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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Research Paper: A step-by-step guide: 3. Thesis Statement & Outline
- 1. Getting Started
- 2. Topic Ideas
- 3. Thesis Statement & Outline
- 4. Appropriate Sources
- 5. Search Techniques
- 6. Taking Notes & Documenting Sources
- 7. Evaluating Sources
- 8. Citations & Plagiarism
- 9. Writing Your Research Paper
About Thesis Statements
Qualities of a thesis statement.
- state the subject matter and main ideas of a paper.
- appear in the first paragraph and announces what you will discuss in your paper.
- define the scope and focus of your essay, and tells your reader what to expect.
- are not a simple factual statement. It is an assertion that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence.
- should be the product of research and your own critical thinking.
- can be very helpful in constructing an outline for your essay; for each point you make, ask yourself whether it is relevant to the thesis.
Steps you can use to create a thesis statement
1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.
youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs
2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence. It can be helpful to start with a question which you then turn into an argument
Can prevention and intervention programs stop youth gang activities? How? ►►► "Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities by giving teens something else to do."
3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.
"Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement by giving teens good activities that offer a path to success."
4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.
"Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement, which they do by giving teens meaningful activities that offer pathways to achievement and success."
5. Keep your thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information or refine your understanding of the topic.
You can view this short video for more tips on how to write a clear thesis statement.
An outline is the skeleton of your essay, in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay. Once your outline is in good shape, it is much easier to write your paper; you've already done most of the thinking, so you just need to fill in the outline with a paragraph for each point.
To write an outline: The most common way to write an outline is the list format. List all the major topics and subtopics with the key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order. Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
A list outline should arrange the main points or arguments in a hierarchical structure indicated by Roman numerals for main ideas (I, II, III...), capital letters for subtopics (A, B, C...), Arabic numerals for details (1,2,3...), and lower-case letters for fine details if needed (a,b,c...). This helps keep things organized.
Here is a shortened example of an outline:
Introduction: background and thesis statement
I. First topic
1. Supporting evidence 2. Supporting evidence
II. Second Topic
III. Third Topic
I. Summarize the main points of your paper II. Restate your thesis in different words III. Make a strong final statement
You can see examples of a few different kinds of outlines and get more help at the Purdue OWL .
- << Previous: 2. Topic Ideas
- Next: 4. Appropriate Sources >>
- Last Updated: Apr 18, 2023 12:12 PM
- URL: https://butte.libguides.com/ResearchPaper
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12 Writing the Thesis and Outline
To write well, you need to understand your audience and purpose. Once you know why you are writing, and to whom, you can start to organize your ideas. One way to get organized is to create an outline before you begin to write. An outline is the blueprint to your finished product.
After completing the activities in this chapter, you will be able to:
- Identify three ways to organize your ideas (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
- Identify the components of a thesis statement
- Evaluate thesis statements
- Identify the steps needed to create an outline (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
- Create a thesis statement and outline (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
Starting with a Research Question
It’s a good idea to start a writing project with a research question.
Look at these example research questions:
- Is music piracy beneficial or harmful to the music industry?
- What are the benefits of exercise?
- Should the government increase the minimum wage?
- How can people live more environmentally friendly lives?
Now you need to do research to determine your answer to the question.
You need to decide your stance and how you can support your stance.
Creating a Thesis Statement
You can write a draft thesis statement after you’ve done some preliminary research to determine your stance and some main reasons for your stance. Your thesis statement is a concise one-sentence answer to your research question.
The thesis statement expresses three things:
- the specific topic of the paper
- your stance (or, “opinion” or “position”) on that topic
- the main reasons for your opinion
The table below shows how a thesis statement evolves from a broad topic.
Can you identify the three necessary components in each of the thesis statements above?
Parallel Structure in Thesis Statements
Notice that the supporting reasons in each thesis above are given in parallel structure.
Thesis Statement Placement
Your thesis is the single most important sentence in your writing. In academic writing, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Develop a working thesis statement that states your controlling idea for the piece of writing you are doing. On a sheet of paper, write your working thesis statement.
You will make several attempts before you devise a working thesis statement that you think is effective. Each draft of the thesis statement will bring you closer to the wording that expresses your meaning exactly.
Writing an Outline 
For an essay question on a test or a brief oral presentation in class, all you may need to prepare is a short, informal outline in which you jot down key ideas in the order you will present them. This kind of outline reminds you to stay focused in a stressful situation and to include all the good ideas that help you explain or prove your point.
For a longer assignment, like an essay or a research paper, many college instructors require students to submit their outline for approval before writing and submitting the paper for grading. This is a way to be sure you are on the right track and are working in an organized manner.
A formal outline is a detailed guide that shows how all your supporting ideas relate to each other. It helps you distinguish between ideas that are of equal importance and ones that are of lesser importance. You build your paper based on the framework created by the outline.
Instructors may also require you to submit an outline with your final draft to check the direction of the assignment and the logic of your final draft. If you must submit an outline with the final draft of a paper, remember to revise the outline to reflect any changes you made while writing the paper.
Here’s an example of a detailed outline for a standard 5-paragraph essay  :
Notice that each body paragraph contains two to four main ideas (A-D) and that each main idea is further supported with specific details (1-4). In a research essay, those specific details should be facts from reliable sources and there should be an APA in-text citation (Author, year) next to each one.
Organizing Ideas 
The three common methods of organizing writing are chronological, spatial, and importance.
As you create your outline, be mindful of how you organize your supporting body paragraphs. In the example outline above, the writer has chosen to present ideas in “order of importance” with the last, and most persuasive, reason last. Putting the most important reason at the end is an effective strategy for persuasive writing.
Checklist: Writing an Effective Outline
- Do I have a controlling idea that guides the development of the entire piece of writing?
- Do I have three or more main points that I want to make in this piece of writing? Does each main point connect to my controlling idea?
- Is my outline in the best order—chronological order, spatial order, or order of importance—for me to present my main points? Will this order help me get my main point across?
- Do I have supporting details that will help me inform, explain, or prove my main points?
- Do I need to add more support? If so, where?
- Do I need to make any adjustments in my working thesis statement before I consider it the final version?
- Anonymous. (2015, October 27). 8.2 Outlining. In Writing for success . University of Minnesota Libraries. https://bit.ly/3jvW61b . CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . ↵
- Veillieux, H. (2021, April 9). 5POutlineExample [Digital Image]. In Writing the thesis and outline . Confederation College. https://bit.ly/36aiBWn . CC BY 4.0 . ↵
- Anonymous. (2015, October 27). 8.2 Outlining. In Writing for success . University of Minnesota Libraries. https://bit.ly/3M3p7gY . CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . ↵
a writer's position, or opinion, on their topic
Supporting points are the main reasons that explain your point of view on a topic. In a research paper, support should be facts and opinion of experts that you have located from reliable sources. In reflective writing, support might include your personal experiences.
In grammar, parallelism, also known as parallel structure or parallel construction, is a balance within one or more sentences of similar phrases or clauses that have the same grammatical structure. The application of parallelism affects readability and may make texts easier to process.
Provide an in-text citation (with author and date information) along with a reference entry (containing complete retrieval information) to tell the reader the original source of the information used.
Intercultural Business Communication Copyright © 2021 by Confederation College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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Research Paper Menu
- 1. Overview
- 2. Finding Topic Ideas
3. Creating a Thesis Statement & Outline
- 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources
- 5. Using Butte College Library Resources
- 6. Scholarly Journals
- 7. Online Search Techniques
- 8. Taking Notes and Documenting Sources
- 9. Evaluation of Resources
- 10. Citation and Plagiarism
I.What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is usually a sentence that states your argument to the reader. It usually appears in the first paragraph of an essay.
II. Why do I need to write a thesis statement for a paper?
Your thesis statement states what you will discuss in your essay. Not only does it define the scope and focus of your essay, it also tells your reader what to expect from the essay.
A thesis statement can be very helpful in constructing the outline of your essay.
Also, your instructor may require a thesis statement for your paper.
III. How do I create a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is not a statement of fact. It is an assertive statement that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence. It should be the product of research and your own critical thinking. There are different ways and different approaches to write a thesis statement. Here are some steps you can try to create a thesis statement:
1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.
Example: youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs
2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence.
Example: Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities.
3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.
Example: Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.
Example: Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
IV. Can I revise the thesis statement in the writing process?
Sure. In fact, you should keep the thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information that falls outside the scope of your original plan and want to incorporate it into your paper. Or you probably understand your thoughts more and shift the focus of your paper. Then you will need to revise your thesis statement while you are writing the paper.
V. Why do I need to make an outline when I already have a thesis statement?
An outline is the "road map" of your essay in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay.
VI. How do I make an outline?
You list all the major topics and subtopics with key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order.
Include an Introduction , a Body , and a Conclusion in your outline. You can make an outline in a list format or a chart format .
Next Chapter: 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources
What is a thesis statement outline?
This is the first of three chapters about thesis statement Outlines . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Introduce the two types of outline in academic writing
– Explore the purpose of thesis statement outlines
– Provide informative and persuasive outline examples to help guide the reader
Chapter 1: What is a thesis statement outline?
Chapter 2: Why are outlines important in introductions?
Chapter 3: How can I write an effective introduction outline?
Before you begin reading...
- video and audio texts
- knowledge checks and quizzes
- skills practices, tasks and assignments
When writing to an academic standard, a student will most likely be asked by their tutor or advisor to create and submit two types of outline to successfully complete an essay . The first type of academic outline (which may also be described as a plan ) is a listed or bullet-pointed structure for outlining the entire research paper. While this type of outline is able to provide the key topics of an essay as a whole, the focus of this short reader is instead on thesis-statement outlines which more narrowly highlight only body-paragraph main ideas to the reader.
What is the purpose of a thesis-stateme nt outline?
If you’ve already completed our short reader on thesis statements , then you’ll know that a successful thesis statement may be broken into a number of elements, such as the outline or stance . Otherwise known as a roadmap , an outline is placed at the end of an introductory paragraph and functions to inform the reader of (1) the essay’s key arguments ( main ideas ), and (2) the order in which those arguments appear in the body section . To help guide you in recognising outlines, we’ve included two example thesis statements below with these features in bold:
In thesis statement (a), which is written for an example informative essay , the bolded outline provides the reader with three clear main ideas that will be included in the body section of that piece of research. These three main ideas are presented more clearly for students in the table below:
Example thesis statement (b), on the other hand, is instead taken from a persuasive essay . As such, this outline requires both counter arguments and arguments to represent the body section’s four main ideas, as can be seen below:
Now that you understand the basic concepts of a thesis statement outline , Chapter 2 on this topic explores why outlines are so important in academic introductions . How and why good writers should precisely connect an outline to their body-section topic sentences is also discussed.
To reference this reader:
Academic Marker (2022) Outlines . Available at: https://academicmarker.com/essay-writing/introductory-paragraphs/outlines/ (Accessed: Date Month Year).
- Indiana University Bloomington
- University of North Carolina Writing Center
- Walden University Writing Center
Once you’ve completed all three chapters about outlines , you might also wish to download our beginner, intermediate and advanced worksheets to test your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks .
Our outlines academic reader (including all three chapters about this topic) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
- An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
- An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
- An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Thesis Statement Examples
Example of an analytical thesis statement:
The paper that follows should:
- Explain the analysis of the college admission process
- Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
- Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement:
- Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
An outline is a “blueprint” or “plan” for your paper. It helps you to organize your thoughts and arguments. A good outline can make conducting research and then writing the paper very efficient. Your outline page must include your :
- Paper Title
- Thesis statement
- Major points/arguments indicated by Roman numerals (i.e., I, II, III, IV, V, etc.)
- Support for your major points, indicated by capital Arabic numerals (i.e., A, B, C, D, E, etc.)
Roman numeral I should be your “Introduction”. In the introduction portion of your paper, you’ll want to tell your reader what your paper is about and then tell what your paper hopes to prove (your thesis). So an Introduction gives an overview of the topic and your thesis statement.
The final Roman numeral should be your “Conclusion”. In the conclusion, you summarize what you have told your reader.
Following are 3 sample outlines, from actual student papers. YOUR outline can be MORE detailed, or might be LESS detailed. Remember that a good outline makes writing easier and more efficient.
Home » Thesis Outline – Example, Template and Writing Guide
Thesis Outline – Example, Template and Writing Guide
Table of Contents
Thesis outline is a document that outlines the structure and content of a thesis , which is a long-form academic paper that presents an original argument or research on a particular topic. The outline serves as a roadmap for the thesis, providing an overview of the major sections, sub-sections, and the general flow of the argument.
Thesis outline typically follows a standard format and includes the following sections:
- Title page: This page includes the thesis title, author’s name, department, university, and the date of submission.
- Abstract : This section is a brief summary of the thesis, highlighting the main points and conclusions. It usually contains around 150-300 words.
- Table of contents: This page lists all the chapters, sections, and subsections of the thesis, along with their page numbers.
- Introduction: This section introduces the topic of the thesis, presents the research question or hypothesis, and provides an overview of the methodology and the scope of the study.
- Literature review: This chapter provides a critical analysis of the existing literature on the topic, highlighting the gaps, inconsistencies, and controversies.
- Methodology : This section explains the research design, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques used in the study.
- Results : This chapter presents the findings of the study, using tables, charts, and graphs to illustrate the data.
- Discussion : This section interprets the results and relates them to the research question or hypothesis. It also discusses the implications, limitations, and future directions of the study.
- Conclusion : This section summarizes the main points of the thesis, restates the research question or hypothesis, and provides a final conclusion.
- References : This page lists all the sources cited in the thesis, following a specific citation style (APA, MLA, etc.).
- Appendices : This section includes any additional materials, such as questionnaires, interview transcripts, or raw data, that are relevant to the study but not included in the main text.
Thesis Outline Example
Thesis Outline Example and Template Sample is as follows:
- Background and Context
- Problem Statement
- Research Questions
- Objectives and Scope
- Significance of the Study
- Chapter Overview
II. Literature Review
- Introduction to Literature Review
- Theoretical Framework
- Previous Research on the Topic
- Critical Analysis of the Literature
- Summary and Conclusion
- Introduction to Methodology
- Research Design and Approach
- Sampling Strategy
- Data Collection Methods
- Data Analysis Techniques
- Ethical Considerations
- Limitations and Delimitations
- Introduction to Results
- Presentation of Data
- Analysis of Findings
- Discussion of Results
- Introduction to Discussion
- Interpretation of Results
- Comparison with Previous Research
- Implications and Applications of the Findings
- Limitations and Future Directions
- Summary of Findings
- Conclusions and Recommendations
- Contribution to the Field
- Implications for Future Research
- Survey Instrument
- Data Tables and Figures
- Institutional Review Board Approval
- Informed Consent Form
How to Write Thesis Outline
Here are some steps to follow when writing a thesis outline:
- Identify the purpose and scope of your thesis: Before you start writing, you should have a clear understanding of the research questions , objectives, and hypotheses of your thesis, as well as the specific requirements and guidelines of your institution.
- Organize your ideas into sections: Divide your thesis into logical sections, such as introduction, literature review , methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Think about the main points you want to make in each section and how they relate to the overall theme of your thesis.
- Write a brief summary for each section: Write a few sentences summarizing the main ideas and objectives of each section. This will help you stay focused and avoid including irrelevant or redundant information.
- Create a table of contents: List the main sections and subsections of your thesis, along with their page numbers, to create a clear and organized outline.
- Review and revise your outline: Make sure your outline follows a logical and coherent structure, and that each section flows smoothly into the next. Revise your outline as necessary to ensure that it accurately reflects the content and structure of your thesis.
- Seek feedback from your advisor or committee: Share your outline with your thesis advisor or committee members to get their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Purpose of Thesis Outline
The purpose of a thesis outline is to provide a clear and organized structure for your thesis, which will help you to:
- Stay organized : An outline helps you to break down your thesis into manageable sections, making it easier to plan your research and writing process.
- Ensure logical flow: A well-structured outline ensures that your thesis has a logical and coherent flow, with each section building on the previous one.
- Avoid duplication and irrelevant information: An outline helps you to avoid including duplicate or irrelevant information, ensuring that your thesis is focused and to-the-point.
- Meet institutional requirements: Many institutions have specific guidelines for the structure and format of a thesis, and an outline can help you to ensure that your thesis meets these requirements.
- Get feedback and guidance: An outline can be shared with your thesis advisor or committee members for feedback and guidance, helping you to refine your research and writing approach.
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