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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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How To Write A Strong Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is the most important part of an essay. It’s the roadmap, telling the reader what they can expect to read in the rest of paper, setting the tone for the writing, and generally providing a sense of the main idea.
Because it is so important, writing a good thesis statement can be tricky.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s review the basics: what thesis statement means. Thesis is a fancy word for “the subject of an essay” or “a position in a debate.” And a statement , simply, is a sentence (or a couple of sentences).
Taken together, a thesis statement explains your subject or position in a sentence (or a couple of sentences). Depending on the kind of essay you’re writing, you’ll need to make sure that your thesis statement states your subject or position clearly.
While the phrase thesis statement can sound intimidating, the basic goal is to clearly state your topic or your argument . Easy peasy!
The basic rules for writing a thesis statement are:
- State the topic or present your argument.
- Summarize the main idea of each of your details and/or body paragraphs.
- Keep your statement to one to two sentences.
Now comes the good stuff: the breakdown of how to write a good thesis statement for an informational essay and then for an argumentative essay (Yes, there are different types of thesis statements: check them all out here ). While the approach is similar for each, they require slightly different statements.
Informational essay thesis statements
The objective of an informational essay is to inform your audience about a specific topic. Sometimes, your essay will be in response to a specific question. Other times, you will be given a subject to write about more generally.
In an informational essay , you are not arguing for one side of an argument, you are just providing information.
Essays that are responding to a question
Often, you will be provided with a question to respond to in informational essay form. For example:
- Who is your hero and why?
- How do scientists research the effects of zero gravity on plants?
- What are the three branches of government, and what do each of them do?
If you are given a question or prompt, use it as a starting point for your thesis statement. Remember, the goal of a thesis statement in an informational essay is to state your topic.
You can use some of the same vocabulary and structure from the questions to create a thesis statement. Drop the question words (like who , what , when , where , and why ). Then, use the keywords in the question or prompt to start your thesis statement. Be sure to include because if the question asks “why?”
Check out the following example using the first prompt:
Original question : Who is your hero and why? Drop the question words : Who is your hero and why? Answer the question using the key words : My hero is Amelia Earhart, because she was very brave, did things many women of her time did not do, and was a hard worker.
If we were to write the rest of the essay based on this thesis statement, the outline would look something like this:
Introduction : My hero is Amelia Earhart, because she was very brave, did things many women of her time did not do, and was a hard worker. Body paragraph 1 : Details about how Amelia Earhart was brave Body paragraph 2 : Details about how she did things many women of her time did not do Body paragraph 3 : Details about how she was a hard worker Conclusion: It is clear that Amelia Earhart was a brave woman who accomplished many things that women of her time did not do, and always worked hard. These are the reasons why she is my hero.
These general guidelines work for other thesis statements, with some minor differences.
Essays that are responding to a statement or given subject
If you aren’t given a specific question to respond to, it can be a little more difficult to decide on a thesis statement. However, there are some tricks you can use to make it easier.
Some examples of prompts that are not questions are:
- Write about your favorite sports team.
- Describe how a motor works.
- Pick a famous scientist and write about their life.
- Compare and contrast the themes of a poem and a short story.
For these, we recommend using one of the following sentence starters to write your thesis with:
- In this essay, I will …
- [Subject] is interesting/relevant/my favorite because …
- Through my research, I learned that …
As an example of how to use these sentence starters, we’ve put together some examples using the first prompt: Write about your favorite sports team.
- In this essay, I will describe the history and cultural importance of the Pittsburgh Steelers, my favorite sports team.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are my favorite because they have had a lasting impact on the history and culture of the city.
- Through my research, I learned that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a lot of influence on the history and culture of Pittsburgh.
Any one of these thesis statements (or all three!) could be used for an informational essay about the Pittsburgh Steelers football team and their impact on the history and culture of Pittsburgh.
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Argumentative essay thesis statements
The basic building blocks of an informational essay also apply when it comes to an argumentative essay . However, an argumentative essay requires that you take a position on an issue or prompt.
You then have to attempt to persuade your reader that your argument is the best. That means that your argumentative thesis statement needs to do two things:
- State your position on the issue.
- Summarize the evidence you will be using to defend your position.
Some examples of argumentative essay prompts are:
- Should high school students be required to do volunteer work? Why or why not?
- What is the best way to cook a turkey?
- Some argue that video games are bad for society. Do you agree? Why or why not?
In order to create a good thesis statement for an argumentative essay, you have to be as specific as possible about your position and your evidence. Let’s take a look at the first prompt as an example:
Prompt 1: Should high school students be required to do volunteer work? Why or why not? Bad thesis statement: No, I don’t think high school students should be required to do volunteer work because it’s boring. Good thesis statement: I think high school students should not be required to do volunteer work because it takes time away from their studies, provides more barriers to graduation, and does not encourage meaningful volunteer work.
Let’s look at a couple other examples:
Prompt 2: What is the best way to cook a turkey? Bad thesis statement: The best way to cook a turkey is the way my grandma does it. Good thesis statement: The best way to cook a turkey is using my grandmother’s recipe: brining the turkey beforehand, using a dry rub, and cooking at a low temperature.
Prompt 3: Some argue that video games are bad for society. Do you agree? Why or why not? Bad thesis statement: Video games aren’t bad for society, because they’re super fun. Good thesis statement: Video games aren’t bad for society because they encourage cooperation, teach problem-solving skills, and provide hours of cheap entertainment.
Do you notice the difference between the good thesis statements and the bad thesis statements? The bad statements are general, not specific. They also use very casual language. The good statements clearly lay out exactly what aspects of the argument your essay will focus on, in a professional manner.
By the way, this same principle can also be applied to informational essay thesis statements. Take a look at this example for an idea:
Prompt: What are the three branches of government, and what do each of them do? Bad thesis statement: There are many branches of government that do many different things. Good thesis statement: Each of the three branches of government—the executive, the legislative, and the judicial—have different primary responsibilities. However, these roles frequently overlap.
In addition to being more specific than the bad thesis statement, the good thesis statement here is an example of how sometimes your thesis statement may require two sentences.
A thesis statement is the foundation of your essay. However, sometimes as you’re writing, you find that you’ve deviated from your original statement. Once you’ve finished writing your essay, go back and read your thesis statement. Ask yourself:
- Does my thesis statement state the topic and/or my position?
- Does my thesis statement refer to the evidence or details I refer to in my essay?
- Is my thesis statement clear and easy to understand?
Don’t hesitate to edit your thesis statement if it doesn’t meet all three of these criteria. If it does, great! You’ve crafted a solid thesis statement that effectively guides the reader through your work. Now on to the rest of the essay!
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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
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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 condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.
Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?
- to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
- to better organize and develop your argument
- to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.
How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?
Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned
Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.
Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”
The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.
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How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned
Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.
A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:
- take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
- deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
- express one main idea
- assert your conclusions about a subject
Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.
Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.
You start out with a thesis statement like this:
This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.
Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.
You change your thesis to look like this:
Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.
This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.
Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.
You revise your thesis statement to look like this:
More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.
This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.
Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:
Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.
This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.
Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:
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.
Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.
How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One
1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..
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:
There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.
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.
This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.
2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.
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:
My family is an extended family.
This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.
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.
3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.
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. For example:
Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.
This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. 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. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .
4. A strong thesis statement is specific.
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:
World hunger has many causes and effects.
This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:
Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.
This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.
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What this handout is about.
This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.
Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement:
- tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
- is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
- directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
- makes a claim that others might dispute.
- is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.
If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)
How do I create a thesis?
A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. 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. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.
Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .
How do I know if my thesis is strong?
If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :
- Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
- 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. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:
Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.
You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.
- Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?
After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:
Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.
This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.
Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.
You begin to analyze your thesis:
- Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.
Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
- Do I answer the question? Yes!
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”
After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:
Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.
This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.
Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.
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Guidelines for selecting keywords
An important part of submitting your thesis or dissertation is selecting keywords and subject categories. These elements become part of the information about your thesis or dissertation and will help other researchers to find your work.
Follow these guidelines:
- You must have at least one keyword. You can enter up to 6 keywords for your thesis or dissertation.
- Capitalize the first letter of keywords. If your keyword is a phrase, capitalize only the first letter of the first word, for example: Business administration . If your keyword is a proper name, capitalize the first letter of each word, for example: Mississippi River .
- Use full phrases rather than acronyms or abbreviations. For example, use Health Maintenance Organization rather than HMO .
- Add a keyword if the concept or concepts covers at least 20% of your dissertation or thesis. Keywords should categorize your work as a whole, so focus on major concepts. It's OK to disregard minor aspects of your paper.
- Ask yourself what your dissertation or thesis is about. If you were searching for this topic, what keywords would help you find it?
- You may need more than one keyword or keyword phrase to adequately cover a concept.
- Keywords may be a single word or several words. Keywords may include phrases.
- Avoid bringing out every single concept with separate keywords when broader keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) will do.
- If you have two or more keyword concepts that are equally important, assign multiple keywords.
- It may be useful to browse the ProQuest Subject Categories list to help you think of keywords.
If you have questions on selecting keywords or categories, contact the IT Service Desk ( Submit a Ticket or Start a Live Chat ) and ask for an ETDR consultant.
- Updated: 7/14/23
What is a thesis statement? I need some examples, too.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement clearly identifies the topic being discussed, includes the points discussed in the paper, and is written for a specific audience. Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction. Use it to generate interest in your topic and encourage your audience to continue reading.
You can read chapter four of Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers an eBook in our online collection, click the title to open: "How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?" .
Another option is to think of a thesis statement as one complete sentence that expresses your position .
- Narrows the topic down to a specific focus of an investigation.
- Establishes a direction for the entire paper.
- Points forward to the conclusion.
- Always stated in your introduction. (Usually at the end of the first paragraph).
- Always take a stand and justify further discussion.
A thesis statement is not a statement of fact.
Your readers—especially your instructors—want to read writing that engages them. Consequently, you must write thesis statements that are arguable, not factual. Statements of fact seem easy to write about because, well, they are easy to prove. After all, they’re facts. The problem is that you cannot write engaging papers around statements of fact. Such theses prevent you from demonstrating critical thinking and analytical skills, which you want to show your instructor. If you were to write a paper around the next two statements, your writing would probably be quite dull because you would be restating facts that the general public already knows.
Thesis Statements always take a stand and justify further discussion.
In order to make your writing interesting, you should develop a thesis statement that is arguable. Sometimes you will be writing to persuade others to see things your way and other times you will simply be giving your strong opinion and laying out your case for it.
Take a look at the following examples:
Statement of fact:
Small cars get better fuel mileage than 4x4 pickup trucks.
Arguable thesis statement:
The government should ban 4x4 pickup trucks except for work-related use.
Foul language is common in movies.
The amount of foul language in movies is disproportionate to the amount of foul language in real life.
State ment of fact:
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease.
Arguable thesis statement/opening paragraph:
Researchers think the incidence of celiac disease is increasing in the USA not only because of an increase in the ability and awareness to diagnose it, but also because of changes in the agricultural system. In particular, they are looking at the increased use of pesticides, insecticides, and genetically modified wheat as culprits. Some of these theories are more likely to be valid than others.
Links & Files
- Thesis Builder
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- Last Updated Oct 13, 2020
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- Answered By Kerry Louvier
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How to Write a Research Paper
- Formulate Questions/Thesis
- Identify Keywords
- Find Background Info
- Search Strategies
- Statistics This link opens in a new window
- Primary | Secondary
- Scholarly | General This link opens in a new window
- Creative Commons
- Cite This link opens in a new window
- Quote, Paraphrase, Summarize
- Keyword Generator University of Texas. Tutorial that walks you through generating keywords.
Image source: Powernowllc. CC0 1.0. Wikimedia Commons.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are important words/concepts found in your research question or thesis.
A quick and dirty way to pull keywords from a research question/thesis is to choose the most important nouns ; all other words are irrelevant.
Using keywords to search will always retrieve more results than phrases or sentences.
Image source: Producer. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons
- within your research question or thesis
- in encyclopedias used in background research
- in bibliographies found at the end of books and articles
- in a thesaurus (or in Word's thesaurus under the Review tab)
- by asking a librarian
Image source: Evan-Amos . Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.
- Keyword Chart
Keywords have a profound impact on search results. Using the right words will speed up the research process, while the wrong ones can bring to it to a painfully screeching halt.
If the keywords you initially choose do not give good results, try others on your list, try search strategies , or ask a librarian for help.
Use the chart above to document keywords related to your topic. Keep it by your side when you start your research.
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- Last Updated: Sep 1, 2023 12:22 PM
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Q. How can I pick the best keywords to use when researching my topic?
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Answered By: Priscilla Coulter Last Updated: Jun 06, 2023 Views: 109916
The words that you type into a search box are the key to finding the most relevant articles and books. That's why they're called key words!
You'll need to choose keywords carefully. See the steps below (or if you prefer, here is a short video ).
1. Write out a brief description (1 or 2 sentences) of your research topic. It can be very helpful to phrase it in the form of a question that you'd like to answer. (See the research question example below.)
2. Identify the most important 2 - 4 words from your research question. These are your key concepts .
- To decide which words are most important, imagine that you need to explain your topic to someone using no more than 4 words. Words like "does," "the," "in," or "of" (while useful in a sentence) won't be specific enough, so you wouldn't use those.
3. For each key concept, make a list of other words with the same or related meanings. These will be your keywords!
- Use a thesaurus to find synonyms.
- Think of specific examples or types.
- If your topic is something you don't know enough about yet, it can be hard to think of synonyms or examples. Find some background information on your topic to help jump-start your brainstorming!
1. Go to the library's homepage and find the Everything search box .
2. Choose one keyword from each concept list. Type those keywords into the search box. Type AND between each one (learn about Boolean operators : AND, OR, NOT ).
Examples (from our list above) :
- students AND online classes AND social networking AND learning
- college students AND online courses AND social media AND performance
- learners AND online courses AND Facebook AND grades
3. Click search and explore the results. Try several of your keyword combinations, and keep a list of the keywords that fetch the most relevant articles .
- If you get too many results, try to narrow your search by adding more keywords .
- If you get too few results, try to broaden your search by using fewer keywords .
4. Look closely at the most relevant articles in your search results. You may see new author-supplied keywords or database subject headings that describe your topic. Add those terms to your list .
5. Create new keyword combinations from your refined list of terms, and test them again !
- undergraduates AND online courses AND social networking
- student engagement AND higher education AND social networking
- learning communities AND online courses AND social networking
6. As you try out new keyword combinations, it can be very helpful to save the most relevant articles as you go along.
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