MTM Writing Clinic
A conclusion is the culmination of your paper. It should not merely summarize the information you presented in your paper, but should seek to link your work with broader issues. These might be practical applications of your thesis, or avenues of future research of the topic. However, be careful not to introduce new claims or evidence directly relating to your topic in the conclusion. This leaves the reader with the impression that you did not fully address your topic.
A conclusion should present a sense of closure, by revisiting the way that the paper began. This does not mean that you need to emphatically restate your thesis. Rather, you should draw correlations between questions you raised in your introduction, and how your paper addressed these questions. As such, it is often helpful to write the introduction and conclusion in tandem, or place them side by side to ensure that key phrases offered in the introduction are updated in the conclusion.
Many disciplines have specific requirements regarding the content required to be in the conclusion. For more information, see Formats Across the Curriculum.