How to develop a thesis statement of your college term paper


In grade school, thesis statements are often simplified to the point that they represent a very broad main idea. This, however, will not earn a student good grades in college and it is not effective when learning to write quality academic papers. Students must learn to craft detailed, polished, complex thesis statements that support the goals of academic writing in order to succeed in college. Here are some tips for creating a great thesis statement for your college term paper:

  1. Read about the topic.
  2. Whatever the basic topic you are interesting in pursuing for your term paper, the first step is to do some background reading on it. This needn’t be very in depth; simply look up some of the more respected texts on the topic and skim through them. As you do so take note of ideas present in these texts that interest you and that you’d like to expand on for your paper.

  3. Narrow down the ideas that intrigue you.
  4. Once you feel you have a basic background in the topic, you’ll need to start whittling away at these ideas until you have a list of perhaps five or ten that you really feel would make good central ideas for a term paper.

  5. Consider what questions these ideas present you with.
  6. A thesis statement is, essentially, your answer to a question. Before you can write a thesis statement, you need to determine what the question is. Make a list of three questions that occur to you about each of the ideas in your list.

  7. Narrow down the questions.
  8. Look through your list of questions, striking those that don’t particularly intrigue you. Look at the ones that remain. Determine whether or not each question can be researched, and strike those that don’t seem like they can be effectively researched.

  9. Do some preliminary research.
  10. Once you’ve chosen three interesting questions, do a research dry run and see what information is available about each.

  11. Choose a question and propose your “answer.”
  12. Finally, pick the most interesting, researchable question and write out your proposed “answer” to it. This is your thesis statement. Ensure that you take a strong position on what you think the answer is. You can always adapt it during your research; the important thing is that you have a strong foundation to start with.