perceived flavor, correlations are weaker than expected. For example, the rose-smelling phenethyl acetate only weakly correlates with floral aroma. This hints at more complex relationships and interactions between compounds and suggests a need for a more complex model than simple correlations. Lastly, we uncovered unexpected correlations. For instance, the esters ethyl decanoate and ethyl octanoate appear to correlate slightly with hop perception and bitterness, possibly due to their fruity flavor. Iron is anti-correlated with hop aromas and bitterness, most likely because it is also anti-correlated with iso-alpha acids. This could be a sign of metal chelation of hop acids 61 , given that our analyses measure unbound hop acids and total iron content, or could result from the higher iron content in dark and Fruit beers, which typically have less hoppy and bitter flavors 62 .

Public consumer reviews complement expert panel data

To complement and expand the sensory data of our trained tasting panel, we collected 180,000 reviews of our 250 beers from the online consumer review platform RateBeer. This provided numerical scores for beer appearance, aroma, taste, palate, overall quality as well as the average overall score.

Public datasets are known to suffer from biases, such as price, cult status and psychological conformity towards previous ratings of a product. For example, prices correlate with appreciation scores for these online consumer reviews (rho=0.49, Supplementary Fig.  S6 ), but not for our trained tasting panel (rho=0.19). This suggests that prices affect consumer appreciation, which has been reported in wine 63 , while blind tastings are unaffected. Moreover, we observe that some beer styles, like lagers and non-alcoholic beers, generally receive lower scores, reflecting that online reviewers are mostly beer aficionados with a preference for specialty beers over lager beers. In general, we find a modest correlation between our trained panel’s overall appreciation score and the online consumer appreciation scores (Fig.  3 , rho=0.29). Apart from the aforementioned biases in the online datasets, serving temperature, sample freshness and surroundings, which are all tightly controlled during the tasting panel sessions, can vary tremendously across online consumers and can further contribute to (among others, appreciation) differences between the two categories of tasters. Importantly, in contrast to the overall appreciation scores, for many sensory aspects the results from the professional panel correlated well with results obtained from RateBeer reviews. Correlations were highest for features that are relatively easy to recognize even for untrained tasters, like bitterness, sweetness, alcohol and malt aroma (Fig.  3 and below).

figure 3

RateBeer text mining results can be found in Supplementary Data  7 . Rho values shown are Spearman correlation values, with asterisks indicating significant correlations ( p  < 0.05, two-sided). All p values were smaller than 0.001, except for Esters aroma (0.0553), Esters taste (0.3275), Esters aroma—banana (0.0019), Coriander (0.0508) and Diacetyl (0.0134).

Besides collecting consumer appreciation from these online reviews, we developed automated text analysis tools to gather additional data from review texts (Supplementary Data  7 ). Processing review texts on the RateBeer database yielded comparable results to the scores given by the trained panel for many common sensory aspects, including acidity, bitterness, sweetness, alcohol, malt, and hop tastes (Fig.  3 ). This is in line with what would be expected, since these attributes require less training for accurate assessment and are less influenced by environmental factors such as temperature, serving glass and odors in the environment. Consumer reviews also correlate well with our trained panel for 4-vinyl guaiacol, a compound associated with a very characteristic aroma. By contrast, correlations for more specific aromas like ester, coriander or diacetyl are underrepresented in the online reviews, underscoring the importance of using a trained tasting panel and standardized tasting sheets with explicit factors to be scored for evaluating specific aspects of a beer. Taken together, our results suggest that public reviews are trustworthy for some, but not all, flavor features and can complement or substitute taste panel data for these sensory aspects.

Models can predict beer sensory profiles from chemical data

The rich datasets of chemical analyses, tasting panel assessments and public reviews gathered in the first part of this study provided us with a unique opportunity to develop predictive models that link chemical data to sensorial features. Given the complexity of beer flavor, basic statistical tools such as correlations or linear regression may not always be the most suitable for making accurate predictions. Instead, we applied different machine learning models that can model both simple linear and complex interactive relationships. Specifically, we constructed a set of regression models to predict (a) trained panel scores for beer flavor and quality and (b) public reviews’ appreciation scores from beer chemical profiles. We trained and tested 10 different models (Methods), 3 linear regression-based models (simple linear regression with first-order interactions (LR), lasso regression with first-order interactions (Lasso), partial least squares regressor (PLSR)), 5 decision tree models (AdaBoost regressor (ABR), extra trees (ET), gradient boosting regressor (GBR), random forest (RF) and XGBoost regressor (XGBR)), 1 support vector regression (SVR), and 1 artificial neural network (ANN) model.

To compare the performance of our machine learning models, the dataset was randomly split into a training and test set, stratified by beer style. After a model was trained on data in the training set, its performance was evaluated on its ability to predict the test dataset obtained from multi-output models (based on the coefficient of determination, see Methods). Additionally, individual-attribute models were ranked per descriptor and the average rank was calculated, as proposed by Korneva et al. 64 . Importantly, both ways of evaluating the models’ performance agreed in general. Performance of the different models varied (Table  1 ). It should be noted that all models perform better at predicting RateBeer results than results from our trained tasting panel. One reason could be that sensory data is inherently variable, and this variability is averaged out with the large number of public reviews from RateBeer. Additionally, all tree-based models perform better at predicting taste than aroma. Linear models (LR) performed particularly poorly, with negative R 2 values, due to severe overfitting (training set R 2  = 1). Overfitting is a common issue in linear models with many parameters and limited samples, especially with interaction terms further amplifying the number of parameters. L1 regularization (Lasso) successfully overcomes this overfitting, out-competing multiple tree-based models on the RateBeer dataset. Similarly, the dimensionality reduction of PLSR avoids overfitting and improves performance, to some extent. Still, tree-based models (ABR, ET, GBR, RF and XGBR) show the best performance, out-competing the linear models (LR, Lasso, PLSR) commonly used in sensory science 65 .

GBR models showed the best overall performance in predicting sensory responses from chemical information, with R 2 values up to 0.75 depending on the predicted sensory feature (Supplementary Table  S4 ). The GBR models predict consumer appreciation (RateBeer) better than our trained panel’s appreciation (R 2 value of 0.67 compared to R 2 value of 0.09) (Supplementary Table  S3 and Supplementary Table  S4 ). ANN models showed intermediate performance, likely because neural networks typically perform best with larger datasets 66 . The SVR shows intermediate performance, mostly due to the weak predictions of specific attributes that lower the overall performance (Supplementary Table  S4 ).

Model dissection identifies specific, unexpected compounds as drivers of consumer appreciation

Next, we leveraged our models to infer important contributors to sensory perception and consumer appreciation. Consumer preference is a crucial sensory aspects, because a product that shows low consumer appreciation scores often does not succeed commercially 25 . Additionally, the requirement for a large number of representative evaluators makes consumer trials one of the more costly and time-consuming aspects of product development. Hence, a model for predicting chemical drivers of overall appreciation would be a welcome addition to the available toolbox for food development and optimization.

Since GBR models on our RateBeer dataset showed the best overall performance, we focused on these models. Specifically, we used two approaches to identify important contributors. First, rankings of the most important predictors for each sensorial trait in the GBR models were obtained based on impurity-based feature importance (mean decrease in impurity). High-ranked parameters were hypothesized to be either the true causal chemical properties underlying the trait, to correlate with the actual causal properties, or to take part in sensory interactions affecting the trait 67 (Fig.  4A ). In a second approach, we used SHAP 68 to determine which parameters contributed most to the model for making predictions of consumer appreciation (Fig.  4B ). SHAP calculates parameter contributions to model predictions on a per-sample basis, which can be aggregated into an importance score.

figure 4

A The impurity-based feature importance (mean deviance in impurity, MDI) calculated from the Gradient Boosting Regression (GBR) model predicting RateBeer appreciation scores. The top 15 highest ranked chemical properties are shown. B SHAP summary plot for the top 15 parameters contributing to our GBR model. Each point on the graph represents a sample from our dataset. The color represents the concentration of that parameter, with bluer colors representing low values and redder colors representing higher values. Greater absolute values on the horizontal axis indicate a higher impact of the parameter on the prediction of the model. C Spearman correlations between the 15 most important chemical properties and consumer overall appreciation. Numbers indicate the Spearman Rho correlation coefficient, and the rank of this correlation compared to all other correlations. The top 15 important compounds were determined using SHAP (panel B).

Both approaches identified ethyl acetate as the most predictive parameter for beer appreciation (Fig.  4 ). Ethyl acetate is the most abundant ester in beer with a typical ‘fruity’, ‘solvent’ and ‘alcoholic’ flavor, but is often considered less important than other esters like isoamyl acetate. The second most important parameter identified by SHAP is ethanol, the most abundant beer compound after water. Apart from directly contributing to beer flavor and mouthfeel, ethanol drastically influences the physical properties of beer, dictating how easily volatile compounds escape the beer matrix to contribute to beer aroma 69 . Importantly, it should also be noted that the importance of ethanol for appreciation is likely inflated by the very low appreciation scores of non-alcoholic beers (Supplementary Fig.  S4 ). Despite not often being considered a driver of beer appreciation, protein level also ranks highly in both approaches, possibly due to its effect on mouthfeel and body 70 . Lactic acid, which contributes to the tart taste of sour beers, is the fourth most important parameter identified by SHAP, possibly due to the generally high appreciation of sour beers in our dataset.

Interestingly, some of the most important predictive parameters for our model are not well-established as beer flavors or are even commonly regarded as being negative for beer quality. For example, our models identify methanethiol and ethyl phenyl acetate, an ester commonly linked to beer staling 71 , as a key factor contributing to beer appreciation. Although there is no doubt that high concentrations of these compounds are considered unpleasant, the positive effects of modest concentrations are not yet known 72 , 73 .

To compare our approach to conventional statistics, we evaluated how well the 15 most important SHAP-derived parameters correlate with consumer appreciation (Fig.  4C ). Interestingly, only 6 of the properties derived by SHAP rank amongst the top 15 most correlated parameters. For some chemical compounds, the correlations are so low that they would have likely been considered unimportant. For example, lactic acid, the fourth most important parameter, shows a bimodal distribution for appreciation, with sour beers forming a separate cluster, that is missed entirely by the Spearman correlation. Additionally, the correlation plots reveal outliers, emphasizing the need for robust analysis tools. Together, this highlights the need for alternative models, like the Gradient Boosting model, that better grasp the complexity of (beer) flavor.

Finally, to observe the relationships between these chemical properties and their predicted targets, partial dependence plots were constructed for the six most important predictors of consumer appreciation 74 , 75 , 76 (Supplementary Fig.  S7 ). One-way partial dependence plots show how a change in concentration affects the predicted appreciation. These plots reveal an important limitation of our models: appreciation predictions remain constant at ever-increasing concentrations. This implies that once a threshold concentration is reached, further increasing the concentration does not affect appreciation. This is false, as it is well-documented that certain compounds become unpleasant at high concentrations, including ethyl acetate (‘nail polish’) 77 and methanethiol (‘sulfury’ and ‘rotten cabbage’) 78 . The inability of our models to grasp that flavor compounds have optimal levels, above which they become negative, is a consequence of working with commercial beer brands where (off-)flavors are rarely too high to negatively impact the product. The two-way partial dependence plots show how changing the concentration of two compounds influences predicted appreciation, visualizing their interactions (Supplementary Fig.  S7 ). In our case, the top 5 parameters are dominated by additive or synergistic interactions, with high concentrations for both compounds resulting in the highest predicted appreciation.

To assess the robustness of our best-performing models and model predictions, we performed 100 iterations of the GBR, RF and ET models. In general, all iterations of the models yielded similar performance (Supplementary Fig.  S8 ). Moreover, the main predictors (including the top predictors ethanol and ethyl acetate) remained virtually the same, especially for GBR and RF. For the iterations of the ET model, we did observe more variation in the top predictors, which is likely a consequence of the model’s inherent random architecture in combination with co-correlations between certain predictors. However, even in this case, several of the top predictors (ethanol and ethyl acetate) remain unchanged, although their rank in importance changes (Supplementary Fig.  S8 ).

Next, we investigated if a combination of RateBeer and trained panel data into one consolidated dataset would lead to stronger models, under the hypothesis that such a model would suffer less from bias in the datasets. A GBR model was trained to predict appreciation on the combined dataset. This model underperformed compared to the RateBeer model, both in the native case and when including a dataset identifier (R 2  = 0.67, 0.26 and 0.42 respectively). For the latter, the dataset identifier is the most important feature (Supplementary Fig.  S9 ), while most of the feature importance remains unchanged, with ethyl acetate and ethanol ranking highest, like in the original model trained only on RateBeer data. It seems that the large variation in the panel dataset introduces noise, weakening the models’ performances and reliability. In addition, it seems reasonable to assume that both datasets are fundamentally different, with the panel dataset obtained by blind tastings by a trained professional panel.

Lastly, we evaluated whether beer style identifiers would further enhance the model’s performance. A GBR model was trained with parameters that explicitly encoded the styles of the samples. This did not improve model performance (R2 = 0.66 with style information vs R2 = 0.67). The most important chemical features are consistent with the model trained without style information (eg. ethanol and ethyl acetate), and with the exception of the most preferred (strong ale) and least preferred (low/no-alcohol) styles, none of the styles were among the most important features (Supplementary Fig.  S9 , Supplementary Table  S5 and S6 ). This is likely due to a combination of style-specific chemical signatures, such as iso-alpha acids and lactic acid, that implicitly convey style information to the original models, as well as the low number of samples belonging to some styles, making it difficult for the model to learn style-specific patterns. Moreover, beer styles are not rigorously defined, with some styles overlapping in features and some beers being misattributed to a specific style, all of which leads to more noise in models that use style parameters.

Model validation

To test if our predictive models give insight into beer appreciation, we set up experiments aimed at improving existing commercial beers. We specifically selected overall appreciation as the trait to be examined because of its complexity and commercial relevance. Beer flavor comprises a complex bouquet rather than single aromas and tastes 53 . Hence, adding a single compound to the extent that a difference is noticeable may lead to an unbalanced, artificial flavor. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of combinations of compounds. Because Blond beers represent the most extensive style in our dataset, we selected a beer from this style as the starting material for these experiments (Beer 64 in Supplementary Data  1 ).

In the first set of experiments, we adjusted the concentrations of compounds that made up the most important predictors of overall appreciation (ethyl acetate, ethanol, lactic acid, ethyl phenyl acetate) together with correlated compounds (ethyl hexanoate, isoamyl acetate, glycerol), bringing them up to 95 th percentile ethanol-normalized concentrations (Methods) within the Blond group (‘Spiked’ concentration in Fig.  5A ). Compared to controls, the spiked beers were found to have significantly improved overall appreciation among trained panelists, with panelist noting increased intensity of ester flavors, sweetness, alcohol, and body fullness (Fig.  5B ). To disentangle the contribution of ethanol to these results, a second experiment was performed without the addition of ethanol. This resulted in a similar outcome, including increased perception of alcohol and overall appreciation.

figure 5

Adding the top chemical compounds, identified as best predictors of appreciation by our model, into poorly appreciated beers results in increased appreciation from our trained panel. Results of sensory tests between base beers and those spiked with compounds identified as the best predictors by the model. A Blond and Non/Low-alcohol (0.0% ABV) base beers were brought up to 95th-percentile ethanol-normalized concentrations within each style. B For each sensory attribute, tasters indicated the more intense sample and selected the sample they preferred. The numbers above the bars correspond to the p values that indicate significant changes in perceived flavor (two-sided binomial test: alpha 0.05, n  = 20 or 13).

In a last experiment, we tested whether using the model’s predictions can boost the appreciation of a non-alcoholic beer (beer 223 in Supplementary Data  1 ). Again, the addition of a mixture of predicted compounds (omitting ethanol, in this case) resulted in a significant increase in appreciation, body, ester flavor and sweetness.

Predicting flavor and consumer appreciation from chemical composition is one of the ultimate goals of sensory science. A reliable, systematic and unbiased way to link chemical profiles to flavor and food appreciation would be a significant asset to the food and beverage industry. Such tools would substantially aid in quality control and recipe development, offer an efficient and cost-effective alternative to pilot studies and consumer trials and would ultimately allow food manufacturers to produce superior, tailor-made products that better meet the demands of specific consumer groups more efficiently.

A limited set of studies have previously tried, to varying degrees of success, to predict beer flavor and beer popularity based on (a limited set of) chemical compounds and flavors 79 , 80 . Current sensitive, high-throughput technologies allow measuring an unprecedented number of chemical compounds and properties in a large set of samples, yielding a dataset that can train models that help close the gaps between chemistry and flavor, even for a complex natural product like beer. To our knowledge, no previous research gathered data at this scale (250 samples, 226 chemical parameters, 50 sensory attributes and 5 consumer scores) to disentangle and validate the chemical aspects driving beer preference using various machine-learning techniques. We find that modern machine learning models outperform conventional statistical tools, such as correlations and linear models, and can successfully predict flavor appreciation from chemical composition. This could be attributed to the natural incorporation of interactions and non-linear or discontinuous effects in machine learning models, which are not easily grasped by the linear model architecture. While linear models and partial least squares regression represent the most widespread statistical approaches in sensory science, in part because they allow interpretation 65 , 81 , 82 , modern machine learning methods allow for building better predictive models while preserving the possibility to dissect and exploit the underlying patterns. Of the 10 different models we trained, tree-based models, such as our best performing GBR, showed the best overall performance in predicting sensory responses from chemical information, outcompeting artificial neural networks. This agrees with previous reports for models trained on tabular data 83 . Our results are in line with the findings of Colantonio et al. who also identified the gradient boosting architecture as performing best at predicting appreciation and flavor (of tomatoes and blueberries, in their specific study) 26 . Importantly, besides our larger experimental scale, we were able to directly confirm our models’ predictions in vivo.

Our study confirms that flavor compound concentration does not always correlate with perception, suggesting complex interactions that are often missed by more conventional statistics and simple models. Specifically, we find that tree-based algorithms may perform best in developing models that link complex food chemistry with aroma. Furthermore, we show that massive datasets of untrained consumer reviews provide a valuable source of data, that can complement or even replace trained tasting panels, especially for appreciation and basic flavors, such as sweetness and bitterness. This holds despite biases that are known to occur in such datasets, such as price or conformity bias. Moreover, GBR models predict taste better than aroma. This is likely because taste (e.g. bitterness) often directly relates to the corresponding chemical measurements (e.g., iso-alpha acids), whereas such a link is less clear for aromas, which often result from the interplay between multiple volatile compounds. We also find that our models are best at predicting acidity and alcohol, likely because there is a direct relation between the measured chemical compounds (acids and ethanol) and the corresponding perceived sensorial attribute (acidity and alcohol), and because even untrained consumers are generally able to recognize these flavors and aromas.

The predictions of our final models, trained on review data, hold even for blind tastings with small groups of trained tasters, as demonstrated by our ability to validate specific compounds as drivers of beer flavor and appreciation. Since adding a single compound to the extent of a noticeable difference may result in an unbalanced flavor profile, we specifically tested our identified key drivers as a combination of compounds. While this approach does not allow us to validate if a particular single compound would affect flavor and/or appreciation, our experiments do show that this combination of compounds increases consumer appreciation.

It is important to stress that, while it represents an important step forward, our approach still has several major limitations. A key weakness of the GBR model architecture is that amongst co-correlating variables, the largest main effect is consistently preferred for model building. As a result, co-correlating variables often have artificially low importance scores, both for impurity and SHAP-based methods, like we observed in the comparison to the more randomized Extra Trees models. This implies that chemicals identified as key drivers of a specific sensory feature by GBR might not be the true causative compounds, but rather co-correlate with the actual causative chemical. For example, the high importance of ethyl acetate could be (partially) attributed to the total ester content, ethanol or ethyl hexanoate (rho=0.77, rho=0.72 and rho=0.68), while ethyl phenylacetate could hide the importance of prenyl isobutyrate and ethyl benzoate (rho=0.77 and rho=0.76). Expanding our GBR model to include beer style as a parameter did not yield additional power or insight. This is likely due to style-specific chemical signatures, such as iso-alpha acids and lactic acid, that implicitly convey style information to the original model, as well as the smaller sample size per style, limiting the power to uncover style-specific patterns. This can be partly attributed to the curse of dimensionality, where the high number of parameters results in the models mainly incorporating single parameter effects, rather than complex interactions such as style-dependent effects 67 . A larger number of samples may overcome some of these limitations and offer more insight into style-specific effects. On the other hand, beer style is not a rigid scientific classification, and beers within one style often differ a lot, which further complicates the analysis of style as a model factor.

Our study is limited to beers from Belgian breweries. Although these beers cover a large portion of the beer styles available globally, some beer styles and consumer patterns may be missing, while other features might be overrepresented. For example, many Belgian ales exhibit yeast-driven flavor profiles, which is reflected in the chemical drivers of appreciation discovered by this study. In future work, expanding the scope to include diverse markets and beer styles could lead to the identification of even more drivers of appreciation and better models for special niche products that were not present in our beer set.

In addition to inherent limitations of GBR models, there are also some limitations associated with studying food aroma. Even if our chemical analyses measured most of the known aroma compounds, the total number of flavor compounds in complex foods like beer is still larger than the subset we were able to measure in this study. For example, hop-derived thiols, that influence flavor at very low concentrations, are notoriously difficult to measure in a high-throughput experiment. Moreover, consumer perception remains subjective and prone to biases that are difficult to avoid. It is also important to stress that the models are still immature and that more extensive datasets will be crucial for developing more complete models in the future. Besides more samples and parameters, our dataset does not include any demographic information about the tasters. Including such data could lead to better models that grasp external factors like age and culture. Another limitation is that our set of beers consists of high-quality end-products and lacks beers that are unfit for sale, which limits the current model in accurately predicting products that are appreciated very badly. Finally, while models could be readily applied in quality control, their use in sensory science and product development is restrained by their inability to discern causal relationships. Given that the models cannot distinguish compounds that genuinely drive consumer perception from those that merely correlate, validation experiments are essential to identify true causative compounds.

Despite the inherent limitations, dissection of our models enabled us to pinpoint specific molecules as potential drivers of beer aroma and consumer appreciation, including compounds that were unexpected and would not have been identified using standard approaches. Important drivers of beer appreciation uncovered by our models include protein levels, ethyl acetate, ethyl phenyl acetate and lactic acid. Currently, many brewers already use lactic acid to acidify their brewing water and ensure optimal pH for enzymatic activity during the mashing process. Our results suggest that adding lactic acid can also improve beer appreciation, although its individual effect remains to be tested. Interestingly, ethanol appears to be unnecessary to improve beer appreciation, both for blond beer and alcohol-free beer. Given the growing consumer interest in alcohol-free beer, with a predicted annual market growth of >7% 84 , it is relevant for brewers to know what compounds can further increase consumer appreciation of these beers. Hence, our model may readily provide avenues to further improve the flavor and consumer appreciation of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers, which is generally considered one of the key challenges for future beer production.

Whereas we see a direct implementation of our results for the development of superior alcohol-free beverages and other food products, our study can also serve as a stepping stone for the development of novel alcohol-containing beverages. We want to echo the growing body of scientific evidence for the negative effects of alcohol consumption, both on the individual level by the mutagenic, teratogenic and carcinogenic effects of ethanol 85 , 86 , as well as the burden on society caused by alcohol abuse and addiction. We encourage the use of our results for the production of healthier, tastier products, including novel and improved beverages with lower alcohol contents. Furthermore, we strongly discourage the use of these technologies to improve the appreciation or addictive properties of harmful substances.

The present work demonstrates that despite some important remaining hurdles, combining the latest developments in chemical analyses, sensory analysis and modern machine learning methods offers exciting avenues for food chemistry and engineering. Soon, these tools may provide solutions in quality control and recipe development, as well as new approaches to sensory science and flavor research.

Beer selection

250 commercial Belgian beers were selected to cover the broad diversity of beer styles and corresponding diversity in chemical composition and aroma. See Supplementary Fig.  S1 .

Chemical dataset

Sample preparation.

Beers within their expiration date were purchased from commercial retailers. Samples were prepared in biological duplicates at room temperature, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Bottle pressure was measured with a manual pressure device (Steinfurth Mess-Systeme GmbH) and used to calculate CO 2 concentration. The beer was poured through two filter papers (Macherey-Nagel, 500713032 MN 713 ¼) to remove carbon dioxide and prevent spontaneous foaming. Samples were then prepared for measurements by targeted Headspace-Gas Chromatography-Flame Ionization Detector/Flame Photometric Detector (HS-GC-FID/FPD), Headspace-Solid Phase Microextraction-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS), colorimetric analysis, enzymatic analysis, Near-Infrared (NIR) analysis, as described in the sections below. The mean values of biological duplicates are reported for each compound.

HS-GC-FID/FPD

HS-GC-FID/FPD (Shimadzu GC 2010 Plus) was used to measure higher alcohols, acetaldehyde, esters, 4-vinyl guaicol, and sulfur compounds. Each measurement comprised 5 ml of sample pipetted into a 20 ml glass vial containing 1.75 g NaCl (VWR, 27810.295). 100 µl of 2-heptanol (Sigma-Aldrich, H3003) (internal standard) solution in ethanol (Fisher Chemical, E/0650DF/C17) was added for a final concentration of 2.44 mg/L. Samples were flushed with nitrogen for 10 s, sealed with a silicone septum, stored at −80 °C and analyzed in batches of 20.

The GC was equipped with a DB-WAXetr column (length, 30 m; internal diameter, 0.32 mm; layer thickness, 0.50 µm; Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, USA) to the FID and an HP-5 column (length, 30 m; internal diameter, 0.25 mm; layer thickness, 0.25 µm; Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, USA) to the FPD. N 2 was used as the carrier gas. Samples were incubated for 20 min at 70 °C in the headspace autosampler (Flow rate, 35 cm/s; Injection volume, 1000 µL; Injection mode, split; Combi PAL autosampler, CTC analytics, Switzerland). The injector, FID and FPD temperatures were kept at 250 °C. The GC oven temperature was first held at 50 °C for 5 min and then allowed to rise to 80 °C at a rate of 5 °C/min, followed by a second ramp of 4 °C/min until 200 °C kept for 3 min and a final ramp of (4 °C/min) until 230 °C for 1 min. Results were analyzed with the GCSolution software version 2.4 (Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan). The GC was calibrated with a 5% EtOH solution (VWR International) containing the volatiles under study (Supplementary Table  S7 ).

HS-SPME-GC-MS

HS-SPME-GC-MS (Shimadzu GCMS-QP-2010 Ultra) was used to measure additional volatile compounds, mainly comprising terpenoids and esters. Samples were analyzed by HS-SPME using a triphase DVB/Carboxen/PDMS 50/30 μm SPME fiber (Supelco Co., Bellefonte, PA, USA) followed by gas chromatography (Thermo Fisher Scientific Trace 1300 series, USA) coupled to a mass spectrometer (Thermo Fisher Scientific ISQ series MS) equipped with a TriPlus RSH autosampler. 5 ml of degassed beer sample was placed in 20 ml vials containing 1.75 g NaCl (VWR, 27810.295). 5 µl internal standard mix was added, containing 2-heptanol (1 g/L) (Sigma-Aldrich, H3003), 4-fluorobenzaldehyde (1 g/L) (Sigma-Aldrich, 128376), 2,3-hexanedione (1 g/L) (Sigma-Aldrich, 144169) and guaiacol (1 g/L) (Sigma-Aldrich, W253200) in ethanol (Fisher Chemical, E/0650DF/C17). Each sample was incubated at 60 °C in the autosampler oven with constant agitation. After 5 min equilibration, the SPME fiber was exposed to the sample headspace for 30 min. The compounds trapped on the fiber were thermally desorbed in the injection port of the chromatograph by heating the fiber for 15 min at 270 °C.

The GC-MS was equipped with a low polarity RXi-5Sil MS column (length, 20 m; internal diameter, 0.18 mm; layer thickness, 0.18 µm; Restek, Bellefonte, PA, USA). Injection was performed in splitless mode at 320 °C, a split flow of 9 ml/min, a purge flow of 5 ml/min and an open valve time of 3 min. To obtain a pulsed injection, a programmed gas flow was used whereby the helium gas flow was set at 2.7 mL/min for 0.1 min, followed by a decrease in flow of 20 ml/min to the normal 0.9 mL/min. The temperature was first held at 30 °C for 3 min and then allowed to rise to 80 °C at a rate of 7 °C/min, followed by a second ramp of 2 °C/min till 125 °C and a final ramp of 8 °C/min with a final temperature of 270 °C.

Mass acquisition range was 33 to 550 amu at a scan rate of 5 scans/s. Electron impact ionization energy was 70 eV. The interface and ion source were kept at 275 °C and 250 °C, respectively. A mix of linear n-alkanes (from C7 to C40, Supelco Co.) was injected into the GC-MS under identical conditions to serve as external retention index markers. Identification and quantification of the compounds were performed using an in-house developed R script as described in Goelen et al. and Reher et al. 87 , 88 (for package information, see Supplementary Table  S8 ). Briefly, chromatograms were analyzed using AMDIS (v2.71) 89 to separate overlapping peaks and obtain pure compound spectra. The NIST MS Search software (v2.0 g) in combination with the NIST2017, FFNSC3 and Adams4 libraries were used to manually identify the empirical spectra, taking into account the expected retention time. After background subtraction and correcting for retention time shifts between samples run on different days based on alkane ladders, compound elution profiles were extracted and integrated using a file with 284 target compounds of interest, which were either recovered in our identified AMDIS list of spectra or were known to occur in beer. Compound elution profiles were estimated for every peak in every chromatogram over a time-restricted window using weighted non-negative least square analysis after which peak areas were integrated 87 , 88 . Batch effect correction was performed by normalizing against the most stable internal standard compound, 4-fluorobenzaldehyde. Out of all 284 target compounds that were analyzed, 167 were visually judged to have reliable elution profiles and were used for final analysis.

Discrete photometric and enzymatic analysis

Discrete photometric and enzymatic analysis (Thermo Scientific TM Gallery TM Plus Beermaster Discrete Analyzer) was used to measure acetic acid, ammonia, beta-glucan, iso-alpha acids, color, sugars, glycerol, iron, pH, protein, and sulfite. 2 ml of sample volume was used for the analyses. Information regarding the reagents and standard solutions used for analyses and calibrations is included in Supplementary Table  S7 and Supplementary Table  S9 .

NIR analyses

NIR analysis (Anton Paar Alcolyzer Beer ME System) was used to measure ethanol. Measurements comprised 50 ml of sample, and a 10% EtOH solution was used for calibration.

Correlation calculations

Pairwise Spearman Rank correlations were calculated between all chemical properties.

Sensory dataset

Trained panel.

Our trained tasting panel consisted of volunteers who gave prior verbal informed consent. All compounds used for the validation experiment were of food-grade quality. The tasting sessions were approved by the Social and Societal Ethics Committee of the KU Leuven (G-2022-5677-R2(MAR)). All online reviewers agreed to the Terms and Conditions of the RateBeer website.

Sensory analysis was performed according to the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) Sensory Analysis Methods 90 . 30 volunteers were screened through a series of triangle tests. The sixteen most sensitive and consistent tasters were retained as taste panel members. The resulting panel was diverse in age [22–42, mean: 29], sex [56% male] and nationality [7 different countries]. The panel developed a consensus vocabulary to describe beer aroma, taste and mouthfeel. Panelists were trained to identify and score 50 different attributes, using a 7-point scale to rate attributes’ intensity. The scoring sheet is included as Supplementary Data  3 . Sensory assessments took place between 10–12 a.m. The beers were served in black-colored glasses. Per session, between 5 and 12 beers of the same style were tasted at 12 °C to 16 °C. Two reference beers were added to each set and indicated as ‘Reference 1 & 2’, allowing panel members to calibrate their ratings. Not all panelists were present at every tasting. Scores were scaled by standard deviation and mean-centered per taster. Values are represented as z-scores and clustered by Euclidean distance. Pairwise Spearman correlations were calculated between taste and aroma sensory attributes. Panel consistency was evaluated by repeating samples on different sessions and performing ANOVA to identify differences, using the ‘stats’ package (v4.2.2) in R (for package information, see Supplementary Table  S8 ).

Online reviews from a public database

The ‘scrapy’ package in Python (v3.6) (for package information, see Supplementary Table  S8 ). was used to collect 232,288 online reviews (mean=922, min=6, max=5343) from RateBeer, an online beer review database. Each review entry comprised 5 numerical scores (appearance, aroma, taste, palate and overall quality) and an optional review text. The total number of reviews per reviewer was collected separately. Numerical scores were scaled and centered per rater, and mean scores were calculated per beer.

For the review texts, the language was estimated using the packages ‘langdetect’ and ‘langid’ in Python. Reviews that were classified as English by both packages were kept. Reviewers with fewer than 100 entries overall were discarded. 181,025 reviews from >6000 reviewers from >40 countries remained. Text processing was done using the ‘nltk’ package in Python. Texts were corrected for slang and misspellings; proper nouns and rare words that are relevant to the beer context were specified and kept as-is (‘Chimay’,’Lambic’, etc.). A dictionary of semantically similar sensorial terms, for example ‘floral’ and ‘flower’, was created and collapsed together into one term. Words were stemmed and lemmatized to avoid identifying words such as ‘acid’ and ‘acidity’ as separate terms. Numbers and punctuation were removed.

Sentences from up to 50 randomly chosen reviews per beer were manually categorized according to the aspect of beer they describe (appearance, aroma, taste, palate, overall quality—not to be confused with the 5 numerical scores described above) or flagged as irrelevant if they contained no useful information. If a beer contained fewer than 50 reviews, all reviews were manually classified. This labeled data set was used to train a model that classified the rest of the sentences for all beers 91 . Sentences describing taste and aroma were extracted, and term frequency–inverse document frequency (TFIDF) was implemented to calculate enrichment scores for sensorial words per beer.

The sex of the tasting subject was not considered when building our sensory database. Instead, results from different panelists were averaged, both for our trained panel (56% male, 44% female) and the RateBeer reviews (70% male, 30% female for RateBeer as a whole).

Beer price collection and processing

Beer prices were collected from the following stores: Colruyt, Delhaize, Total Wine, BeerHawk, The Belgian Beer Shop, The Belgian Shop, and Beer of Belgium. Where applicable, prices were converted to Euros and normalized per liter. Spearman correlations were calculated between these prices and mean overall appreciation scores from RateBeer and the taste panel, respectively.

Pairwise Spearman Rank correlations were calculated between all sensory properties.

Machine learning models

Predictive modeling of sensory profiles from chemical data.

Regression models were constructed to predict (a) trained panel scores for beer flavors and quality from beer chemical profiles and (b) public reviews’ appreciation scores from beer chemical profiles. Z-scores were used to represent sensory attributes in both data sets. Chemical properties with log-normal distributions (Shapiro-Wilk test, p  <  0.05 ) were log-transformed. Missing chemical measurements (0.1% of all data) were replaced with mean values per attribute. Observations from 250 beers were randomly separated into a training set (70%, 175 beers) and a test set (30%, 75 beers), stratified per beer style. Chemical measurements (p = 231) were normalized based on the training set average and standard deviation. In total, three linear regression-based models: linear regression with first-order interaction terms (LR), lasso regression with first-order interaction terms (Lasso) and partial least squares regression (PLSR); five decision tree models, Adaboost regressor (ABR), Extra Trees (ET), Gradient Boosting regressor (GBR), Random Forest (RF) and XGBoost regressor (XGBR); one support vector machine model (SVR) and one artificial neural network model (ANN) were trained. The models were implemented using the ‘scikit-learn’ package (v1.2.2) and ‘xgboost’ package (v1.7.3) in Python (v3.9.16). Models were trained, and hyperparameters optimized, using five-fold cross-validated grid search with the coefficient of determination (R 2 ) as the evaluation metric. The ANN (scikit-learn’s MLPRegressor) was optimized using Bayesian Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator optimization with the ‘Optuna’ Python package (v3.2.0). Individual models were trained per attribute, and a multi-output model was trained on all attributes simultaneously.

Model dissection

GBR was found to outperform other methods, resulting in models with the highest average R 2 values in both trained panel and public review data sets. Impurity-based rankings of the most important predictors for each predicted sensorial trait were obtained using the ‘scikit-learn’ package. To observe the relationships between these chemical properties and their predicted targets, partial dependence plots (PDP) were constructed for the six most important predictors of consumer appreciation 74 , 75 .

The ‘SHAP’ package in Python (v0.41.0) was implemented to provide an alternative ranking of predictor importance and to visualize the predictors’ effects as a function of their concentration 68 .

Validation of causal chemical properties

To validate the effects of the most important model features on predicted sensory attributes, beers were spiked with the chemical compounds identified by the models and descriptive sensory analyses were carried out according to the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC) protocol 90 .

Compound spiking was done 30 min before tasting. Compounds were spiked into fresh beer bottles, that were immediately resealed and inverted three times. Fresh bottles of beer were opened for the same duration, resealed, and inverted thrice, to serve as controls. Pairs of spiked samples and controls were served simultaneously, chilled and in dark glasses as outlined in the Trained panel section above. Tasters were instructed to select the glass with the higher flavor intensity for each attribute (directional difference test 92 ) and to select the glass they prefer.

The final concentration after spiking was equal to the within-style average, after normalizing by ethanol concentration. This was done to ensure balanced flavor profiles in the final spiked beer. The same methods were applied to improve a non-alcoholic beer. Compounds were the following: ethyl acetate (Merck KGaA, W241415), ethyl hexanoate (Merck KGaA, W243906), isoamyl acetate (Merck KGaA, W205508), phenethyl acetate (Merck KGaA, W285706), ethanol (96%, Colruyt), glycerol (Merck KGaA, W252506), lactic acid (Merck KGaA, 261106).

Significant differences in preference or perceived intensity were determined by performing the two-sided binomial test on each attribute.

Reporting summary

Further information on research design is available in the  Nature Portfolio Reporting Summary linked to this article.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this work are available in the Supplementary Data files and have been deposited to Zenodo under accession code 10653704 93 . The RateBeer scores data are under restricted access, they are not publicly available as they are property of RateBeer (ZX Ventures, USA). Access can be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of RateBeer (ZX Ventures, USA).  Source data are provided with this paper.

Code availability

The code for training the machine learning models, analyzing the models, and generating the figures has been deposited to Zenodo under accession code 10653704 93 .

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Schreurs, M. et al. Data from: Predicting and improving complex beer flavor through machine learning. Zenodo https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10653704 (2024).

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Acknowledgements

We thank all lab members for their discussions and thank all tasting panel members for their contributions. Special thanks go out to Dr. Karin Voordeckers for her tremendous help in proofreading and improving the manuscript. M.S. was supported by a Baillet-Latour fellowship, L.C. acknowledges financial support from KU Leuven (C16/17/006), F.A.T. was supported by a PhD fellowship from FWO (1S08821N). Research in the lab of K.J.V. is supported by KU Leuven, FWO, VIB, VLAIO and the Brewing Science Serves Health Fund. Research in the lab of T.W. is supported by FWO (G.0A51.15) and KU Leuven (C16/17/006).

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These authors contributed equally: Michiel Schreurs, Supinya Piampongsant, Miguel Roncoroni.

Authors and Affiliations

VIB—KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, Gaston Geenslaan 1, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium

Michiel Schreurs, Supinya Piampongsant, Miguel Roncoroni, Lloyd Cool, Beatriz Herrera-Malaver, Florian A. Theßeling & Kevin J. Verstrepen

CMPG Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, KU Leuven, Gaston Geenslaan 1, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium

Leuven Institute for Beer Research (LIBR), Gaston Geenslaan 1, B-3001, Leuven, Belgium

Laboratory of Socioecology and Social Evolution, KU Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium

Lloyd Cool, Christophe Vanderaa & Tom Wenseleers

VIB Bioinformatics Core, VIB, Rijvisschestraat 120, B-9052, Ghent, Belgium

Łukasz Kreft & Alexander Botzki

AB InBev SA/NV, Brouwerijplein 1, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium

Philippe Malcorps & Luk Daenen

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Contributions

S.P., M.S. and K.J.V. conceived the experiments. S.P., M.S. and K.J.V. designed the experiments. S.P., M.S., M.R., B.H. and F.A.T. performed the experiments. S.P., M.S., L.C., C.V., L.K., A.B., P.M., L.D., T.W. and K.J.V. contributed analysis ideas. S.P., M.S., L.C., C.V., T.W. and K.J.V. analyzed the data. All authors contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kevin J. Verstrepen .

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K.J.V. is affiliated with bar.on. The other authors declare no competing interests.

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Schreurs, M., Piampongsant, S., Roncoroni, M. et al. Predicting and improving complex beer flavor through machine learning. Nat Commun 15 , 2368 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-46346-0

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research paper how to write the conclusion

A Solar Eclipse Means Big Science

By Katrina Miller April 1, 2024

  • Share full article

Katrina Miller

On April 8, cameras all over North America will make a “megamovie” of the sun’s corona, like this one from the 2017 eclipse. The time lapse will help scientists track the behavior of jets and plumes on the sun’s surface.

There’s more science happening along the path of totality →

An app named SunSketcher will help the public take pictures of the eclipse with their phones.

Scientists will use these images to study deviations in the shape of the solar surface , which will help them understand the sun’s churning behavior below.

The sun right now is approaching peak activity. More than 40 telescope stations along the eclipse’s path will record totality.

By comparing these videos to what was captured in 2017 — when the sun was at a lull — researchers can learn how the sun’s magnetism drives the solar wind, or particles that stream through the solar system.

Students will launch giant balloons equipped with cameras and sensors along the eclipse’s path.

Their measurements may improve weather forecasting , and also produce a bird’s eye view of the moon’s shadow moving across the Earth.

Ham radio operators will send signals to each other across the path of totality to study how the density of electrons in Earth’s upper atmosphere changes .

This can help quantify how space weather produced by the sun disrupts radar communication systems.

(Animation by Dr. Joseph Huba, Syntek Technologies; HamSCI Project, Dr. Nathaniel Frissell, the University of Scranton, NSF and NASA.)

NASA is also studying Earth’s atmosphere, but far from the path of totality.

In Virginia, the agency will launch rockets during the eclipse to measure how local drops in sunlight cause ripple effects hundreds of miles away . The data will clarify how eclipses and other solar events affect satellite communications, including GPS.

Biologists in San Antonio plan to stash recording devices in beehives to study how bees orient themselves using sunlight , and how the insects respond to the sudden atmospheric changes during a total eclipse.

Two researchers in southern Illinois will analyze social media posts to understand tourism patterns in remote towns , including when visitors arrive, where they come from and what they do during their visits.

Results can help bolster infrastructure to support large events in rural areas.

Read more about the eclipse:

The sun flares at the edge of the moon during a total eclipse.

Our Coverage of the Total Solar Eclipse

Anticipation and Anxiety Build:  Across parts of the United States, Mexico and Canada, would-be eclipse-gazers are on the move for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event .

Awaiting a Moment of Awe:  Millions of people making plans to be in the path of the solar eclipse know it will be awe-inspiring. What is that feeling ?

The Eclipse Chaser:  A retired astrophysicist known as “Mr. Eclipse” joined “The Daily” to explain why these celestial phenomena are such a wonder to experience .

Historic Photos:  From astronomers with custom-built photographic equipment to groups huddled together with special glasses, here’s what solar eclipse-gazing has looked like for the past two centuries .

Hearing the Eclipse:  A device called LightSound is being distributed to help the blind and visually impaired experience what they can’t see .

Animal Reactions: Researchers will watch if animals at zoos, homes and farms act strangely  when day quickly turns to night.

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