How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper: Avoiding Mistakes


While strong thesis statement is the guaranty for any successful research paper, it may prove difficult to formulate it correctly. There are certain predictable pitfalls you should be aware of and avoid on your way to writing it properly.

  • Too general

    Thesis statement should clearly define the objective of your paper and the tasks set. If you make it too general, it will certainly sound unrealistic, as it will be hard to satisfy within the framework of your paper. Be precise and confine it within the covered subject.

  • Too specific

    Accordingly, it shouldn’t be too narrow, as it may appear one-sided and also unsatisfactory.

  • Not arguable

    The main idea of the thesis statement is that it should provide the possibility of discussion for the reader. Someone should be able to have an alternative position and disagree with you or, on the contrary, to support your idea. Neutral statement that is obvious and doesn’t provoke an argument fails to fulfill its crucial point – to persuade or to convince.

  • Form of a question

    As obvious as it seems, but statement is not a question. It’s an easy mistake to make because a short, precise and clever research question has great chances to be perceived as a thesis statement. true statement should answer the question and prove the point, but not ask or doubt it.

  • Simple fact

    Choose a thesis statement that clearly states a standpoint and doesn’t just inform about something. You will use facts later in your paper to support the statement.

  • Too much detail

    One of the main functions of thesis statement is to summarize the facts in a short and concise way, therefore a special length limitation of one or two sentences is provided, thus leaving no space for excess information. It’s not about listing points, it’s about giving the over-all information or even a summary of ideas.

  • New information

    You should include only the information that is under consideration in your research, otherwise it will be seen as irrelevant and illogical.

  • First person point of view

    Using such sentences as “I guess” or “I think” is usually not recommended, because it makes your work sound subjective and doubtful.

  • Unfriendly

    Use friendly tone and don’t be too combative if you want to interest the reader and involve him into conversation, not to turn him away. Even if you stick to a certain point of view, try to keep the balance between the opposites.

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