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How to Cite Sources in Your Research Paper: Writing the Paper

A guide on how to cite your sources and avoid plagiarism

Norfolk State University Writing Center

Other Writing Centers

Many other U.S. universities also have excellent undergraduate writing centers. Check these out for more information. 

Writing Your Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement?

  • A thesis statement comes at the beginning of your paper. 
  • It is a statement that answers your research question.
  • The statement is supported throughout your paper with examples and evidence.

 

What makes a good thesis statement?

  • It takes a position, or advances an opinion.
  • It is specific, not too broad, but not too narrow.
  • It is an arguable statement; there is room for discussion or disagreement.
  • It provides focus and generates interest in the reader.

Three Examples:

 

Taking a Position -

Poor (doesn't take a position):

  • I'm going to write about the high rate of suicide and depression in transgender adolescents.

Improved (takes a position):

  • The standard story of binary gender in our society creates a hostile environment for gender variant adolescents, as demonstrated by high rates of depression and suicide.

 

Specificity

Poor (very general):

  • Europe is a great place to visit.

Improved (more specific):

  • World travel is an important element to a well-rounded college education.

 

Arguable

Poor (not much here to argue with):

  • Exercise is good for the elderly.

Improved (specific position that can be argued):

  • Exercise, combined with antidepressants, is more effective in reducing depression in older adults given the prevalence of treatment-resistant depression in late life.

Phinished