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Writing a strong thesis statement for essays and research papers presents several challenges. First, the writer should indicate depth of research sufficient for the length of the paper. Second, the thesis statement should take a position that adds a new perspective to existing research in the field of study. Finally, it should not be so broad that it merely summarizes the topic but not be so narrow that it trivializes the subject.
The depth of the research should strive to correspond to the length of the paper. Writing a five paragraph essay vs. a five page paper vs. a paper of 10 pages or more are quite different tasks. Nevertheless, a helpful starting point irrespective of the length of the assignment is to aggregate the leading, current research in the field of study. Next, a historical overview of relevant research places the current research in context. If the writing assignment is brief, the thesis statement should be strong enough to address one point relative to the research. If the assignment is on the longer side, the thesis statement should address more than one point upon which to elaborate, and, possibly, present both an argument and counterargument to be examined throughout the paper.
However, regardless of the length of the assignment, the goal of writing a strong thesis statement is to add a new analytical perspective relative to existing research. After gaining a foundation of current research in a historical context, the next step is to decide what a new essay or research paper may add in terms of analysis. Even at a beginning level, writers can add their own fresh, new ideas to what has already been discussed in a field of study. In order to guide one’s thinking toward this goal, it may be helpful to keep notes, to write opinions or reactions, and to write brief summaries during the research process.
With diligent note keeping, reflection, and summarizing, the task of writing a strong thesis statement becomes more approachable. Still, the task remains to write a thesis statement that is neither too broad nor too narrow. As such, as a first step it may be helpful to write drafts of the thesis statement that can be edited toward the strongest, most effective thesis statement that is appropriate for the paper.
For example, writing an essay or a research paper about homelessness relative to a lack of education, mental health, divorce, and affordable housing seems like a daunting task. Without sufficient refinement, the topic seems too broad. Truthfully, whole books can be written that cover all of those points. However, the ideas mentioned are a good place to start for research and to continue with the steps mentioned above toward the end goal of writing a thesis statement that is appropriate relative to the assignment. Good luck!
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