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Tips on How to Write a Good Thesis Paper

How to Write a Thesis Statement

❶This is not descriptive enough. Regardless of how complicated the subject is, almost any thesis can be constructed by answering a question.

Step Two: Title Page

Step One: The Structure
Research Paper Thesis: Its Role & Significance
How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper: Major Principles to Remember

Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:. This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers. Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:. This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point. Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point.

If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:. 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.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:. Include the broader implications of your results. Do not repeat word for word the abstract, introduction or discussion.

Recommendations Include when appropriate most of the time Remedial action to solve the problem. Further research to fill in gaps in our understanding. Directions for future investigations on this or related topics. Simpson and Hays cite more than double-author references by the surname of the first author followed by et al. Pfirman, Simpson and Hays would be: Nature , , National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commonly asked questions about ozone.

Harper Collins Publishers, New York, pp. Child Review of ciliary structure and function. Biochemistry and Physiology of Protozoa , Vol. Hutner, editor , Academic Press, New York, Bonani A high altitude continental paleotemperature record derived from noble gases dissolved in groundwater from the San Juan Basin, New Mexico. Tables where more than pages. Calculations where more than pages. You may include a key article as appendix. If you consulted a large number of references but did not cite all of them, you might want to include a list of additional resource material, etc.

List of equipment used for an experiment or details of complicated procedures. Figures and tables, including captions, should be embedded in the text and not in an appendix, unless they are more than pages and are not critical to your argument. Order of Writing Your thesis is not written in the same order as it is presented in.

The following gives you one idea how to proceed. Here is another approach. Write up a preliminary version of the background section first. This will serve as the basis for the introduction in your final paper. As you collect data, write up the methods section. It is much easier to do this right after you have collected the data.

Be sure to include a description of the research equipment and relevant calibration plots. When you have some data, start making plots and tables of the data. These will help you to visualize the data and to see gaps in your data collection. If time permits, you should go back and fill in the gaps.

You are finished when you have a set of plots that show a definite trend or lack of a trend. Be sure to make adequate statistical tests of your results. Once you have a complete set of plots and statistical tests, arrange the plots and tables in a logical order.

Write figure captions for the plots and tables. As much as possible, the captions should stand alone in explaining the plots and tables. Many scientists read only the abstract, figures, figure captions, tables, table captions, and conclusions of a paper.

Be sure that your figures, tables and captions are well labeled and well documented. Once your plots and tables are complete, write the results section.

Writing this section requires extreme discipline. You must describe your results, but you must NOT interpret them. If good ideas occur to you at this time, save them at the bottom of the page for the discussion section. Be factual and orderly in this section, but try not to be too dry. Once you have written the results section, you can move on to the discussion section.

This is usually fun to write, because now you can talk about your ideas about the data. Many papers are cited in the literature because they have a good cartoon that subsequent authors would like to use or modify. In writing the discussion session, be sure to adequately discuss the work of other authors who collected data on the same or related scientific questions.

Be sure to discuss how their work is relevant to your work. If there were flaws in their methodology, this is the place to discuss it. After you have discussed the data, you can write the conclusions section.

In this section, you take the ideas that were mentioned in the discussion section and try to come to some closure. If some hypothesis can be ruled out as a result of your work, say so. If more work is needed for a definitive answer, say that. The final section in the paper is a recommendation section.

This is really the end of the conclusion section in a scientific paper. Make recommendations for further research or policy actions in this section. If you can make predictions about what will be found if X is true, then do so. You will get credit from later researchers for this. After you have finished the recommendation section, look back at your original introduction. Your introduction should set the stage for the conclusions of the paper by laying out the ideas that you will test in the paper.

Now that you know where the paper is leading, you will probably need to rewrite the introduction. You must write your abstract last. All figures and tables should be numbered and cited consecutively in the text as figure 1, figure 2, table 1, table 2, etc. Include a caption for each figure and table, citing how it was constructed reference citations, data sources, etc. Include an index figure map showing and naming all locations discussed in paper. You are encouraged to make your own figures, including cartoons, schematics or sketches that illustrate the processes that you discuss.

Examine your figures with these questions in mind: Is the figure self-explanatory? Are your axes labeled and are the units indicated? Show the uncertainty in your data with error bars. If the data are fit by a curve, indicate the goodness of fit. Could chart junk be eliminated? Could non-data ink be eliminated? Could redundant data ink be eliminated?

Could data density be increased by eliminating non-data bearing space? Is this a sparse data set that could better be expressed as a table? Does the figure distort the data in any way? Are the data presented in context? Does the figure caption guide the reader's eye to the "take-home lesson" of the figure? The goal of this step is to find a particular narrow subject in your topic which you can make an argument about.

For example, take the topic of computers. There are many aspects of computers that can be expanded on such as hardware, software, and programming.

However, vague topics like these do not make good theses. But something more narrow, such as the effects of Steve Jobs on the modern computer industry, allows for a much clearer focus. Know the type, purpose, and audience of the paper. These are usually assigned by the instructor, but even if you get to choose them, you must understand that these will affect your thesis statement considerably.

If you are writing a persuasive paper, your purpose will be to prove something to a specific group. If you are writing a descriptive paper, your purpose will be to describe something to a specific group.

Each of these must be expressed in your thesis somehow. Follow a rigid structure. Knowing the basic formulas will not only keep your thesis within the acceptable length but it will also help you see how your entire argument should be organized. Your thesis should contain two parts: A clear topic or subject matter A brief summary of what you will say Another way of looking at a thesis is as a formula, or a pattern, that comfortably holds your ideas: Because [reason s ], [something] [does something].

Although [opposing evidence], [reasons] show [Something] [does something]. The last example includes a counter-argument, which complicates the thesis but strengthens the argument. In fact, you should always be aware of all counter-arguments against your thesis. Write down your thesis. You will be able to think about your thesis logically , clearly, and concisely. There are two schools of thought on thesis timing.

Some people say you should not write the paper without a thesis in mind and written down, even if you have to alter it slightly by the end. The other school of thought says that you probably won't know where you're going until you get there, so don't write the thesis until you know what it should be.

Do whatever seems best to you. Analyze your thesis statement once you think you have a final, or working, version. The point is to make sure you avoid making any mistakes that can weaken your thesis. To get a better idea of what to do and what to avoid, consider the following pointers: Never frame your thesis as a question.

A thesis is not a list. Keep it concise and brief. Never mention a new topic that you do not intend to discuss in the paper. Do not write in the first person.

Using sentences such as, "I will show Do not be combative. The point of your paper is to convince someone of your position, not turn them off, and the best way to achieve that is to make them want to listen to you. Express an open-minded tone, finding common ground between different views. Realize that your thesis does not have to be absolute.

Consider it a "working thesis" that's subject to change. As you write your paper you may find that your opinion changes or that your direction has veered slightly. So make sure to continuously re-read your thesis, comparing it to your paper and making the appropriate changes so the two match.

Once your paper is finished, go back to your thesis and determine if it needs another revision. You state your thesis at the beginning, usually at the end of the introductory paragraph. You restate your thesis in one or two sentences at the end, typically at the beginning of your conclusion.

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Before starting to write a thesis paper every candidate should learn the main parts that every thesis should include. Your experience writing a proposal probably informed you about most of these: the title page, abstract, table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, introduction, methods, results, discussion, conclusions, recommendations, acknowledgements, references, appendices.

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You can't write a good introduction until you know what the body of the paper says. Consider writing the introductory section(s) after you have completed the rest of the paper, rather than before. Be sure to include a hook at the beginning of the introduction. Thesis length Write for brevity rather than length. The goal is the shortest.

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Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss.

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How to Write a Thesis Statement What is a Thesis Statement? Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence . Without finding out how to write a thesis for a research paper, a student will never learn how to master this type of academic writing. Our brief yet detailed tutorial explains what a thesis is, its elements, importance, and usage. We also share some great examples of powerful thesis statements.