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The Research Process: From Assignment to Finished Papers: Writing

This guide contains information presented at workshops held jointly by Moon Library and the Writing Resource Center.

Developing a Thesis Statement

Thesis statement

  • A thesis statement provides you with a goal as you write. 
  • A thesis statement is clear, concise and, most importantly, helps your reader to understand your purpose. 
  • A thesis statement is often your research question + a claim about the topic. 
    • Too General: Global warming impacts the environment. 
    • Focused:Increasing temperatures in the Northeastern United States are transforming forests from coniferous to deciduous vegetation.[1]



[1]Adapted from: Richardson, J. B., Friedland, A. J., Engerbretson, T. R., Kaste, J. M., & Jackson, B. P. (2013). 

Spatial and vertical distribution of mercury in upland forest soils across the northeastern 

United States. Environmental pollution182, 127-134.


Formulating Arguments

Your argument should include what other scholars have said about the topic

  • Formulating arguments
    • Speaking to and with academic sources
    • Accurately summarizing and paraphrasing other scholar’s work 
    • Situating your claims and arguments within a scholarly dialogue

In longer research papers, such as journal articles, thesis, and dissertations, this is called a literature review. However, even in short essays you should reference the work that others have completed to understand the problem you are investigating. A good source for this kind of writing is: 

Birkenstein, C., & Graff, G. (2018). They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. WW Norton & Company.


Proof Reading and Revising

Proof reading and Revising    

  • Writing your conclusion doesn’t mean you are finished! 
  • Check your argument and evidence – does it match your thesis? 
  • Organization – do you have one long paragraph? 
  • Sentences and syntax – Read your work out loud. 
  • Don’t be afraid to delete! It’s ok to delete a sentence (or three!) if they don’t align with your argument. 
  • Visit the writing tutors! The Writing Resource Center