A research paper thesis is the anchor for the whole project you undertake when you write an academic paper. What a thesis statement does is it gives you a starting point, and the rest of the research paper is researched and written in order to find out if your thesis statement is true or false. It is important to realize that your findings should not be altered to prove your thesis statement to be true. Neither should you only select research materials that support your thesis. The idea of writing a research paper is that you get to explore the factors surrounding a topic. The research paper thesis is your idea, and the start of your exploration, but that does not mean it is true.
The choice of a research paper thesis can generate quite a bit of stress. This may be because students think they have to make a statement that is true, but they don’t know enough about the topic to be sure it will be. Or it may be because the thesis is the first thing to tackle after the choice of subject. At any rate, if you read a few published research papers in your field of study, you will get a better idea of what makes a thesis statement work.
Good thesis statements are short and to the point. Remember, it is a statement not a paragraph. Your statement can explain, make a claim, or analyze your topic, depending on what sort of paper you are writing. It is a statement of intent (how you will argue your topic) and what you will say.
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The statement should not be overly complicated. This is a mistake that some students make because they think complexity is more academic. Keep your statement simple and specific to your topic, not about something that does not appear in your paper.
A research paper thesis has to be about what is discussed in your research paper. Sometimes what you discover in your research may cause you to look again at your thesis statement and change it. That is not because the original statement was poor, but because you cannot know everything about your topic before you have studied it. It is ok to change your mind, because the important thing is for the thesis statement to reflect the contents of the paper.
A reader will look for your thesis statement in the introduction, so make it easy to find. They usually come at the end of the introduction.
Do not make a bland thesis statement. In other words, it should express your opinion, which readers can argue against. If your statement has no angle then it will be more difficult for you to find evidence to support it. In addition, your professor will be looking for a statement that is relevant, not obvious – it should arouse interest.
To sum up: keep your research paper thesis to the point, give it an angle, elicit questions.