Saturday, 17 May 2008

Conclusions and Balloons

I have blogged about getting the flavour of your introduction right to impress your reader. Now it's time to think about how to finish off.

For this we are going to employ the use of some helium balloons for the mother of all contrived analogies. What we want to do is make the marker take off like this at the end of the essay:

How do we do it? What we will need are lots of well-inflated balloons all tied together. The balloons are the points in your essay. The lift they give is the force of your argument. If they don't have anything in them they ain't gonna fly. So, in your essay make sure all your points are supported by empirical reference or logic, and there are lots of them.

Now, if you hand someone a load of balloons that aren't bound together what you have is minor disappointment and a load of wasted balloons that are probably going to confuse a flock of birds. You might as well not have bothered inflating them. In other words, if your points aren't nicely drawn together at the end you aren't going to get the desired effect. The conclusion is the place to tie up all the balloons and announce the lift off.

What follows is the crudest possible way of constructing an essay. It a guideline not a rule. Don't follow it to the letter but use it to see how you can go about constructing your conclusion by drawing on the points you have made earlier.

-Intro, issue, route, destination

Para 1
-Point 1
-Summarise paragraph point 1 and relate back to Q (P1P)
Para 2
-Point 2
-Summarise paragraph point 2 and relate back to Q (P2P)
Para 3
-Point 3.
-Summarise paragraph point 3 and relate back to Q (P3P)
Para 4
-Point 4
-Summarise paragraph point 4 and related back to Q (P4P)

-Summarise the issue outlined at start
-Drumroll...and explicit answer to main question which will be ringing in marker's ears as they finalise your mark.

So for conclusions remember this: tie up your balloons and announce lift off!

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