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Tips on how to write conclusions for a report

 

The conclusions section of a report is one of the most important parts and, along with the introduction, one of the last to be written. It brings together all the points raised in a coherent way, ready for the next section, the recommendations, to be written. When highlighting the conclusions to your report, you should keep the following in mind:

  • put it to one side and leave it for a few days – this allows you to come back to the report with fresh eyes

  • read the completed sections of the report through again – whilst you are doing this have a pad and pen at your side and note down the main points you come across

  • keep the conclusions concise and to the point – this is not the time to waffle. The conclusions are meant to be brief

  • there should be no bias or subjectivity – it should be an accurate, balanced and considered view of what has been covered in the report

  • it shouldn’t contain any new material – this is not the time to be introducing new material to the reader, it should only refer back to areas already highlighted in the report

  • write in the third person – don’t use ‘I found’, instead you should be saying ‘the results show’, or ‘the findings indicate’ • be concise and clear – some people are very busy and may only have the time to read the conclusions. Others may read the conclusions first to see if the report contains anything of interest to them.

  • make sure it is connected logically to the recommendations – you should draw your conclusions from the report and then base your recommendations on these.

  • present each conclusion as a separate point

  • once the report is complete, go back and re-read the whole document from start to finish to make sure that the conclusion flows on from the body of the report in the same style and tone

 

Degrees of certainty

Drawing conclusions is a tricky business – our levels of certainty can range from being 100 per cent sure to being not very sure at all. So, the language you use in your conclusions should reflect this. Don’t say something is certain if you are not sure whether it is or not. Use the following examples as a basis for your conclusions, choosing them as appropriate:

  • certainty (100 per cent certain something will happen) – ‘it will’, ‘is sure to’, ‘is certain to’, ‘definitely will’
  • probability – ‘will probably’, ‘is likely to’, ‘will almost certainly’, ‘should’, ‘is expected to’
  • possibility – ‘could’, ‘may’, ‘will possibly’, ‘should’
  • improbability – ‘unlikely to’, ‘will probably not’, ‘should not’, ‘is not expected to’
  • certainty (100 per cent certain something will not happen) – ‘it will not’, ‘is certain not to’, ‘there is no chance’


Use these tips and you’ll be turning out professional, concise conclusions to your reports in no time.

If you’d like to know more about how to write reports, our Report Writing Course is perfect. It’ll teach you how to plan and write reports in a simple, clear way that’ll impress anyone who reads them.

  

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European Association for Distance Learning Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

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