How to Write an Introduction & Conclusion for an APA Style Paper

Updated April 17, 2017

APA Style is the most common citation style used in the social sciences and the fields of nursing and business, according to the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Its formal structure conveys ideas to readers with a minimum of ambivalence by avoiding figurative language in favour of presenting information clearly and concisely. The introductory and concluding paragraphs in an APA Style paper have basically the same function: to summarise the overall ideas of the paper for the readers and to provide context for the overall paper.

Write a thesis statement reflecting the overall goal of the paper. A thesis statement should show the writer's view of the paper's subject matter. It should also provide readers a road map to what the paper will contain. This sentence goes at the end of the introduction. However, by writing it first, it provides a solid foundation to ground the rest of the paper.

Start the introduction by briefly stating the topic of the paper. If the paper is a review on information from a single source, it is best to mention the author and title of the source in the first sentence. In APA format, figurative language is avoided to aid in clarity; therefore, common essay starters like quotations or rhetorical questions should be used with caution.

Provide a broad overview of what information the paper will cover. The introduction is not the place for a large number of specific details about the topic; instead, it should give the readers a synopsis of what the paper will cover.

Revise the paragraph to conform to APA stylistic guidelines. First person point of view is appropriate if the paper discusses research personally conducted by the writer. The paragraph should avoid wordiness whenever possible. Also, because the goal of APA Style is clarity, the writer should ensure that word choices are clear and direct.

Explain to the readers why the preceding information matters. The concluding paragraph gives the author the chance to show why the topic is important. However, the conclusion should not introduce any new evidence; instead, it should synthesise in a meaningful way the information already present in the paper.

Emphasise the arguments initially made in the introductory paragraph. However, do not summarise the arguments made in the paper. Show the reader how the arguments in the paper fit together and prove the thesis statement.

Inform the reader of further steps that need to be taken in the area of the paper's research. By providing real-world applications to the preceding information, the author can give the paper context and show its relationship to other papers in the same field.

Revise the conclusion to make sure that it accurately reflects the ideas put forth in the introduction and body of the paper. Edit the paragraph so that it is concise and clear. Also, insert a page break between the end of the conclusion and the beginning of the bibliography.


The paper should conform to all APA guidelines regarding margins, typefaces and general format, in addition to stylistic concerns. It should avoid bias whenever possible. To avoid gender bias, the APA recommends using the plural nouns or pronouns "they" or "their," instead of specific gender nouns or pronouns.


Avoid a sentence-by-sentence repetition between the introduction and the conclusion. The introduction should provide an overview of the paper, and the conclusion should reinforce claims that have already been proven. Varying the structure between the paragraphs can easily solve this problem.

Things You'll Need

  • To write an introduction and conclusion to an APA Style paper, you will need the following:
  • Word processing software
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About the Author

John Mack Freeman began work in 2009 as a freelance writer with a focus on articles in health and wellness and contemporary arts and entertainment. He has been published through various websites, specializing in health care and craft-related topics. Freeman earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Shorter College.