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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.

Aspect

Thesis

Thesis Statement

Definition

An extensive document presenting the author's research and findings, typically for a degree or professional qualification.

A concise sentence or two in an essay or research paper that outlines the main idea or argument.  

Position

It’s the entire document on its own.

Typically found at the end of the introduction of an essay, research paper, or thesis.

Components

Introduction, methodology, results, conclusions, and bibliography or references.

Doesn't include any specific components

Purpose

Provides detailed research, presents findings, and contributes to a field of study. 

To guide the reader about the main point or argument of the paper or essay.

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.

Aspect

Thesis

Dissertation

Purpose

Often for a master's degree, showcasing a grasp of existing research

Primarily for a doctoral degree, contributing new knowledge to the field

Length

100 pages, focusing on a specific topic or question.

400-500 pages, involving deep research and comprehensive findings

Research Depth

Builds upon existing research

Involves original and groundbreaking research

Advisor's Role

Guides the research process

Acts more as a consultant, allowing the student to take the lead

Outcome

Demonstrates understanding of the subject

Proves capability to conduct independent and original research

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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How to write a thesis statement + examples

Thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?

Is a thesis statement a question, how do you write a good thesis statement, how do i know if my thesis statement is good, examples of thesis statements, helpful resources on how to write a thesis statement, frequently asked questions about writing a thesis statement, related articles.

A thesis statement is the main argument of your paper or thesis.

The thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any piece of academic writing . It is a brief statement of your paper’s main argument. Essentially, you are stating what you will be writing about.

You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the question with new information and not just restate or reiterate it.

Your thesis statement is part of your introduction. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our introduction guide .

A thesis statement is not a question. A statement must be arguable and provable through evidence and analysis. While your thesis might stem from a research question, it should be in the form of a statement.

Tip: A thesis statement is typically 1-2 sentences. For a longer project like a thesis, the statement may be several sentences or a paragraph.

A good thesis statement needs to do the following:

  • Condense the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences.
  • Answer your project’s main research question.
  • Clearly state your position in relation to the topic .
  • Make an argument that requires support or evidence.

Once you have written down a thesis statement, check if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • Your statement needs to be provable by evidence. As an argument, a thesis statement needs to be debatable.
  • Your statement needs to be precise. Do not give away too much information in the thesis statement and do not load it with unnecessary information.
  • Your statement cannot say that one solution is simply right or simply wrong as a matter of fact. You should draw upon verified facts to persuade the reader of your solution, but you cannot just declare something as right or wrong.

As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should answer a question.

If the question is:

What do you think the City of New York should do to reduce traffic congestion?

A good thesis statement restates the question and answers it:

In this paper, I will argue that the City of New York should focus on providing exclusive lanes for public transport and adaptive traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion by the year 2035.

Here is another example. If the question is:

How can we end poverty?

A good thesis statement should give more than one solution to the problem in question:

In this paper, I will argue that introducing universal basic income can help reduce poverty and positively impact the way we work.

  • The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina has a list of questions to ask to see if your thesis is strong .

A thesis statement is part of the introduction of your paper. It is usually found in the first or second paragraph to let the reader know your research purpose from the beginning.

In general, a thesis statement should have one or two sentences. But the length really depends on the overall length of your project. Take a look at our guide about the length of thesis statements for more insight on this topic.

Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how to write them.

Every good essay should include a thesis statement as part of its introduction, no matter the academic level. Of course, if you are a high school student you are not expected to have the same type of thesis as a PhD student.

Here is a great YouTube tutorial showing How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements .

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The resources in this section are designed to provide guidance for the first steps of the thesis or dissertation writing process. They offer tools to support the planning and managing of your project, including writing out your weekly schedule, outlining your goals, and organzing the various working elements of your project.

Weekly Goals Sheet (a.k.a. Life Map) [Word Doc]

This editable handout provides a place for you to fill in available time blocks on a weekly chart that will help you visualize the amount of time you have available to write. By using this chart, you will be able to work your writing goals into your schedule and put these goals into perspective with your day-to-day plans and responsibilities each week. This handout also contains a formula to help you determine the minimum number of pages you would need to write per day in order to complete your writing on time.

Setting a Production Schedule (Word Doc)

This editable handout can help you make sense of the various steps involved in the production of your thesis or dissertation and determine how long each step might take. A large part of this process involves (1) seeking out the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding specific document formatting requirements, (2) understanding research protocol limitations, (3) making note of deadlines, and (4) understanding your personal writing habits.

Creating a Roadmap (PDF)

Part of organizing your writing involves having a clear sense of how the different working parts relate to one another. Creating a roadmap for your dissertation early on can help you determine what the final document will include and how all the pieces are connected. This resource offers guidance on several approaches to creating a roadmap, including creating lists, maps, nut-shells, visuals, and different methods for outlining. It is important to remember that you can create more than one roadmap (or more than one type of roadmap) depending on how the different approaches discussed here meet your needs.

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

Thesis Help: 95 Best Online Tools for Thesis Writing

thesis assistance

Writing a thesis is like being sentenced to life and hard labor in libraries. Forget regular working hours or your natural right to sleep and rest. Only successful defense of your project will break you free.

  • Word Processing and Taking Notes
  • Knowledge Management
  • Student Planners
  • Bibliography Helpers
  • Academic Research Tools
  • Productivity Apps
  • Vocabulary Builders
  • Dictionaries
  • Plagiarism Check
  • Grammar and Style Check

The following free tools, however, provide a ray of hope. Draconian time management and supernatural self-organization can help you cope with your thesis faster. Optimize the process and enjoy the time you save.

📝 Word Processing and Taking Notes

Although you may be used to Microsoft Word, the following free alternatives can be of much help for thesis writing:

Latex Project - a Document Preparation System.

  • LaTeX is a high-quality system equipped with special features for technical and scientific documentation. A great tool for thesis help due to its user-friendly interface and dozens of helpful features. For example, the tool automatically generates bibliographies and indexes.
  • LyX is a free document processor that emphasizes the importance of document structure.
  • Scrivener is a popular text-editing tool for Windows users. Use one of several templates to construct your document. There are also labeling options available during the working process.
  • XMind is an easy-to-use text-editing and mind-mapping tool. Develop essay maps with this paper editor you can use on an iPhone or iPad for creating, editing, and storing your files.
  • OpenOffice is free and intuitive editing software popular with students. Try this excellent writing tool you can easily use instead of Microsoft Word. It gives similar functions for typing, formatting, and revising.
  • AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft Word and suitable for a wide range of academic tasks.
  • Jarte is a free word processor that is based on Windows WordPad and fully compatible with Windows Word.
  • Google Docs is Google’s awesome service that allows you to create, format, store, and share documents online.
  • ThinkFree is a free Java-based word processor that is fully compatible with Word.

Etherpad is a Highly Customizable Open Source Online Editor Providing Collaborative Editing.

  • Etherpad is an open source text editor that allows real-time collaborative editing online. You and your mentor can use this tool for online revision of your thesis.

🧠 Knowledge Management

Here’s the kicker:

While doing research for your dissertation, you will need to dig through an incredible amount of literature. Maybe even look at some free college essays examples.

To make your job easier without getting lost or wasting time, consider the following knowledge management tools — they are great for dissertation help.

  • KeepNote is a particularly effective note-taking application that can help you use full-text search and store your findings and notes.
  • TomBoy is a free and easy-to-use note-taking and mind-mapping application. When making an analysis of sources or gathering articles in one place, it’s easy to get lost in dozens of links. Tomboy allows you to store every link carefully and have access to them anytime from your desktop.
  • TiddlyWiki is a knowledge management app with a number of helpful features of much help for your thesis.
  • Mindnote is an effective mind-mapping tool that can help you organize your thoughts intuitively.
  • Mendeley is a tool that allows you to create your own easily searchable library of your research findings and accessible from any device.
  • VUE stands for Visual Understanding Environment. This tool can be used for structuring and sharing information.
  • EyePlorer is a convenient tool for creating charts and mind maps online. You can just drag in your thesis statement’s keywords and get the results.
  • Zotero is a valuable academic research and knowledge management tool that combines functionality of a citation maker and knowledge management.
  • Endnote can help you find, save, and share the information you need. You can work on a document with your team, see the history of changes, and get your sources cited in one of 6,000 styles.
  • Cam scanner is probably one of the easiest ways to save bibliographic information by simply “scanning” a resource with your phone or any other device.

⌚ Student Planners

In being preoccupied with your thesis, you may easily forget something. The following free tools will help you be better organized:

Any.do Website - Get Life Under Control.

  • Any do can synchronize your personal tasks and help you achieve maximum potential.
  • Trello can help you see everything about your project in one place.
  • Exam Countdown is a free and easy-to-use app to keep track of all your deadlines. Thesis development consists of many parts. Don’t miss any of them with this helpful and vivid tool.
  • Wunderlist is a tool for ticking off all your personal and academic goals.
  • Todoist is a free online task manager that will kindly remind you of approaching deadlines.
  • Tomsplanner is an online chart to help you get things done.
  • HabitRPG is a free productivity app that treats your life like an exciting game. Habitica is an RPG game that not only motivates you to start a thesis but also helps with everyday routines like cleaning your room or getting enough sleep.
  • Todokyo is a simple way to create to-do lists online.
  • Ta-da Lists will help you reach those amazing “ta-da” moments with all your daily and weekly tasks.

🙋 Bibliography Helpers

Collecting resources and formatting citations is important for your dissertation writing, but imagine letting free citation tools do that work for you! Make this academic dream come true with our past list of the top 25 free online best citation generators , or check out the following collection of free tools:

Bibdesk - Bibliography Manager.

  • BibDesk will help you edit and manage your bibliography. This tool can help you keep track of not only bibliographic information but also related links and files.
  • BiblioExpress will help you find, manage, and edit bibliographic records.
  • Docear is a free academic literature management suite that helps you discover, organize, and cite your resources.
  • Recipes4Success is an open source bibliography maker that formats citations in MLA and APA. It works as a rewording generator—you fill in the fields, and the tool gives you a full sentence in one of the most popular citation styles.
  • Ottobib is a free, easy, and fast bibliography maker that allows formatting citations using only ISBN. If you use ISBN for your referencing, you can save a lot of time.
  • Citavi is a free reference management and knowledge organization tool that can help to not only create citations but also organize and highlight text.
  • Cite This for Me is an open source and easy-to-use citation maker that is compatible with a wide range of citation styles.
  • GoBiblio is a free online citation maker that generates citations in MLA and APA.

🔬 Academic Research Tools

One more thing you will appreciate is an academic full-text research environment free of commercial links:

Google Scholar.

  • Google Scholar is the place to start your online research that will help you with your thesis.
  • ContentMine is a tool that extracts scientific facts from around a billion academic resources.
  • Data Elixir is a twice-monthly digest of the latest scientific discoveries.
  • Labii is a template-based electronic notebook. Keep all your data organized into categories like protocols, results, samples, and so on.
  • LazyScholar is a free Chrome or Mozilla extension that will do an automatic full-text search and create fast citations.
  • Scientific Journal Finder can help you access the latest and most relevant resources in your field.
  • Scizzle is a fast and easy way to discover new papers on a topic of your choice.
  • MyScienceWork is a platform for making your research papers visible to anyone on the web or getting access to research of others.
  • Sparrho is a collection of scientific channels and an easily navigated search engine. It contains more than 60 million scientific articles, and the best universities in the world use it.

Working with sources and doing research may be rather exhausting.

Here’s the deal:

You have to work on your performance and productivity.

🏃‍♀️ Productivity Apps

Another important routine change that can save hours and days of your life is blocking or minimizing distractions:

  • TimeDoctor is an easy to use time-tracking app that will prevent you from distractions and increase your productivity.
  • Online timer by TimeCamp is a free and simple solution for measuring your work time divided by separate tasks.

Freedom is the world-famous Internet, Social-media and App Blocker.

  • Freedom can help you block the most distractions
  • SelfControl is a Mac app that will help you avoid distracting websites. Just block social media or news feeds that interfere with your work.
  • Write or Die is a web-based app designed to boost your productivity by reaching a target word count within a chosen time frame.
  • Focus Time is a combination of an activity tracker and a Pomodoro timer.
  • Rescue Time promises to help you block all distractions. Control the choice of blocked resources or use the default list.
  • Leechblock NG is a Firefox add-on that can block time-wasting sites.
  • StayFocusd politely questions if you shouldn’t be working and helps you achieve that.
  • Write Monkey is software that can create a distraction-free interface for simply writing.
  • Nirvana will help you prioritize your tasks and get the most important ones done on time.
  • Tomato Timer is a minimalist timer that will help you work according to the well-known Pomodoro technique (working 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break).

📖 Vocabulary Builders

By the time you finish your project, you can undoubtedly boast of having a rich and diverse academic vocabulary. You may want to boost your vocabulary even further with the following tools:

  • IntensiveVocab is a free tool designed to help you improve your vocabulary, score higher on standardized tests, and thus improve your dissertation’s language.
  • WhichWord is an iOS app designed to help you better understand the difference between frequently confused words.
  • Just the Word is an online tool to help you better combine words in a sentence. You enter “just the word” into a search line and receive examples of how that word can be used and other students’ errors.
  • Lexipedia is a tool that creates semantic differences for a word of your choice. This tool organizes the results in a mind map. It’s available in English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian.
  • Wordnik is a free tool that will give you several definitions for a word of your choice.
  • Wordhippo is an easy and quick way to find synonyms and antonyms for a certain word. You can also find rhymes, scrabble options, words with specific letters, and so on.
  • SAT Vocab by MindSnacks is a free app that can help you learn SAT vocabulary and formulate more difficult sentences by simply playing games.
  • Vocabulary Builder from Magoosh is a free app to quickly boost your vocabulary.
  • Visual Vocab SAT is a free but effective app for building your vocabulary.

📚 Dictionaries

This collection of sources will make you thesis writing process easy and professional.

Abbreviations.

  • Abbreviations is a huge directory of all abbreviations imaginable. It’s a vast library of acronyms and abbreviations in various fields like science, medicine, government, business, and more.
  • Cambridge Dictionaries is a collection of free online English dictionaries and thesauruses including bilingual and semi-bilingual resources.
  • Definitions is a multilingual dictionary that provides definitions from many reputable resources. It knows every word in many narrow fields like trees, dinosaurs, and ancient history.
  • Macmillan Dictionary is an open source tool with activities and word lists to not only find the words you need but also learn them.
  • Merriam Webster is a free dictionary with a variety of online quizzes and tests. It’s one of the most valuable online dictionaries.
  • Thesaurus is an open source dictionary offering synonyms and definitions.
  • Urban Dictionary is the go-to place for synonyms and definitions. This is the best place to search for slang words.
  • Ozdic is a free online collocation dictionary. You can get a full analysis of a particular word you need to learn.
  • YourDictionary provides simple definitions that anyone can understand.

✅ Plagiarism Check

Plagscan - Online Plagiarism Checker.

  • PlagScan will compare your documents with billions of others.
  • Article Checker is a free online plagiarism-checking tool that can search for copies of your text on the web.
  • Duplichecker is a free plagiarism detection tool restricted to 1,000 words per search.
  • PlagiarismCheck.org generates plagiarism reports and offers an unlimited number of free attempts.
  • Plagium is a free, quick search that helps you detect instances of occasional plagiarism in your paper.
  • Dustball is a free plagiarism detection tool that will easily find plagiarized parts in your text.
  • ThePensters is free plagiarism-checking software for students and beyond. It analyzes the percentage of plagiarized text from web pages. Also, with the help of this tool, you can create a bibliography by ISBN code.
  • PlagTracker is a convenient online plagiarism detection tool.
  • Plagiarisma is another free online plagiarism checker. It supports about 200 languages, and you can switch between Google and Bing search engines when checking your documents.
  • Copyscape will help you scan your thesis for any copies on the web.

✍️ Grammar and Style Check

Grammar and style checking of large amounts of text can last forever if you do it manually. The following free tools will make a world of difference for you:

Edgar Allan Poe Quote.

  • Ginger is a quick and quality online grammar checker. This is a perfect tool to eliminate misspellings.
  • Grammarly with its grammar, style, and plagiarism check is a must-have for students.
  • AftertheDeadline is a spell, style, and grammar checker that promises intelligent editing.
  • Spellchecker is a spell check solution with a 300-day free trial. Along with grammar mistakes, it shows misused words and syntax errors.
  • Online Correction is a tool for detecting style, spelling, and grammar mistakes in writing.
  • Spell Check Online is a website for quick spell check online.
  • Paper Rater is a free tool that offers online proofreading and does not require download.
  • Grammar Check.me is a way to check and correct style, grammar, and spelling of your text online.
  • Language Tool is an open source tool for style and grammar check.

Would you like to add some tool to this list? Which free apps and websites help you with your thesis?

Thesis Help Tools Infographic

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I got 64 % similarity for my assignment. is it bad or good? if it’s bad please tell me how to fix it?

Thanks for these helpful Tools.

Thanks for the feedback! Much appreciated.

Wow good bro

Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks for the feedback, Abderrahmane!

Hi, I would like to ask you about the thesis for Diploma

Hello! Sure, please do not hesitate to ask our experts ivypanda.com .

I’m glad, your message via Twitter brought me here and I really found your blog so helpful. Cheers!

Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

Wow right time, thanks for such a great article. Helpful.

Melik, I’m glad the article was helpful to you 🙂

If you are going for ‘fancy stuff’ you might mention markdown, rmarkdown/knitr etc. This will replace latex imho.

And if you mention Latex you should mention Overleaf (an online version and a way to learn it).

Overall though, a very interesting list. Do you rate/rank these tools?

Thank you for the feedback, David!

OUTSTANDING!!!

Thank you for putting this together.

Thank you very much, Michele 🙂

Thanks regarding furnishing this kind of well put together content.

Thanks for your feedback, Mandila! Glad you liked it!

That’s an apt answer to an interesting question.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope these tools are really helpful to you. Good luck!

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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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.

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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

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How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes

  • Get the name of your major absolutely correct (e.g., Psychology, not Clinical Psychology).
  • The thesis/dissertation title must be in all CAPITAL letters and double-spaced, and the date must be the month and year of your graduation.
  • Doctoral candidates: use “dissertation” instead of “thesis” throughout the document.

Front Matter (the section before the text of the thesis)

  • Front matter must be numbered with lower case Roman numerals.
  • In the table of contents, do not list the title page, committee page, abstract, or vita. Do include the list of tables, list of figures, acknowledgements, chapters, references or bibliography, and appendices (with titles).
  • Chapter titles in the table of contents should match the actual chapter titles in the text. Number chapters consistently (e.g., Chapter I, Chapter One, or Chapter 1).
  • No signatures should appear in the document (the committee page is not for signatures).
  • The committee page should be an exact list of those entered on the eTD submission, but do not list any name twice even if a professor has two roles (e.g., advisor and department head).

Page Numbers

  • The text must begin on page 1 and be numbered from beginning to end without breaking sequence.
  • Do not use running headers, and do not embellish page numbers (e.g., -1-, Page 1, 125a).

General Advice

  • There should be no blank pages in the thesis/dissertation.
  • Submit the format review as early as possible, but do not submit a second format review (even if you don’t finish until the next semester, a second format review is not necessary).
  • Carefully complete each step outlined in the format review.
  • When naming your pdf file, do not use special characters (e.g., /, ?, &), and do not make the file name extremely lengthy by using the entire thesis title.
  • Doctoral candidates: include a copy of the title page and abstract with the ProQuest/UMI Agreement.
  • Remember that, after approval of the final eTD by the Office of Theses and Dissertations, no further changes can be made.
  • Most importantly, carefully read and follow the Thesis and Dissertation Handbook .

Thesis and Dissertation Handbook

Requirements and guidelines for the preparation of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.

How to Submit a Doctoral Dissertation

  • Become familiar with the requirements by reading the Thesis and Dissertation Handbook carefully.
  • Apply to graduate on LionPATH during the semester in which you plan to graduate. Deadlines for submitting your dissertation can be viewed on the Thesis, Dissertation, Performance, and Oral Presentation Calendar .
  • Upload a draft of your dissertation for format review (pdf only) to the eTD website by the specified deadline. Corrections and detailed instructions will be returned to you by email.
  • Defend the dissertation and make any changes required by your committee. This can be done either before or after the format review, as long as deadlines are met.
  • Review the dissertation one final time to be sure that no further changes are needed. It will not be possible to make corrections after final approval by the Office of Theses and Dissertations. Convert the file into a pdf for eTD submission. If you cannot do this, contact the Office of Theses and Dissertations for assistance.
  • Go to the eTD website and upload the final eTD; submit supporting materials to the Office of Theses and Dissertations. (Note: It does not matter if you upload first or submit the materials first.) Supporting materials are: ProQuest/UMI Agreement, Survey of Earned Doctorates, and $95 fee. The fee can be paid at the Payment Section of the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Information webpage.
  • Await notification of eTD approval by email. If changes are required, you will be notified. Your eTD will be accessible on the eTD website immediately after graduation, unless you have chosen restricted access.

If bound copies are needed, contact any Multimedia & Print Center on campus or you may use an off-campus source. All copies are the author’s responsibility. The Graduate School does not provide copies.

How to Submit a Master's Thesis

Apply to graduate on LionPATH during the semester in which you plan to graduate. Deadlines for submitting your thesis can be viewed on the Thesis, Dissertation, Performance, and Oral Presentation Calendar .

  • Upload a draft of your thesis for format review (PDF only) to the eTD website by the specified deadline. Corrections and detailed instructions will be returned to you by email.
  • Make any changes required by adviser and/or readers.
  • Review the thesis one final time to be sure that no further changes are needed. It will not be possible to make corrections after final approval by the Office of Theses and Dissertations. Convert the file into a PDF for eTD submission. If you cannot do this, contact the Office of Theses and Dissertations for assistance.
  • Go to the eTD website and upload the final eTD; and pay $10 thesis fee. The fee can be paid at the Payment Portal .

Format Review

What to submit and how to submit it.

The format review is a chance for Office of Theses and Dissertations staff to take a preliminary look at your thesis or dissertation to check for formatting errors. The goal is to ensure that you are following the requirements set forth in the Thesis and Dissertation Handbook .

Please submit as complete a draft as possible , including:

  • front matter (title page, committee page, abstract, etc.)
  • several chapters
  • back matter (references, appendices)

The draft submitted for format review does not have to be the final version, but you must submit more than just a few pages in order to complete the format review requirements.

To submit your file for format review, go to eTD website .

Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)

Congratulations on completing your doctoral degree!

We request that all research doctorate recipients participate in the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) .

Conducted annually since 1957, the SED is a census of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from an accredited U.S. institution in a given academic year. It is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and five other federal agencies. The SED collects information on the doctorate recipient’s educational history, demographic characteristics, and post-graduation plans. Results are used to assess characteristics of the doctoral population and trends in doctoral education and degrees.

The ability of the survey to accurately describe doctorate earners depends on obtaining responses from all doctoral degree recipients. Your response affects decisions made for the future generations of doctorate recipients.

How to Participate:

  • Register online to participate in the survey. After you register, you will receive a PIN and password as well as the link to the survey.
  • Penn State requests verification of survey completion. You can enter up to two email addresses where you would like the notification of completion to be sent to or forward the email notification. Please send all notifications to [email protected] .

If you have questions related to the SED, please contact 877-256-8167 or email [email protected] .

In the fall of 1998, Penn State’s Graduate School, Information Technology Services , Digital Library Technologies, and University Libraries embarked upon an initiative to allow theses and dissertations to be submitted and archived electronically. What began as a pilot project is now required for all doctoral students, and masters students requiring a thesis at Penn State. Joining Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, and other universities across the nation, Penn State has enabled its students to incorporate multimedia formats into their theses/dissertations and to submit them electronically—the final product being easily accessible worldwide.

Electronic theses and dissertations (eTDs) expand the creative possibilities open to students and empower students to convey a richer message by permitting video, sound, and color images to be integrated into their work. Submitting and archiving eTDs helps students to understand electronic publishing issues and provides greater access to students’ research. People from any place on the globe can link directly to eTD collections at Penn State and other universities.

Acknowledgement of Federal Funding

As described in the Research Terms Clarification :

2 CFR § 200.328(see pp. 20-21), all federal funds used in the research and writing of a thesis or dissertation must be explicitly acknowledged in the acknowledgment section of the document, along with a disclaimer indicating that the findings and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the view of the funding agency.

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What Job Seekers Can Learn from the Three Minute Thesis

In 2008, residents of the Queensland state of Australia were being encouraged to limit water usage due to an extreme drought in the area, and many people took to affixing a three-minute egg timer to their bathroom wall in order to time their showers. Among these residents was the dean of the Graduate School of Queensland University, and the timer gave him an idea: what if graduate students were challenged to distill their findings down to a three-minute presentation ( The University of Queensland )? Thus, the Three Minute Thesis (also called 3MT) competition was born. Since 2008, 3MT has grown exponentially and is currently held in 900 universities across 85 different countries.

So, what is the 3MT competition? As the name suggests, the 3MT competition challenges graduate students to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience, using only one static slide. Although it may seem daunting for graduate students, who have spent years honing their research to match the discourse of their discipline, at its core, it encourages researchers to communicate the broader significance of their research to diverse audiences.

Aside from having innumerable benefits for the students who participate in the competition, the 3MT offers some powerful lessons for those in the middle of a job search. The 3MT format teaches scholars how to distill complex ideas into simple, understandable language -- a skill that is invaluable in navigating the job market in academia. Here's how you can apply the principles of the 3MT competition to your job search in higher education:

Nail Your Elevator Pitch : An 80,000-word thesis would take more than nine hours to present, but in the 3MT competition, students are asked to do it in 3 minutes. Similarly, in your job search, it may take hours or even days to articulate your academic achievements, experience, and research interests. In your job search, it will be invaluable to spend real time thinking about how to summarize your resume in a concise and compelling manner.

Emphasize Impact: In the competitive landscape of higher education, highlighting the impact you've had in your previous roles is crucial. Just as you would in a 3MT presentation, focus on illustrating how your contributions have advanced the goals and mission of your previous institutions, addressed challenges facing your employers, or introduced new approaches to teaching, learning, or administration. When demonstrating the quality of your work, use concrete examples such as improved outcomes, achievements, or projects and initiatives you've spearheaded.

Tailor Your Message: In the same way that 3MT competitors need to tailor their presentation to suit a diverse audience, customize your interactions to resonate with the priorities of who you're speaking to. During the interview process, take the time to understand the perspectives, concerns, and goals of those you're speaking to, and address how you can help contribute to their success.

Embrace Spontaneity: Adarsh Suresh, winner of UChicago's 2023 Three Minute Thesis competition, admits that "I didn't put in as much time into memorizing my speech as I should have, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was able to improvise. Improvisers are experts at telling complex stories with limited amounts of information about their audience, right? They don't know much about their audience, but they're constantly trying to engage them" ( UChicago News ). While preparing for an interview, it can be tempting to memorize rote answers to common questions, but don't be afraid to think on your feet and provide an answer other than what you may have prepared.

Tell a Story: A common piece of advice to 3MT participants is to think about their presentation like a story, with a beginning, middle, and end . Just as in a 3MT presentation, in an interview and a cover letter, use storytelling techniques to engage your audience, evoke emotions, and make your message memorable. Whether you're discussing your research, sharing a teaching experience, or presenting a strategic plan, you can connect with your audience on a deeper level by telling a story.

The Three Minute Thesis isn't just for graduate students; mastering the art of the Three Minute Thesis can be a winning strategy for your career in higher education. Viewing the job search process through the lens of the principles of the 3MT enables job seekers to think not only about if their experiences match the requirements, but how to present their expertise in an engaging way.

Disclaimer: HigherEdJobs encourages free discourse and expression of issues while striving for accurate presentation to our audience. A guest opinion serves as an avenue to address and explore important topics, for authors to impart their expertise to our higher education audience and to challenge readers to consider points of view that could be outside of their comfort zone. The viewpoints, beliefs, or opinions expressed in the above piece are those of the author(s) and don't imply endorsement by HigherEdJobs.

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About the Author

Amanda Perry Miller

Amanda is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Agnes Scott College and then moved to Boston to pursue ...

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Phd students in the humanities and social sciences programs of the faculty of arts and sciences, phd students in humanities and social sciences programs offered in partnership with other harvard schools, acceptance of financial support.

The Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS) offers incoming PhD students full financial support—including tuition, health insurance fees, and basic living expenses—for a minimum of five years (typically the first four years of study and the completion year). This funding package includes a combination of tuition grants, stipends, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic appointments.

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A typical funding package* includes:

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*In some programs, the timing and structure of living expense support may vary from this pattern.

The initial Notice of Financial Support assumes continuous enrollment as a full-time resident student; students not enrolled are not eligible for Harvard Griffin GSAS financial aid programs. Students may find that their actual enrollment patterns necessitate adjustments to the timing of their funding. Students wishing to defer Harvard Griffin GSAS-administered funding indicate this in the Student Aid Portal during the annual financial aid acceptance process. The options for deferring financial support vary by type of aid; please refer to the applicable sections of the financial aid policy web pages for details. Students who are considering deferring financial support are strongly encouraged to contact their financial aid officer to review how such actions may impact their funding in future years.

While funding packages vary by program, PhD students in the sciences typically receive full funding until they complete their programs of study. Contact your department administrator or financial aid officer for details.

See more detailed information about funding for students in humanities and social sciences programs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

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A number of humanities and social sciences PhD programs are offered in partnership with Harvard's professional schools. While funding packages vary by program, PhD students in these interfaculty programs generally receive at least four years of financial support for tuition, health fees, and living expenses; most programs provide dissertation completion fellowships as well. For more information, refer to your Notice of Financial Support or contact your financial aid officer .

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Each spring, continuing students supported by Harvard Griffin GSAS-administered funding sources are required to activate their funding for the upcoming academic year using the Student Aid Portal, an online financial aid management system. Continued eligibility for financial aid is contingent upon an annual report by the faculty that the student is making  satisfactory progress toward the degree.

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Home > Honors College > Honors Theses > 3037

Honors Theses

Examining the nexus of food insecurity and oral health.

Abigayle Talbot , University of Mississippi Follow

Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2024

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Melinda Valliant

Second Advisor

Kritika Gupta

Third Advisor

John Samonds

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

This research paper delves into the relationship between oral health and nutrition status among individuals with food insecurity. As both oral health and nutritional well-being play pivotal roles in overall health, understanding their interplay in the context of food insecurity becomes important. This study investigated how inadequate access to food resources, a characteristic of food insecurity, can impact oral health, leading to a spectrum of dental issues. The study explores the impact of compromised oral health on dietary habits, potentially resulting in nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition. By examining the potential pathways through which these factors influence each other, the study seeks to contribute valuable insights to the broader understanding of health disparities and vulnerabilities faced by food-insecure individuals. All participants were asked anonymously to complete a voluntary questionnaire to assess their nutritional status, nutritional habits, food insecurity level, and oral health history. All participants were 18 years of age or older. During a meeting at a local food pantry, paper copies of the survey were distributed to any patrons (n=20) who wished to participate. The survey took approximately five minutes to complete. After completing the survey, participants received a toiletry bag with oral hygiene items and a pamphlet with dental information.

A total of 20 food pantry patrons completed the survey. Results indicated that a large percentage of food-insecure individuals engage in behaviors that are known to impact both nutritional and oral health (84%). Furthermore, most participants did not adhere to the recommended frequency for dental visits, with only 40% having visited the dentist in the past six months. Lastly, a considerable number of individuals reported that their eating habits and food intake had been influenced by oral pain or issues (30%). In conclusion, the survey findings underscore the need for comprehensive interventions addressing both nutritional and oral health disparities among food-insecure populations, emphasizing the importance of accessible dental care and education to promote overall well-being.

Recommended Citation

Talbot, Abigayle, "Examining the Nexus of Food Insecurity and Oral Health" (2024). Honors Theses . 3037. https://egrove.olemiss.edu/hon_thesis/3037

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How research engineers with experience in the field can better help research teams

Phd roel brouwer.

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Roel Brouwer’s PhD thesis at Utrecht University is about developing algorithms for demand and supply in electricity networks. Traditionally, the supply of energy to the energy network follows the demand. That means, if more energy is required by consumers or by companies, more energy is generated by the energy suppliers.

Having a job while working on your PhD thesis

During the time Roel worked on his PhD thesis research at the department of Information and Computing Sciences at Utrecht University, he also worked at ITS in the research engineering team at the same university. At times, this was not always easy, since the subject of his research did not coincide with his work as research engineer.

Currently, supply is far less predictable than it was in the past due to factors such as consumers and companies using their own solar panels, which feed energy into the grid whenever the sun is shining. Conversely, demand has become more controllable, as individuals can choose to charge electric vehicles during the day when there is an abundance of solar energy, when electricity is cheaper. For the energy network to function smoothly, supply and demand must be perfectly balanced at all times. Roel’s thesis investigates these issues by focusing on the efficient planning of electricity demand. More information about this can be read in his PhD thesis . Roel has had his PhD thesis defense “The Power of Scheduling: the Scheduling of Power” on July 8, 2024.

If you have a job and do your PhD research at the same time, make sure that the job and the research are in line with each other as much as possible

Knowing what researchers struggle with

One of the things he has discovered while working as a research engineer, is that it really helps to have experience with doing research yourself. You are familiar with the process of doing research, and you are aware of some of the challenges one can encounter while doing research. For example, what does it take to write a scientific article, or how much time does it really take to make your data or software open and FAIR? It seems easy to say “that data and software should be open”, but it is better to understand what it takes to make that possible, and to have done it yourself.

As a research engineer, and now as a team coordinator for the research engineering team, Roel has collaborated with research teams to help them using digital technologies in their research. Examples of these technologies are:

  • high performance computing;
  • machine learning;
  • text mining, sentiment analysis, natural language processing;
  • computer modelling and simulations. 
The most important skill you need to complete a PhD is perseverance

Interaction between engineering teams and research groups

Roel has also noticed that one of the strengths of the research engineering team is that the team learns while doing their work for a research group. The research engineers gain knowledge they re-use when they are working for other research groups. The knowledge of the team is on a more general level, since this allows them to help more people. They collaborate with researchers, who bring their own specialized knowledge to the table, to do projects that require expertise in several subjects.

Examples of recent projects the research engineering team has done, are:

  • The Botanical Gardens has a collection of historical seed lists dating back to 1837, in the form of PDF’s and scanned documents. The project aims to unlock the information in these seed lists and to make it available to research teams, enabling them to study collection policies over the centuries and to detect possible effects of climate change on the collection. The result of the project is a pipeline that can be used by other botanical institutes.
  • The research engineering team collaborated with the faculty of Humanities on a project called “Babble”. This was a project on automated processing and classification of audio recordings from children in the YOUth project . In this project, speech classification and machine learning techniques have been combined.
  • An overview of other research engineering projects can be found here .

Open science and FAIR principles

The research engineering team supports open science and the FAIR principles, and aims that the final product of every project to be in line with these ideas as much as possible. Roel has noticed that sometimes research teams are a bit hesitant about making their code publicly accessible. These teams think the quality of their code is not “good” enough. Or they do not want others to use the code before they have fully finished working on it themselves. Roel recommends that Utrecht University should continue to emphasize and draw more attention to the fact that the development of software and data should be recognized as a scientific activity. This aligns with the " Vision on Recognition and Rewards ".

Several steps have already been taken to make this happen. However, increased communication with research teams, explaining the benefits of this approach, may further promote openness and adherence to FAIR principles.

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Did you know about Roel…

  • … that he started his PhD research in the same building where he had already taken classes for the exact sciences during high school? This was the Buys Ballot Building.
  • … that he actually is bit inconsistent? He encourages researchers to ask for help, but he always prefers to stare at a problem until he finds the solution himself. 
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Utrecht University Heidelberglaan 8 3584 CS Utrecht The Netherlands Tel. +31 (0)30 253 35 50

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

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 .

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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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McCombes, S. (2023, August 15). How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved July 10, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/

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If you’re undertaking qualitative research , we can fast-track your project with our Qualitative Coding Service. With this service, we take care of the initial coding of your dataset (e.g., interview transcripts), providing a firm foundation on which you can build your qualitative analysis (e.g., thematic analysis, content analysis, etc.).

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Importantly, in both cases, we are not analysing the data for you or providing an interpretation or write-up for you. If you’d like coaching-based support with that aspect of the project, we can certainly assist you with this (i.e., provide guidance and feedback, review your writing, etc.). But it’s important to understand that you, as the researcher, need to engage with the data and write up your own findings. 

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If you are undertaking primary research , we can help you plan and develop data collection instruments (e.g., surveys, questionnaires, etc.), but we cannot source the data on your behalf. 

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Can you help me organise and structure my results/discussion chapter/section?

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Can you review my writing and give me feedback?

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Do you provide software support (e.g., SPSS, R, etc.)?

It depends on the software package you’re planning to use, as well as the analysis techniques/tests you plan to undertake. We can typically provide support for the more popular analysis packages, but it’s best to discuss this in an initial consultation.

Can you help me with other aspects of my research project?

Yes. Data analysis support is only one aspect of our offering at Grad Coach, and we typically assist students throughout their entire dissertation/thesis/research project. You can learn more about our full service offering here .

Can I get a coach that specialises in my topic area?

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In other words, the support we provide is topic-agnostic, which allows us to support students across a very broad range of research topics. That said, if there is a coach on our team who has experience in your area of research, as well as your chosen methodology, we can allocate them to your project (dependent on their availability, of course).

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All of our coaches hold a doctoral-level degree (for example, a PhD, DBA, etc.). Moreover, they all have experience working within academia, in many cases as dissertation/thesis supervisors. In other words, they understand what markers are looking for when reviewing a student’s work.

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