How to Write a Thesis for a Process Analysis Essay

Amy sterling casil.

Thesis statements for science process analysis essays should emphasize safety.

Process analysis essays either tell the reader how to do something or explain how something is done. A recipe is one of the most common forms of direct process analysis or "how-to" writing. A thesis statement is a sentence that appears in the first paragraph of your essay that informs the reader of the purpose of the paper. Learn to write a good thesis statement for the two types of process analysis essay, informing readers of the benefits of following your instructions or showing them how a task is accomplished.

Explore this article

  • Direct Process Analysis Thesis Statements
  • Explanatory Process Analysis Thesis Statements

1 Direct Process Analysis Thesis Statements

For direct process analysis essays, the statement should inform the reader of the results they will obtain if they follow your directions carefully. Include at least two and preferably three benefits the reader will gain. If you are describing how to bake an organic apple pie, for example, benefits might include "a delicious, golden brown organic dessert." Include safety precautions if you are describing how to perform a chemistry experiment or how to repair a machine, for example, "Follow these directions to safely use lab equipment to perform the experiment."

2 Explanatory Process Analysis Thesis Statements

Explanatory Process Analysis essays present how a process works, such as how a product is manufactured. They are not intended to guide the reader to directly follow instructions. Include at least three primary steps in the process that you are explaining in your thesis. If you are describing how toasters are made, for example, include the steps of case molding or forming, heating wire manufacture, and assembly in your thesis statement.

  • 1 University of North Carolina Writing Center: Thesis Statements

About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.

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Developing a Thesis Statement

Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.

Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.

Identify a topic

Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.

Consider what your assignment asks you to do

Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.

Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.

Sample assignment 1

Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.

Identified topic

Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis

This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).

Sample assignment 2

Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.

The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.

This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information

Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.

Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II

After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.

As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.

For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.

Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Derive a main point from topic

Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.

Look for patterns in your evidence

Compose a purpose statement.

Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.

  • Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
  • Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis

Possible conclusion:

Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.

Purpose statement

This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
  • The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
  • The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.

At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.

This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.

Derive purpose statement from topic

To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.

For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:

  • This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
  • I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.

At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Compose a draft thesis statement

If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.

Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.

Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.

Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.

Question-to-Assertion

If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.

Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?

Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”

Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.

Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.

  • nature = peaceful
  • war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
  • need for time and space to mourn the dead
  • war is inescapable (competes with 3?)

Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).

  • although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
  • _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
  • phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.

What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement

Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.

As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.

Refine and polish the thesis statement

To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.

  • Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
  • Question each part of your draft thesis
  • Clarify vague phrases and assertions
  • Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis

Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.

Sample Assignment

Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.

  • Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.

This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.

Complete the final thesis statement

The bottom line.

As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:

  • Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
  • As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
  • Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
  • Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.

In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.

thesis for process

Writing Process and Structure

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Introductions

Paragraphing

Developing Strategic Transitions

Conclusions

Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

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10.5 Process Analysis

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of the process analysis essay.
  • Understand how to write a process analysis essay.

The Purpose of Process Analysis in Writing

The purpose of a process analysis essay is to explain how to do something or how something works. In either case, the formula for a process analysis essay remains the same. The process is articulated into clear, definitive steps.

Almost everything we do involves following a step-by-step process. From riding a bike as children to learning various jobs as adults, we initially needed instructions to effectively execute the task. Likewise, we have likely had to instruct others, so we know how important good directions are—and how frustrating it is when they are poorly put together.

Writing at Work

The next time you have to explain a process to someone at work, be mindful of how clearly you articulate each step. Strong communication skills are critical for workplace satisfaction and advancement. Effective process analysis plays a critical role in developing that skill set.

On a separate sheet of paper, make a bulleted list of all the steps that you feel would be required to clearly illustrate three of the following four processes:

  • Tying a shoelace
  • Parallel parking
  • Planning a successful first date
  • Being an effective communicator

The Structure of a Process Analysis Essay

The process analysis essay opens with a discussion of the process and a thesis statement that states the goal of the process.

The organization of a process analysis essay typically follows chronological order. The steps of the process are conveyed in the order in which they usually occur. Body paragraphs will be constructed based on these steps. If a particular step is complicated and needs a lot of explaining, then it will likely take up a paragraph on its own. But if a series of simple steps is easier to understand, then the steps can be grouped into a single paragraph.

The time transition phrases covered in the Narration and Illustration sections are also helpful in organizing process analysis essays (see Table 10.1 “Transition Words and Phrases for Expressing Time” and Table 10.2 “Phrases of Illustration” ). Words such as first , second , third , next , and finally are helpful cues to orient reader and organize the content of essay.

Always have someone else read your process analysis to make sure it makes sense. Once we get too close to a subject, it is difficult to determine how clearly an idea is coming across. Having a friend or coworker read it over will serve as a good way to troubleshoot any confusing spots.

Choose two of the lists you created in Note 10.52 “Exercise 1” and start writing out the processes in paragraph form. Try to construct paragraphs based on the complexity of each step. For complicated steps, dedicate an entire paragraph. If less complicated steps fall in succession, group them into a single paragraph.

Writing a Process Analysis Essay

Choose a topic that is interesting, is relatively complex, and can be explained in a series of steps. As with other rhetorical writing modes, choose a process that you know well so that you can more easily describe the finer details about each step in the process. Your thesis statement should come at the end of your introduction, and it should state the final outcome of the process you are describing.

Body paragraphs are composed of the steps in the process. Each step should be expressed using strong details and clear examples. Use time transition phrases to help organize steps in the process and to orient readers. The conclusion should thoroughly describe the result of the process described in the body paragraphs. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read an example of a process analysis essay.

Choose one of the expanded lists from Note 10.54 “Exercise 2” . Construct a full process analysis essay from the work you have already done. That means adding an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, time transition phrases, body paragraphs, and a solid conclusion.

Key Takeaways

  • A process analysis essay explains how to do something, how something works, or both.
  • The process analysis essay opens with a discussion of the process and a thesis statement that states the outcome of the process.
  • The organization of a process analysis essay typically follows a chronological sequence.
  • Time transition phrases are particularly helpful in process analysis essays to organize steps and orient reader.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

How to write a process essay

Duygu Demiröz

  • August 25, 2023

Process essays are one of the most common types of essays . It’s simply explaining a process of how to do something. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to write a process essay in steps with interactive examples. 

Process essay definition

Let’s take a look at the steps outlined below to write a clear and effective process essay. 

Choose a topic

You should start by choosing a topic that not only interests you but also attracts your target audience. 

Whether it’s brewing the perfect cup of coffee or conquering the art of origami, your topic should be engaging and well-defined.  Let’s have a look at topic examples:

  • Crafting Exquisite Miniature Bookbindings
  • Building a Sustainable Vertical Garden
  • Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee

So for this guide, I’ve chosen “Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee”. Now let’s continue with the next steps.

Create a process essay outline

Now that you’ve your topic at hand, it’s time to create an outline to present the steps chronologically. Outline will also help you organize your thoughts and ideas so you won’t get lost during the writing process.

Let’s examine this step with an example of a process essay explaining “Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee”.

Process essay outline example

  • Thesis statement
  • Provide safety precautions if necessary.
  • Address to the reader
  • Provide any variations or customization options if applicable.
  • End with a memorable concluding thought or call to action.

By presenting the steps in chronological order, your readers can follow the process smoothly. 

During this step, just make sure to:

  • Expand on each step you outlined earlier.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Make use of bullet points or numbered lists to make the process visually appealing.

After completing the outline, it’s time to write an interesting introduction.

Write an introduction

  • Hook the reader's interest with a hook sentence
  • Offer a brief overview of the topic and its significance
  • Introduce and explain the process with a thesis statement at the end of introduction

Process essay introduction example

Introduction

Now that we have an intro on our hand, you need to tell what materials you need to finish the process.

Write the materials needed for the process

Listing the necessary materials for the process is a best practice for process essays. Typically found just after the introduction, this paragraph is devoted to outlining the necessary materials.

Here, p rioritizing the list is important; the more influential a component is, the higher its position on the list should be.

Example material list for process essay

Body paragraphs

Materials needed

  • High-quality coffee beans that align with your flavor preference.
  • A grinder for optimal flavor extraction.
  • Equipment for brewing methods, such as a pour-over apparatus, a drip coffee maker, a French press, or an espresso machine.
  • Fresh and clean water for brewing.
  • Optional additives like milk, cream, sugar, flavored syrups, or other preferred elements.

Start writing the process

Right after listing the materials needed, it’s time to start writing the process itself.

When describing your process, be careful not to make it too complicated. To keep your readers on track, use transitional words like “after,” “eventually,” “first,” “then,” and others help you maintain an understandable tone.  

Or simply use a 1,2,3, bullet point structure as seen in example below to remind readers of their step during the process.

Body paragraphs - Process writing example

Materials needed ...

  • Grind the beans just before brewing for optimal freshness. Use a burr grinder and adjust the coarseness to match your brewing method (coarse for French press, fine for espresso).
  • Weigh your coffee grounds using a scale. A standard ratio is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water, but adjust to your taste.
  • Ensure the water is heated to the ideal temperature, typically between 195-205°F (90-96°C). Water that's too hot or too cold can affect the taste.
  • Pay attention to the brewing time. Generally, 4-5 minutes is suitable for most methods, but again, adjust based on your preference.
  • After finishing, regularly clean your coffee maker or French press to prevent rancid oils and residue from affecting your coffee's taste.

As seen from the example above, using an imperative language structure is generally preferable. It makes total sense as you’re describing a process in steps and usually don’t need a full sentence structure. 

Give tips and supporting details

After explaining the process above, it’s now time to provide tips and supporting details. Here, make use examples, tips, and even warnings if necessary. 

In other words, anticipate the questions your readers might have and address them as you go along. 

Body paragraphs - Supporting details

Supporting details & tips

  • Ensure safe handling of hot water and coffee-making equipment.
  • Water that's too hot can result in over-extraction, while water that's too cold won't extract enough flavor.

Write a conclusion

At this step, you simply need to write a conclusion paragraph to end your process essay. First summarize the key points, and restate the process in a concise and short sentence. And finally, finish your process essay by a memorable sentence or a call-to-action. 

Process essay conclusion example

Revise and polish your essay.

Now that you’ve written your essay, take a breath, and then come back for some editing. Check for consistency, correct sentence structure, efficient transitions , tense selection , and other linguistic issues that may arise. 

If possible, make use of proofreading tools like QuillBot or Grammarly . 

  • Think about potential reader misunderstandings and address them. If needed, explain what should be avoided.
  • Offer explanations for steps that might seem unusual or complicated.
  • Define any unfamiliar terms or materials that the reader might not understand. This ensures clarity in your essay.

So  you’ve successfully learned how to write a captivating process essay. Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you’ll become.

Duygu Demiröz

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How to Write the Perfect Process Analysis Essay (With a Sample Essay)

Tonya Thompson

A process analysis essay is a kind of expository essay that explains the process or actions someone needs to take to complete a task. You can think of it like a recipe, stating all of the necessary ingredients and steps, allowing the reader to follow along in logical order.

A process analysis essay can be written about a wide scope of topics, from highly technical processes to cleaning and organizing your closet. Writing a process analysis essay forces you to slow down and consider every tool and step involved in completing a task, and then explain what's needed in logical order for your reader to do the same.

Writing a process analysis essay forces you to slow down and consider every tool and step involved in completing a task, and then explain what's needed in logical order.

Format of a process analysis essay

For this type of essay assignment, you will not be following the traditional five-paragraph essay outline. There is still an introduction and body to your essay, but your conclusion is more like the "analysis" part and the essay will end when you've completed explaining the steps involved in a process. Below, we'll break down exactly what should be included in each of these parts. Also keep in mind that you can still create an outline before beginning writing your process analysis essay, although it might look more like a list of bullet points rather than a traditional five-paragraph essay outline.

Introduction

The introduction to your process analysis essay will include information about the process you are analyzing and why it is important. This will likely be the shortest part of your essay. If there is a unique history to the process you'll be analyzing, the introduction is where you might mention that. You basically want to use this paragraph as a brief introduction to your reader of 1) what process you'll be analyzing and 2) how or why that process might be useful information to know.

The body of your process analysis essay will mention any prerequisites, materials, or instruments needed to complete the process. It should also mention any risks or warnings involved that are relevant to the process. It's important to include everything that the reader will need to complete the process, and even extra tools that might help the process go smoother but are not necessary. For example, in the sample process analysis essay provided below on how to make apple butter, I included a spoon to stir the butter as part of the list of tools that will be needed. Additionally, I mentioned that a food processor will make the apple butter cook better and have a more butter-like consistency, but it's not necessary to have as a tool to cook apple butter.

Following these sections, you'll write the actual process in sequential order required to complete the task. Make sure you include transitional words within and between paragraphs, as these are required to show the sequence of the process in logical order. Your analysis will likely be across several paragraphs, so make sure each paragraph describes a separate part of the process to avoid confusion for your reader.

Sample process analysis essay

To show you how a process analysis essay might look, we've provided a sample essay that includes the separate sections discussed above. Notice that the introduction paragraph is short, providing basic information about the process that will be discussed, while the remaining paragraphs are longer and more detailed.

Below is a sample process analysis essay explaining how to make apple butter

Sample essay

Apple butter is similar to apple sauce but is different in that it is highly concentrated and used more often as a butter-like topping on bread or crackers. It's cooked long and slow, allowing the sugar in the apples to caramelize and turn it a deep brown color.

To make apple butter, you will need a slow cooker, food processor, cutting board, peeling knife, large spoon, apples, sugar, and spices for the desired flavoring (usually cinnamon and nutmeg). You might also want to use an apple slicer, which cuts down on the preparation time. Note that when you begin cooking your apple butter, the more minced the peeled apples are, the smoother the final product will be. If you want your apple butter to have a true butter-like consistency, mince the apples well in the food processor before cooking.

Now, let's look at the process of cooking apple butter. To begin, prepare a large, clean space for cutting and processing the apples. Five to six cups of fresh apples will likely only result in a few cups (at most) of apple butter, so depending on how much butter you want to make, you could be peeling and preparing apples for several hours. Each apple will need to be sliced, peeled, and minced in a food processor for maximum butter-like consistency.

Next, add the minced apples to a slow cooker and place the slow cooker on "high". You will notice that the top of the mixture is watery, once the larger pieces settle. Add sugar and spices until you reach the taste you want for the apple butter. Keep in mind that apples vary in sweetness, depending on what type of apple you are using, and sugar can be added slowly throughout the cooking process. Be careful not to add too much sugar at first, as the butter will get sweeter as the apples cook down. In fact, you might even choose to not at sugar at all at this stage of the cooking process, especially if you want a final product that is not too sweet. The spices can also be added as the apple butter cooks or not at all (if that's your preference). Be sure to stir every 10-15 minutes during the first hour as the apple butter is cooking on high and let it cook uncovered.

After one hour of cooking on high, turn the slow cooker to low and cover it. Depending on the type of apple you have used, it should cook for 8-10 hours, until there is no water left at the top and around the sides of the slow cooker. During this slow cooking time, stir occasionally (once per hour should be fine). This is also when the apple butter makes your kitchen smell amazing!

Finally, when the apple butter has reached the consistency and taste you want, remove it from the slow cooker. If you choose to can the apple butter, you can do that immediately or keep the apple butter in the refrigerator until you are able to can it.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.

Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

  • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
  • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

The paper that follows should:

  • Explain the analysis of the college admission process
  • Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

  • Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

  • Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

thesis for process

Process Analysis: How to Write a Process Analysis Essay

thesis for process

Writing a process analysis essay sounds like a problematic task to do, but in reality, it’s just another writing assignment. In this article, our college essay writing service will explain how to write a process analysis essay, list some process analysis essay topics and give you useful writing tips and examples. But first things first — let’s start with a process analysis definition.

What Is a Process Analysis Essay

Before jumping to the How To section, let’s answer the question of what is process analysis. Process analysis is an essay which explains how something is done, how something occurs, or how something works. In this type of essay, the writer is required to present the steps of the process in sequential order, from first to last. All concepts or terms that might appear uncommon are defined.

For Example: When writing a process analysis essay about becoming a better person, you count and describe some actions — from small to bigger ones — like lifting peoples’ self esteem around you when you were young, to becoming a motivational speaker when you’re older.

Sometimes, your professor will assign you a process analysis topic. And sometimes, you will have to pick a topic by yourself.

You should also read the article on discursive essay format . It will help expand your understanding in writing any type of paper.

Stuck on the Steps of Process Analysis?

Journey through your essay with ease. Our expert guides are ready to help you analyze every step of the way!

Process Analysis Essay Structure

Process essays may be divided into two categories: informative and directive. A directive process analysis gives instructions on how to accomplish a certain goal (for example, how to prepare the best waffles). An informational process analysis essay describes a topic to the reader (for example, how an aircraft engine functions). A process essay may be written in three easy steps:

  • Split the task

The workflow should be broken down into simple, well-defined phases that generally maintain a temporal sequence and have a clear objective. You can better arrange the document with a process paper outline.

  • Make smooth transitions

A process analysis essay remains more engaging when you use transitional terms—the audience benefits from phrases like - therefore, subsequently, afterward, etc.

  • Study the essay thoroughly

Inspect any potential gaps, such as missing ingredients from a recipe, by going through the process essay point by point.

Process Analysis Essay Examples

Referring to an example can save you time. Our free samples can provide insight into what a process analysis essay should look like.

How to Pick a Process Analysis Essay Topic

Imagine you need to describe something in steps: what would they be? Don’t rush with making a final decision and try to rationalize your choice by following our recommendations:

thesis for process

  • Pick a topic you have a good understanding of.
  • Choose a theme that will involve the readers.
  • Focus your topic on a specific thing.
  • Make sure you can explain your topic without pictures. Focus on words.
  • Ensure that the topic is helpful and has practical worth.
  • Your topic must be relevant. If you decided to write about using a pager, we suggest you rethink your idea.

It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of process analysis essay topics in mind; just focus on the writing process and pick one of the ones we’ve prepared for you below.

Check out our ARTICLE TO FIND MORE ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS

Writing a Process Analysis Essay Step-By-Step

Process analysis essay structure is as follows:

thesis for process

Let's overview that structure in more details:

  • The introductory part should explain the actual process and why it’s relevant or necessary. Avoid any unnecessary information such as the background, history or origin. If for instance, a recipe needs tomato sauce, the reader should be informed so. In other words, go directly to the issue and provide only the necessary information.
  • The next paragraph should present a list of all the equipment, tools or resources necessary for the particular process. For instance, if some ingredients cannot be found in the locality, explain where you can find it, or them. Potential risks or side effects that are likely to occur in the process should be stated so that the reader remains informed. Furthermore, it is essential to inform the reader about what might go wrong and what can be done to avoid potential mistakes.
  • Then, outline the process in sequential order. If the process requires some steps to be undertaken at particular stages, these should be stated and explained clearly, at relevant points in the sequence. The writer should be very keen to avoid confusion. For processes that appear complicated, the steps should be subdivided accordingly. Additionally, the writer needs to vary their use of transitional words such as “after”, “then”, “next” to make sure the essay does not become repetitive.
  • The final part should present a general review of the whole process so the writer can reinforce the main points succinctly, without details.

You can also read the essay example from our essay writer . If you still need help, contact us and we will do everything in the best way.

Process Analysis Essay Outline

The structure for this type of analysis essay outline is as follows:

Introduction:

  • Introduce your topic and briefly outline what the process will achieve.
  • Demonstrate where this process is relevant or when it is useful.
  • It’s a good idea to offer a real-world example of the outcome of the procedure.
  • The processes should be presented in paragraphs.
  • Perform each step in its section.
  • Appropriate transitions should be employed for each step.
  • Be descriptive in your presentation.

Conclusion:

  • In your conclusion, summarize the procedure. You don’t have to repeat all the individual steps, but you need to reinforce the main points and milestones.
  • Describe the expected result.

Writing Tips

  • Appropriate Use of Language and Vocabulary Making good use of vocabulary and technical terms can often make or break an assignment. This impacts the degree of depth and clarity the reader can get out of it. Thus, if your audience is meant to be doing the procedures while reading, the steps should be simple and to the point.
  • Give the Reader a Sense of Direction When including comments in your essay that are tailored to give a sense of direction, like “once that’s done” or “wait until”, it’s best to do so where relevant. Try to avoid over-complicating the steps, while keeping everything clear and concise.
  • Use Chronological Progression For example, if it’s a cooking recipe, it should always include the steps in sequential order, while also indicating how much of each ingredient to add. Additional information like cooking techniques can be added at the end—to be as detailed as necessary.

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How to Write a Thesis for a Process Analysis Essay

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Composition courses typically require students to write various types of expository essays, papers that explain something through strategies like comparison/contrast, cause and effect, definition or process analysis. A process essay explains a procedure to the reader by either giving directions or describing how a process works. The thesis is particularly important since it establishes the purpose of the process.

The thesis statement provides the focus of your essay for the reader, illustrating your general purpose and indicating the type of essay you are writing. The thesis for a process analysis therefore needs to express what process you will present, such as how to write an essay or what happens when a volcano erupts. Include a reason the reader should care about the process. For instance, a paper about how to write an essay might explain that the process results in more effective writing overall.

A strong thesis for a process analysis indicates the specific ideas the paper will include for support, supplying a preview of the concepts in the order they will appear in the essay. Sometimes termed an essay map, this preview typically gives a list using terms that connect to the body details. For instance, a process paper about writing an essay might read, "Effective essay writing requires planning, developing and attending to detail." The reader knows from this list that the paper will cover each of these stages in this order.

The writer should phrase the thesis for a process analysis as a statement rather than a question since it declares the purpose of the essay. Make your thesis emphatic by avoiding announcement language like "this paper will explain" and judgement statements such as "in this writer's opinion." The language must set up the purpose for your explanation to differentiate it from a general fact, for example: "The writing process requires planning, developing and attending to detail."

The best thesis for the process essay is a single sentence at the end of the introductory paragraph. A succinct statement clarifies the purpose of the process better than several rambling statements. Since readers expect the thesis at the end of the introduction, placing it there makes it easier for readers to find, establishing your point more clearly. Although it may be tempting to write a thesis for a process analysis like a title, such as "How to write an essay," the thesis must be a complete sentence to focus your essay.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Expository Essays
  • Indian River State College: Process Analysis Essay Guidelines
  • Delta College: Style: Process Analysis Writing
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.

How to Write an In-Class Essay

Important elements in writing argument essays, how to write a college expository essay, how to write a persuasive essay, the types of outlining for writing research papers, how to write a personal profile for a university application, how to take a stand in a thesis statement, teacher tips: how to write thesis statements for high school papers, how to write a rebuttal essay, most popular.

  • 1 How to Write an In-Class Essay
  • 2 Important Elements in Writing Argument Essays
  • 3 How to Write a College Expository Essay
  • 4 How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable) 

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

How To Write A Process Essay: Essay Outline, Tips, Topics and Essay Help

Throughout the course of education, you’ll need to write all sorts of papers. Some of them are well-known e.g. argumentative essays, or expository essays, while others are relatively unknown. Process essay belongs to the latter group. While the essay itself is something you’ve come across on multiple occasions, students don’t get to work on this assignment frequently. That’s why getting this assignment can be a huge source of stress. This guide helps avoid those stressful times with easy tips and tricks that you need for a good grade.

A process essay is a typical “how-to” paper that describes some process or workflow, hence the name. The primary idea behind this type of essay is to give a step-by-step explanation of a process that leads to a planned or expected outcome. The paper may revolve around a concrete or precise and an abstract process.

We can divide process essay into two major types:

  • Directional – provides step-by-step instructions on how to get something done
  • Informational – analyzes or explains a process

Benefits of Writing a Process Essay

Even though it’s not something we usually think about, every essay has its role that goes beyond the arguments or processes you discuss. We are talking about a greater purpose, the impact this essay will have on your skills. Believe it or not, every assignment in school or college has a goal to improve or develop some valuable skills and process essay is not an exception. Here are some skills you can develop with process essay:

  • Analytical skills – every course of action is logical, has its own flow, and your goal is to represent that. In order to write this essay, you need to think analytically. That’s the best way to describe the dynamic of some process and keep the reader’s interest. Of course, you can transfer this skill to many other aspects of your life and future employment
  • Prioritizing – essays require precise expressions, and vague language impairs the quality. While researching you’ll come across different info and resources, but not all of them can nor should be included in your paper. In order to make things work, you need to prioritize one piece of information over the other. That way, you’ll include valuable info only, without tainting your essay with unnecessary things
  • Following instructions – every process has its beginning, middle, and end. Each step is equally important. The ability to describe every part of the process in a suitable manner improves your capacity of following instructions; which can come in handy in every aspect of your life
  • Attention to detail – seemingly unimportant details play a huge role in every process or course of action. While writing the process essay, you need to pay attention to these details, in order to provide clear instructions or step-by-step guides, explanations, etc. At the same time, you’re sharpening this skill which can be practical at work (or any other part of your life) later on

The process of writing a process essay is often daunting for many students. But the good news is – you can order an essay online from professionals who can write it for you in a matter of hours. With the help of this essay, you will be able to explain the process of doing something in a clear and understandable way.

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Areas of Interest

Everything that happens in this universe (or beyond) is a process. The world is comprised of processes and each of them can be described in an essay. Therefore, your process essay can be about:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Social media

Process Essay Outline

Wondering how to write a process essay if you’ve never worked on this assignment before? Or maybe you want to learn how to improve the structure of your paper for a better grade. This outline can help you:

  • Hook – the first sentence that grabs the reader’s attention
  • Identification – brief intro to the subject that will be discussed
  • Thesis statement – announcement of the process (or its aspect) you will explain
  • Support (topic) – every paragraph should focus on a specific part of the process and start with a clear indication of a factor you’ll discuss
  • Explain – self-explanatory, you need to explain how it works, what to do with it, and other important info
  • Evidence – like other types of essay, this type of paper requires using evidence to back up the info you used
  • Discuss – more information about some particular part of the process, its importance, how it fits into the overall subject, etc.
  • Conclusion – your conclusion should contain a brief summary of the thesis and the main parts of the process

Writing Tips

essay Writing Tips

While writing the process essay you can imagine like you’re working on a manual (regardless of the topic). The goal of that manual is to explain how some process works for a person who isn’t informed about it. Here are some tips that will help you:

  • Before you start writing, research the topic thoroughly and take notes
  • Make sure your essay is precise and coherent, but still features details that enhance its quality
  • Assume your reader doesn’t know anything about it, otherwise, you’d skip important details because you think others know it already
  • Write the essay in a logical and chronological manner, as one step leads to another
  • Explain the purpose of every step of the process, the reader wants to know WHY it happens
  • Use transitions such as: so that, then, now, next, furthermore, before
  • Define all terms that aren’t common knowledge
  • Avoid using imperative sentences because your essay would resemble an instruction manual rather than a proper essay
  • An easy way to make a great first impression every time
  • Becoming a registered nurse
  • Breaking from bad habits
  • Car manufacture process
  • Changing major at college
  • How and why to change Facebook privacy settings
  • How to become a real estate agent
  • How to conduct a census
  • How to finish all school assignments and still have time to for fun
  • How to get an A without losing your mind
  • How to look like a fashionista every day
  • How to lose weight in a healthy manner
  • How to overcome insomnia
  • How to prepare for emergency disasters
  • How to quit smoking
  • How to take an amazing selfie
  • How to train your husky
  • Introduction to Bitcoin and how to get started
  • Risk management process
  • Simple strategy to get over your ex
  • Simple tips to play Minecraft
  • The budgeting process
  • Tips to master League of Legends
  • Writing a book review

The process of writing a process essay involves extensive research that is designed to provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Therefore, it is important to find a reliable and experienced writer who can write an assignment in a relevant way and add new information to the text.

Most students are used to writing argumentative, persuasive, and other types of papers and process essays may make you nervous, especially if you’ve never had this assignment before. First of all, it’s natural to be nervous. It shows you care! There’s a lot you can do to feel better and complete this assignment successfully. You just need the right tools such as:

Essay Topic Generator

You have the freedom to choose your own process essay topic? That’s fantastic! You can write about anything you’d like, but to come up with your topic quickly, you can use Edusson Magic Essay Topic Generator. The platform comes with thousands of essay topics that are going to inspire you, for sure. Just visit the website, enter a keyword or search for topics based on category or alphabet.

Essay Examples

The secret to a high-quality essay and good grade is consistency and practice. The practice doesn’t just involve writing process essays to sharpen your skills, but reading someone else’s paper at the same time. Why? This helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of some essays in order to create your paper effectively. You get to avoid common mistakes and focus only on those parts that matter. Edusson Essay Examples is an amazing source of essay examples. It’s impossible not to learn or feel inspired when you have hundreds of essays to read. Essay Topic Generator Look for topic View more

Essay Checker

After you finished writing the essay, you need to edit and proofread it. Some students prefer doing everything on their own, but the problem is that many mistakes are overlooked. Now it doesn’t have to be like that. Essay checker called Robot Don enables you to analyze and submit 100% error-free paper. Robot Don evaluates plagiarism, sentence structure, readability, word choice, the frequency of words used, and other aspects of your process essay.

Essay Writing Service

Edusson essay writing service is ideal for students who want to have a custom-made essay sample and for those who don’t have enough time to write it on their own. An amazing team of skilled, experienced, and talented native English speakers is here to help you out. All you need to do is to make your order and choose the writer. Edusson is fully transparent and all essays are written from scratch.

Essay Editing Service

Essay editing service at Edusson is ideal for students who wrote the process essay (or some other paper) and just need help with the editing and proofreading process. Edusson gathered a team of talented editors and proofreaders who make sure your essay has no typos and grammar mistakes while improving style, formatting, and organization, among other things.

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thesis for process

Writing Center Home Page

OASIS: Writing Center

Writing a paper: thesis statements, basics of thesis statements.

The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper. Specific means the thesis deals with a narrow and focused topic, appropriate to the paper's length. Arguable means that a scholar in your field could disagree (or perhaps already has!).

Strong thesis statements address specific intellectual questions, have clear positions, and use a structure that reflects the overall structure of the paper. Read on to learn more about constructing a strong thesis statement.

Being Specific

This thesis statement has no specific argument:

Needs Improvement: In this essay, I will examine two scholarly articles to find similarities and differences.

This statement is concise, but it is neither specific nor arguable—a reader might wonder, "Which scholarly articles? What is the topic of this paper? What field is the author writing in?" Additionally, the purpose of the paper—to "examine…to find similarities and differences" is not of a scholarly level. Identifying similarities and differences is a good first step, but strong academic argument goes further, analyzing what those similarities and differences might mean or imply.

Better: In this essay, I will argue that Bowler's (2003) autocratic management style, when coupled with Smith's (2007) theory of social cognition, can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover.

The new revision here is still concise, as well as specific and arguable.  We can see that it is specific because the writer is mentioning (a) concrete ideas and (b) exact authors.  We can also gather the field (business) and the topic (management and employee turnover). The statement is arguable because the student goes beyond merely comparing; he or she draws conclusions from that comparison ("can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover").

Making a Unique Argument

This thesis draft repeats the language of the writing prompt without making a unique argument:

Needs Improvement: The purpose of this essay is to monitor, assess, and evaluate an educational program for its strengths and weaknesses. Then, I will provide suggestions for improvement.

You can see here that the student has simply stated the paper's assignment, without articulating specifically how he or she will address it. The student can correct this error simply by phrasing the thesis statement as a specific answer to the assignment prompt.

Better: Through a series of student interviews, I found that Kennedy High School's antibullying program was ineffective. In order to address issues of conflict between students, I argue that Kennedy High School should embrace policies outlined by the California Department of Education (2010).

Words like "ineffective" and "argue" show here that the student has clearly thought through the assignment and analyzed the material; he or she is putting forth a specific and debatable position. The concrete information ("student interviews," "antibullying") further prepares the reader for the body of the paper and demonstrates how the student has addressed the assignment prompt without just restating that language.

Creating a Debate

This thesis statement includes only obvious fact or plot summary instead of argument:

Needs Improvement: Leadership is an important quality in nurse educators.

A good strategy to determine if your thesis statement is too broad (and therefore, not arguable) is to ask yourself, "Would a scholar in my field disagree with this point?" Here, we can see easily that no scholar is likely to argue that leadership is an unimportant quality in nurse educators.  The student needs to come up with a more arguable claim, and probably a narrower one; remember that a short paper needs a more focused topic than a dissertation.

Better: Roderick's (2009) theory of participatory leadership  is particularly appropriate to nurse educators working within the emergency medicine field, where students benefit most from collegial and kinesthetic learning.

Here, the student has identified a particular type of leadership ("participatory leadership"), narrowing the topic, and has made an arguable claim (this type of leadership is "appropriate" to a specific type of nurse educator). Conceivably, a scholar in the nursing field might disagree with this approach. The student's paper can now proceed, providing specific pieces of evidence to support the arguable central claim.

Choosing the Right Words

This thesis statement uses large or scholarly-sounding words that have no real substance:

Needs Improvement: Scholars should work to seize metacognitive outcomes by harnessing discipline-based networks to empower collaborative infrastructures.

There are many words in this sentence that may be buzzwords in the student's field or key terms taken from other texts, but together they do not communicate a clear, specific meaning. Sometimes students think scholarly writing means constructing complex sentences using special language, but actually it's usually a stronger choice to write clear, simple sentences. When in doubt, remember that your ideas should be complex, not your sentence structure.

Better: Ecologists should work to educate the U.S. public on conservation methods by making use of local and national green organizations to create a widespread communication plan.

Notice in the revision that the field is now clear (ecology), and the language has been made much more field-specific ("conservation methods," "green organizations"), so the reader is able to see concretely the ideas the student is communicating.

Leaving Room for Discussion

This thesis statement is not capable of development or advancement in the paper:

Needs Improvement: There are always alternatives to illegal drug use.

This sample thesis statement makes a claim, but it is not a claim that will sustain extended discussion. This claim is the type of claim that might be appropriate for the conclusion of a paper, but in the beginning of the paper, the student is left with nowhere to go. What further points can be made? If there are "always alternatives" to the problem the student is identifying, then why bother developing a paper around that claim? Ideally, a thesis statement should be complex enough to explore over the length of the entire paper.

Better: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy, as argued by Baker (2008), Smith (2009), and Xavier (2011).

In the revised thesis, you can see the student make a specific, debatable claim that has the potential to generate several pages' worth of discussion. When drafting a thesis statement, think about the questions your thesis statement will generate: What follow-up inquiries might a reader have? In the first example, there are almost no additional questions implied, but the revised example allows for a good deal more exploration.

Thesis Mad Libs

If you are having trouble getting started, try using the models below to generate a rough model of a thesis statement! These models are intended for drafting purposes only and should not appear in your final work.

  • In this essay, I argue ____, using ______ to assert _____.
  • While scholars have often argued ______, I argue______, because_______.
  • Through an analysis of ______, I argue ______, which is important because_______.

Words to Avoid and to Embrace

When drafting your thesis statement, avoid words like explore, investigate, learn, compile, summarize , and explain to describe the main purpose of your paper. These words imply a paper that summarizes or "reports," rather than synthesizing and analyzing.

Instead of the terms above, try words like argue, critique, question , and interrogate . These more analytical words may help you begin strongly, by articulating a specific, critical, scholarly position.

Read Kayla's blog post for tips on taking a stand in a well-crafted thesis statement.

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What is a thesis | A Complete Guide with Examples

Madalsa

Table of Contents

A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It’s typically submitted at the end of your master’s degree or as a capstone of your bachelor’s degree.

However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners. From the initial challenge of pinpointing a compelling research topic to organizing and presenting findings, the process is filled with potential pitfalls.

Therefore, to help you, this guide talks about what is a thesis. Additionally, it offers revelations and methodologies to transform it from an overwhelming task to a manageable and rewarding academic milestone.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic.

Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research, which not only fortifies your propositions but also confers credibility to your entire study.

Furthermore, there's another phenomenon you might often confuse with the thesis: the ' working thesis .' However, they aren't similar and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

A working thesis, often referred to as a preliminary or tentative thesis, is an initial version of your thesis statement. It serves as a draft or a starting point that guides your research in its early stages.

As you research more and gather more evidence, your initial thesis (aka working thesis) might change. It's like a starting point that can be adjusted as you learn more. It's normal for your main topic to change a few times before you finalize it.

While a thesis identifies and provides an overarching argument, the key to clearly communicating the central point of that argument lies in writing a strong thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A strong thesis statement (aka thesis sentence) is a concise summary of the main argument or claim of the paper. It serves as a critical anchor in any academic work, succinctly encapsulating the primary argument or main idea of the entire paper.

Typically found within the introductory section, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap of your thesis, directing readers through your arguments and findings. By delineating the core focus of your investigation, it offers readers an immediate understanding of the context and the gravity of your study.

Furthermore, an effectively crafted thesis statement can set forth the boundaries of your research, helping readers anticipate the specific areas of inquiry you are addressing.

Different types of thesis statements

A good thesis statement is clear, specific, and arguable. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right type of thesis statement for your academic papers.

Thesis statements can be classified based on their purpose and structure. Here are the primary types of thesis statements:

Argumentative (or Persuasive) thesis statement

Purpose : To convince the reader of a particular stance or point of view by presenting evidence and formulating a compelling argument.

Example : Reducing plastic use in daily life is essential for environmental health.

Analytical thesis statement

Purpose : To break down an idea or issue into its components and evaluate it.

Example : By examining the long-term effects, social implications, and economic impact of climate change, it becomes evident that immediate global action is necessary.

Expository (or Descriptive) thesis statement

Purpose : To explain a topic or subject to the reader.

Example : The Great Depression, spanning the 1930s, was a severe worldwide economic downturn triggered by a stock market crash, bank failures, and reduced consumer spending.

Cause and effect thesis statement

Purpose : To demonstrate a cause and its resulting effect.

Example : Overuse of smartphones can lead to impaired sleep patterns, reduced face-to-face social interactions, and increased levels of anxiety.

Compare and contrast thesis statement

Purpose : To highlight similarities and differences between two subjects.

Example : "While both novels '1984' and 'Brave New World' delve into dystopian futures, they differ in their portrayal of individual freedom, societal control, and the role of technology."

When you write a thesis statement , it's important to ensure clarity and precision, so the reader immediately understands the central focus of your work.

What is the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement?

While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

A thesis refers to the entire research document, encompassing all its chapters and sections. In contrast, a thesis statement is a brief assertion that encapsulates the central argument of the research.

Here’s an in-depth differentiation table of a thesis and a thesis statement.

Now, to craft a compelling thesis, it's crucial to adhere to a specific structure. Let’s break down these essential components that make up a thesis structure

15 components of a thesis structure

Navigating a thesis can be daunting. However, understanding its structure can make the process more manageable.

Here are the key components or different sections of a thesis structure:

Your thesis begins with the title page. It's not just a formality but the gateway to your research.

title-page-of-a-thesis

Here, you'll prominently display the necessary information about you (the author) and your institutional details.

  • Title of your thesis
  • Your full name
  • Your department
  • Your institution and degree program
  • Your submission date
  • Your Supervisor's name (in some cases)
  • Your Department or faculty (in some cases)
  • Your University's logo (in some cases)
  • Your Student ID (in some cases)

In a concise manner, you'll have to summarize the critical aspects of your research in typically no more than 200-300 words.

Abstract-section-of-a-thesis

This includes the problem statement, methodology, key findings, and conclusions. For many, the abstract will determine if they delve deeper into your work, so ensure it's clear and compelling.

Acknowledgments

Research is rarely a solitary endeavor. In the acknowledgments section, you have the chance to express gratitude to those who've supported your journey.

Acknowledgement-section-of-a-thesis

This might include advisors, peers, institutions, or even personal sources of inspiration and support. It's a personal touch, reflecting the humanity behind the academic rigor.

Table of contents

A roadmap for your readers, the table of contents lists the chapters, sections, and subsections of your thesis.

Table-of-contents-of-a-thesis

By providing page numbers, you allow readers to navigate your work easily, jumping to sections that pique their interest.

List of figures and tables

Research often involves data, and presenting this data visually can enhance understanding. This section provides an organized listing of all figures and tables in your thesis.

List-of-tables-and-figures-in-a-thesis

It's a visual index, ensuring that readers can quickly locate and reference your graphical data.

Introduction

Here's where you introduce your research topic, articulate the research question or objective, and outline the significance of your study.

Introduction-section-of-a-thesis

  • Present the research topic : Clearly articulate the central theme or subject of your research.
  • Background information : Ground your research topic, providing any necessary context or background information your readers might need to understand the significance of your study.
  • Define the scope : Clearly delineate the boundaries of your research, indicating what will and won't be covered.
  • Literature review : Introduce any relevant existing research on your topic, situating your work within the broader academic conversation and highlighting where your research fits in.
  • State the research Question(s) or objective(s) : Clearly articulate the primary questions or objectives your research aims to address.
  • Outline the study's structure : Give a brief overview of how the subsequent sections of your work will unfold, guiding your readers through the journey ahead.

The introduction should captivate your readers, making them eager to delve deeper into your research journey.

Literature review section

Your study correlates with existing research. Therefore, in the literature review section, you'll engage in a dialogue with existing knowledge, highlighting relevant studies, theories, and findings.

Literature-review-section-thesis

It's here that you identify gaps in the current knowledge, positioning your research as a bridge to new insights.

To streamline this process, consider leveraging AI tools. For example, the SciSpace literature review tool enables you to efficiently explore and delve into research papers, simplifying your literature review journey.

Methodology

In the research methodology section, you’ll detail the tools, techniques, and processes you employed to gather and analyze data. This section will inform the readers about how you approached your research questions and ensures the reproducibility of your study.

Methodology-section-thesis

Here's a breakdown of what it should encompass:

  • Research Design : Describe the overall structure and approach of your research. Are you conducting a qualitative study with in-depth interviews? Or is it a quantitative study using statistical analysis? Perhaps it's a mixed-methods approach?
  • Data Collection : Detail the methods you used to gather data. This could include surveys, experiments, observations, interviews, archival research, etc. Mention where you sourced your data, the duration of data collection, and any tools or instruments used.
  • Sampling : If applicable, explain how you selected participants or data sources for your study. Discuss the size of your sample and the rationale behind choosing it.
  • Data Analysis : Describe the techniques and tools you used to process and analyze the data. This could range from statistical tests in quantitative research to thematic analysis in qualitative research.
  • Validity and Reliability : Address the steps you took to ensure the validity and reliability of your findings to ensure that your results are both accurate and consistent.
  • Ethical Considerations : Highlight any ethical issues related to your research and the measures you took to address them, including — informed consent, confidentiality, and data storage and protection measures.

Moreover, different research questions necessitate different types of methodologies. For instance:

  • Experimental methodology : Often used in sciences, this involves a controlled experiment to discern causality.
  • Qualitative methodology : Employed when exploring patterns or phenomena without numerical data. Methods can include interviews, focus groups, or content analysis.
  • Quantitative methodology : Concerned with measurable data and often involves statistical analysis. Surveys and structured observations are common tools here.
  • Mixed methods : As the name implies, this combines both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The Methodology section isn’t just about detailing the methods but also justifying why they were chosen. The appropriateness of the methods in addressing your research question can significantly impact the credibility of your findings.

Results (or Findings)

This section presents the outcomes of your research. It's crucial to note that the nature of your results may vary; they could be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix of both.

Results-section-thesis

Quantitative results often present statistical data, showcasing measurable outcomes, and they benefit from tables, graphs, and figures to depict these data points.

Qualitative results , on the other hand, might delve into patterns, themes, or narratives derived from non-numerical data, such as interviews or observations.

Regardless of the nature of your results, clarity is essential. This section is purely about presenting the data without offering interpretations — that comes later in the discussion.

In the discussion section, the raw data transforms into valuable insights.

Start by revisiting your research question and contrast it with the findings. How do your results expand, constrict, or challenge current academic conversations?

Dive into the intricacies of the data, guiding the reader through its implications. Detail potential limitations transparently, signaling your awareness of the research's boundaries. This is where your academic voice should be resonant and confident.

Practical implications (Recommendation) section

Based on the insights derived from your research, this section provides actionable suggestions or proposed solutions.

Whether aimed at industry professionals or the general public, recommendations translate your academic findings into potential real-world actions. They help readers understand the practical implications of your work and how it can be applied to effect change or improvement in a given field.

When crafting recommendations, it's essential to ensure they're feasible and rooted in the evidence provided by your research. They shouldn't merely be aspirational but should offer a clear path forward, grounded in your findings.

The conclusion provides closure to your research narrative.

It's not merely a recap but a synthesis of your main findings and their broader implications. Reconnect with the research questions or hypotheses posited at the beginning, offering clear answers based on your findings.

Conclusion-section-thesis

Reflect on the broader contributions of your study, considering its impact on the academic community and potential real-world applications.

Lastly, the conclusion should leave your readers with a clear understanding of the value and impact of your study.

References (or Bibliography)

Every theory you've expounded upon, every data point you've cited, and every methodological precedent you've followed finds its acknowledgment here.

References-section-thesis

In references, it's crucial to ensure meticulous consistency in formatting, mirroring the specific guidelines of the chosen citation style .

Proper referencing helps to avoid plagiarism , gives credit to original ideas, and allows readers to explore topics of interest. Moreover, it situates your work within the continuum of academic knowledge.

To properly cite the sources used in the study, you can rely on online citation generator tools  to generate accurate citations!

Here’s more on how you can cite your sources.

Often, the depth of research produces a wealth of material that, while crucial, can make the core content of the thesis cumbersome. The appendix is where you mention extra information that supports your research but isn't central to the main text.

Appendices-section-thesis

Whether it's raw datasets, detailed procedural methodologies, extended case studies, or any other ancillary material, the appendices ensure that these elements are archived for reference without breaking the main narrative's flow.

For thorough researchers and readers keen on meticulous details, the appendices provide a treasure trove of insights.

Glossary (optional)

In academics, specialized terminologies, and jargon are inevitable. However, not every reader is versed in every term.

The glossary, while optional, is a critical tool for accessibility. It's a bridge ensuring that even readers from outside the discipline can access, understand, and appreciate your work.

Glossary-section-of-a-thesis

By defining complex terms and providing context, you're inviting a wider audience to engage with your research, enhancing its reach and impact.

Remember, while these components provide a structured framework, the essence of your thesis lies in the originality of your ideas, the rigor of your research, and the clarity of your presentation.

As you craft each section, keep your readers in mind, ensuring that your passion and dedication shine through every page.

Thesis examples

To further elucidate the concept of a thesis, here are illustrative examples from various fields:

Example 1 (History): Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807 by Suchait Kahlon.
Example 2 (Climate Dynamics): Influence of external forcings on abrupt millennial-scale climate changes: a statistical modelling study by Takahito Mitsui · Michel Crucifix

Checklist for your thesis evaluation

Evaluating your thesis ensures that your research meets the standards of academia. Here's an elaborate checklist to guide you through this critical process.

Content and structure

  • Is the thesis statement clear, concise, and debatable?
  • Does the introduction provide sufficient background and context?
  • Is the literature review comprehensive, relevant, and well-organized?
  • Does the methodology section clearly describe and justify the research methods?
  • Are the results/findings presented clearly and logically?
  • Does the discussion interpret the results in light of the research question and existing literature?
  • Is the conclusion summarizing the research and suggesting future directions or implications?

Clarity and coherence

  • Is the writing clear and free of jargon?
  • Are ideas and sections logically connected and flowing?
  • Is there a clear narrative or argument throughout the thesis?

Research quality

  • Is the research question significant and relevant?
  • Are the research methods appropriate for the question?
  • Is the sample size (if applicable) adequate?
  • Are the data analysis techniques appropriate and correctly applied?
  • Are potential biases or limitations addressed?

Originality and significance

  • Does the thesis contribute new knowledge or insights to the field?
  • Is the research grounded in existing literature while offering fresh perspectives?

Formatting and presentation

  • Is the thesis formatted according to institutional guidelines?
  • Are figures, tables, and charts clear, labeled, and referenced in the text?
  • Is the bibliography or reference list complete and consistently formatted?
  • Are appendices relevant and appropriately referenced in the main text?

Grammar and language

  • Is the thesis free of grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Is the language professional, consistent, and appropriate for an academic audience?
  • Are quotations and paraphrased material correctly cited?

Feedback and revision

  • Have you sought feedback from peers, advisors, or experts in the field?
  • Have you addressed the feedback and made the necessary revisions?

Overall assessment

  • Does the thesis as a whole feel cohesive and comprehensive?
  • Would the thesis be understandable and valuable to someone in your field?

Ensure to use this checklist to leave no ground for doubt or missed information in your thesis.

After writing your thesis, the next step is to discuss and defend your findings verbally in front of a knowledgeable panel. You’ve to be well prepared as your professors may grade your presentation abilities.

Preparing your thesis defense

A thesis defense, also known as "defending the thesis," is the culmination of a scholar's research journey. It's the final frontier, where you’ll present their findings and face scrutiny from a panel of experts.

Typically, the defense involves a public presentation where you’ll have to outline your study, followed by a question-and-answer session with a committee of experts. This committee assesses the validity, originality, and significance of the research.

The defense serves as a rite of passage for scholars. It's an opportunity to showcase expertise, address criticisms, and refine arguments. A successful defense not only validates the research but also establishes your authority as a researcher in your field.

Here’s how you can effectively prepare for your thesis defense .

Now, having touched upon the process of defending a thesis, it's worth noting that scholarly work can take various forms, depending on academic and regional practices.

One such form, often paralleled with the thesis, is the 'dissertation.' But what differentiates the two?

Dissertation vs. Thesis

Often used interchangeably in casual discourse, they refer to distinct research projects undertaken at different levels of higher education.

To the uninitiated, understanding their meaning might be elusive. So, let's demystify these terms and delve into their core differences.

Here's a table differentiating between the two.

Wrapping up

From understanding the foundational concept of a thesis to navigating its various components, differentiating it from a dissertation, and recognizing the importance of proper citation — this guide covers it all.

As scholars and readers, understanding these nuances not only aids in academic pursuits but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the relentless quest for knowledge that drives academia.

It’s important to remember that every thesis is a testament to curiosity, dedication, and the indomitable spirit of discovery.

Good luck with your thesis writing!

Frequently Asked Questions

A thesis typically ranges between 40-80 pages, but its length can vary based on the research topic, institution guidelines, and level of study.

A PhD thesis usually spans 200-300 pages, though this can vary based on the discipline, complexity of the research, and institutional requirements.

To identify a thesis topic, consider current trends in your field, gaps in existing literature, personal interests, and discussions with advisors or mentors. Additionally, reviewing related journals and conference proceedings can provide insights into potential areas of exploration.

The conceptual framework is often situated in the literature review or theoretical framework section of a thesis. It helps set the stage by providing the context, defining key concepts, and explaining the relationships between variables.

A thesis statement should be concise, clear, and specific. It should state the main argument or point of your research. Start by pinpointing the central question or issue your research addresses, then condense that into a single statement, ensuring it reflects the essence of your paper.

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The Thesis Process

The thesis is an opportunity to work independently on a research project of your own design and contribute to the scholarly literature in your field. You emerge from the thesis process with a solid understanding of how original research is executed and how to best communicate research results. Many students have gone on to publish their research in academic or professional journals.

To ensure affordability, the per-credit tuition rate for the 8-credit thesis is the same as our regular course tuition. There are no additional fees (regular per-credit graduate tuition x 8 credits).

Below are the steps that you need to follow to fulfill the thesis requirement. Please know that through each step, you will receive guidance and mentorship.

1. Determine Your Thesis Topic and Tentative Question

When you have completed between 24 and 32 credits, you work with your assigned research advisor to narrow down your academic interests to a relevant and manageable thesis topic. Log in to MyDCE , then ALB/ALM Community to schedule an appointment with your assigned research advisor via the Degree Candidate Portal.

Thesis Topic Selection

We’ve put together this guide  to help frame your thinking about thesis topic selection.

Every effort is made to support your research interests that are grounded in your ALM course work, but faculty guidance is not available for all possible projects. Therefore, revision or a change of thesis topic may be necessary.

  • The point about topic selection is particularly pertinent to scientific research that is dependent upon laboratory space, project funding, and access to private databases. It is also critical for our candidates in ALM, liberal arts fields (English, government, history, international relations, psychology, etc.) who are required to have Harvard faculty direct their thesis projects. Review Harvard’s course catalog online ( my.harvard.edu ) to be sure that there are faculty teaching courses related to your thesis topic. If not, you’ll need to choose an alternative topic.
  • Your topic choice must be a new area of research for you. Thesis work represents thoughtful engagement in new academic scholarship. You cannot re-purpose prior research. If you want to draw or expand upon your own previous scholarship for a small portion of your thesis, you need to obtain the explicit permission of your research advisor and cite the work in both the proposal and thesis. Violations of this policy will be referred to the Administrative Board.

2. Prepare Prework for the Crafting the Thesis Proposal (CTP) Course or Tutorial

The next step in the process is to prepare and submit Prework in order to gain registration approval for the Crafting the Thesis Proposal (CTP) tutorial or course. The Prework process ensures that you have done enough prior reading and thinking about your thesis topic to benefit from the CTP.

The CTP provides an essential onramp to the thesis, mapping critical issues of research design, such as scope, relevance to the field, prior scholarly debate, methodology, and perhaps, metrics for evaluating impact as well as bench-marking. The CTP identifies and works through potential hurdles to successful thesis completion, allowing the thesis project to get off to a good start.

In addition to preparing, submitting, and having your Prework approved, to be eligible for the CTP, you need to be in good standing, have completed a minimum of 32 degree-applicable credits, including the statistics/research methods requirement (if pertinent to your field). You also need to have completed Engaging in Scholarly Conversation (if pertinent to your field). If you were admitted after 9/1/2023 Engaging in Scholarly Conversation (A and B) is required, if admitted before 9/1/2023 this series is encouraged.

Advising Note for Biology, Biotechnology, and Bioengineering and Nanotechnology Candidates : Thesis projects in these fields are designed to support ongoing scientific research happening in Harvard University, other academic institutions, or life science industry labs and usually these are done under the direction of a principal investigator (PI). Hence, you need to have a thesis director approved by your research advisor  prior  to submitting CTP prework. Your CTP prework is then framed by the lab’s research. Schedule an appointment with your research advisor a few months in advance of the CTP prework deadlines in order to discuss potential research projects and thesis director assignment.

CTP Prework is sent to our central email box:  [email protected]  between the following firm deadlines:

  • April 1 and June 1 for fall CTP
  • September 1 and November 1 for spring CTP.  
  • August 1 and October 1 for the three-week January session (ALM sustainability candidates only)
  • International students who need a student visa to attend Harvard Summer School should submit their prework on January 1, so they can register for the CTP on March 1 and submit timely I-20 paperwork. See international students guidelines for more information.

Your research advisor will provide feedback on your prework submission to gain CTP registration approval.  If your prework is not approved after 3 submissions, your research advisor cannot approve your CTP registration.  If not approved, you’ll need to take additional time for further revisions, and submit new prework during the next CTP prework submission time period for the following term (if your five-year degree completion deadline allows).

3. Register and Successfully Complete the Crafting the Thesis Proposal Tutorial or Course

Once CTP prework is approved, you register for the Crafting the Thesis Proposal (CTP) course or tutorial as you would any other course. The goal of the CTP is to produce a complete, well-written draft of a proposal containing all of the sections required by your research advisor. Creating an academically strong thesis proposal sets the foundation for a high-quality thesis and helps garner the attention of a well-respected thesis director. The proposal is normally between 15 to 25 pages in length.

The CTP  tutorial  is not a course in the traditional sense. You work independently on your proposal with your research advisor by submitting multiple proposal drafts and scheduling individual appointments. You need to make self-directed progress on the proposal without special prompting from the research advisor. You receive a final grade of SAT or UNSAT (failing grade).

The CTP for sustainability is a three-week course in the traditional sense and you receive a letter grade, and it must be B- or higher to receive degree credit for the course.

You are expected to incorporate all of your research advisor’s feedback and be fully committed to producing an academically strong proposal leading to a thesis worthy of a Harvard degree. If you are unable to take advice from your research advisor, follow directions, or produce an acceptable proposal, you will not pass the CTP.

Successful CTP completion also includes a check on the proper use of sources according to our academic integrity guidelines. Violations of our academic integrity policy will be referred to the Administrative Board.

Maximum of two attempts . If you don’t pass that CTP, you’ll have — if your five-year, degree-completion date allows — just one more attempt to complete the CTP before being required to withdraw from the program. If you fail the CTP just once and have no more time to complete the degree, your candidacy will automatically expire. Please note that a WD grade counts as an attempt.

If by not passing the CTP you fall into poor academic standing, you will need to take additional degree-applicable courses to return to good standing before enrolling in the CTP for your second and final time, only if your five-year, degree-completion date allows. If you have no more time on your five-year clock, you will be required to withdraw.

Human Subjects

If your thesis, regardless of field, will involve the use of human subjects (e.g., interviews, surveys, observations), you will need to have your research vetted by the  Committee on the Use of Human Subjects  (CUHS) of Harvard University. Please review the IRB LIFECYCLE GUIDE located on the CUHS website. Your research advisor will help you prepare a draft copy of the project protocol form that you will need to send to CUHS. The vetting process needs to be started during the CTP tutorial, before a thesis director has been assigned.

4. Thesis Director Assignment and Thesis Registration

We expect you to be registered in thesis soon after CTP completion or within 3 months — no later. You cannot delay. It is critical that once a research project has been approved through the CTP process, the project must commence in a timely fashion to ensure the academic integrity of the thesis process.

Once you (1) successfully complete the CTP and (2) have your proposal officially approved by your research advisor (RA), you move to the thesis director assignment phase. Successful completion of the CTP is not the same as having an officially approved proposal. These are two distinct steps.

If you are a life science student (e.g., biology), your thesis director was identified prior to the CTP, and now you need the thesis director to approve the proposal.

The research advisor places you with a thesis director. Do not approach faculty to ask about directing your thesis.  You may suggest names of any potential thesis directors to your research advisor, who will contact them, if they are eligible/available to direct your thesis, after you have an approved thesis proposal.

When a thesis director has been identified or the thesis proposal has been fully vetted by the preassigned life science thesis director, you will receive a letter of authorization from the Assistant Dean of Academic Programs officially approving your thesis work and providing you with instructions on how to register for the eight-credit Master’s Thesis. The letter will also have a tentative graduation date as well as four mandatory thesis submission dates (see Thesis Timetable below).

Continuous Registration Tip: If you want to maintain continued registration from CTP to thesis, you should meet with your RA prior to prework to settle on a workable topic, submit well-documented prework, work diligently throughout the CTP to produce a high-quality proposal that is ready to be matched with a thesis director as soon as the CTP is complete.

Good academic standing. You must be good academic standing to register for the thesis. If not, you’ll need to complete additional courses to bring your GPA up to the 3.0 minimum prior to registration.

Thesis Timetable

The thesis is a 9 to 12 month project that begins after the Crafting the Thesis Proposal (CTP); when your research advisor has approved your proposal and identified a Thesis Director.

The date for the appointment of your Thesis Director determines the graduation cycle that will be automatically assigned to you:

Once registered in the thesis, we will do a 3-month check-in with you and your thesis director to ensure progress is being made. If your thesis director reports little to no progress, the Dean of Academic Programs reserves the right to issue a thesis not complete (TNC) grade (see Thesis Grading below).

As you can see above, you do not submit your thesis all at once at the end, but in four phases: (1) complete draft to TA, (2) final draft to RA for format review and academic integrity check, (3) format approved draft submitted to TA for grading, and (4) upload your 100% complete graded thesis to ETDs.

Due dates for all phases for your assigned graduation cycle cannot be missed.  You must submit materials by the date indicated by 5 PM EST (even if the date falls on a weekend). If you are late, you will not be able to graduate during your assigned cycle.

If you need additional time to complete your thesis after the date it is due to the Thesis Director (phase 1), you need to formally request an extension (which needs to be approved by your Director) by emailing that petition to:  [email protected] .  The maximum allotted time to write your thesis, including any granted extensions of time is 12 months.

Timing Tip: If you want to graduate in May, you should complete the CTP in the fall term two years prior or, if a sustainability student, in the January session one year prior. For example, to graduate in May 2025:

  • Complete the CTP in fall 2023 (or in January 2024, if a sustainability student)
  • Be assigned a thesis director (TD) in March/April 2024
  • Begin the 9-12 month thesis project with TD
  • Submit a complete draft of your thesis to your TD by February 1, 2025
  • Follow through with all other submission deadlines (April 1, April 15 and May 1 — see table above)
  • Graduate in May 2025

5. Conduct Thesis Research

When registered in the thesis, you work diligently and independently, following the advice of your thesis director, in a consistent, regular manner equivalent to full-time academic work to complete the research by your required timeline.

You are required to produce at least 50 pages of text (not including front matter and appendices). Chapter topics (e.g., introduction, background, methods, findings, conclusion) vary by field.

6. Format Review — Required of all Harvard Graduate Students and Part of Your Graduation Requirements

All ALM thesis projects must written in Microsoft Word and follow a specific Harvard University format. A properly formatted thesis is an explicit degree requirement; you cannot graduate without it.

Your research advisor will complete the format review prior to submitting your thesis to your director for final grading according to the Thesis Timetable (see above).

You must use our Microsoft Word ALM Thesis Template or Microsoft ALM Thesis Template Creative Writing (just for creative writing degree candidates). It has all the mandatory thesis formatting built in. Besides saving you a considerable amount of time as you write your thesis, the preprogrammed form ensures that your submitted thesis meets the mandatory style guidelines for margins, font, title page, table of contents, and chapter headings. If you use the template, format review should go smoothly, if not, a delayed graduation is highly likely.

Format review also includes a check on the proper use of sources according to our academic integrity guidelines. Violations of our academic integrity policy will be referred directly to the Administrative Board.

7. Mandatory Thesis Archiving — Required of all Harvard Graduate Students and Part of Your Graduation Requirements

Once your thesis is finalized, meaning that the required grade has been earned and all edits have been completed, you must upload your thesis to Harvard University’s electronic thesis and dissertation submission system (ETDs). Uploading your thesis ETDs is an explicit degree requirement; you cannot graduate without completing this step.

The thesis project will be sent to several downstream systems:

  • Your work will be preserved using Harvard’s digital repository DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard).
  • Metadata about your work will be sent to HOLLIS (the Harvard Library catalog).
  • Your work will be preserved in Harvard Library’s DRS2 (digital preservation repository).

By submitting work through ETDs @ Harvard you will be signing the Harvard Author Agreement. This license does not constrain your rights to publish your work subsequently. You retain all intellectual property rights.

For more information on Harvard’s open access initiatives, we recommend you view the Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC), Peter Suber’s brief introduction .

Thesis Grading

You need to earn a grade of B- or higher in the thesis. All standard course letter grades are available to your thesis director. If you fail to complete substantial work on the thesis, you will earn a grade of TNC (thesis not complete). If you have already earned two withdrawal grades, the TNC grade will count as a zero in your cumulative GPA.

If you earn a grade below B-, you will need to petition the Administrative Board for permission to attempt the thesis for a second and final time. The petition process is only available if you are in good academic standing and your five-year, degree-completion deadline allows for more time. Your candidacy will automatically expire if you do not successfully complete the thesis by your required deadline.

If approved for a second attempt, you may be required to develop a new proposal on a different topic by re-enrolling in the CTP and being assigned a different thesis director. Tuition for the second attempt is calculated at the current year’s rate.

If by not passing the thesis you fall into poor academic standing, you’ll need to take additional degree-applicable courses to return to good standing before re-engaging with the thesis process for the second and final time. This is only an option if your five-year, degree-completion deadline allows for more time.

The Board only reviews cases in which extenuating circumstances prevented the successful completion of the thesis.

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) at Harvard University is dedicated to bringing rigorous academics and innovative teaching capabilities to those seeking to improve their lives through education. We make Harvard education accessible to lifelong learners from high school to retirement.

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25 Thesis Statement Examples

thesis statement examples and definition, explained below

A thesis statement is needed in an essay or dissertation . There are multiple types of thesis statements – but generally we can divide them into expository and argumentative. An expository statement is a statement of fact (common in expository essays and process essays) while an argumentative statement is a statement of opinion (common in argumentative essays and dissertations). Below are examples of each.

Strong Thesis Statement Examples

school uniforms and dress codes, explained below

1. School Uniforms

“Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate

Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons

nature vs nurture examples and definition

2. Nature vs Nurture

“This essay will explore how both genetic inheritance and environmental factors equally contribute to shaping human behavior and personality.”

Best For: Compare and Contrast Essay

Read More: Nature vs Nurture Debate

American Dream Examples Definition

3. American Dream

“The American Dream, a symbol of opportunity and success, is increasingly elusive in today’s socio-economic landscape, revealing deeper inequalities in society.”

Best For: Persuasive Essay

Read More: What is the American Dream?

social media pros and cons

4. Social Media

“Social media has revolutionized communication and societal interactions, but it also presents significant challenges related to privacy, mental health, and misinformation.”

Best For: Expository Essay

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

types of globalization, explained below

5. Globalization

“Globalization has created a world more interconnected than ever before, yet it also amplifies economic disparities and cultural homogenization.”

Read More: Globalization Pros and Cons

urbanization example and definition

6. Urbanization

“Urbanization drives economic growth and social development, but it also poses unique challenges in sustainability and quality of life.”

Read More: Learn about Urbanization

immigration pros and cons, explained below

7. Immigration

“Immigration enriches receiving countries culturally and economically, outweighing any perceived social or economic burdens.”

Read More: Immigration Pros and Cons

cultural identity examples and definition, explained below

8. Cultural Identity

“In a globalized world, maintaining distinct cultural identities is crucial for preserving cultural diversity and fostering global understanding, despite the challenges of assimilation and homogenization.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay

Read More: Learn about Cultural Identity

technology examples and definition explained below

9. Technology

“Medical technologies in care institutions in Toronto has increased subjcetive outcomes for patients with chronic pain.”

Best For: Research Paper

capitalism examples and definition

10. Capitalism vs Socialism

“The debate between capitalism and socialism centers on balancing economic freedom and inequality, each presenting distinct approaches to resource distribution and social welfare.”

cultural heritage examples and definition

11. Cultural Heritage

“The preservation of cultural heritage is essential, not only for cultural identity but also for educating future generations, outweighing the arguments for modernization and commercialization.”

pseudoscience examples and definition, explained below

12. Pseudoscience

“Pseudoscience, characterized by a lack of empirical support, continues to influence public perception and decision-making, often at the expense of scientific credibility.”

Read More: Examples of Pseudoscience

free will examples and definition, explained below

13. Free Will

“The concept of free will is largely an illusion, with human behavior and decisions predominantly determined by biological and environmental factors.”

Read More: Do we have Free Will?

gender roles examples and definition, explained below

14. Gender Roles

“Traditional gender roles are outdated and harmful, restricting individual freedoms and perpetuating gender inequalities in modern society.”

Read More: What are Traditional Gender Roles?

work-life balance examples and definition, explained below

15. Work-Life Ballance

“The trend to online and distance work in the 2020s led to improved subjective feelings of work-life balance but simultaneously increased self-reported loneliness.”

Read More: Work-Life Balance Examples

universal healthcare pros and cons

16. Universal Healthcare

“Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right and the most effective system for ensuring health equity and societal well-being, outweighing concerns about government involvement and costs.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Universal Healthcare

raising minimum wage pros and cons

17. Minimum Wage

“The implementation of a fair minimum wage is vital for reducing economic inequality, yet it is often contentious due to its potential impact on businesses and employment rates.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

homework pros and cons

18. Homework

“The homework provided throughout this semester has enabled me to achieve greater self-reflection, identify gaps in my knowledge, and reinforce those gaps through spaced repetition.”

Best For: Reflective Essay

Read More: Reasons Homework Should be Banned

charter schools vs public schools, explained below

19. Charter Schools

“Charter schools offer alternatives to traditional public education, promising innovation and choice but also raising questions about accountability and educational equity.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Charter Schools

internet pros and cons

20. Effects of the Internet

“The Internet has drastically reshaped human communication, access to information, and societal dynamics, generally with a net positive effect on society.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of the Internet

affirmative action example and definition, explained below

21. Affirmative Action

“Affirmative action is essential for rectifying historical injustices and achieving true meritocracy in education and employment, contrary to claims of reverse discrimination.”

Best For: Essay

Read More: Affirmative Action Pros and Cons

soft skills examples and definition, explained below

22. Soft Skills

“Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are increasingly recognized as essential for success in the modern workforce, and therefore should be a strong focus at school and university level.”

Read More: Soft Skills Examples

moral panic definition examples

23. Moral Panic

“Moral panic, often fueled by media and cultural anxieties, can lead to exaggerated societal responses that sometimes overlook rational analysis and evidence.”

Read More: Moral Panic Examples

freedom of the press example and definition, explained below

24. Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of the press is critical for democracy and informed citizenship, yet it faces challenges from censorship, media bias, and the proliferation of misinformation.”

Read More: Freedom of the Press Examples

mass media examples definition

25. Mass Media

“Mass media shapes public opinion and cultural norms, but its concentration of ownership and commercial interests raise concerns about bias and the quality of information.”

Best For: Critical Analysis

Read More: Mass Media Examples

Checklist: How to use your Thesis Statement

✅ Position: If your statement is for an argumentative or persuasive essay, or a dissertation, ensure it takes a clear stance on the topic. ✅ Specificity: It addresses a specific aspect of the topic, providing focus for the essay. ✅ Conciseness: Typically, a thesis statement is one to two sentences long. It should be concise, clear, and easily identifiable. ✅ Direction: The thesis statement guides the direction of the essay, providing a roadmap for the argument, narrative, or explanation. ✅ Evidence-based: While the thesis statement itself doesn’t include evidence, it sets up an argument that can be supported with evidence in the body of the essay. ✅ Placement: Generally, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction of an essay.

Try These AI Prompts – Thesis Statement Generator!

One way to brainstorm thesis statements is to get AI to brainstorm some for you! Try this AI prompt:

💡 AI PROMPT FOR EXPOSITORY THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTUCTIONS]. I want you to create an expository thesis statement that doesn’t argue a position, but demonstrates depth of knowledge about the topic.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTRUCTIONS]. I want you to create an argumentative thesis statement that clearly takes a position on this issue.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST THESIS STATEMENT I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that remain objective.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 100 Consumer Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 30 Globalization Pros and Cons
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 17 Adversity Examples (And How to Overcome Them)

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  • A step-by-step guide to the writing process

The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 8, 2023.

The writing process steps

Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

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thesis for process

Table of contents

Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the writing process.

Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

Coming up with a topic

If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

Doing the research

Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

  • Searching for primary and secondary sources .
  • Reading the relevant texts closely (e.g. for literary analysis ).
  • Collecting data using relevant research methods (e.g. experiments , interviews or surveys )

From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

Check for common mistakes

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Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question: How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.

This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.

To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.

Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.

The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.

When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.

The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.

Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.

Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.

Evaluating the first draft

It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.

It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.

Right now, you’re looking for:

  • Arguments that are unclear or illogical.
  • Areas where information would be better presented in a different order.
  • Passages where additional information or explanation is needed.
  • Passages that are irrelevant to your overall argument.

For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.

For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.

Redrafting and revising

Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:

  • Making changes to your overall argument.
  • Reordering the text.
  • Cutting parts of the text.
  • Adding new text.

You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.

Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.

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Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency. You can check all your drafts and texts in minutes with an AI proofreader .

Editing for grammar and clarity

When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:

  • Grammatical errors.
  • Ambiguous phrasings.
  • Redundancy and repetition .

In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:

  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous, her characters are often described as “witty.” Although this is less true of Mansfield Park .
  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous. Her characters are often described as “witty,” although this is less true of Mansfield Park .

To make your sentences run smoothly, you can always use a paraphrasing tool to rewrite them in a clearer way.

Proofreading for small mistakes and typos

When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:

  • Spelling errors.
  • Missing words.
  • Confused word choices .
  • Punctuation errors .
  • Missing or excess spaces.

Use a grammar checker , but be sure to do another manual check after. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.

For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:

  • Mary Crawfords character is a complicate one and her relationships with Fanny and Edmund undergoes several transformations through out the novel.
  • Mary Crawford’s character is a complicated one, and her relationships with both Fanny and Edmund undergo several transformations throughout the novel.

Proofreading for stylistic consistency

There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:

  • Whether you use the serial comma .
  • Whether you use American or British spellings and punctuation (you can use a punctuation checker for this).
  • Where you use numerals vs. words for numbers.
  • How you capitalize your titles and headings.

Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.

Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

  • Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
  • Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
  • Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

  • Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
  • Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
  • Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.

Cite this Scribbr article

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Caulfield, J. (2023, December 08). The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-writing/writing-process/

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  4. HOW TO WRITE A THESIS: Steps by step guide

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Placement of the thesis statement. Step 1: Start with a question. Step 2: Write your initial answer. Step 3: Develop your answer. Step 4: Refine your thesis statement. Types of thesis statements. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

  2. 5 Process Essay Examples (2024)

    5 Process Essay Examples. By Chris Drew (PhD) / January 18, 2024 / Leave a Comment. A process essay is a type of essay that explains a process in detail. Good process essays don't just explain the process but provides details about common mistakes to avoid as well as tips and methods to achieve success. Below are some example essays:

  3. How to Write a Thesis for a Process Analysis Essay

    Process analysis essays either tell the reader how to do something or explain how something is done. A recipe is one of the most common forms of direct process analysis or "how-to" writing. A thesis statement is a sentence that appears in the first paragraph of your essay that informs the reader of ...

  4. Developing a Thesis Statement

    Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic. Complete the final thesis statement The Bottom Line. As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you'll need to remember four things: Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures.

  5. 10.5 Process Analysis

    The process analysis essay opens with a discussion of the process and a thesis statement that states the goal of the process. The organization of a process analysis essay typically follows chronological order. The steps of the process are conveyed in the order in which they usually occur. Body paragraphs will be constructed based on these steps.

  6. Writing a Great Process Essay (Steps & Examples)

    Hook sentence. Background information. Thesis statement. Step 1: Begin with the basics. Describe the initial steps or preparations required. Explain any tools, materials, or ingredients needed. Provide safety precautions if necessary. Step 2: Break Down the Process. Divide the process into clear, sequential steps.

  7. How to Write a Process Essay

    A process essay is a type of essay that explains a process step by step and gives guidance for a certain process, working mechanism, procedure, etc. Process essays range from very simple ones, such as instructions for how to ride a bicycle, to more complex ones, such as a chemistry lab report of an oxidative reaction experiment.

  8. How to Write the Perfect Process Analysis Essay (With a ...

    A process analysis essay is a kind of expository essay that explains the process or actions someone needs to take to complete a task. You can think of it like a recipe, stating all of the necessary ingredients and steps, allowing the reader to follow along in logical order. A process analysis essay can be written about a wide scope of topics, from highly technical processes to cleaning and ...

  9. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master's program or a capstone to a bachelor's degree. Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation, it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete.

  10. Thesis Statements

    A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about ...

  11. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  12. Process Analysis Essay: Topics, Outline and Examples

    Process essays may be divided into two categories: informative and directive. A directive process analysis gives instructions on how to accomplish a certain goal (for example, how to prepare the best waffles). An informational process analysis essay describes a topic to the reader (for example, how an aircraft engine functions). ...

  13. Process Essay

    Process Essay. Process is a rhetorical style that provides step-by-step directions or guidance. You may encounter quite a few process essays of various types in academic writing—everything from a traditional process essay in which you choose a topic and describe the process to a lab report in which you describe the process of conducting a lab ...

  14. How to Write a Thesis for a Process Analysis Essay

    A strong thesis for a process analysis indicates the specific ideas the paper will include for support, supplying a preview of the concepts in the order they will appear in the essay. Sometimes termed an essay map, this preview typically gives a list using terms that connect to the body details. For instance, a process paper about writing an ...

  15. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  16. How To Write A Process Essay: Essay Outline, Tips, Topics and Essay

    Definition. A process essay is a typical "how-to" paper that describes some process or workflow, hence the name. The primary idea behind this type of essay is to give a step-by-step explanation of a process that leads to a planned or expected outcome. The paper may revolve around a concrete or precise and an abstract process.

  17. Academic Guides: Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

    The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper.

  18. Dissertation & Thesis Outline

    Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates. Published on June 7, 2022 by Tegan George.Revised on November 21, 2023. A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical early steps in your writing process.It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding the specifics of your dissertation topic and showcasing its relevance to ...

  19. What is a thesis

    A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic. Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research ...

  20. The Thesis Process

    The Thesis Process. The thesis is an opportunity to work independently on a research project of your own design and contribute to the scholarly literature in your field. You emerge from the thesis process with a solid understanding of how original research is executed and how to best communicate research results.

  21. 25 Thesis Statement Examples (2024)

    Strong Thesis Statement Examples. 1. School Uniforms. "Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.". Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate. Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons.

  22. The Writing Process

    Table of contents. Step 1: Prewriting. Step 2: Planning and outlining. Step 3: Writing a first draft. Step 4: Redrafting and revising. Step 5: Editing and proofreading. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the writing process.

  23. 85 Process Essay Topics for Your Inspiration

    5. Conclusion. Your conclusion is about analysing the ideas in the process essay. You need to keep it concise and to the point; your audience should have already gained all the information that they require in the main paragraphs of your article. This means that you do not have to repeat everything that you have.

  24. Sarah Barron PhD on Instagram: " My PhD thesis is born! . For those

    924 likes, 19 comments - biotech_barron on February 8, 2024: " My PhD thesis is born! . For those of you on the same journey, the thesis writing and s..." Sarah Barron PhD on Instagram: "📗 My PhD thesis is born! 📗 .