As a writer, you are presenting your viewpoint, opinions, evidence, etc. for others to review, so you must take on this task with maturity, courage and thoughtfulness. Remember, you are adding to the discourse community with every research paper that you write. This is a privilege and an opportunity to share your point of view with the world at large in an academic setting.
Because research generates further research, the conclusions you draw from your research are important. As a researcher, you depend on the integrity of the research that precedes your own efforts, and researchers depend on each other to draw valid conclusions.
To test the validity of your conclusions, you will have to review both the content of your paper and the way in which you arrived at the content. You may ask yourself questions, such as the ones presented below, to detect any weak areas in your paper, so you can then make those areas stronger. Notice that some of the questions relate to your process, others to your sources, and others to how you arrived at your conclusions.
|Checklist for Evaluating Your Conclusions|
|Does the evidence in my paper evolve from a stated thesis or topic statement?|
|Do all of my resources for evidence agree with each other? Are there conflicts, and have I identified them as conflicts?|
|Have I offered enough evidence for every conclusion I have drawn? Are my conclusions based on empirical studies, expert testimony, or data, or all of these?|
|Are all of my sources credible? Is anyone in my audience likely to challenge them?|
|Have I presented circular reasoning or illogical conclusions?|
|Am I confident that I have covered most of the major sources of information on my topic? If not, have I stated this as a limitation of my research?|
|Have I discovered further areas for research and identified them in my paper?|
|Have others to whom I have shown my paper perceived the validity of my conclusions?|
|Are my conclusions strong? If not, what causes them to be weak?|