Thesis statements are hard to write. There, I said it. As an English major people usually assume that I have some sort of internal thesis generator that spits out finely tuned arguments instantly. This is not true. I often spend an embarrassing amount of time wading through poorly drafted theses (yes, that is the plural) before I finally land on something that works.
How do you come up with a thesis statement? A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process and careful deliberation after preliminary research. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading a writing assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis,” a basic main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way. Your topic may change somewhat as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
What is the purpose of the thesis statement? The thesis statement guides you, enabling you to focus your research paper and outline what you will write. It allows you to clarify your thinking and determine what is relevant and irrelevant as you do your research. Your research paper must be thesis-driven. A high school level “report” will not receive a passing grade. The thesis must pull together the analysis that follows. Your thesis statement must be specific – it should cover only what you will discuss in your research paper and must be supported with specific evidence. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper. Early in your paper I should be able to locate the thesis statement. If I ask you “Where is the thesis statement?” you should be able to point to it immediately.
Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion – convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.
Now, narrow down your topic: Once you’ve chosen a topic, ask yourself if it’s narrow enough for you to tackle in the paper or honors thesis you will be writing. Narrow topics generally result in the best papers. One important consideration is the availability of material. Therefore, before making a final decision on your topic, do some initial research to find out the type, quality, and quantity of information available. Finally, how much time do you have to write your paper? The earlier you begin your paper, the more thorough the treatment your topic will receive. If you can’t begin your paper early in the semester, consider limiting your topic so you can deal with it adequately.
The purpose of this article was to provide a few prompts to help concentrate student's attention on the sections that usually cause the greatest number of mistakes when creating a thesis paper. We hope you understood what you should and should not write in your thesis and our effective thesis writing tips have helped to make the process smoother and less intimidating.
Summary: This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Quite often students ask our team what kind of information they should present in the acknowledgements section. When writing an acknowledgements section, typically candidates for an academic degree cite their advisor and any person who helped in writing the thesis, including those who provided them with materials and supplies, and those who helped them intellectually and financially.
This section explains the prewriting (invention) stage of the composing process. It includes processes, strategies, and questions to help you begin to write.
In order to write a successful thesis, pay attention to the sections we present here, since they are the most challenging for students. Methodology is the part that also can cause trouble even if you think that you know how to do it. First of all, you need to provide the reader with confidence in the reliability of your results. Present to your audience the description of materials, procedure and theory, grounded in the research you conducted in the literature review. Refer back to specific examples from your research. Essentially, you are providing and outline and a plan for how you conducted your research and are making the case that it was a solid and effective way to undertake your experiment. Make sure that after reading your methods section another researcher would be able to replicate your experiments. Very often candidates highlight a description of the results which is a mistake! Be sure to cite all sources in a standard format such as MLA or APA style.
This resource provides an overview of stasis theory and what you can do with it to help you conduct research, compose documents, and work in teams.
These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the general work flow of pre-writing, organizing, and revising. For resources and examples on specific types of writing assignments, please go to our Common Writing Assignments area.
The abstract is a section of the thesis about 400-500 words in length that highlights some very important questions of the study. The abstract should be written in a way that would provide a person that is looking at your writing for the first time with a general idea of the purpose and conclusions of your work. In order to write a good abstract, answer these questions: "What is the purpose of your paper?"; "Why did you do this?"; "What methods did you use?"; "What did you learn and what results did you get?"; and "Why do you think it is important?" Essentially, the abstract provides a brief outline of your project and a sample of the conclusions reached.