About this approach
In this short note, I recommend my gold standard for writing an eye-catching conclusions section for original articles. This approach is based on more than ten years’ experience as a reviewer and editor of peer-reviewed journals, and years of communication with scholars in my workshop and seminar presentations around the world.
Why is this approach so important?
In the conclusions section, the author states the conclusions he has reached through his research. The conclusion should be concise and brief yet cover all the required information. I believe that by using this simple but efficient approach, the reviewers and editors of peer-reviewed journals will find commendable what you have written in the conclusions section of the article, which will consequently increase the chances of accepting your manuscript in high impact journals.
The simple approach and template:
Organize the conclusions section into one short paragraph consisting of 2-3 parts (maximum 3-7 sentences). Based on the research and your findings, this paragraph may include all three parts, or it may consists of one or two parts as follows:
1- Part 1 (2-3 sentences):
In this part, present the essence of the research or its main findings in 2-3 short sentences. Please be careful not to present the numerical findings; but, state the conclusions and its importance, based on your findings. For example, you may say:
In summary, the study showed XXX, that implies YYY.
A common mistake to avoid:
One of the most common mistakes, here, is to conclude the study based on a combination of your own research and the literature. So, ensure that the concluding statements are based on reasoning and on the evidence that you have accumulated (the findings of the present study, not the other papers, nor your own previously published papers).
The second most common mistake:
The conclusions should be supported by the findings of the present study. Therefore, please conclude based on what has been previously discussed and never contain any new information; and please do not discuss something that is irrelevant and not related to your findings or hypotheses.
Another common mistake:
Some scholars believe that the conclusion section must restate the objectives or hypotheses, but, in my opinion, stating the objectives, research questions, or hypotheses are wrong things to do in the conclusions section of an original paper. In some rare cases, when the format of journals requires the author to merge the “Discussion” section and “Conclusions” section into one comprehensive “Discussion” or “Discussion and Conclusion” section, the authors may do it on the first sentences of that comprehensive “Discussion and Conclusions” section.
2- Part 2 (1-2 sentences):
Here, the author is required to state the theoretical and policy implications (recommend some improvements in current standards, methods, procedures, etc.). For example, if the article is based on medical or health science research, provide some practical recommendations for health policy makers.
2- Part 3 (1-2 sentences):
Here, impress the journal editor or reviewers and increase the probability of the acceptance of your manuscript. Any research usually opens up new questions or triggers new hypotheses that can be answered or examined in the future. Recommend future studies and show that you are thinking ahead of the present challenges and considering future patterns, variations and trends. Recommend any future research that you think should be conducted concerning your topic in the last sentence of this section. Even more than simply providing direction and areas for future research, suggest the study population and research design (i.e. experimental design, case-control, cohort, etc.) of the recommended future studies.