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Academic term paper help: secrets, tips, guidelines and how-to's

How To Develop A Thesis Statement For Your Term Paper

Writing a strong term paper involves establishing a claim and then supporting it with research, logical reasoning, and examples. The thesis statement serves as a guideline for every paper and usually answers two questions: Why? How?

To Start

First, determine the type of essay you are writing, as there are three main types of essay: analytical, expository, or argumentative. An analytical essay breaks down an idea into smaller parts and presents these parts to the audience. Expository essays explain an idea or concept, and an argumentative essay makes a claim about a topic and supports it by justifying the position with specific evidence. College papers often involve some persuasion so argumentative elements are typically used. The thesis for an argumentative piece must be debatable and not something commonly agreed upon or accepted as fact.


Follow these tips as plan to develop an effective thesis statement for your term paper:

  • Get off to a simple start by writing your thesis statement in a single sentence.
  • A basic guide to developing a strong thesis statement is to answer the following key question: What am I trying to prove?
  • Narrow your topic and focus the thesis statement on a limited aspect. For example, a topic may be narrowed down from “music” to “hip-hop music” to “hip-hop culture” to “the effects of hip-hop culture on society.”
  • Be flexible because your research may lead to finding other, stronger possibilities and you may consider changing your thesis statement, which is acceptable.
  • Obtain your instructor’s approval on your thesis before jumping into the intensive research.
  • Avoid “telegraphing” a thesis. This means the use of first-person phrases such as “I hope to prove” or “I am going to show.” The instructor is aware that the paper is yours so your point should really only be made apparent through a strong thesis and supporting evidence.

Almost all assignments, no matter the complexity, can be reduced to a single question or issue. This is why the topic should be broken down into a specific question to be addressed with supporting material. Writing a strong term paper starts with a good thesis statement and its development. Almost everyone looks for a one or two sentence condensation of the argument and analysis of an essay, even if they don’t do so consciously. A strong thesis statement can clearly show the point of the paper and what is hoped to be accomplished. This is why successfully developing a thesis statement is a significant part of writing a good term paper.