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How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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Developing a Thesis Statement

Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.

Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.

Identify a topic

Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.

Consider what your assignment asks you to do

Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.

Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.

Sample assignment 1

Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.

Identified topic

Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis

This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).

Sample assignment 2

Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.

The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.

This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information

Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.

Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II

After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.

As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.

For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.

Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Derive a main point from topic

Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.

Look for patterns in your evidence

Compose a purpose statement.

Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.

  • Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
  • Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis

Possible conclusion:

Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.

Purpose statement

This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
  • The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
  • The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.

At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.

This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.

Derive purpose statement from topic

To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.

For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:

  • This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
  • I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.

At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Compose a draft thesis statement

If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.

Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.

Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.

Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.

Question-to-Assertion

If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.

Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?

Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”

Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.

Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.

  • nature = peaceful
  • war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
  • need for time and space to mourn the dead
  • war is inescapable (competes with 3?)

Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).

  • although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
  • _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
  • phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.

What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement

Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.

As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.

Refine and polish the thesis statement

To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.

  • Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
  • Question each part of your draft thesis
  • Clarify vague phrases and assertions
  • Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis

Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.

Sample Assignment

Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.

  • Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.

This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.

Complete the final thesis statement

The bottom line.

As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:

  • Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
  • As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
  • Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
  • Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.

In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.

define preliminary thesis

Writing Process and Structure

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Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Introductions

Paragraphing

Developing Strategic Transitions

Conclusions

Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

define preliminary thesis

Developing a Thesis Statement

Updated Jun 2022

A thesis statement defines the core elements involved in the question around which a research project is built. With it you can shape and implement a plan of action for conducting your research. You begin by creating one or more suppositions-or hypotheses-as to what the answer to that question might be. Think of them as preliminary thesis statements.

The difference between a preliminary and a final thesis can be thought of as the difference between:

"I don't know, but I'm thinking such and such." -and- "Trust me on this one thing."

A final thesis statement removes the doubt inherent in a preliminary thesis and provides a solid basis for your project. The rightness of you position will be advanced and argued in your research paper.

Creating a Preliminary Thesis Statement

Creating a preliminary thesis is the first step. For this, you must already have a research question. Examine it carefully and do a little brainstorming as to what the possible answer(s) might be: make some educated guesses and write them down.

You want to end up with a statement that isn't necessarily conclusive but gets you thinking and started on building one that is: a final statement around which your research can be focused. Let's use an environmental question fueling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling debate (circa 2006) to build a thesis statement.

Research Question: What is the impact of China's rapidly expanding economy on global oil markets and how does it affect the argument against drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Formulate a preliminary answer; add some supporting facts or observations-in this case both-as well as a preliminary conclusion, as in the following:

Preliminary Thesis Statement: The growth of China's rapidly expanding economy is radically changing the playing field in a global oil-market dominated for decades by the United States and Japan. Currently the second largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, China may very well become the largest, possibly importing as much as two-thirds of its requirement by 2025. This may be due to the growing Chinese auto market. It may also be due to an inability to meet established nuclear power plant construction targets. Regardless, the stakes are high. The question of where enough energy to satisfy global needs is going to come from cannot be downplayed. Despite the protests of environmental activists across the United States, the increasing needs of China to sustain their growing economy by contracting with nations deemed hostile by the United States may very well change the tone of the debate about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It may tilt away from environmentalist conservation positions toward those who favor exploration and production.

This preliminary thesis provides some direction for your inquiry. In one short paragraph, four things are accomplished:

  • A preliminary answer to the first part of a two-part question has been given: "China's economy is radically changing the global, oil-market playing-field."
  • A hypothetical observation has been added: "In time, China might become the largest player in the field."
  • A supporting fact is also added: "China is currently the second largest petroleum-product consumer in the world."
  • Finally, a concluding supposition or hypothesis is suggested: "The tone of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling debate may change."

Reviewing the Preliminary Thesis Statement

Reviewing the preliminary thesis is the second step. In this example you'll notice that the preliminary statement is a little bit loose, a little broad. This is not unusual, and it's okay. It suggests too much information, but at least there is something with which to work.

In the example, the two-part question has both a "what" and a "how" component. The preliminary thesis briefly answers the "what" component, makes a credible observation regarding "why", and then suggests a hypothetical answer to the "how" component.

So, where did the "why" come from: that wasn't part of the original question? The interesting thing about questions is how often they lead to others. The important thing to note here is that an answer to an unasked question is a good indicator that something needs to be revised. And perhaps it's in the question itself. Sometimes a research question needs revising before the preliminary thesis can be revised. How about, something like this:

Revised Research Question: Why is the expanding Chinese economy exerting so much pressure on global oil markets and how will it affect the debate between corporate America and environmentalists over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Considering Your Purpose and Audience

Consider both your purpose and the interest of your audience next. Notice that the new question is more purpose driven. The inquiry is more specific. It asks: "Why" does one situation exist and "how" will it affect another? Notice that the "what" component has been removed, replaced by a fact and a rephrased question that incorporates the "why" component.

With a clearer purpose the interest of the audience will be much easier to hold. In this case, two groups with opposing views have been identified. Each has a vested interest in what you have to say. With a more purposeful question a more precise thesis can now be shaped.

Revised Preliminary Thesis Statement: Currently the second largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, China may very well become the largest, possibly importing as much as two-thirds of its requirement by 2025. This rapidly expanding demand for oil may be caused, in part, by their exploding automobile industry and, in part, by an inability to meet their nuclear power plant construction targets. Regardless, the stakes are high and oil resources are limited. With increased global competition, the demand will rapidly outpace current production capabilities in the oil producing nations. Such increased competition is going to seriously impact the current debate between environmentalists and corporate America regarding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And, in the end, the environmentalists may not like the outcome.

You can see that, with just a little tweaking, the preliminary thesis has taken on a sharper focus, one that will attract the attention of an audience that includes people on both sides of this divisive issue. It begins with a simple statement of fact supported by reasons that address the new "why" in the revised question. A very transparent conclusion suggesting the direction the research paper will take follows.

Considering the Scope of Your Thesis

Finally, consider the scope of your statement. There's still something a little bulky about the preliminary thesis. It's time to hone it down, narrow it to where the actual research won't be overwhelming. Here's a possibility:

Further Revised Preliminary Thesis Statement: China, currently the second largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, is poised to become the largest. Projections indicate that it will be importing as much as two-thirds of its nation's requirement by 2025. Regardless of the reasons for this-and there are many-global resources are limited as demand soars. With production capabilities in the oil producing nations maxed at current levels and increased competition from China to secure enough oil to sustain their economic growth, the current debate between environmentalists and corporate America over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is going to ratchet up a decibel or two. And the environmentalists are going to be hard-pressed to win the argument.

Converting Your Preliminary to a Final Thesis

Converting from a preliminary to a final thesis is the last step. You've come a long way. It's shorter, but still bulky. Let's set the first few sentences aside and tweak the last to see what happens.

Final Thesis Statement: With production capabilities in the oil producing nations maxed at their current levels, and increased competition from China to import that oil, the current debate between environmentalists and corporate America over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is going to ratchet up a decibel or two. And the environmentalists are going to be hard-pressed to win the argument.
An Even Better Final Thesis Statement: Environmentalists are likely to lose ground in the current debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as oil producing nations struggle to meet the increased demands of an emerging industrial China competing for limited supplies in the global oil market.

Okay. There you have it, a final thesis statement. The preliminary statement has been honed down and tightened up. And guess what? The sentences that were set aside, as well as all the others you have worked on during your revision, aren't a waste. They, or any combination of them, might make an excellent opening paragraph. You may want to include some version of your original research question, also. It's a great way to get started:

Plausible Opening Paragraph: China, currently the second largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, is poised to become the largest. Projections indicate that it will be importing as much as two-thirds of its nation's requirement by 2025. Regardless of the reasons for this-and there are many-global resources are limited as international demand soars. How will this affect the current debate between environmentalists and corporate America over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

Palmquist, Mike & Peter Connor. (2008). Developing a Thesis Statement. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=21

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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples

Madalsa

Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.

title-page-of-a-thesis

Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.

Abstract-section-of-a-thesis

This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.

Acknowledgments

Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.

Acknowledgement-section-of-a-thesis

This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.

Table-of-contents-of-a-thesis

By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.

List-of-tables-and-figures-in-a-thesis

It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.

Introduction

Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.

Introduction-section-of-a-thesis

  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.

Literature-review-section-thesis

It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.

Methodology

In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.

Methodology-section-thesis

Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.

Results-section-thesis

Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.

Conclusion-section-thesis

Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.

References-section-thesis

In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.

Appendices-section-thesis

Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.

Glossary-section-of-a-thesis

By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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Thesis / dissertation formatting manual (2024).

  • Filing Fees and Student Status
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  • Electronic Thesis Submission
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  • Pagination, Margins, Spacing
  • Paper Thesis Formatting
  • Preliminary Pages Overview
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
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  • Text and References Overview
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Preliminary Pages

The Preliminary Pages require very specific wording, spacing, and layout. Templates and sample pages are provided for your reference.

Only the pages listed below may be included as part of the Preliminary Pages section, and they must appear in this order. No other pages are permitted. All pages are required except the Dedication Page. Lists of Symbols, Tables, Figures, and Illustrations are only required if applicable to the content of your manuscript. 

Note : A Signature Page is NOT a valid part of your manuscript and is not included in the submission of your thesis or dissertation. Committee signatures are now included on the “Ph.D. Form II/Signature Page” or the “Master’s Thesis/Signature Page” that you submit to the Graduate Division. 

Preliminary Pages Order

  • Title Page (no page number)
  • Copyright Page (no page number)
  • Dedication Page (optional, page number ii if included)
  • Table of Contents  (if Dedication Page is included, Table of Contents is page iii. If no Dedication, Table of Contents is page ii)
  • List(s) of Figures/Illustrations/Formulae/Terms/etc.  (required, if applicable. Each new list should begin on a new page)
  • Acknowledgements  (alt. spelling: Acknowledgments)
  • Vita  (PhD dissertations ONLY. Should not be more than 3 pages)

Pagination - Preliminary Pages

Preliminary Pages are numbered with lowercase Roman numerals.

  • The Title Page is counted in determining the total number of pages in this section but is NOT numbered.
  • The Copyright Page is not counted or numbered.
  • Your first numbered page will either be your Dedication Page if you have one, or your Table of Contents if you do not have a Dedication Page.
  • There is no page i in the manuscript. 
  • The subsequent pages are then numbered consecutively with lowercase Roman numerals through the end of the Abstract.
  • Dashes, periods, underlining, letter suffixes, other text (including last names), and other stylizations are not permitted before, after, or under your page numbers.
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Research guides, guide to research and writing for the academic study of religion.

  • Topic Pyramids
  • Research Assignment Parameters
  • Thesis statement
  • Identifying Interests
  • Controversy
  • Availability of Sources

Preliminary Research

  • Developing Your Question and Thesis
  • Research Question and Thesis Statement Examples
  • Periodicals
  • Primary Sources
  • Reference Works - Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Biographies etc
  • Journal Articles
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  • Locating resources unavailable at U of C Library
  • Content of Databases
  • Standardized Terminology
  • Review Quiz Databases
  • Keyword Searching
  • Search Limits
  • Phrase Searching
  • Truncations and Wildcards
  • Boolean Operators
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  • Natural Language Searching
  • Searching Basics Quiz
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  • General Criteria
  • Quoting in text
  • in Text Citations
  • List of References
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Staying Organized
  • Links to Writing Help
  • Sources Used in Creating this Workbook

Developing a good research question is impossible without doing some preliminary research.  Preliminary research gives you background information on your topic, answering questions such as who, what, when and where.  This research will also help you determine controversies related to your topic and determine if there are enough sources available to cover the topic effectively.

 You will encounter and learn much more information than you will convey in your final paper. Background information will enrich your research paper but should not bog it down in trivia. For example, if you were doing a paper on Hildegaard of Bingen, you should know that she was born into a noble family in Germany in 1098 and entered a hermitage at the age of eight and became a Benedictine Abbess. This information will help you contextualize her work in your own mind but your research paper should not be a simple recitation of these facts. Your research question should take you beyond the common knowledge found in encyclopedias, but without that  common knowledge your research will lack a solid foundation.

What follows is a list of resources that you may find useful for doing preliminary research in the field of Religious Studies. Keep in mind the type of information that you will need based on your preliminary topic and where your topic falls in the topic pyramid. Remember that the pyramid is a continuum rather than a series of discrete stages, so your topic likely will draw on both columns for some resources.

Resources for Preliminary Research

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Developing Strong Thesis Statements

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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.

The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

Table of Contents

Collaboration, information literacy, writing process, preliminary research.

define preliminary thesis

Preliminary Research is

to early invention efforts people engage in to identify topics of interest.

Writers engage in Preliminary Research during the early stages of composing in order to identify the scope of their investigation.

Preliminary Research could involve

  • discussions with friends about ideas.
  • interviews with experts, bosses, clients, and teachers.
  • scanning a wikipedia page or Google search
  • skimming over documents to learn about the genres and research methods of particular discourse communities/community of practice.

When engaging in Preliminary Research as opposed to the sort of deep reading practices and critical relationship to evidence recommended by ACRL’s i, researchers are reading superficially.

Good writers are readers. They are collaborators. Creativity is informed by sustained thought on a topic and that thought is enriched by reading and talking about topics with knowledgeable experts.

Preliminary Research is deeply imbricated with Information Literacy , particularly Searching as a Strategic Exploration , Scholarship as a Conversation, and Research as Inquiry

If the aim of a writing project is personal reflection, then diving immediately into Drafting can make sense. Journal writing and autobiography can be a powerful way to sustain reflection and insights and set goals.

That said, if you are writing or talking about something beyond your immediate experience, you are likely to benefit from learning what other writers have thought or said about a topic.

  • Deep reading on a topic, as discussed in Scholarship as a Conversation, can empower you to identify the current thinking about a topic.
  • Deep reading can help you identify how research and scholarship on that topic have changed over time and who the thought leaders are on a topic.
  • Deep reading is crucial to distinguishing fake news from real news, valid reasoning and evidence from propaganda and salesmanship (see Authority is Constructed and Contextual ).

Yet early during Invention, you may benefit broadly rather than deeply. Shallow reading has its place as an Invention strategy. There are advantages to skimming across titles, abstracts, and articles.

The goal of Preliminary Research is not necessarily to become an authority on a specific topic so much as to identify conversation chatter: across disciplines, what are experts talking about? What are the issues facing a knowledge domain (e.g., nuclear energy, global warming, space exploration)? And, ultimately, if given a choice, what interests you the most?

Brevity - Say More with Less

Brevity - Say More with Less

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence - How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Diction

Flow - How to Create Flow in Writing

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Inclusivity - Inclusive Language

Simplicity

The Elements of Style - The DNA of Powerful Writing

Unity

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Writing Studies

Writing Studies

Writing studies refers to an interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who study writing. Writing studies also refers to an academic, interdisciplinary discipline – a subject of study. Students in...

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preliminary

Definition of preliminary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of preliminary  (Entry 2 of 2)

  • introductory
  • preparative
  • preparatory
  • curtain-raiser
  • prolog

Examples of preliminary in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'preliminary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

French préliminaires , plural, from Medieval Latin praeliminaris , adjective, preliminary, from Latin prae- pre- + limin-, limen threshold

1657, in the meaning defined above

1656, in the meaning defined above

Dictionary Entries Near preliminary

Cite this entry.

“Preliminary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preliminary. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of preliminary.

Kids Definition of preliminary  (Entry 2 of 2)

Legal Definition

Legal definition of preliminary, more from merriam-webster on preliminary.

Nglish: Translation of preliminary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preliminary for Arabic Speakers

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  3. 25 Thesis Statement Examples (2024)

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VIDEO

  1. The Thesis

  2. Why it's essential to know yourself as a thesis writer

  3. How to write Ph.D. thesis (Preliminary Section) Part 1

  4. Rogerian Argument Working Thesis and Preliminary Works Cited

  5. How to write the definition of terms

  6. Preliminary Q&A Segment

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Placement of the thesis statement. Step 1: Start with a question. Step 2: Write your initial answer. Step 3: Develop your answer. Step 4: Refine your thesis statement. Types of thesis statements. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

  2. Developing a Thesis Statement

    What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper.

  3. Guide: Developing a Thesis Statement

    Preliminary Thesis Statement: The growth of China's rapidly expanding economy is radically changing the playing field in a global oil-market dominated for decades by the United States and Japan.

  4. What is a thesis

    A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages. ... Thesis. Thesis Statement. Definition. An extensive document presenting the author's research and findings, typically for a degree or ...

  5. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience. An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.

  6. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement is a sentence in a paper or essay (in the opening paragraph) that introduces the main topic to the reader. As one of the first things your reader sees, your thesis statement is one of the most important sentences in your entire paper—but also one of the hardest to write!

  7. Preliminary Pages Overview

    Preliminary Pages Overview - Thesis / Dissertation Formatting Manual (2024) - Research Guides at University of California Irvine Preliminary Pages The Preliminary Pages require very specific wording, spacing, and layout. Templates and sample pages are provided for your reference.

  8. Preliminary Research

    Preliminary research gives you background information on your topic, answering questions such as who, what, when and where. This research will also help you determine controversies related to your topic and determine if there are enough sources available to cover the topic effectively.

  9. Strong Thesis Statements

    The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable. An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. ... Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or ...

  10. Preliminary Research

    Preliminary Research is to early invention efforts people engage in to identify topics of interest. Writers engage in Preliminary Research during the early stages of composing in order to identify the scope of their investigation. Preliminary Research could involve discussions with friends about ideas.interviews with experts, bosses, clients, and teachers.scanning a wikipedia page or Google

  11. Thesis Generator

    a definition. an interesting fact. a question that will be answered in your paper. some background information on your topic. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will state your thesis statement.

  12. Preliminary Definition & Meaning

    : coming before and usually forming a necessary prelude to something else preliminary studies preliminary results preliminarily pri-ˌli-mə-ˈner-ə-lē adverb preliminary 2 of 2 noun plural preliminaries : something that precedes or is introductory or preparatory: such as a : a preliminary heat or trial (as of a race) b

  13. Preliminary Bibliography Examples

    Create Citation Preliminary Bibliography Examples By Jennifer Betts Certified Teacher In Examples, How To 4 Min read When you're trying to get your project or research paper organized, it can be helpful to create a preliminary bibliography before jumping in head first.

  14. define preliminary thesis

    Developing a Thesis Statement. Updated Jun 2022. A thesis statement defines the core elements involved in the question around which a research project is built. With it you can sh

  15. Define A Preliminary Thesis Statement

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