The conclusion is a very important part of your essay. Although it is sometimes treated as a roundup of all of the bits that didn’t fit into the paper earlier, it deserves better treatment than that! It's the last thing the reader will see, so it tends to stick in the reader's memory. It's also a great place to remind the reader exactly why your topic is important. A conclusion is more than just "the last paragraph"—it's a working part of the paper. This is the place to push your reader to think about the consequences of your topic for the wider world or for the reader's own life!
A good conclusion should do a few things:
- Restate your thesis
- Synthesize or summarize your major points
- Make the context of your argument clear
Restating Your Thesis
You've already spent time and energy crafting a solid thesis statement for your introduction, and if you've done your job right, your whole paper focuses on that thesis statement. That's why it's so important to address the thesis in your conclusion! Many writers choose to begin the conclusion by restating the thesis, but you can put your thesis into the conclusion anywhere—the first sentence of the paragraph, the last sentence, or in between. Here are a few tips for rephrasing your thesis:
- Remind the reader that you've proven this thesis over the course of your paper. For example, if you're arguing that your readers should get their pets from animal shelters rather than pet stores, you might say, "If you were considering that puppy in the pet-shop window, remember that your purchase will support 'puppy mills' instead of rescuing a needy dog, and consider selecting your new friend at your local animal shelter." This example gives the reader not only the thesis of the paper, but a reminder of the most powerful point in the argument!
- Revise the thesis statement so that it reflects the relationship you've developed with the reader during the paper. For example, if you've written a paper that targets parents of young children, you can find a way to phrase your thesis to capitalize on that—maybe by beginning your thesis statement with, "As a parent of a young child…"
- Don’t repeat your thesis word for word—make sure that your new statement is an independent, fresh sentence!
Summary or Synthesis
This section of the conclusion might come before the thesis statement or after it. Your conclusion should remind the reader of what your paper actually says! The best conclusion will include a synthesis, not just a summary—instead of a mere list of your major points, the best conclusion will draw those points together and relate them to one another so that your reader can apply the information given in the essay. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
- Give a list of the major arguments for your thesis (usually, these are the topic sentences of the parts of your essay).
- Explain how these parts are connected. For example, in the animal-shelter essay, you might point out that adopting a shelter dog helps more animals because your adoption fee supports the shelter, which makes your choice more socially responsible.
One of the most important functions of the conclusion is to provide context for your argument. Your reader may finish your essay without a problem and understand your argument without understanding why that argument is important. Your introduction might point out the reason your topic matters, but your conclusion should also tackle this questions. Here are some strategies for making your reader see why the topic is important:
- Tell the reader what you want him or her to do. Is your essay a call to action? If so, remind the reader of what he/she should do. If not, remember that asking the reader to think a certain way is an action in itself. (In the above examples, the essay asks the reader to adopt a shelter dog—a specific action.)
- Explain why this topic is timely or important. For example, the animal-shelter essay might end with a statistic about the number of pets in shelters waiting for adoption.
- Remind the readers of why the topic matters to them personally. For example, it doesn’t matter much if you believe in the mission of animal shelters, if you're not planning to get a dog; however, once you're looking for a dog, it is much more important. The conclusion of this essay might say, "Since you’re in the market for a dog, you have a major decision to make: where to get one." This will remind the reader that the argument is personally important!
Why should I worry about privacy and security? I’m not a criminal or a terrorist. I’ve got nothing to hide. These are things that most people think. They also believe the internet is much more secure and that their personal information is only available to them, whereas this is actually quite wrong.
There are more reasons to want to protect your privacy than can be named. The important principal is that you have a right to privacy as long as that right is used within the bounds of the law. Seeking privacy should not make you feel guilty. Privacy should be expected, and demanded. The reasons might be as simple as preserving your right to express unpopular opinions without being subjected to persecution, or as serious as communicating sensitive business information, revealing credit card numbers, legal discussions with your accountant, or hiding your true identity from a secret government. Regardless of your reasons, privacy is your right. Contrary to what some governing bodies might want the public to believe, not all those concerned with security and privacy are hackers or terrorists.
The internet provides one of the easiest communications tools ever afforded by mankind. It is quick, convenient, cheap….and as insecure as it is quick, convenient, and cheap. A message sent many months ago may remain on an ISP’s server or as a backup, and can be easily retrieved by anyone who knows how to do so. This is information which you personally have deleted for a reason – not to be accessed by someone else after you have finished with it. There have been times where information has be retrieved up to 6 months after, and used in a court case as evidence.
It can be quite simple for someone to intercept your messages or information if they want it. This may be just an administrator of your ISP or your office network. Or it might be a business competitor, legal foe, or government agency, with much more serious intentions.
There are an abundant means available to protect online privacy. Some are large and complex while others are extremely simple. The important fact is that some methods are almost totally lacking in security while others are practically bulletproof.
It is an all too common misconception that anonymity equals privacy. Anonymity and privacy may be related, but their significance is quite different.
Do you wonder what other people know about you? Cookies are available on certain websites, and these small files are placed on your computer and record data which most often contains information that the user would rather be kept secure. Information including passwords, credit card numbers and where the user has been.
There are hundreds of web-based email services that appear to offer anonymity. Few really do. These include names such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Excite and many more that could be listed. In each of these cases, the user is allowed to create a personal username that he uses for his messages. Unfortunately, through sign-up procedures and logging, it is amazingly simple to determine your ISP, and even your true identity, when you use these services.
Who wants to know what you’re saying? It might be a nosey fellow employee, your employer, your ISP, a competitor, friend, or legal team. Regardless of who wants to, it is remarkably easy for someone else to read what you write. It is common sense to protect information that you don’t want others to know, and people should ensure that they go to some lengths to do so.
There are a large number of nonprofit organizations that specialize in protecting your rights to privacy. It is time well spent to visit these sites, as you can learn what the current laws are, what is being proposed, and what is being done to protect privacy.
Filed Under: Internet, Science & Technology