A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.
Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.
What is a “thesis statement” anyway?
You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.
Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument. In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.
2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive
Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.
For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.
To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).
Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.
In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.
2 Styles of Thesis Statements
Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.
The first style uses a list of two or more points. This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.
In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.
In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.
Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.
In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.
Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis
One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:
___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.
Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:
___________________ is true because of _____________________.
Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.
The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement
When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.
Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.
Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.
Example of weak thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.
Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.
Example of a stronger thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.
This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.
Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.
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Before reading a research paper, people usually look at its thesis statement. It helps them to understand if your paper is useful for them. This small sentence can concentrate all the important information about your study: the main idea and the questions that are answered on the pages of your research paper.
You should not underrate the significance of a thesis statement for research paper. People would not read the whole document to understand its main ideas or purpose, and your professor is not an exception – he will take a look at the intro of your research paper and decide whether it is worth to continue reading right away. Thus, it is fair to say that a thesis statement is a key to your project’s success!
How to Write a Thesis for a Research Paper?
To get a general understanding of what it is and how it should look like, search for examples of such statements online – there are lots of samples available for reading and downloading so you can find many suitable examples. Note that many of them may be not quite good. Also, note that such samples may not match the type of your task.
If you understand what the main goals of your research are, what you want to prove and explain by it, and why you do it, it will be easy to write a research paper thesis statement – just write down the idea of your study and make your thesis statement look like a catchy and informative:
This sentence should also show your position. Let your readers know what your position regarding the subject is, what you think is true, and what you are going to prove, especially if your topic and ideas are very debatable.
Many tutors don’t recommend using questions as statements. Even if the whole research paper is full of answers to specific questions. The list is also not a good form for a thesis statement – it is better to use a simple small sentence that describes the general idea and purpose of your investigation.
You can use “A is true because of B” and other standard formulas. Just write down the first version of your thesis statement and revise it as many times as you need through the course of working on your project. If you start writing your research paper from a thesis statement, you will have to edit it a lot. This will only take more of your time! That is why many write this part and the whole introduction when they have all the other sections; otherwise, if you look at the introduction after writing the main section, you will see that it requires a revision.
The sentence should be focused. Do not put the information that is not relevant or significant. Try to make it brief but specific, make it clear to help readers understand what your research is about and what your position is.
Make it attention-grabbing! If you strive to engage your readers, a good topic and attention-catching thesis can help you with it because if they are debatable and relevant, it will make your readers want to read further to find out more!
Finding an Example
Looking where to find thesis statement examples for research papers? The easiest way is to look for them on the Internet. You can search for research papers examples prepared for similar areas of science, but even if their topics are not similar to yours, you still use them to learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper.
However, there is one thing to remember. You should understand that these are only examples and you should not simply copy them, it is better to develop a unique piece of writing and use examples only to find out how to write them. Otherwise, it is plagiarism and it can be easily checked.
Need Any Writing Help?
Creating a good thesis is vital because in many cases it sets the tone for the rest of the paper and thus, becomes a decisive point of your project’s success. Where to look for help when writing a research thesis statement becomes difficult for various reasons? Students can use the help of their advisors and teachers. Your tutors can give you a valuable advice, help to write a good outline, clarify the requirements, check your text for mistakes, and provide you with any other help if you need, but they wouldn’t help you too many times, especially if you can find the needed information yourself.
Other students can also help you with writing. However, most of them would not want to waste their time on your assignments as they already have tons of tasks to complete; besides, many other students are not too good at writing research papers so their tips wouldn’t bring much help for you or can even harm.
The fast and reliable way to get a helping hand when working on a thesis statement is turning to essay writing services. Luckily, you have no reasons to look further! Our research paper writing service works with almost all types of academic tasks. With the support of our professional writers, it will be easier to get a good paper on time and don’t waste too much time on it, especially taking into account that you get all of the benefits at a cheap price!