Writing a conclusion for your report

This page shows an example conclusion from a real report and shows how the authors summarise the findings and draw interpretations from those findings

The best way to learn how to write a good conclusion to a report is to look at a real-life good example and consider what the writer does in it.

This page looks at a report written by the British Council entitled  Culture at Work: the value of intercultural skills in the workplace. You can read the whole report in that link (but you might not want to!) otherwise read on here for some comments on the report and extracts from the conclusion.

The report carries out research into the value that employers place on employees having good intercultural skills. You will not be surprised to hear that the British Council found that employers like their employees to have such skills.  The conclusion to the report summarises the findings of the research and draws conclusions from those findings. Drawing conclusions from research means first giving the facts of what you discovered, and then discussing what those facts could mean. The facts could mean a lot of different things, to different people. They could lead to different ideas, be interpreted differently by different people so you need to use cautious hedging language when you draw your conclusions. This is why you see words such as 'suggests' and 'implies' in conclusions.

Here is the conclusion from the report which summarises the factual findings from the report and then interprets those facts.

Read the text and as you read it try to identify which parts of the text are referring to factual findings and which parts of the text show the writer's interpretation and conclusions drawn from those facts.

Here is the conclusion:

Conclusion

Employers around the world face a wide range of business challenges. A common challenge shared by employers around the world is finding employees with adequate intercultural skills. Given that the operating environments of all organisations is increasingly global, it comes as no surprise that employers need employees who can understand and adapt to different cultural contexts.

Employers place a high value on intercultural skills in the workplace and associate having workers with strong intercultural skills with business benefits, such as increased productivity and sales. They also associate a lack of intercultural skills with business risks, such as miscommunication and team conflict.

While employers universally value intercultural skills, they do not often assess these skills in the application or interview process. This lack of skills assessment in the recruitment process may indicate that HR recruitment processes and staff are not always aligned with the needs of the teams that interact internationally. This also implies that employers could benefit from improving their ability to identify and assess intercultural skills in prospective employees.

Employers also generally feel that education systems in their countries could do more to provide students with intercultural skills. To mitigate the risk of having a workforce that is unprepared for the global work environment, employers often provide training for their employees to develop intercultural skills.

This research suggests that there is significant opportunity for employers, policy makers and education providers to work together to strengthen the development of intercultural skills to meet the needs of an increasingly
global workforce.

British Council, (2013) Culture at WorkAvailable: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/culture-at-work-report-v2.pdf

Are you ready to check your ideas about which parts of the text present factual findings and which parts present interpretation and draw conclusions?

Here you go:

Factual findings Employers around the world face a wide range of business challenges. A common challenge shared by employers around the world is finding employees with adequate intercultural skills. Given that the operating environments of all organisations is increasingly global, it comes as no surprise that employers need employees who can understand and adapt to different cultural contexts. 

Employers place a high value on intercultural skills in the workplace and associate having workers with strong intercultural skills with business benefits, such as increased productivity and sales. They also associate a lack of intercultural skills with business risks, such as miscommunication and team conflict.

 

While employers universally value intercultural skills, they do not often assess these skills in the application or interview process.

Interpretation of facts/drawing conclusions from facts This lack of skills assessment in the recruitment process may indicate that HR recruitment processes and staff are not always aligned with the needs of the teams that interact internationally. This also implies that employers could benefit from improving their ability to identify and assess intercultural skills in prospective employees.
Factual findings Employers also generally feel that education systems in their countries could do more to provide students with intercultural skills. To mitigate the risk of having a workforce that is unprepared for the global work environment, employers often provide training for their employees to develop intercultural skills.
Interpretation of facts/drawing conclusions from facts This research suggests that there is significant opportunity for employers, policy makers and education providers to work together to strengthen the development of intercultural skills to meet the needs of an increasingly global workforce.

You should notice that the parts of the text where the writers interpret the facts and draw conclusions from them use the following language:

...may indicate that...

This (also) implies that...

This research suggests that...

This is a good example of an academic report because it summarises the factual findings of the report and draws conclusions which discuss the implications of those findings.

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