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Webinar Transcripts

Beginnings and Endings: Introduce and Conclude Your Writing

Presented December 11, 2019

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Last updated 1/5/2020

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping

  • Recording
    • Will be available online within 24 hours.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right corner of the webinar room.

Audio: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar entitled beginnings and endings. I’m Michael Dusek and I’m a writing instructor in the Walden Writing center. I’ll be working behind the scenes of today’s webinar. Before we begin and I hand this session over to today’s presenter, Claire, let me go through a few housekeeping items.

First, we are recording this webinar so you are welcome to access it at a later date via our webinar archive in fact note that we record all of our webinars at the writing center so you are welcome to look through that archive for other recordings that might interest you.

Furthermore, we might mention a few webinars that would be a helpful follow up to this webinar during the session. So, feel free to explore the webinar archive at your own leisure.

Also, whether you are attending live or watching a recording, you will be able to participate in any polls we use, files we share links we provide. You can also access the PowerPoint slides Claire will be sharing which are located in the files pod.  

Lastly, we also welcome questions and comments throughout the session via the Q&A box. I will be watching the Q&A box and I’m happy to answer any questions throughout the session is Claire is presenting. You are also welcomed to send any technical issues to me although note there is a help option in the top right corner of your screen. This is Adobe's technical support, and this is really the best place to go if tech issues persist throughout the session.

With that, I will hand over this to the session presenter, Claire Helakowski.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Beginnings and Endings” and the speaker’s name and information: Claire Helakoski Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center

Audio: Claire: Hi everyone, I’m Claire Helakowski, writing instructor at the writing center, and today we’re going to be discussing beginnings and endings, meaning introductions and conclusions of your papers for your coursework.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand why introductions and conclusions help readers
  • Understand what creates an effective introduction and conclusion:
  • Identifying an appropriate thesis statement
  • Succinctly identifying main points

Audio: Our learning objectives for today are that after this session, you will be able to understand why introductions and conclusions help readers, understand what creates an effective introduction and conclusion, identify an appropriate thesis statement and succinctly identify main points throughout your work that you will incorporate into your introduction.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Why an Introduction?

  • Provide background and context
  • Establish the problem and why it is important
  • Give purpose or argument for paper

Why a Conclusion?

  • Restate main argument of paper
  • Bring together all the subtopics
  • Point to larger implications

Audio: First, let's talk about why these two pieces of your writing are so important. Why an introduction? An introduction provides background and context to help anchor your reader and prepare them for your work. It establishes the problem or topic you're going to be discussing and why it's important. It gets readers invested in your work and it gives that purpose or argument for the paper. So, readers understand the overall background, the specific topic and why it's important and what the argument of the paper will be. They know why they are there and why they should care about what you have to say.

Why a conclusion. Your conclusion is going to restate the main argument of the paper, bring all of the topics back together and point to larger implications. So that is a nice summing up and bringing together everything in your paper for your readers to kind of leave with a sense of closure.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Ways to Visualize the Introduction and Conclusion

INTRODUCTION

  • Bookend
  • Overview
  • Preparation

CONCLUSION

  • Bookend
  • Overview
  • Takeaway
  • BODY of your paper

Audio: And we’ll talk a lot more about both of those throughout the presentation. So, you can think about visualizations for introduction and conclusion. Especially if you are a visual person. An introduction is a bookend. You have it on one side here and you have the overview and the preparation for your reader for the paper. Then you have your body of your paper in the middle. Then you have your conclusion on the other end. So, it's another bookend. It's an overview just like the introduction and it has the takeaway rather than preparation.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings—Where Are We Going?

What is the purpose of a introduction?

  • Attracts readers’ attention
  • Introduces the topic and scope of the paper
  • Gives some comment about the topic

Thesis Statement

Audio: Let's think about beginnings. Where are we going? What is the purpose of our introduction? An introduction is going to attract your reader's attention. It's going to introduce the topic and scope of your paper, so not just that you are dealing with, for example healthcare, but that you are specifically going to talk about a change in healthcare in your care facility for example. That's a really big difference in scope. Talking about healthcare in general would probably be a whole dissertation's worth of paper whereas talking about a specific aspect of healthcare in a specific setting is something that can be much shorter. Setting those expectations for the reader will help prepare them for your work.

Your introduction will give some comment about the topic. So, kind of your stance or your argument or what's going to be the main purpose of the paper. That culminates in your thesis statement. So, some of you probably have heard the term thesis statement before. It's just the sentence at the end of your introduction that's going to let your reader know the focus and scope and argument that you are going to be discussing in your introduction.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Thesis Statement

  • Concise, specific, and arguable
  • Usually the last sentence in your introduction
  • The most important sentence because it directs the reader with your central argument and purpose
  • Learn more about thesis statements

Audio: So thesis statements should be concise, specific and arguable. They are usually the last sentence in your introduction. The most important sentence because it's going to direct your reader regarding your central purpose and argument. It lets the reader know why they are there, what your main argument or purpose is and why it's important. You can learn more about thesis statements in a webinar dedicated just to thesis statements that we have link here. I do also want to you to note that a thesis statements are different than a problem statement. If you are working on your dissertation or premise perspectives, a problem statement is a different thing. So, while it does, have sort of a similar purpose, it looks a bit different. So, if you're working on those documents, then we have different resources for you, and you can let us know in the chat box if you are looking for help with those.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Thesis Statement Poll

Poll Practice:

Which sentence best fits the definition of a thesis statement?

Audio: These are more for coursework documents. I'm going to do a quick practice with you. Which of these sentences best fits the definition of a thesis statement? I'm going to read them for you.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss lesson planning and to analyze one of my lesson plans.

Most teachers use lesson plans to guide their classroom instruction and ensure that their students are meeting objectives.

I always write lesson plans for every class that I teach.

Lesson plans are essential to effective teaching because they require teachers to determine the best strategies to meet learning objectives.

Go ahead and fill out that pole and we will discuss your responses.

[silence as participants respond]

You guys are really on the ball today. So, most of you have selected the last option here, lesson plans are essential to effective teaching because they require teachers to determine the best strategies to meet learning objectives. That is a good thesis statement because it's specific, concise and arguable. So, think about how this is arguable. Lesson plans are essential to effective teaching. That's an arguable statement. Then we have the specifics, because they require teachers to determine the best strategies to meet learning objectives. So, we have our argument is really nice and specific here.

The other one that some people selected is more of a purpose sentence, the purpose of this paper is to discuss lesson planning and analyze one of my lesson plans. That is the purpose of the paper, so it's not incorrect information. It's just that you want to reshape it to be more arguable and specific and unique to your paper. Every single person in your class could write that same purpose sentence for the same assignment. So, you want to have a unique thesis statement that lets readers know specifically what they are getting into with your work.

Great job, everybody.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: A Narrowing of Thoughts

  • Broad: Background/context
  • Narrower: The problem relating to that background
  • Narrowest: What you are arguing or proposing about that problem (thesis statement)

Audio: Another way you can think about your introduction is a narrowing of thoughts. So, you picture an inverted triangle or a funnel. Like we have in this background image. You start broad with the background or context information to let the reader know what's going on there. Then you narrow it down. What's a problem or focus relating to that background? Then you are going to narrow to that point of the thesis statement specifically what are you arguing?

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:  Beginnings: Narrowing Thoughts

Conflict is inevitable in a healthcare environment because of emotional, financial, and operational stressors (Vivar, 2006). However, conflict is both a positive and negative phenomenon that effective nurses navigate.  By assessing conflict situations, nurses can develop insight, recognize strengths and limitations, and accept outside resources to manage such situations (Manion, 2005). The particular assessment best suited to nurse-doctor conflict is the PEPRS framework.

Chat:

Is this introduction successful?

Why or why not?

Audio: Here's an example introduction that we are going to chat about. I will read it aloud and then I'd like you all in the chat box to let me know is this introduction successful and why or why not? Don't just type yes or no. Tell me why or why not this introduction is successful. And I’ll just read it aloud here. Conflict if inevitable in a healthcare environment because of emotional, financial and operational stressors. However, conflict is both a positive and negative phenomenon that effective nurses navigate.  By assessing conflict situations, nurses can develop insight, recognize strengths and limitations, and accept outside resources to manage such situations (Manion, 2005). The particular assessment best suited to nurse-doctor conflict is the PEPRS framework. I will give you a minute to reflect on that and let me know why or why not this introduction is successful in the chat.

[silence as participants respond]

I'm seeing a lot of great debate here about whether or not this introduction is successful and that is awesome. So, I'm seeing some people say that some things that are successful about it is that we start out…. sorry I was distracted for a moment by the chat box. So that we start kind of broad. We are dealing with conflict. We didn't -- narrow to specifically what we are talking about in conflict in healthcare. We are talking about nurses, managing and healthcare. Then we end with the narrowest focus on the central argument is that we are dealing with assessment, nurse-Doctor conflict and what that looks like.

I saw some great critiques of why this is less effective as well because it does have a lot of source information that's not fully contextualized. I did see some people say because it has source information that itself was that ineffective. I wanted to note that it's fine to have some source information in your introduction, but you definitely want to avoid overloading the reader and make sure that you are contextualizing that. So, I would say that this introduction is mostly successful in that you are going to start broad and then get narrow and you have that central argument. I think based on where we ended up with our thesis statement right about the particular assessment that there could've been some more information about different types of assessments and nurse-doctor conflict. It's not super clear if we are talking about this in the context of nurses doing this or who is doing the action here.

So, this introduction is a great first draft I would say. It has a lot of good things going for it, but like some of you noted, it sets up a discussion. It does get broad to narrow and it does end with a clear central argument, so great job everyone.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Balanced Focus

AVOID

  • Too much detail
    • Direct quotes
    • Evidence beyond background info
  • Too vague
    • Reiteration of assignment guidelines
  • “Blueprint”
    • Step-by-step description of paper

Audio: Let's continue. You want to have that balanced introduction, and like some of you noticed with that example, it was a little imbalanced. You want to avoid too much detail. You don't want to load the reader down with background information, lots of direct quotes, evidence that's kind of beyond just establishing what the specific topic is going to be. You don't want to be too vague either. You don't want to just reiterate the assignment guidelines and avoid being specific and clear. And you want to avoid the blueprint or the step-by-step description of the paper. First, I will discuss this. Then I will discuss that kind of phrasing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Narrowing Thoughts Chat

For this application, I have selected an acute care setting.  In this paper, I will explain why patient safety is important in this setting.  Second, I will identify the key challenges for nurses regarding patient safety. Finally, I will describe two strategies for improving patient safety and explain why I chose them.

Chat:

Is this introduction successful?

Why or why not?

Audio: So, we have another example, and our chat issues from a moment ago should be solved. So, go ahead. I will read this aloud and let me know if this introduction is successful and why or why not.

For this application, I've selected an acute care setting. In this paper I will explain why patient safety is important in the setting. Second, I will identify the key challenges for nurses regarding patient safety. Finally, I will describe two strategies for improving patient safety.

[silence as participants respond]

I'm seeing a lot of comments here that this is boring, which isn't what I would say -- it's something like one of the main things that I consider about an introduction. But it's an important sort of side effect to this blueprint type of introduction. Because it's not very interesting. It just tells you exactly what it's going to talk about and it's not very specific. It's repetitive. I have selected an acute care setting. I will explain why patient safety is important and I'm wondering, why is it important? What setting are you talking about? What are the Challenges? What are the Strategies? I'm wondering about specifics and that leaves me confused and like you all said it's not very engaging for your readers. So, keep that in mind. I will say that especially early level courses once in a while faculty will prefer something like this or they will prefer that purpose statement at the end. So, if you are ever not sure, reach out to them directly. I do see papers like that from students once in a while in the writing center and reviews and I will ask them about it, and they will let me know that their faculty is looking for this kind of thing. But in my experience, that tends to be in those introductory level courses or for very certain fields.

So, in general, you want to just write that engaging, exciting first draft of an introduction. If your faculty has other expectations, they will let you know.

Great question. So, I had a question about revising this to be more successful. That's a great question. What I would recommend is just being really specific. I have all these questions. What acute care setting was selected? Right? We are talking about patient safety being important, so that could be something we could kind of start talking about. Why is patient safety important in general? Why is it important in this setting? What's the setting? What are some challenges with patient safety that would get more narrow there and then the thesis could kind of be about those two strategies? Engaging with patients and having more staff are two strategies that will improve patient safety, so that could be a clear, arguable thesis that's going to be specific. Like I said a little bit earlier, this introduction could be anybody's introduction based on the assignment. And you want it to be really specific for your assignment, for your paper. You want yours to stand out and prepare the reader for what you uniquely have to say there. So, thank you for that question. It is a great question.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Format Tips

Length

  • Course paper: Usually one paragraph
  • Longer, complex papers: Could be several paragraphs

Audio: Let's talk a little bit about length. I get this question a lot. An introduction for a course paper is usually one paragraph. For a much longer, more complex paper, maybe it's your master’s capstone or something like that, those could be a bit longer, perhaps a few paragraphs. But generally speaking, for course papers, you are going to be able to fit everything you need and the one paragraph.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Use a Formal Academic Voice

Tone Tips

Avoid:

Let’s first discuss healthcare in America today.

As you know, healthcare is a big problem in America today.

Instead:

Healthcare is a problem in America today because many citizens are without insurance and therefore susceptible to untreated injury and disease.

Audio: And we have some tone tips as well because I do see this a lot. You want to avoid this kind of informal tone of addressing the reader that's really, really common in other forms of writing, especially on the Internet. But in academic writing, you want to focus on that scholarly, academic voice, so avoiding phrasing like let's first discuss healthcare in America today or as you know healthcare is a big problem. Instead you want to be clear, specific and objective. You might write healthcare is a problem in America today because many citizens are without insurance and therefore susceptible to untreated injury and disease. We are not talking generally. We are talking really specifically and laying out that cause-and-effect. Healthcare is a problem. Here is specifically why. So that's a nice way of focusing on that cause-and-effect to have that academic tone and voice to get across the problem or idea you are going to talk about rather than trying to emotionally hook the reader or use more creative language to hook the reader.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Use a Formal Academic Voice Tone Tips

Tone Tips

Avoid passive voice (no subject or “doer” of the action):

In this paper, the problem with healthcare will be argued.

Avoid anthropomorphism (human traits to inanimate objects):

This paper will analyze…

The literature review determined that…

Instead, use the active voice and “I”:

In this paper, I will argue that the problem…            

Through the literature, I determined…

Using “I” is okay!

Audio: You also want to avoid passive voice. For example, passive voice is when it's not clear who is doing an action. For example, in this paper, the problem with healthcare will be argued. So, who is doing the arguing there? Instead, you can just make whoever is doing the action the subject of the sentence. So, in this paper, I will argue. So, we are clearing things up there. You also want to avoid anthropomorphism, which is a fancy word for giving human traits to inanimate objects or concepts. This paper will analyze -- the paper can’t analyze anything. Right? You are doing the analyzing. The literature review determined. The literature review is just words on a page. Instead, through the literature, I determined, I will argue, I submitted the surveys or if it's a source then you might say Helakoski submitted the surveys. You want to really clearly identify who’s your actions and that will kind of solve both of these issues.

A reminder too, that using I is perfectly fine with APA style. So APA says that it's perfectly okay to use I but you want to focus on situations like I've just outlined where it's an action that you've completed or something that you are going to argue or in the case where your assignment is specifically asking you about a personal experience. For example, you might be asked about your particular workplace or to reflect on something in your life. A type of leadership that you've experienced. In those cases, you should of course use I. It would be odd not to. What you want to avoid is, I want to discuss healthcare in America. Or I think healthcare in America is an important topic. You want to avoid those kinds of general less formal and academic phrases that are more speculative, more conversational and focus on when you actually completed an action or when your prompt is asking for that personal experience.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Use a Formal Academic Voice Phrasing Tips

Phrasing Tips

Avoid questions:

If 40% of Americans are uninsured, what do they do if they become sick?

Why doesn’t the government do something about inflated health premiums?

Instead, phrase questions as statements:

It is unclear what the 40% of Americans who are uninsured should do if they become sick.

The government’s lack of involvement in fixing inflated health premiums results in continued issues for the general population.

Audio: Some more phrasing tips. You want to avoid questions. I know again this is very common in other forms of writing, even MLA style writing, but in APA style, you want to avoid these. If 40% of Americans are uninsured, what do they do if they become sick? That’s kind of making that emotional appeal that I was talking about before. Instead of an emotional appeal, you want to focus on clear facts that are provable that you are going to support any work.

For example, it is unclear what the 40% of Americans who are uninsured should do if they become sick or because 40% of Americans are uninsured, it is unclear how to get coverage to those people. These kinds of things focusing on that cause-and-effect rather than trying to make those emotional appeals.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Use a Formal Academic Voice Evidence Tips

Evidence Tips

Avoid direct quotes:

“The great fault of the 21st century is the lack of access to healthcare for those of low socioeconomic means, leading to an increase in both preventable deaths and anxiety disorders” (Smith, 2010, p. 7).

Instead, paraphrase:

Many people in the 21st century have poor health because they do not have the monetary resources to access adequate healthcare (Smith, 2011).

Audio: When you do include evidence, using some evidence is fine and probably necessary in a lot of your introductions. But you don't want to overburden the reader with evidence. You want to generally in your introduction avoid direct quotes because they are going to bog down the reader. Instead, paraphrase the source information. Rephrase in your own words and sentence structure and be sure to include a citation.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategies for Writing Your Introduction

Use any or all of these strategies, depending on what works for you!

  1. Wait to write your introduction last

Can help you because you already know what you wrote about in the paper.

  1. Write a sloppy introduction for your first draft, then go back and revise

Can help you get in the “zone” for writing the body, but then you can go back and revise later.

Audio: Use any or all of the strategies depending on what works for you. A couple things you can try is you can wait to write your introduction last. This can be helpful because you already know what you wrote in the paper so you can kind of go back and pull out the main points and then see what you need to bring up in the introduction. I always have a hard time starting out with an introduction. It just feels like there's a lot of pressure so I will have kind of a working introduction or summary of the prompt in front of me and kind of put that in there is a placeholder and then go back and fix it later.

You can also just write a sloppy introduction and then plan to go back and revise it. That can help you get in the zone. There's no reason you can't go back and revise your introduction later. That can be a really helpful strategy and ensure that your thesis statement is actually reflective of the argument you made in your work and that you are touching on the main points that you actually cover in your work. I always recommend that students go back through their draft and be sure they cover everything in the body in their introduction. If you write the introduction first so this is the reverse of that.

You want to make sure the introduction and conclusion, which are similar, are actually reflective of what you wrote in the body of the paper. If you wrote the introduction first, you might end up moving some points around or make a slightly different argument than you initially intended. Which is fine but then you want to make sure your intro and conclusion reflects that as well.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Start with the Assignment

Thesis: Patient-centered advocacy theory should be implemented at the frontline nursing level in my hospital in order to be successful.

Paper’s main ideas:

  1. What patient-centered advocacy (PCA) theory is and how it has been used
  2. Advantages to PCA theory; what it helps do
  3. Barriers to implementing PCA theory; how they can be overcome
  4. My plan to implement PCA theory in my hospital

This Introduction Should Cover

Broad—Background

Narrower—Problem

Narrowest—Thesis

 

Consider…

What are the larger ideas?

What stance am I making? What’s important for the reader to understand about the background?

Audio: You can also start with that assignment. An assignment can be a really helpful place to get you started thinking about your thesis might be patient centered advocacy theory should be implemented at the front-line nursing level at my hospital in order to be successful. That's just an outline of what your thesis might become. The papers main ideas can kind of be those points from the assignment. So, the assignment probably said something like in your paper, discuss what patient centered advocacy theory is and how it's been used. Discuss advantages to PCA theory and barriers to implementing this theory. As well as your own plan to implement this theory in your workplace. So that might be what the assignment actually said, but you know that those are the main ideas that you need to discuss in your paper. So, you just want to reframe them and add those specifics and then you will have the information you need for your introduction.

Think about that background, the problem and your thesis and you want to consider what are the larger ideas at play here? We are talking about patient centered advocacy, so that's a big idea here. What stance am I making? It seems like in this case, you are arguing what the advantages and barriers are and what an effective plan to implement this theory would be. What's important for the reader to understand about the background? So that's going to be specific to your discipline. They probably need to know a little bit about patient centered advocacy theory and what it is to get started here. And why it's important.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Beginnings: Start with the Assignment

Thesis: Patient-centered advocacy theory should be implemented at the frontline nursing level in my hospital in order to be successful.

Paper’s main ideas:

  1. What patient-centered advocacy (PCA) theory is and how it has been used
  2. Advantages to PCA theory; what it helps do
  3. Barriers to implementing PCA theory; how they can be overcome
  4. My plan to implement PCA theory in my hospital

This Introduction Should Cover

Broad—Advocacy theory summary

Narrower—Advantages & barriers

Narrowest—My plan & thesis

Consider…

What are the larger ideas?

What stance am I making? What’s important for the reader to understand about the background?

Audio: So, this introduction should cover advocacy theory, kind of a general summary, focus on those that there are advantages and barriers and then your thesis can be kind of your plan and central argument regarding this theory. So, use your assignment. It's there for you. It's going to tell you basically what to cover in your introduction and how to get started on your thesis. Again, you can always come back and tweak it later.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

  • Introduction
  • Body
    • Develop your ideas in such a way as to convince the reader of your argument
  • Conclusion
  • Learn more about paragraphs and developing and organizing arguments.

Audio: Alright, so, we've reached the middle of our presentation and now we are going to talk more about conclusions. You have your introduction and then once you've got that introduction, you will move on to body. So you want to develop your ideas to convince the reader of your argument and keep your thesis statement in mind. We have some great resources about paragraphing and organizing arguments in our other webinars available through our archives. You can click on the links there to find out more if the body and focusing on making your thesis really work throughout your paper is something that is appealing to you and you'd like to learn more about.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up

Rather than just stopping, you will want to ease your reader into your final thoughts on your topic, and wrap everything up so they know what to take away.

Audio: Now we are going to talk about endings, tying things up. Rather than just abruptly stopping your paper, you want to ease your reader into your final thoughts on the topic and wrap everything up so they know what to take away. I encourage this tactic in discussion posts as well. I know they are much shorter, but I read a lot of discussion posts in the writing center that just kind of end. I suggest having a short conclusion even for those discussion posts unless you have a very, very strict word count. Including those conclusions because it'll really help you practice the skill for those course papers as well. It'll help your fellow classmates reading your discussions sum things up.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up Poll

Poll Practice:

What is the purpose of a conclusion? (Choose all that apply.)

Audio: So, what is the purpose of the conclusion? Go ahead and click all that apply.

 

Visual: Options on right side of screen:

  1. To repeat all of the things you did in the paper.
  2. To repeat your thesis statement.
  3. To provide closure for the paper.
  4. To introduce any ideas, you didn’t get to include yet.
  5. To remind the reader of your main ideas.

[silence as participants respond]

Audio: The results have slowed down, so I'm going to go ahead keep this moving.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up Poll Answer

(1) Acts as a reminder of

  • Argument
  • Main points

(2) Gives the big picture

(3) Provides closure

(4) Avoids presenting new information

Audio: The purpose of the conclusion is that it acts as a reminder of the argument or main points. It gives the big picture, provides closure and avoids presenting new information. Let me see the poll again? Sorry there, Michael. I told him that it was okay to take the poll away and that I just changed my mind. You do want to provide closure. All of you got that one. You want to remind the reader of the main ideas and you want to repeat your thesis statement. You don't want to repeat everything you did in the paper, but you do want to provide an overview and you don't want to introduce new ideas. Great job, everybody.

 

The reason you want to avoid presenting new information is because this is a summary of a takeaway of your work and it should kind of stand on its own. I like to tell students that if someone was to just read your conclusion, they should have a pretty good idea about what your paper is about. They should definitely be able to tell you what the thesis argument and main points of the paper were just from reading that conclusion.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up Importance

Without a conclusion…

…your readers may feel lost, confused, and unsure why they spent all that time reading your paper. 

Audio: Without a conclusion, your reader may feel lost and confused and are unsure why they spent all that time reading your paper. You know because you keep all these ideas in your mind and your brain is going and thinking about your work, but your reader really needs that sort of final easing out or disengagement with your paper to kind of bring everything back together, remind them what they've read and give them a sense of closure as well.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up Closure

  • Create Closure Through
    • Avoiding new information or the “blueprint”
    • Including synthesis rather than summary

Audio: You can create that closure through avoiding the blueprint or adding new information and including synthesis rather than just summary. First, I talked about this, then I talked about that kind of thing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Tying Things Up No Blueprints

Just like an introduction, a conclusion should not be in a “blueprint” format:

 

In this paper, I discussed how informatics is an important part of nursing. I included information from peer-reviewed sources and noted how informatics will impact my field and organization. I concluded with some of the trade-offs of implementing informatics.

Audio: Just like an introduction, you want to avoid that blueprint format. I have an example here. In this paper, I discussed how informatics are important. I included information from peer-reviewed sources. I concluded with some trade-offs of implementing informatics. Instead, you want to be specific just like you would be in your introduction. Why is informatics important? What information did we include about the impact on the field and organization? What were those points? And then what are the trade-offs? So, you want to be specific but condensed.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Structure

Not sure where to start?

  • Revisit the thesis.
  • Try a reverse outline.
  • Think about a takeaway.
  • Narrow: Restating the thesis
  • Broader: Reiterating main points
  • Broad: Implications of argument to social change and future research

Audio: Just like I talked about the introduction is sort of a funnel or upside-down triangle where you start broad and then narrow it down. The conclusion is the reverse of that. It's more of a typical triangle where you start narrow, you're going to restate that thesis, you’re going to broaden, reiterate those main points. Then you will get even broader, implications of arguments to social change and the future of research if that's relevant to your paper.

If you are not sure where to start with your conclusion, you've reached the end of the paper and you don't know what to do next, then revisit the thesis. Try a reverse outline, which I will talk about more in a few slides, and think about the takeaways for the reader. So, what should the reader have understood from reading your paper?

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Think About the Beginning

Tie back to your introduction and thesis

Reiterate overall argument

  • Why did you write this paper?
  • Why is this topic important?

Remind readers of how you proved that argument

  • Studies, theories, experience, data

Audio: You can also think about the beginning. You want to tie back to your introduction and thesis. So, reiterate that overall argument. Why did you write this paper? Why is it important? And remind readers of how you proved that argument. So, think about studies, theories, experience and data. Again you shouldn't have source information in your conclusion, but what points did you have throughout the were supported by evidence? And you can re-summarize those there.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Format Tips

Length:

  • Course paper: Usually one paragraph
  • Longer, complex papers: Could be several paragraphs

Use headings:

  • Level 1 heading
  • Common headings: Conclusion, Summary, or Discussion

Follow the same writing rules as an introduction:

  • Avoiding anthropomorphism, passive voice, rhetorical questions, and incorrect verb tense

Audio: So, regarding length again, that conclusion is generally going to be one paragraph whereas for much longer papers, it might be a couple of paragraphs. You should use a heading, a level I heading for a conclusion, summary, discussion.  So, level I heading is just bolding and centered. Then it will follow the same general writing rules as an introduction. You don't want to be casual. You want to be clear, scholarly voice, avoid anthropomorphism, passive voice, rhetorical questions and incorrect verb tense.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: The Future?

Discuss future implications of research or topic

Not new information

  • Should naturally build throughout your text
  • Reiterates the importance of your argument

Audio: Alright and think about the future. You might discuss future implications of research or the topic. That's not new information. It should be something that just naturally builds throughout your text and will help reiterate the importance of your argument. Likely a lot of the articles you are reading for your class will have examples of this for you to look at too in your field.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Endings: Sample

This paper is about the implementation of informatics and the writer’s own experience with this in her organization.

Employing informatics in an organization may include frustration and pushback from healthcare staff, but using a system like CPOE is a necessity. In my organization, improved and consistent patient care was an early benefit, and scholars continue to note the long-term benefits of informatics. As CPOE becomes a future requirement for healthcare organizations, administrators should encourage its use and fund training to have a smooth, well-received implementation.

Chat:

How is this paragraph successful?

Is there a restated thesis, reiteration of main points, and larger implications?

Audio: So, we have samples just like we did for our introductions. I want you to read this paragraph, this conclusion paragraph, and think about if there's a restated thesis, reiteration of main points and larger implications. To help you out because you didn't read this paper, this paper is about the implementation of informatics and the writer's own experience with this in her organization. So, I will go ahead and read this paragraph.

Employing informatics in an organization may include frustration and pushback from healthcare staff, but using a system like see CPOE is a necessity. In my organization, improved inconsistent patient care was an early benefit and scholars continue to note the long-term benefits of informatics. As CPOE becomes a future requirement for healthcare organizations, administrators should encourage its use and fund training to have a smooth, well received implementation.

[silence as participants respond]

Is this successful? Why or why not? I see a good point here because a student talked about the MEAL plan. Interesting conclusions don't use the MEAL plan. While they are structured in a way that is general to specific and while you want to support and contextualize your evidence, introductions and conclusions are a little bit different because you are going to have that thesis and you are going to be bringing back together those ideas. The MEAL plan is more for those body paragraphs while of course it's good to think about having effective lead ins and contextualization for your reader, intro’s and conclusion are a little bit different in that way. CPOE is something that's been defined in the paper already, so just go ahead and assume you know what it means.

[silence as participants respond]

I’m seeing a lot of people talk about how this is successful. I would agree. I think that it clearly restates a thesis in our first sentence here. It focuses on the specifics, so we are getting broader of the main points, the particulars of this student’s organization. And then it sort of expands out into the implications and kind of puts a cap on their argument. Great job everyone, I think this is very successful.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat: What are the main similarities here? The differences?

Introduction

All leaders must learn to communicate effectively in order to be successful. There are several main forms of communication, but two of the most important are face-to-face and online (Helakoski, 2016). In my process of becoming a successful leader and communicator, I will analyze my strengths and weaknesses in order to improve my communication skills. Once I have analyzed my skills, I will be able to apply changes in order to enhance my skills as an ethical face-to-face and online communicator and leader.

Conclusion

Becoming a skilled communicator through both face-to-face and online communication has a positive impact on our personal and social interactions. By analyzing face-to-face and online communication skills, I identified my strengths and weaknesses and developed ideas on how to become a more knowledgeable and skilled communicator. I plan to be an effective and ethical communicator by further educating myself in this area and practicing verbal, nonverbal, and active listening skills that I learned in the communication course.

Audio: We have another chat where we are going to look at an introduction and a conclusion and this is for the same paper. I will read both and I want you to think about and let me know in the chat box, what are the similarities and differences?

Introduction.

All leaders must learn to communicate effectively in order to be successful. There are several main forms of communication, but two of the most important are face-to-face and online. In my process of becoming a successful leader and communicator, I will analyze my strengths and weaknesses in order to improve my communication skills. Once I have analyzed my skills, I will be able to apply changes in order to enhance my skills as an ethical face-to-face and online communicator and leader.

Now I will read the conclusion for the same paper. Becoming a skilled communicator through both face-to-face and online communication has a positive impact on our personal and social interactions. By analyzing face-to-face and online communication skills, I identified my strengths and weaknesses and developed ideas on how to become a more knowledgeable and skilled communicator. I plan to be an effective and ethical communicator by further educating myself in this area and practicing verbal, nonverbal and active listening skills that I learned in the communication course.

You generally should not have citations in a conclusion because you are reiterating source information that was already cited throughout the paper.

[silence as participants respond]

I'm seeing some good feedback here. We are sort of mirroring or having a similar approach in the introduction and conclusion, so both identify some main points. Both identify and kind of talk about leadership and different types of communication, which it should because that was the focus of our paper. Some of you noticed that we changed tenses, so we need introduction, we have and I will or a progressive tense and in the conclusion, we have the past tense and then the future tense because we've already identified strengths and weaknesses and the writers explaining what they will do in the future.

So obviously from reviewing this, this was one of those papers where students were asked to do some kind of assessment of their course, what they learned, how they plan to use that information in the future. I see these a lot in the writing center, so it's nice to have an example here. You notice we use I because we are talking specifically about this writer. This writer is talking about themselves, an analysis of their own leadership qualities. It makes perfect sense to use I in both.

And they do seem, when they are side to side, like this they do seem a little repetitive, but they will not be side-to-side in your paper, so you do want to hit those keywords face-to-face and online communication. You want to focus on positive interaction. You want to focus on leadership and ethical communication. Those kinds of things are all in both, but they are important keywords because they are what you actually discussed in the document. Great job analyzing this, everyone. And you can always look at your introduction and conclusion too, pull them out separately and take a look at both after you are done and make sure they are reflecting each other a little bit like this. But you will notice they don't verbatim repeat exact sentences. Don't do that.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Introduction

  • Broad à Narrow
    • Construct an arguable thesis
    • Establish your scholarly tone
    • Remember the funnel shape
  • Narrow à Broad
    • Reiterate your thesis
    • Synthesize your main points
    • Remember the triangle shape
  • Conclusion

Audio: As a refresher, your introduction goes broad to narrow. You want that thesis, scholar tone, a funnel shape. Where is your conclusion is narrow to broad. You want to reiterate your thesis, synthesize main points and think of more of a triangle shape broadening outward.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writer’s Block Tips

Audio: If you are really, really stuck, as a reminder we have some writer's block tips. You can try a reverse outline which I promised I would talk about more. So here it is. A reverse outline is where you look at the body paragraphs of your work and you will just make bullet points of what are the points you make in each paragraph. You can put that on a piece of notebook paper in a separate document, whatever works for you. And then you will have all your main points in one place of the points you make in your actual paper. And you can use that and then look at your introduction or if you are really stuck, you can use those to write your introduction and think about, I talk about these points. These are all things I should mention and what are the broader definitions I need to add to my introduction and that I need to make sure I revisit in my conclusion? You can review your assignment instructions. Those can be really helpful getting you started. You can take a break and come back to it. It's okay. Give yourself space to do that as a growing writer. And you can write something, a sloppy introduction, a sloppy conclusion and just keep going.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Revision Tips

When you’ve finished your paper—

  • Read just the beginning: Does it cover the main ideas and scope of your paper?
  • Read just the ending: Does it go over your main points and leave the reader with takeaway?

If the answer is “No” or “I’m not sure” try a reverse outline and make sure you’re touching on the main ideas in the body of your work in both of these places.

Audio: When you have finished your paper, you can read just the beginning. Does it cover the main ideas and scope that you talk about in your body paragraphs? You can read just the ending. Does it go over the main points and leave the reader with a takeaway? If your answer is no or I am not sure, try a reverse outline and make sure that you are touching on those main ideas in the body of your work in both the introduction and conclusion. It's possible you missed something. It's possible your thesis changed a little bit. So, it's a good practice.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

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Audio: I will pause here to see if we have any questions. Michael, do we have any questions?

Michael: Hey thanks Claire. It’s been pretty quite in the chat box. I'm going to go ahead and wrap up this webinar because it's been quiet in the chat box. If you have questions after the webinar, feel free to reach out to us on the email on the slide writingsupport@waldenu.edu. Or we also offer live chat hours. The hours that we will have a writing instructor online to have one-to-one contact with you are on the writing center homepage so you can check out the hours there. But live chat is a great option if you have maybe a clarification or would like someone to take a look at a small part of your essay.

As a follow-up to this webinar, there are couple webinars that we think would be kind of helpful if you are looking to continue on in your academic writing journey here through webinars. One is writing effective academic paragraphs. We've talked about conclusions and introductions today. This really gets into the body of a typical academic writing piece.

Also, cohesion and flow, bringing your paper together. This has to do with elements of style, creating a lot of thought that goes through your entire piece and leading the reader seamlessly from one argument point to another would be what that webinar is focusing on. If these ideas are elements or something that interest you, feel free to check those out in the webinar archive.

Also, the writing center also offers paper review appointments. These are one-to-one appointments where a writing instructor like Claire or myself will get your piece of writing you've crafted and will offer individualized feedback on that help you improve it. So, if that's something that interests you as well, feel free to take advantage of that. It's a great resource to really get individualized feedback specifically tailored to your writing and the writing you are producing. From there though, this concludes our webinar. Have a great day everyone and thank you again Claire for presenting this. We really appreciate your effort and your expertise. Have a good day, everyone. Bye.

(End of Session)