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How to Write a Research Paper: Thesis Statement

Step by step description of how to write a research paper

What is a Thesis Statement?

What is a Thesis Statement? 

A thesis statement is a concise statement of an academic work's main point. The thesis statement should identify both what the paper is about (the topic) and what you are saying about it. Your thesis statement should be as specific as possible. For a short essay, the length of your thesis statement should be one or two sentences. If you are writing a dissertation or book, your thesis statement should be about a paragraph in length. A thesis should avoid saying "This paper is about..." Your thesis statement should be as specific as possible. 

A basic pattern to follow is "An analysis of (insert topic here) will show that (point one), (point two), and (point three)." Keep in mind this is only an example, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. 

Who Needs a Thesis Statement?

All academic writing, from a short essay to a dissertation or a monograph, should have an identifiable thesis statement somewhere in it. The longer or more complicated an academic work is, the easier is becomes to get bogged down in details and lose sight of the overall argument, and the more important it is to clearly state the central point. 

Where Should I Put My Thesis Statement? 

Thesis statements are most commonly located near the beginning of the academic work, usually towards the end of the introduction. This strategic placement allows the reader to quickly understand specifically what the essay is about and be able to follow the arguments as they are presented. 

Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements: Purdue Owl 

This resource from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.