Academic Writing TipsResearch paper

How to write a thesis statement for a research paper

How to write a thesis statement for a research paper? To write your thesis statement, first, you have to come up with an idea, then you got to take a position and clarify that position in your thesis statement. Doing all this may seem a bit of complexity to most students and junior researchers, but the thing is that without a powerful thesis statement, every research will be lacking. To prevent such a thing from happening to your thesis statement, making it weak, you should try to keep some principles in mind. 

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How to write a thesis statement for a research paper
How to write a thesis statement for a research paper

What is a thesis statement in a research paper

Any assertive sentence that clarifies the key points of your argument can be considered a thesis statement. Your thesis statement should deal with your central idea and act as a basis for all of your arguments. The typical location of the thesis statement is at the end of your introduction. 

Your thesis statement might have distinguishing features depending on the specific nature of your assignment. It doesn’t matter what type of paper you are writing; you should try to keep your thesis to the point and exclusive. 

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What are the different types of thesis statements

We usually consider two primary types of thesis statements when dealing with research papers. 

1. Indirect Thesis Statements 

When your thesis statement does not clearly address the main idea of your essay, it is an indirect thesis statement. For the sake of an example, when you have a thesis statement that reads thus: “Berlin is the best city in Europe for six reasons. These six reasons will be explained and elaborated on in this essay”. As you can see, the reason is not clearly stated, so you are dealing with an indirect thesis statement. 

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2. Direct Thesis Statements 

When your thesis statement directly addresses the main points of your argument, you have a direct thesis statement. For the sake of an example when you have a thesis statement that reads thus: “Berlin is the best city in Europe because of its unique culture, food, art, architecture, city design, and people.” A thesis statement as such clearly addresses the main points that are going to be discussed in detail. 

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Steps to writing a good thesis statement

One of the most critical processes in writing a research paper is developing a thesis statement. The reason behind such importance is that this process usually results from a lengthy process of thinking. You must conduct extensive research before formulating the message of your thesis statement so that you can come up with supporting evidence for your argument.  

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The four steps of developing a well-structured thesis statement are listed below:

1. Try to begin with a research question.

Researchers usually start their work on their thesis statement with the research question. When you choose your research questions, you can begin conducting further exclusive research, which will come in handy in writing your thesis statement. 

For the sake of an example, a research example would be something like this: “What are the main factors that led to the rise of the MAGA movement in 2016?”. To come up with a powerful thesis statement to answer this question, you have to have an exclusive research question in mind.  

2. Address the research question directly.

When you complete your research question section, you can start your preliminary research on the given topic. Your research should help you to come up with a provisional thesis statement. It is most likely that researchers have a relatively simple thesis statement at this stage. This prototype of a thesis statement is an extremely useful tool in planning the research process and directing the writing. 

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Try to clarify your stance in your provisional thesis statement if your research is supposed to take a position about your research question. For the sake of an example and using the model mentioned earlier, an argumentative thesis statement concerning the rise of the MAGA movement in 2016 would be like this:

“The rise of nationalistic fanaticism was one of the main factors that lead to the rise of the MAGA movement in 2016.”

3. Provide supporting evidence for your thesis statement

This is the stage where you begin the actual research. You should consider the thesis statement as a crucial starting point for the research you are conducting. When researchers want to gather the information that in one way or another supports their argument(s), they can go to the existing literature and take advantage of all the research previously done. 

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While researchers search for supporting evidence for their argument and thesis during the research process, they can work on their thesis statement and further develop it. Keep in mind to use your arguments’ key points and (if required) your conclusion in your final thesis statement.  

A final draft of the MAGA movement example mentioned earlier would be something like this:

“The rise of nationalistic fanaticism, the popularity of far-right propaganda, and anti-immigrant tendencies were main factors that led to the rise of the MAGA movement in 2016, transforming the structural approach of the American foreign policy.”

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4. Take advantage of the counterarguments.

This step is specifically beneficial when you are dealing with an argumentative thesis statement. To refine your thesis statement, you can anticipate the potential counterarguments to your argument and use them to your advantage. This way, you can make your argument more profound and also further elaborate on your key arguments. 

You can also evaluate the validity of your arguments while you try to utilize this counterargument technique. If there is no way to bring any counterargument to your thesis statement, perhaps you should consider revising it. 

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The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement

When you try to develop a thesis statement, you should pay attention to qualities such as the format, length, strength of the argument, and location.

Length: depending on the points you choose to mention, you may have a long or a short thesis statement. Researchers usually try to wrap up their thesis statement in a concise sentence with a minimum of two clauses: an independent clause for the opinion and a dependent clause for the reasons. It is better to go for a single sentence with around 40 words in a minimum of two lines. 

Position: Always locate your thesis statement at the beginning of your essay. The reason behind this is that by reading your thesis statement at the beginning, the readers can understand what you will talk about. It is always better to pose your thesis statement at the end of your introduction. 

Strength: if you want to strengthen your argumentative thesis statement, you have to make it arguable, which means that your statement should not be too evident and agreeable. 

Thesis Statement Examples 

To help you to come up with your thesis statement, we have listed some thesis statement examples. 

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  • We have to use socials carefully and be protective of our personal information while online. Our personal information may be given to a third-party operator without our consent and be manipulated for illegal purposes.
  • We can improve the living standards of homeless people by giving them access to public restrooms.
  • To increase office-workers productivity and to normalize their work-life balance, companies must make more telecommuting opportunities.
  • Schools can get involved in reducing cyber-bullying by punishing school bullies online or otherwise in the school. 
  • During the past five years, magazines have done their best to focus on alternative models, but promoting a healthy image of the female body in the present culture is a far-off dream.

In this article, you found out how to write a thesis statement for a research paper. Still need help with your research paper?


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