Developing a Working Research Paper Thesis

The thesis of your paper is the foundation upon which everything else is crafted. It’s really the first step you need to make before you can begin any part of the writing process. The thesis statement provides the focus you will take when writing. When it’s written in a succinct and clear fashion, the thesis can really assist you in forging ahead and fitting all the parts of the research paper together for a better outcome.

What makes an effective thesis statement?

  • Presents the general topic of your research paper.
  • Covers 3 main points which support the thesis. List them in the same order you will address them in your research paper.
  • Should only be one sentence long, usually located at the end of the introduction – the first paragraph of your paper.
  • It should incorporate action verbs so the reader gets an indication of how you will address each point.

A weak thesis statement isn’t a good way to start off your research paper. Your claim should sound valid; your focus should be laser sharp.

How to write a thesis statement

  • What is the main purpose of your paper? Express it in 25 words or less. Use a thesaurus online to choose desired words.
  • What is the main question you want your paper to answer? Remember the length of your paper will dictate the scope of your investigation into the topic.
  • Try not to fill your thesis statement with words the reader must look up the definitions for. This will make for heavy reading and will turn off their desire to continue on reading the remainder of the research paper.
  • The thesis has the power to unify the paper. It can knit all the parts together. Make sure the body of your paper doesn’t wander away from answering the specific question posed by your thesis statement.

Tips for working with your thesis

  • Present your supporting points in the order of weakest to strongest. Your reader is most likely to remember the last point you make; therefore it should be the most important one.
  • Use effective action verbs such as presents, describes and explores when constructing your thesis statement.
  • Use the thesis statement to develop an outline for the body of your research paper.
  • The introductory paragraph must captivate the reader’s attention and give them motivation to continue reading. It’s also the highlight of the paper because it presents the thesis.