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A Thesis Statement For A Research Paper

Thesis Statement Guide Development Tool

Follow the steps below to formulate a thesis statement. All cells must contain text.

1. State your topic.

2. State your opinion/main idea about this topic.
This will form the heart of your thesis. An effective statement will

  • express one major idea.
  • name the topic and assert something specific about it.
  • be a more specific statement than the topic statement above.
  • take a stance on an issue about which reasonable people might disagree.
  • state your position on or opinion about the issue.

3. Give the strongest reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

4. Give another strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

5. Give one more strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

6. Include an opposing viewpoint to your opinion/main idea, if applicable. This should be an argument for the opposing view that you admit has some merit, even if you do not agree with the overall viewpoint.

7. Provide a possible title for your essay.




Thesis Statement Guide Results

Thesis Statement Model #1: Sample Thesis Statement

Parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #2: Thesis with Concession

Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase "even though" and states the writer's opinion/main idea as a rebuttal.

Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #3: Thesis with Reasons

Here, the use of "because" reveals the reasons behind the writer's opinion/main idea.

parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Thesis Statement Model #4: Thesis with Concession and Reasons

This model both makes a concession to opposing viewpoint and states the reasons/arguments for the writer's main idea.

While television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it inhibits social interaction, shortens children's attention spans, and isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Remember: These thesis statements are generated based on the answers provided on the form. Use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like. Your ideas and the results are anonymous and confidential. When you build a thesis statement that works for you, ensure that it addresses the assignment. Finally, you may have to rewrite the thesis statement so that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.

Thesis Statement Guide: Sample Outline

Use the outline below, which is based on the five–paragraph essay model, when drafting a plan for your own essay. This is meant as a guide only, so we encourage you to revise it in a way that works best for you.

Introductory Paragraph

Start your introduction with an interesting "hook" to reel your reader in. An introduction can begin with a rhetorical question, a quotation, an anecdote, a concession, an interesting fact, or a question that will be answered in your paper. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons.

Even though television can be educational , parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating

Paragraph #1

First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans.

Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #2

Additionally, it inhibits social interaction.

The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement. Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this point after the Assertion. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #3

Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating.

Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it's appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports your strongest point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Concluding Paragraph

Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don't want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.

Remember: This outline is based on the five–paragraph model. Expand or condense it according to your particular assignment or the size of your opinion/main idea. Again, use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like, until you reach a thesis statement and outline that works for you.


CRLS Research Guide






Writing A Thesis Statement

Tip Sheet 13


Ask these questions:

What is it?

A thesis statement is a strong statement that you can prove with evidence. It is not a simple statement of fact. A thesis statement should be the product of your own critical thinking after you have done some research. Your thesis statement will be the main idea of your entire project. It can also be thought of as the angle or point of view from which you present your material. 


When do I write it?

You will develop a thesis statement about your research topic after you have written a Statement of Purpose and done some actual research into the topic. You will then present your thesis statement in your introduction, prove it with evidence in the body of your paper, project, or presentation, and finally restate it along with a summary of your evidence in your conclusion.


How do I write it?

  • Look again at your Statement of Purpose
  • Look at the kinds of information you have been finding while taking notes.
  • Decide what kind of statement you have enough evidence to prove.
    (Be sure that you have done enough research to make a strong argument. You may be challenged.)
  • Write that as your thesis statement.

There are many ways to approach writing a thesis statement.

Just make sure that it is not simple a fact and that you can support it with good evidence from reliable sources.

Here are some ways to approach it:

  • Define a problem and state your opinion about it
  • Discuss the current state of an issue or problem and predict how it might resolve
  • Put forth a possible solution to a problem
  • Look at an issue/topic from a new, interesting perspective
  • Theorize how the world might be different today if something had/had not happened in the past
  • Compare two or more of something similar and give your rating about them (cars, authors,computers, colleges, books)
  • Put out your ideas about how something was influenced to be the way it is or was (music, art, political leadership, genocide)

What does it look like?

Let's look at some of the examples from the Statement of Purpose tip sheet and turn them into some possible thesis statements. These are all totally hypothetical (made up).

Statement of Purpose
Possible thesis statement

"I want to learn about what has influenced the music of 50 cent."

The music of 50 cent has been heavily influenced by (you fill in the blank).

"I want to find out some ways to stop teen gang activity."

Teen gang activity in the United States can be stopped by a combined approach which consists of supervised youth programs, more job availability, and closer family relationships.

or

Teenage gang activity can only be stopped with early education in the public school systems.

"I want to know how close we are to a cure for AIDS."

Although much research has gone into finding a cure for the AIDS virus, we are no closer to a real cure than we were when the disease first became known.

or

After years of research , scientists are on the verge of discovering a cure for the AIDS virus.

"I want to know why Christians and Muslims fought so hard with each other during the middle ages."

Even though Christians and Muslims were supposedly fighting for religious dominance in the medieval world, their motives were strongly affected by the desire for land and economic power.

or

Medieval Christians and Muslims were fighting exclusively for deeply held religious beliefs.


You can see that there is more than one way to write a thesis statement, depending on what you find out in your research and what your opinion is.


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Copyright © 2004 Holly Samuels All Rights Reserved