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Research Paper Thesis Statement


A research paper thesis statement prepares the reader for the content of the paper by presenting the paper's intentions in a single sentence. If the paper presents an argument on a subject, the research paper thesis statement should briefly state the paper's position and the major points that support that position; on the other hand, if the paper does not attempt to argue a position but rather presents a body of information without a persuasive element, the research paper thesis statement will set up the parameters for the discussion.

Research paper thesis statements that seek to persuade the reader of a certain position on a subject should mention all the major points, but they should not contain any superfluous information. If the student cannot immediately differentiate between the overarching points and the less prominent pieces of information or argumentation, he or she should make a list of all the pieces of argumentative material that the paper will contain and then organize those items into groups. The items in the list that can fall under the category of other items are the minor points. In most cases, the student should not attempt to manage more than three or four major points in the term paper.

Research paper thesis statements that present a body of information sometimes take more than a single sentence to express fully, although a single sentence offers the most manageable thesis statement for the reader. The thesis statement should set the boundaries of the discussion. For example, the student who is writing an expository paper on World War II should not merely write, "This paper will discuss World War II"; rather, he or she should write something more specific, such as, "The bombing of Pearl Harbor was the climax of a series of escalating events, including…"

Thesis statements are the most important part of research papers, and students should invest a large amount of thought in them. They should feel free to rewrite them as often as necessary.


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