How To Write An Effective Research Paper Thesis Statement: Tips And Examples
A thesis statement is the first thing many instructors first look at, so every effort you pay in crafting it will pay back. Learn how to build a striking thesis from scratch and avoid common pitfalls.
- Determine the general focus of your paper.
- Find evidence to dwell upon.
- Compose a purpose statement first.
- Avoid simply stating a fact.
The topic assigned by your instructor might be too broad and hence in a need of being narrowed. For example, if you need to produce a paper on Franco, you might want to focus on his way to power, his diplomatic efforts to keep Spain neutral in the World War II, or his role in building “the Spanish economic wonder” of the 1950s. This main focus should be reflected in your thesis statement.
After you choose a single aspect to explore, read several reliable sources to get informed on your subject. Look for patterns in evidence that suggest why a problem emerged, or why a historical personality acted this way. For example, you might discover that Franco during the World War II attempted to negotiate with the Axis first but failed to get the concessions he wanted and turned to Allies instead. From this, you can conclude that Franco was guided by pragmatic reasons rather than ideological. Remember that your thesis statement should be evidence-based; otherwise it is just a weird claim.
A purpose statement is what you are going to achieve in this paper. For example, “I’m going to research Franco’s role in keeping Spain neutral during the World War II.” After you write a purpose statement, it is easy to write your thesis statement as a well-grounded response to it: “Despite a few obvious failures, Franco’s diplomacy succeeded to keep Spain neutral in the World War II and even increase the country’s wealth.” The rest of your paper should explain this main point: what the failures were, and how Spain’s neutral status was preserved and wealth increased.
A good thesis statement is anything but not a bare statement of fact. It should highlight an ambiguity or controversy in the explored issue. A weak statement for a research paper on the Crusade is: “It is generally assumed that Muslims and Christians fought for their religious beliefs.” A strong thesis statement would be: “Although the Crusade was supposedly fought for religious motives, there is multiple evidence that both Christians and Muslims were also seeking more land and wealth.” This example points out a controversy (between the supposed and actual state of things), explains the author’s stance (he or she does not believe in purely religious motives behind the Crusade), and gives the reader a hint of what to expect (the rest of the paper should present evidence in support of materialistic motive of those fighting the Crusade).