What exactly is a Thesis Statement?
All research papers, especially those dealing with controversial issues or making arguments need a thesis statement. The statement forms the premise upon which the argument or research paper is based. A thesis simply a statement that expresses an argument about the topic or subject you are writing about, and then briefly describes how you will demonstrate or prove the argument.
Your thesis should make a specific statement to the readers concerning what you will argue about in your research paper. The thesis should thus be one, or a few sentences in length, but it should never exceed a paragraph. Also, never begin by stating evidence or even provide an example in the thesis paragraph. That should be left for the body part of your research paper.
The following steps should guide you in writing an effective thesis statement for your research paper:
Before developing your argument on the topic of your study, you should collect and organize supporting materials. Look for any possible relations between the stated facts, for instance, similarities, differences, or themes and then imagine their significance. Search for controversies, complications, ambiguities, interests, and tensions in your resources. You can ask yourself questions such as:
- What are the significances of the arguments presented by authors?
- Do the authors contradict themselves?
- What are the various approaches to a certain topic?
- What are the patterns in the evidence?
Figuring out one or more of these questions will help create a working thesis for your research paper. Remember that your thesis statement is not a summary of what you will do, but a statement of what you think about a certain issue and how you will prove that.
Once you have accomplished this first step, your essay should be able to develop a thesis that presents the fundamental idea, coupled with the main argument that you think you can back up with the evidence you have collected.
You should not worry if both your thesis statement and main argument require some adjustment in the course of writing the term paper. This is common since you might have overlooked some information, or your ideas might become more articulated or pronounced as you continue reading and writing.
- Write down your working thesis
Many students get frustrated when they come across a great thesis idea in their research, but then forget it as they fail to jot it down and their concentration wanes. Therefore, when your thesis statement, you do not only preserve the idea, but also you are compelled to think about it clearly concisely, and logically as you research. Don’t struggle to write down your final-draft rendering of your thesis statement at first. As you go on noting ideas relating to your main argument, you will find that writing the final thesis statement will be quiet easy once you embark on writing the research paper.
The thesis statement should guide you in the process of writing the research paper. Sure enough, you will get new ideas and information as you proceed along but you should consider the thesis statement as your main starting point.
- Include your thesis statement in the introduction paragraph
The most common place to include your thesis should be at the ending of your introductory paragraph. This is a common practice in most short essays ranging from 5-15 pages long. Although this point is not arbitrary, most readers expect to find thesis statement there, therefore, they will tend to be more attentive when reading this part to ascertain what they should expect in the remainder of the paper.
A thesis makes a specific statement to the reader about what you will be trying to argue. Your thesis can be a few sentences long, but should not be longer than a paragraph. Do not begin to state evidence or use examples in your thesis paragraph.
Before writing your final-draft of the thesis, it is a good practice to anticipate counterarguments. Try to come up with some of the things that might be used to refute your claims. In this manner, you will be able to polish your thesis and think about some arguments that and evidence that you can further use in your research paper.
All research papers have a purpose which they seek to accomplish. A good thesis statement does not only reveal your viewpoint on a subject or topic, but also acts as the guiding map. All your ideas should relate to the thesis in one way or another and they should be based on reliable evidence.
Always keep in mind that your thesis statement is not a question or a list, and it should never be confrontational or vague. A good thesis should have a definable and arguable claim.
Want to read more? Visit these guides for some inspiration.