Basically, research papers are long essays, which introduce information on a given topic, gathered data, which eventually is realized in your own opinions and arguments. Every research paper has a thesis statement, which should clearly define your opinion or idea considering the topic you are going to write about. A thesis statement can also answer a question of the reader, for example "Juliet is more in love with Romeo because her family is strongly opposed to their relationship." This answers the question "Why does Juliet love Romeo with such passionate love?" Thesis statement should address both question and answer, as the entire research paper will address them as well.

Thesis statement also presents a road map for the paper, basically letting the reader know where he will be taken during this "journey". It is usually a single sentence in the first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper supports or disputes your claim on the basis of your research and evidence about the topic.

Most thesis statements are formed after the paper has been outlined and structured, rather than before. The writer chooses a subject to research and to write about, formulates an outline or plan, organizes and structures paper and then figures out the question that the paper should answer. Then, one has to choose the thesis statement and add it to the introduction of the paper.

Once thesis statement is chosen, a few questions should be asked to determine the reliability of the given statement:

  • Does this thesis statement answer the question you have asked your readers?
  • And if so, can they challenge your answer or agree with it?
  • Is thesis statement too vague and does it convey the strength of the argument you have presented in your paper?

Thesis statement should also stick to the main topic, but not wander or deviate from the main ideas presented in the paper.

No matter how strong your thesis statement is, you must present its confirmation: i.e. the facts gathered and the research done in defense of your thesis statement. Research papers are usually presented in such a way that thesis is outlined in the introduction; then there are several paragraphs supporting or disputing it and a concluding paragraph or even two to wrap up the paper. The latter should have all your research presented in an organized manner that is easy to read. Statements that other experts have already made should be cited accordingly, and you should never use expert opinions as your own without giving the original expert credit as well. The more research papers you write, the easier it will be for you to formulate thesis statements in the future; then the question of how to write thesis statement will no longer be topical for you.

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