How to Write a Good Conclusion on a Comparative Paper

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The conclusion of a comparative paper drives home your main points by restating key similarities and differences. You get a chance to emphasize why comparing the two ideas matters and what readers should take from the piece. Because it is the last impression readers get from your essay, use powerful, succinct language to close the paper.

1 Pull Main Points

The comparative paper conclusion ties together the main components of the essay. Even if you just finished writing the piece, read through again to pull out the main points of comparison discussed. Write a list of the most important information you want readers to get from the essay. The thesis used in your introduction – defining the key points of comparison -- is an important reference point for your conclusion; reviewing it before launching into your conclusion can provide you with some fresh insights. Use this prep time to jot down some conclusions you can draw from the body of your essay.

2 Recap Without Repeating

The final paragraph isn't just a regurgitation of everything you've said to that point in the paper. You don't want to present completely new information in the conclusion, but you should present the data in a new light or at least with different language. An example thesis is, "Both working and going to college require time management and commitment, but being an employee and being a student are also quite different." In the conclusion, rephrase it and pull some of the points from the essay. An example is, "Students and employees both work toward goals, face performance evaluations and must meet deadlines. Students, however, pay for the experience while employees earn a paycheck for their hard work."

3 Draw Conclusions

The body of the comparative paper goes through points to demonstrate how the two ideas are similar and different. As you conclude the paper, use those points to draw conclusions or evaluate the two ideas. When comparing weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise for building muscle, your conclusion might define which one is more effective based on the comparisons you laid out in the article, for example. This demonstrates you are able to synthesize the points you made and interpret them.

4 Say Why It Matters

Your final paragraph in the comparative paper gives you a chance to answer the question "So what?" Tell the reader why the comparison you made matters. This helps the reader connect to the essay and shows your purpose. For example, you might say, "Understanding the differences between a private college and public university helps potential students narrow the field when choosing a school. The knowledge can help students find the best fit at a school that fits the budget and provides the services needed for success."

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.