A great conclusion to a study can take several forms. One of these is like the abstract. The researcher summarizes the entire study in 100-200 words or so. Researchers can also end with the suggestions for future research or an intriguing quote. A great conclusion will give you the “bottom line” of why the study is important to you!
Thus it is sometimes valuable when FIRST encountering a new research article, to scan the abstract, intro, discussion/implications, and conclusion FIRST. This will give you the big picture—the 30,000 foot level picture. Then you can get down at “ground level” and read the whole research article more carefully.
Research reports are Not mystery novels, and the plot will Not be spoiled if you read the conclusion first! You may find that doing this makes it easier to understand the article.
If you are writing a research report yourself, then make sure that you keep the conclusion lively and interesting! You know your project—what is THE main take away that you want readers to have?
Assume that you read the following Conclusion from Brown & McCormack (2006) BEFORE reading the rest of the article. What ideas would you look for in the article that show up here in this “end-of-the-article-abstract-and-implications”? Which of their conclusions would you check out within the main article?
This ethnographic study highlighted a number of issues that affected the older persons’ pain experience in the acute surgical setting. Additionally, it provided insight into how nurses approached the assessment and management of pain in this patient group. The study demonstrated the value of applying multiple sources and methods of data collection in order to obtain a more complete view of the competing forces that operate within the ward environment.
Data analysis revealed three action cycles for further developmental work – pain assessment practices, knowledge/ insight and strategies to cope with episodes of uncontrolled pain and organization of care, along with ward culture, have been identified as having an inhibitory effect on pain management in older people. In addition, recognition that patient barriers may contribute to ineffective pain management is a point worthy of consideration.
Improving pain management practices, therefore, requires healthcare professionals to reflect on reactions, values and beliefs surrounding pain and examine how these have the potential to influence the care provided. Consequently, there is a need for a focused, collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to challenge current pain management practices and implement change. There is a growing acknowledgement that successful interventions must deploy multiple strategies, targeting aspects of the individual, the organization, its culture and characteristics of the message, simultaneously (Kitson 2001). (p.1296)
Reference: Brown, D., & McCormack, B. (2006). Determining factors that have an impact upon effective evidence-based pain management with older people, following colorectal surgery: An ethnographic study. The Authors. Journal compilation, 1987-1298. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01553.x