How to construct a thesis statement for a research paper

Almost all of us consciously or unconsciously look early in a research paper for one or two sentences that summarize the research analysis or argument that is to follow. That sentence that condenses the main points or arguments is called a thesis statement. The thesis statement can be expository, argumentative, or analytical depending on the kind of research topic.

Since thesis statements are an essential part of any research paper, it’s important for students to understand what makes up a solid thesis. Also, you need to understand the role of this essential part of any academic paper. The reader will check the thesis statement first to understand the meaning of your research paper.

To help you gain a better understanding of how to construct a thesis statement for a research paper, we explore different elements of a thesis statement in this post. We touch on the importance of a thesis, tell you how to construct a custom thesis, and give tips to help you write a strong thesis statement.

Why do you need to include a thesis statement in your research paper?

  • A thesis statement sets up your primary argument and the purpose of the paper. It provides the reader with a guide to your argument and sets expectations for the research to follow.
  • A thesis helps you to maintain a limited focus on your research work. Constructing a thesis statement requires you to constrain research ideas in one or two sentences. By identifying a clear research statement, a student can easily develop and organize their arguments.
  • A thesis statement provides a guide that readers can follow when going through the main argument in your writing. The statement directly identifies the relationship between different pieces of research or evidence that support your argument. Thus, a thesis statement makes it easy to understand a research paper.

Thesis statement vs research hypothesis

A thesis statement and a research hypothesis address the research question in their own way but serve different functions. The thesis statement summarizes the main point of a research paper.

On the other hand, a hypothesis is a statement that can be proved or refuted based on the study findings. A hypothesis is used to predict or propose a relationship between two variables.

A thesis statement is mandatory for all research papers with a sustained argument. Without a thesis statement, your research paper may lack focus, an argument, continuity, or clarity. However, you don’t need to specify a hypothesis in all types of research papers. A hypothesis is more relevant in exploratory research.

How to construct a thesis statement: A step by step guide

Step 1: Determine your research question

A research paper seeks to answer a research question by presenting the results of an analysis. Thus, a common starting point when constructing a custom thesis statement is to define your research question and proceed to conduct targeted research to help develop an argument. You want to be sure that the evidence gathered will support your claim.

If the research topic is already assigned, you can specify the research question by turning the prompt into a question that your study will answer. If the topic is not assigned, you need to brainstorm a topic and determine what you’d like to address about the topic. Having a research question allows you to develop a sound and strong thesis statement.

Step 2: Construct a statement that directly addresses the research question

After researching the topic, you will be ready to write a tentative thesis statement that indicates your position on the topic. The statement you write at this stage is not final but a tool to guide the writing and research processes. As you become more involved in the research, your ideas get more specific, and you may need to revise the thesis statement to reflect the new insights. Still, a tentative thesis should clearly indicate your stand.

Step 3: Support your statement with reasoning and evidence

The tentative thesis statement serves as a guide for the research process., Use existing literature to collect information and ideas to support the statement. Use new evidence to refine the thesis statement. The final version of the thesis statement will have the main points of your argument and a conclusion.

Step 4: Consider counterarguments

As you research, anticipate potential counterarguments that you can use to refine your thesis statement. Counterarguments help to make key arguments stronger and add a layer of complexity to your thesis statement. They enable you to acknowledge the opposing side of the argument. Typically, researchers present counterarguments in thesis statements using words like “however” or “although” and then proceed to show the reader why their position is more correct than the opposing idea.

Tips for constructing a strong thesis statement for a research paper

1. Be specific

A thesis statement should indicate exactly what your research paper is about. There should be no ambiguity about the purpose of your study, the main argument, and your stand on the issues under review. Also, a strong thesis statement narrows down the topic and provides a specific argument that you can prove within the scope of your research. All parts of the thesis statement should add up to one coherent argument that relates to the rest of the research. For example, in a research paper about hunger, a weak and strong thesis can be as follows:

Weak thesis: World hunger has many causes and effects.

Strong thesis: Hunger persists in country X because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

2. Be original

To sustain the reader’s interest, avoid formulaic or generic thesis statements. A thesis statement should reflect your original ideas or new perspective on the topic. One way to ensure the originality of your thesis statement is to pay for research paper completed by a professional from scratch. An expert can guide you to identify research gaps and contradictions in the existing literature. That way, you can identify promising research questions and a strong thesis statement that addresses the questions.

3. Take a stand or be contentious

A good thesis statement reveals your stand on the topic and justifies why they have taken that position. It shouldn’t just inform the reader about the topic you’re discussing but indicate your conclusion about the subject. Below is an example of a weak and strong thesis statement about a vegan diet:

Weak thesis: There are some positive and negative aspects of veganism.

Strong thesis: Although a vegan diet is healthy, it indicates a position of privilege and limits your food experiences if you travel around the world.

4. Justify a discussion

A strong thesis statement is contentious or debatable. It is not just a statement of fact; it makes an argument about a topic. You need to support the claims made in the thesis using analysis and evidence. Readers will be interested in reading through your research if you have a controversial topic and thesis statement. Such a thesis makes the audience eager to know the specific evidence you use to support your point. To test if your thesis statement is debatable, try to see if you can develop counterarguments to your own statement. A thesis with no counterarguments is a mere statement of fact. For example, in a research paper about celebrity and political activism, you might say:

Weak thesis: Celebrities should be politically active.

Strong thesis: Although Taylor Swift’s lyrics allude to a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active by using her position of power for the betterment of society.

5. Have one main idea

A good thesis has one main point. A thesis statement that expresses more than one idea can confuse the reader. If you have two ideas in the thesis statement, ensure that you show the two ideas are related. To help you create an engaging thesis that clearly links to the subject, make sure your thesis contains words such as since, because, however, although, so, and unless. For example:

Weak thesis: Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

Strong thesis: Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

6. Place the thesis at the end of the first paragraph

The thesis statement usually comes at the end of your introduction. Most readers and professors typically consider the last sentence or paragraph of the introduction to be the thesis statement. If you place it at the beginning of the research paper, your reader may be confused or forget about the main idea by the time they reach the end of the introduction. Remember that a good introduction anticipates the thesis statement.

7. Revise the thesis to reflect any changes

Your topic or arguments may change as you proceed with writing the research paper, so you need to revise the thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper. Thus, you may need to complete your research before reviewing your tentative thesis statement to reflect any new ideas or insights.

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