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Annotated Bibliographies: A How to Guide: Step 4: Writing a Thesis Statement

A resource for all things annotated bib. To be used specifically for Ms. Sepcie's and Ms. Wallerstein's


To develop a cohesive thesis statement that proves a claim through research

Writing a Thesis Statement

Breaking down your Research Question

Research Question:

How might have the New Deal impact the US education system during the 1930's?

Subtopic 1


Subtopic 2 Subtopic 3

Writing Your Thesis Statement

Next, when you have answered your question through research and are familiar with your sources, develop a thesis statement: a CLAIM that you are stating about your topic that you would like to PROVE through research.

What were the causes? Its effects? What statement or conclusion can we make about it?

When developing a thesis statement, keep in mind that a well-developed thesis statement...

  • defines the focus of your research project: Your thesis statement helps readers to know the specific subject matter you will be addressing within the broad topic (i.e.: environmental disasters, as the example demonstrates).

  • provides critical information about your project by defining the focus of your research, its scope, and your motivation, 

  • can set boundaries to help you figure out where to go next, 

  • helps you figure out what types of sources you need to collect and analyze.

So how do you develop a “well-developed” thesis statement? Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Make sure your statement isn’t too broad

    • Example: The impact of environmental disasters in the United States

  • Make sure your question isn’t so specific that it can be answered by a quick internet search

    • Example: The causes of the Dust Bowl during the 1930s

  • Make sure your question is something that can be debated - not all research may agree with you, which gives you the chance to prove your point.

    • Example 1:  Wide-spread erosive farming practices, in combination with the government subsidized settlement established by the Homestead Act, resulted in the ecological phenomena of the Dust Bowl. (policy's effect on the environment)

    • Example 2: As a result of an inability to farm the land due to the ecological conditions of the Dust Bowl, many workers seeked refuge in California, altering the population and infrastructure of the state. (migration and policy)

    • Example 3: Poor living conditions during the Dust Bowl and public spending through New Deal programs, caused a decrease in the demand for agricultural child-labor and an increase in education for America's youth. (education)