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Old August 22nd, 2009, 01:34 PM   #1
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the dreaded thesis.

Most writing assignments in history and social sciences are either reports based on original research or reviews of previously published literature written about a research topic. Generally, students are required to use the American Psychological Association (APA) system of in-text citations and referencing throughout their paper, and include quotations if applicable.

What is a Thesis?

Most assignments ask you to form a thesis and to support it with well-organized evidence, this is not always an easy task. A thesis is generally placed at the end of an introduction, is a one or two sentence statement of your central idea. In a paper reviewing previously published literature, the thesis interprets the often conflicting conclusions drawn by different researchers.

How to form a thesis:

Generally, you will be given articles and excerpts from larger works that address a central research question. Your thesis should present a logical answer to that question, using recent research in the topic field. Forming a thesis becomes easier with practice. Some timed tests feature a thesis essay section, the best advice for these situations, remain calm and plan out your response in a logical manner, it is better to write a great essay with limited time, than to write a trash-heap-decoration with time to spare.

An example research question:

How has the popularity of the internet shaped presidential campaign strategies?

Example possible thesis:

Because the internet provides the public with more information about candidates' personal lives than ever before, campaigns now focus more on damage control than on developing substantive programs.

In the first sentence, state the object of your inquiry, in this case, the internet and public opinion. In the second sentence (if you need to use one, some prefer it, others advise against it.) focus on what it is that the object related in the first sentence does. Try to be very general and avoid opinions, like the example above. If you must include an opinion in your thesis, do it in a manner that does not seem point blank or one that is sure to draw negative attention.

I know that thesis papers are every students dread, so I hope this makes them a little easier.


Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual: Clarity, Grammar, Punctuation and Mechanics, Research, MLA, APA, Chicago, Usage/Gramatical Terms. Bedford/St. Martin's. 2009.

Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 6th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's. 2009.
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