Steps in Writing a Thesis Paper

Writing a thesis paper for high school or college can prove to be an overwhelming and daunting task. But it doesn't have to be. Breaking the process down into small chunks alleviates stress, improves the quality of research and affords the writer the opportunity to create an organized, well-written paper. Since this is a time-consuming assignment, it is vital that the writer begin working on the thesis paper well in advance of the due date.

Choose your topic. In some cases, a topic may have already been chosen for you or you have been given a number of choices to choose from. If you have the option of selecting topics from a list or creating your own original topic, be sure to choose a topic that piques your interest. This will make the research and writing process more enjoyable.

Brainstorm your topic. You may brainstorm alone or with a group. Sit down at a table with pen and paper. Write your topic at the top of the paper, then write down everything that comes to your mind in relation to that topic. Do not inhibit yourself. Write down everything no matter how trivial or silly it may seem. Once your brainstorm is complete, organize your ideas into subtopics. For example, a brainstorm on "weather" may result in "types of weather," "the affects of weather," and "weather around the world." These subtopics can be fleshed out later in your paper or discarded if they are irrelevant to your thesis. Either way, it is essential to get all your ideas down on paper.

Conduct research. Once you have defined your topic and brainstormed ideas, search for information on your topic. Search for credible sources such as educational materials, professional journals, government websites, textbooks, periodicals and magazines and books written by professionals in the field you are researching. Read the material with the purpose of finding information to support your argument. Take notes as you read so you will be able to easily review the information you have gathered.

Outline your paper. Before you begin to write, organize your ideas and plan out your thoughts in a clear, concise manner. Your outline is a blueprint for your paper and should give a brief overview of the major points of your paper. A simple way to do this is to divide your outline into subheadings like "Introduction," "Body" and "Conclusion." Beneath each subhead, list the points you will address in each section. Include the arguments you will discuss in each section and relevant sources to support them.

Write your introduction. Your introduction should present an overview of the topics to be discussed later in your paper. Acquaint the reader with the topic, your thesis and the relevance or significance of this topic to the world at large. Basically, you are telling the reader what you are writing about and why it is important. Ideally, your introduction is compelling, informative and entices your reader to want to read further to learn about your topic.

Make your thesis statement. Your thesis statement serves as the guiding force of your paper. Your thesis should clearly state your point of view on the topic and the rest of the paper should serve to present facts and evidence that supports and proves the validity of your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should go at the end of your introduction paragraph.

Write the body of your paper. Use the body of your thesis paper to present your research. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that encompasses what the paragraph will be about. Present evidence from your research to support your ideas. Remember, each paragraph should ultimately support your thesis statement. So, as you write the body of your paper ask yourself how each paragraph strengthens your argument overall.

Write your conclusion. Conclude by reminding the reader of your thesis statement and reassert the validity of the points presented in your paper. Convince your reader that you have made the correct assertions on the topic. Lastly, present ideas or address ways that the reader can apply what they have read. If your paper presents a growing problem, suggest ways the reader can be a part of the solution.