Writing a Law Dissertation conclusion

Your conclusion requires and deserves careful planning. Without this you run the risk of repeating yourself or running out of things to say.

The conclusion section of your law dissertation is likely to be one of the shortest but it still performs a vital role, completing the circle that begun with your introduction. Indeed, you will probably be unable to finish writing your introduction until you have worked out what you are going to put in your conclusion otherwise you run the risk of raising issues in your conclusion that you have not identified in your introduction.

Similar principles apply to the conclusion of your law dissertation to those you would have followed in your conclusion to essays you would have submitted earlier on in your studies in that you will be summarising your research question, reminding the reader in brief what was undertaken and what has emerged from your findings. You may also use this opportunity to suggest further research, particularly if you have opted for a socio-legal methodology.

The style of your conclusion may well be influenced by the methodology you have utilised. In your conclusion you need to summarise your key findings and discuss possible connections between them. Be sure to refer back to your research question. Relate your own findings to those in any related published studies which you would have outlined in your literature review.

The conclusion section of your law dissertation, more than any other, will be enhanced by concise writing together with the use of sub-headings, numbering and bullet points. These will help you maintain your focus. You should be ruthless with what you include. Concentrate on two aspects : the significance of your work and any recommendations for future research.

When considering the significance of your work, limit yourself to stating just two or three points. Select those parts of your work that are fundamental, that have important implications for our understanding of the topic or as to what further research might further aid our understanding.

If you have identified any limitations in your own studies, make clear what you believe these are. For example, if undertaking black-letter research, in what way were you limited in terms of sources reviewed? If your dissertation has a socio-legal context, in what way were you restricted in terms of your 'sample'?

In what ways is your interpretation of your findings related to your own theoretical assumptions that you would have outlined earlier? What particular insights has your work provided? Discuss any broader implications. Your conclusion must follow coherently from the evidence extrapolated. Do not be tempted to enter into speculation, prediction or moralising. Avoid expressing any personal opinions unless these are specifically called for.

You may wish to end with a quotation, something which the law as a whole is rarely short of. If you do, keep it short and relevant.

Do check the particular requirements of your institution as some will require you to make practical recommendations arising out of your findings. Avoid the temptation to invent these.

If you are in any doubt as to what is required in the conclusion to your law dissertation, then Law Teacher can help.