How to write A Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

How to write A Thesis Statement for a Research Paper

While working on a research paper, it is important for you to have a clear idea of how to write a thesis statement for a research paper. This statement is supposed to give your readers an idea of what you are writing about.

Your thesis statement should be strong such that it does not leave readers with any doubts regarding your reasons for supporting the ideas or information they come across as they read your paper.

Click here to view some thesis statement examples that will guide you into writing your own strong thesis statement. Additionally, there are guidelines which once followed can help you sharpen your writing skills.

Tips on how to write a thesis statement for a research paper

  • Understand your assignment

You cannot know how to formulate a strong thesis unless you fully grasp your assignment. If you are writing a paper that is supposed to respond to a specific research question, the first thing you need to do is understand the task clearly. Identify the thinking skills you are supposed to apply such as:

  • Argumentation
  • Reflection
  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Comparison
  • Interpretation

Therefore, the thesis statement should be a reflection of your writing goals.

  • Familiarize yourself with thesis statement structure of a research paper

Every academic writing task has its own thesis structure which is often followed by evidence and then analysis that supports the main claim in the body of the paper. The purpose of your thesis statement therefore is driving your agenda forward. For the research paper, your thesis statement should make a main claim regarding the problem, issue or topic under discussion.

  • Formulating the research question

Often, students experience a difficult time identifying the difference between a thesis statement and research question. While these are closely related, they cannot be interchanged. There are instances when a research question is part of your assignment question while other instances you have no option but to formulate your own question. You can define your research question in the following manner:

  • The question focusing your research on a significant issue, contradiction or problem
  • The major question as highlighted in the assignment or final question you deduce after asking questions in order to narrow the topic down
  • The question your thesis statement answers which can take the form of specific claim

Research question example:

“What was the most important cause f America’s increased involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960s?” (Avery et al. 22)

Thesis statement example responding to research question:

“The escalation of the Vietnam War during the 1960s was caused primarily by America’s anti-Communist foreign policy” (Avery et al.22).

Tips for writing excellent research question:

  • Ask journalistic questions (where, who, what, why, when and how) regarding your topic till you come up with one question that is substantive and specific.
  • Consider the manner in which the question related to the literature published
  • Use a prompt that is purpose driven to arrive at your research question

Formulate tentative thesis statement

For majority of students, not knowing how to write a thesis statement for a research paper is very common. This is especially true in freshmen or lower college levels.

The most important thing to remember is that the tentative thesis statement is not cast on stone since it is only meant to guide you while writing your research paper. As a matter of fact, it only serves to make your work manageable.

During the early writing stage, ensure your statement focuses on evidence in a given manner. As you progress with evidence analysis though, you should be able to have a thesis statement that is well clarified.

Some of the questions that can help you write the thesis statement include the following:

  • What implications or patterns arise when you look at your evidence closely?
  • What support or evidence do you need in order to support your tentative thesis?
  • How can you explain mismatches between your thesis statement and the evidence selected?
  • How can you rewrite your thesis statement such that it accommodates evidence that appears not to fit in?

Answering questions such as these is one of the most reliable to speed up your knowledge on how to write a thesis statement for a research paper.

  • Evaluation contradiction

There are some thesis statements that are interesting compared to others. Therefore, your choice of a self-evident or dull thesis statement has little to do with your brilliance and more with your ability to identify an issue/problem that is not just significant to you but to your readers too. In the event you reach halfway through the essay then realize you do not have something more to say, be certain that your thesis statement does not have the scholarly vigor that is needed to see the research paper through.

In order to avoid the possibility of this happening, you should pick an interesting contradiction or paradox between 2 things. This means having a complex thesis statement which in essence can help propel your paper to the end.

  • Consider these questions to test your thesis statement

In order to determine whether you have come up with a solid statement, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your thesis show great depth and analysis of your thoughts or is it just descriptive?
  • Does your thesis offer an argument regarding the material and does it come across as an argument?
  • Can your thesis be contested?
  • Can your thesis be defended? (consider whether you have used “primarily” or “for the most part” in order to make it defensible)
  • Does your thesis statement address the question “so what?”

On this page, you can find additional samples of thesis statements. These will help you have a better grasp of how to write a thesis statement for a research paper that hooks the reader.

  • Ask questions as you work on writing your thesis

While reviewing the notes you have gathered to work on your research paper, there are some question that need to arise. These questions should be relevant to your issues and research paper topic.

For instance, if the paper you are working on is concerned with parental influence, you have to consider the manner in which parental discipline affects the behavior of children. In such a case, some of the questions you should ask yourself include the following:

  • Do children who have parents who are very strict behave in a better manner?
  • Does the reaction of a child to parental rules that are strict change as they grow?
  • Is the self-esteem of children affected by spanking?
  • Does disciplining that is inconsistent have negative effect on a child’s behavior?

While none of these questions can be described as a thesis, they are all possible starting points. Note that you cannot cover all of them in a single paper therefore, you must make a choice. Once you pick a question, look at your notes closely and identify more issues or concerns regarding the topic.

You can even use the internet and other material sources to get additional backup information to support your thesis.

Click here for more information on how to write a thesis statement for a research paper.

Important tips to remember while writing your thesis

  1. Declare the thesis in your opening sentence-While the decision on where to place a thesis statement is personal, placing it at the opening sentence offered the reader immediate sense of what they should expect from the paper. It is an ideal way to capture the attention of the reader and keep it for a longer duration.
  2. Be bold and show commitment-Make sure the thesis statement you come up with is not only assertive but daring and direct as well. You can even say something you know your reader will disagree with. Showing the reader you know what you are talking about and you are committed to the topic is a sure way to hold their attention to the end of the paper.
  3. Keep the thesis short-You do not want to bore your reader with a long thesis statement. Keep it short and concise.

Also, as you get to know how to write a thesis statement for a research paper, you should bear in mind that the statement should not necessarily be factual but declarative such that it can be argued. This is because a factual statement does not leave any room for any form of intellectual discourse.

Our hope is that the guidelines above have equipped you with tips on how to write a thesis statement for a research paper.

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