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How to Make a Thesis Statement for Research Paper: Handy Tips

Some professors agree that thesis statements are the most important parts of research papers. Every supervisor looks for a strong thesis statement, and students should therefore learn how to make solid ones. It is helpful to look through examples of good thesis statements and learn how other students formulate their theses. Some handy suggestions below will help you write thesis statements without a hitch.

There are four simple steps to take in order to compose a good thesis statement:

  1. 1. Understand what kind of paper you are working on, and make sure you know how to state your main idea:

    • - An explanatory essay explains something to the readers.
    • - A definition essay describes a term or concept.
    • - An argumentative paper justifies a claim that you make with proper evidence.
    • - A contrast and compare essay defines similarities and differences in two research subjects.

  2. 2. No matter what kind of text you are writing, you should compose a specific thesis statement and place it somewhere in the introductory paragraph.

  3. 3. It should be supported by evidence and relevant examples.

  4. 4. Sometimes, your topic changes while you are writing. Therefore, you need to revise it after the paper is finished.

  5. Each thesis statement should establish a claim that is proven with examples, logical reasoning, and research. It is an important guideline for your research paper.

    • - It should be simple:
    • It is better to write your thesis in a single sentence.

    • - A thesis statement answers a research question:
    • An effective thesis is an answer to your research question. It explains what you are trying to prove.

    • - It helps narrow down your topic:
    • Your thesis statement should focus on a limited aspect of your research subject.

    • - You should stay flexible:
    • Your research may offer different and more interesting possibilities, so it does not make sense to stick to your current thesis statement. Many students change their thesis statements during their research or after they finish their writing.

    • - You should verify your thesis statement:
    • You need a supervisor’s approval for your thesis statement before starting your work.


    You can check whether your thesis is strong by answering these simple questions:

    1. 1. Did you answer a research question?
    2. 2. Does your position provide a summary or make an argument?
    3. 3. Is your thesis specific enough?
    4. 4. Could your thesis pass the “so what” test?
    5. 5. Do your thesis and main chapters go together?
    6. 6. Is your thesis too open-ended?
    7. 7. Does it provide enough guidance for the readers?