research paper tips

Writing basics: writing a thesis statement for your research paper

Choosing a topic for a research paper is only the beginning. The real work begins after you have crafted a thesis statement, the controlling statement for your persuasive research paper. As the guiding sentence for the research paper, the thesis must include several elements that will let the reader know what you are trying to accomplish with the paper and will help you build the rest of the paper. With a weak thesis or no thesis at all, your research paper will wander and not prove anything at all.

One Sentence and One Sentence Only

The thesis statement is also known as the claim of a paper. It is a necessary component for any paper that is attempting to prove an opinion. This single sentence needs to be placed at the end of the introduction and it needs to be written clearly and concisely. All too often, students will try to write a thesis in two or more sentence, but this only confuses the reader who is expecting to see one sentence that provides the main focus of the paper.

Begin with “I Believe”

While your research paper will be about a particular topic, the thesis will narrow the topic so the reader knows exactly what you will be trying to prove. The best way to begin a thesis statement is with the words “I believe” because the statement will show just this. However, once you have the rest of the thesis statement written, you need to remove “I believe” from the sentence itself. For example, if you are writing a thesis about steroid in professional sports, you could start with “I believe professional athletes should be banned for one year without pay if they test positively for performance enhancing drugs.” Then, when you remove “I believe” you have a thesis that shows your topic and your opinion that you are going to prove.

Remember to Reduce

When you craft the thesis statement, it is important that you are specific with your word choice. The thesis needs to be concise and clear, so you do not want to waste any words. Some students will write a few sentences to show exactly what they want to prove with the intention of reducing the sentences down to one. If you fail to reduce down to one sentence, your readers will only think the final sentence is your thesis, so they could miss out on the valuable information that you planned to include.