Every research paper builds on a central argument that reflects the position of the researcher—this is known as the thesis statement. More than defining the researcher's central argument, a good thesis statement tells the reader how to interpret the subject matter being discussed.
Without any doubt, writing a good thesis statement is an important step in developing an effective research paper. In this article, we'll show you how to create different types of thesis statements plus examples you can learn from. Ready? Let's get started!
A thesis statement is a single sentence or assertion that captures the core argument of your research. In other words, it summarizes the claim or primary idea that you want to pass across in the dissertation.
A good thesis statement helps you achieve two major things. First, it gives the reader a clear idea of what your research is about; that is, what the paper is saying about the topic. Next, it asserts your unique position for or against the argument at hand.
Typically, you'd find the thesis statement at the conclusion of your research paper's introductory paragraph. So when next you're reading a research paper, look out for that ONE sentence that ties together the main idea of the research paper's argument.
Since you have an abstract and research proposal, why should you bother writing a thesis statement? The first thing you need to know is that the abstract and thesis statement work differently. An abstract summarizes your research paper, highlighting its key points while a thesis statement communicates the core idea of your paper.
Let's go through a few reasons why you need a thesis statement in research.
You'd find an informative thesis statement in essays and research papers that do not argue for or against a topic. In other words, an informative thesis is one that simply communicates the purpose of an essay, without making any arguments or claims that can be true or false.
When writing an informative thesis, your primary focus should be communicating the purpose of your research in a clear and concise manner. Be careful not to steer up any arguments or make any claims that you need to provide evidence for.
Important Read: Research Questions: Definitions, Types + [Examples]
A persuasive thesis statement is one that makes a claim and goes on to show why that claim is true. Unlike an informative thesis, a persuasive thesis sets out to make a bold argument that forms the core idea of your research process.
Persuasive statements have two parts. In the first part, the researcher makes an assertion that she believes to be true. In the second part of the statement, the researcher provides some evidence to back up this claim. The goal is to provide a solid backing that convinces the reader to agree with the researcher's position.
Let's look at a few examples of a persuasive thesis statement.
Learn About: How to Write a Problem Statement for your Research
Many research papers adopt persuasive thesis statements because it allows the researcher to highlight major discoveries from their systematic investigation.
Now that you're familiar with the major categories of thesis statements, let's discuss some common types of thesis in academic research.
An analytical statement is a logical presentation of the researcher's stance in a systematic investigation. Here, the researcher breaks down an idea into different parts, evaluates these parts closely, and clearly presents the order of the analysis to the reader. This means that your thesis needs to mention the specific aspect that you’ll focus on and state what insight it gives us into the text’s meaning or purpose.
Sample 1: Purdue.edu (Source)
An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.
Sample 2: Study.com (Source)
Though World War I had many different causes, burgeoning nationalism fomented the sense of aggression that ultimately led to the War's beginning and proliferation.
The purpose of an expository thesis statement is to get the reader acquainted with your research paper. In other words, it sets the expectations for your essay by stating your research topic plus the key areas you will touch on in the paper.
Because of its nature, an expository thesis doesn’t have to give a strong opinion. Rather, it should clearly communicate the theme of your essay, and hint at supporting arguments that you will touch on. After reading your expository thesis, the reader should have a clear idea of what they’ll learn from your essay.
Sample 1: Scribbr.com (Source)
The invention of Braille transformed the lives of blind people in the nineteenth century, but its success depended on mainstream acceptance by sighted teachers, and this process was shaped by debates about disabled people’s place in society.
Although there are different causes of world war 1, Militarism, Nationalism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Assassination led to the war’s beginning.
This is the most common type of thesis you’d find in research papers. Basically, the purpose of an argumentative thesis is to make a claim that people can agree or disagree with. Throughout the research paper, you’d have to provide facts, figures, and data that convince the audience to agree with your position.
How do you know you've written an excellent thesis statement? The simple way to do this is to match your thesis statement against the features on this list.
In this section, we'd go through some of the elements of a good thesis statement.
Step 1: Start with a Question
Ask yourself a simple question concerning what you'd like to explore or find out regarding a topic.
Step 2: Write an Answer to this Question
After conducting your initial research, string all the information you gather to form a tentative answer to this question. The purpose of this temporary response is to guide your research.
Step 3: Develop Your Answer
This is the point where you flesh out your answer with new and supporting evidence. You need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you.
Sample 1: Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students so that they can perform better in the classroom.
Sample 2: Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can lead to richer ideas, better employee collaboration, and more empathy among people from different backgrounds.
Sample 3: Countries with high poverty levels record higher incidences of violence.
Sample 4: Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.
A weak thesis statement is too broad or ambiguous, making it difficult for the reader to understand your position. Weak thesis statements may also lack evidence. Here are a few samples.
Sample 1: Technology has its advantages and disadvantages.
This statement is weak because it doesn’t point to the type of technology you’re referring to. Also, it attempts to argue two points in a single sentence.
Sample 2: Taking affirmative action is a way to reduce gender-based violence.
This is a statement of fact that doesn’t pique the interest of the reader. Instead, you should establish a thesis that is arguable, and state the how or why of your position.
Although a thesis statement is just a single sentence, you should take your time to formulate one. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships.
When you have a well-rounded understanding of the data, you can build a strong thesis statement that captures the core of your research.
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