What is a Thesis?
February 1, 2018
When writing a research paper, you need to ensure it has a thesis. What is a thesis? Actually, it is not just a statement that merely provides an overview of what you intend to discuss or analyze in the paper. A successful thesis is not an overview-like but an argumentative one, which conveys a strong central idea of your research. A thesis statement that you write in the introduction should be further supported by ample evidence throughout the paper with the help of illustrative facts and examples. Actually, when writing a research, you need to be well-versed in what is a thesis paper and how it should be properly organized.
Below you will find some of the basic points to take into consideration when writing a thesis.
- Make sure you know a thesis paper definition. There should be a central idea or message that you are going to prove throughout the paper. In academic writing, this idea is also known as a central argument or claim.
- A thesis should be a backbone of your paper. In other words, it should contain the main message, thus you need to formulate the thesis as briefly and concisely as possible.
- You need to provide a strong thesis statement when you write not only research papers but also essays. In particular, when you are writing a persuasive essay, you should keep in mind that all ideas you prove or discuss should be related to the thesis. Besides, the idea you have formulated in the thesis should be properly discussed and analyzed in the body paragraphs (where you provide examples, supporting evidence, counter-arguments, rebuttals, etc.).
- After you have elaborated your body paragraphs, you should carefully proofread the paper and see whether all of the ideas discussed in the body of the paper are mentioned in the thesis. Remember that the whole discussion should revolve around the ideas formulated in the thesis statement. If there are some ideas that were introduced in the body of the paper but not mentioned in the thesis, they should be either added to the thesis or avoided.
Since a thesis is something you intend and need to prove and discuss in detail, it should be formulated in form of a strong statement (assertion). It cannot be a question or a rhetoric question because the main feature of a thesis is that it should be arguable. As such, an obvious fact cannot be a good thesis either (e.g. The grass is green – because there is nothing to prove or discuss here). Thesis statements can be classifies as such:
- They can be interpretative in nature (for example, the meaning of some literary character in a book or story);
- They can be analytical (dealing with further investigation of some problem or phenomenon);
- They can deal with some values or ethical dilemmas that need further discussion.
Most importantly, the thesis statement you formulate in the introduction should answer your central research question. In other words, you need to properly refine the core research question and narrow it down to a focused statement. Afterwards, you need to conduct a thorough literature review and find sufficient sources to illustrate your point and deal with the research question. The research question should be analyzed thoroughly and in the end be answered clearly. If the research question is not answered by the end of research paper writing, then it means that the research is rather poor because it hasn’t met the main aim – to investigate and answer the research question.
Descriptive and Prescriptive Thesis Statements
A descriptive thesis statement is easier to formulate as you should merely make a claim on the given topic – how the things are (i.e. you describe the current state of affairs).In prescriptive thesis statements, on the contrary, you need to make a claim on what things should be like. To better understand the difference, think of how the doctor gives prescriptions and how he/ she states the diagnosis: when prescribing medicine, he/ she tells you how and when to take pills, whereas when stating the diagnosis, he/ she says what is wrong with you, and what should be done about it.