How to Write a Thesis Statement Worksheet

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Thesis statements are as important to a research paper as a foundation is to a house. Both provide a sturdy anchor, and if structural problems surface later, the foundation is many times to blame. A thesis statement also expresses a specific purpose for a paper and sets its direction, which means that a thesis statement must succeed on multiple levels. Take on the role of building inspector by examining the foundation of your paper – the thesis statement – with a thesis statement worksheet.

  • Write your finished thesis or your working thesis at the top of a piece of paper. As a work in progress, the thesis can still be a phrase, an idea or only a few words.

  • Draw a line down the middle of the paper. On the left side, you will write the worksheet’s objectives/exercises; on the right side, you will describe how your thesis either fails or succeeds to meet the objectives, as well as any ensuing revisions to your thesis. Leave room across the bottom of the worksheet for your completed thesis statement.

  • Write objective No. 1 on the left side of the worksheet and next to that, write a comprehensive statement that explains what the research paper is about. On the right side, critique your thesis according to these terms.

  • Write objective No. 2 on the left side and define the parameters (the scope) of your paper, realizing that you are setting expectations for the issues/topics the paper will cover. On the right side, critique your thesis according to these terms.

  • Write objective No. 3 on the left side of the worksheet: Do not state the obvious. Otherwise known as the “ho-hum factor,” a boring thesis will engender only yawns, not interest. On the right side, critique your thesis according to these terms.

  • Write objective No. 4 on the left side: Break new ground and say something original – as long as you can support your assertions with credible evidence. On the right side, critique your thesis according to these terms.

  • Write objective No. 5 on the left side worksheet: Fulfill objectives No. 3 and 4, but do not over-reach and strive for unbridled controversy. Strive for a balance between originality and integrity. On the right side, critique your thesis according to these terms.

  • Evaluate your working thesis against these five objectives, make the appropriate revisions and write your final thesis statement across the bottom of the worksheet.

Tips & Warnings

  • An example working thesis might read: “Teenage girls have made Facebook really popular.” Rewritten to meet the five objectives, a final thesis statement might read: “Through its many social components, Facebook has engendered a particularly loyal following among teenage girls, who unfortunately have misused the forum to foster hostilities among their school peers.”
  • Keep your thesis worksheet with you at all times during your research. It is there to guide you, so read it regularly to help maintain your focus and keep your paper on the right track.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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