A thesis statement indicates what you plan to prove in your research paper. It must specify a both a topic AND a position. This sentence will be the focus of the research that you will do and the paper that you will write for this course. Your first assignment is to choose a topic and then to develop a thesis statement related to that topic. You will have several days to explore different ideas before having to decide.
Often when you first think of an idea or topic that interests you, it will lead to some questions. This can be a good starting place and can eventually lead you to your thesis. Your thesis, however, cannot be phrased as a question and must be written in the form of a statement. In order for you to develop a topic idea into a thesis statement, you will probably need to do some preliminary research on your topic.
Below are some examples of topic ideas, related questions that may arrive and possible thesis statements. This should give you a good idea how to proceed as you explore different possibilities for your own research paper.
natural vs. processed food
What are the benefits of being a vegetarian?
Are vegetarian’s healthier than non-vegetarians?
Is organic food worth the price?
Why are there more obese people/children today than before?
Is it right for the government to tell people what to eat or drink, even if it’s for their own good?
A vegetarian diet is beneficial to the individual, the economy, and the environment.
Eating a vegetarian diet leads to healthier weight, reduces the risk of disease, and improves quality of life.
Purchasing only organic and natural foods (is/is not) a worthwhile investment.
Obesity rates today are the result of easy access to fast-food, over reliance on processed foods, and
decreased activity levels.
The government (should/should not) restrict the consumption of sugary beverages.
regulating the media
Is discrimination still a problem for certain groups?
How are people treated differently based on their gender, ethnicity, race or age?
Are those who follow Islam unfairly targeted because of our war on terrorism?
Is it fair that an individual be denied the right to serve in the military because of his/her gender or sexual orientation?
Does our society expect too much or too little of women? Is this good or bad?
Why are there so many hate crimes in our society?
Do beauty pageants devalue women in a superficial way?
Do the messages about appearances that girls get from TV, movies and magazines make them unhappy with themselves? Does this contribute to eating disorders?
Does the way certain groups are shown on TV and in movies contribute to negative stereotypes?
Does watching violent movies or playing violent video games cause people to act violently?
Is it up to the government to decide what is and isn’t appropriate for the television audience?
Discrimination is not a thing of the past and is still evident today.
(Women/minorities/the elderly) are not treated equally in our society.
Islam is one of the most popular and misunderstood religions in the world.
(Women/gays) (should/should not) be allowed to serve (in the military/as scout leaders).
Mothers who work outside the home have a (positive/negative) impact on the family.
Women today are expected to be superwomen and do it all: careers and families.
Hate crimes against (blacks/Hispanics/gays) are on the (rise/decline) in the U.S.
Beauty contests (give/do not give) a (positive/negative) outlook on modern women.
The female images portrayed in the media can result in girls having low-self-esteem, becoming depressed, and falling prey to eating disorders.
(Women/blacks/Hispanics/gays) are not portrayed realistically in the media.
Violence in (the media/video games/ movies/music) (does/does not) contribute to violence in the real world.
The FCC (should/should) not continue to regulate standards for decency on television.
What, if anything, would be gained by making marijuana legal, like cigarettes or alcohol?
If the drinking age in other countries is lower than 21, why do they have less cases of alcohol abuse than we do?
Are people who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse ill or are they simply making bad choices?
Is all the money and resources the government puts towards the war on drugs in this country making a difference?
Is there really a bigger problem with steroids and performance enhancing drugs in sports today than in the past?
Legalizing marijuana (would/would not) lead to a reduction in a crime.
The legal drinking age (should/should not) be (raised/lowered).
Lowering the legal drinking age to 18 (will/will not) increase alcohol abuse.
(Alcoholism/drug addiction) is a disease and not merely a personal choice.
America’s war on drugs is (succeeding/failing).
Drugs are prevalent in the sports world today.
Is it justified to sentence someone to death for committing a murder if it will prevent future murders?
Do laws restricting gun ownership stop violent crimes?
If a policeman thinks his life or the lives of others is threatened is he justified in using deadly force? How can we tell if the threat was real or the force was warranted?
Is it ok for police and airport security to stop or question certain individuals just because of their race or what they look like?
The death penalty should be abolished because it does not effectively deter crime.
Stricter gun control laws (will/will not necessarily) lead to a decrease in crime.
Those in law enforcement need to be (protected from/held accountable for) making judgment calls that might ultimately be proven incorrect.
personal rights vs. protecting citizens
war on terrorism
censorshipNote: This sections is currently under construction.
The civil liberties of individuals (should/should not) be sacrificed in an effort to keep the country safe.
Those who ride (bicycles/motor cycles) (should/should not) be required to wear helmets.
Terrorists typically do not achieve their desired outcome following a terrorist attack.
Crimes throughout history have been committed in the name of God, from the Crusades to the Taliban.
Examples of censorship can be found in today’s word even though they are clear violations of the first amendment.
natural disastersNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Protecting (the environment/endangered species) should be a government priority.
The American lifestyle is hazardous to the environment.
Global warming is a serious threat to life as we know it today.
Carbon-based fuels (should/should not) be phased out and investments in alternative energy (should/should not) be made a priority.
The government (should/should not) stop giving tax breaks to companies that produce oil and gas.
The United States (is/is not) ready to withstand a major earthquake.
animal/child abuseNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Animals (should/should not) be used for (research and testing/human entertainment).
(Much/not enough) is being done to protect the welfare and quality of life for animals being raised for food consumption.
(Whale/dolphin) hunting (should/should not) be outlawed.
(Animal rights/child abuse) requires our utmost attention since the victims are helpless.
national prioritiesNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Education in the arts (is/is not) valuable and (should/should not) be cut due to budget constraints.
NASA (should/should not) dedicate resources towards (missions to Mars/colonizing the moon).
The cost to maintain our National Parks (is/is not) justified.
journalism vs. blogs
online vs. print information
plagiarismNote: This sections is currently under construction.
A student's right to free speech (should/should not) be restricted in the public school system.
Stricter laws are (needed/not needed) to regulate content on the internet.
Social networking sites erode privacy and must be used judiciously.
Too much screen time can …
The laws that protect traditional journalists (should/should not) also apply to independent bloggers.
The ability to find information online (is/is not) replacing the need for traditional libraries.
The way in which most Americans get their news has changed over time.
(Plagiarism/academic dishonesty) is pervasive is schools and colleges today.
stem cell research
diseaseNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Genetic engineering will ultimately (harm/benefit) society.
Infectious diseases (still pose/do not pose) a serious threat (despite/due to) medical advances.
The flu was responsible for the world’s greatest pandemic and still poses a threat today.
Japanese AmericansNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Genocide not only took place during the Holocaust, but throughout history and today.
(Slavery/the Holocaust) is history’s greatest
Slavery still exists in the world today.
Native Americans have been treated unfairly since settlers first came to this continent.
Japanese Americans were treated unfairly during and after World War II.
regulations in sports
role modelsNote: This sections is currently under construction.
More needs to be done to protect (student athletes/football players/boxers) from repetitive head injuries.
The NFL (is/is not) doing enough to protect players from injury.College athletes should/should not get paid.
Ultimate fighting/MMA (is/is not) too dangerous and should/ be (allowed/prohibited).
The huge salaries paid to some professional athletes (are/are not) justified.
Professional athletes (have/do not have) an obligation to serve as role models.
There are many examples of (positive/negative) role models in (Hollywood/sports/politics).
athletes as role modelsHow did Michael Jordan become the a basketball legend?What makes Lebron James so great?Why is Wayne Gretzky worthy of being called a role model?
Michael Jordan is positive role model because he worked hard and persevered to become the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport.
Lebron James' ability to score, pass, and rebound make him the league's most valuable player.
Wayne Gretzky is not only the greatest hockey player of all time as his nickname, “The Great One” attests, but also a positive role model.
current pop stars
songsWhat influence did the Beatles have on popular culture?Is One Direction the most popular boy band ever?What is so great about Taylor Swift?How is music tied to history?
The Beatles revolutionized American music, fashion, and popular culture.
Boy bands have played an important part inthe music scene for decades from the Beach Boys to One Direction.
Taylor Swift is the greatest singer/songwriter of our generation.Songs throughout history can give us a glimpse into the time period in which they were popular.
giving backHow did Tom Cruise become a famous actor?What kinds of negative messages are kids today getting from Hollywood celebrities?What does Angelina Jolie do to give back to the world?
Tom Cruise had to overcome some serious obstacles in his youth to become the superstar he is today.
Many celebrities today send negative messages to today's youth.
Angelina Jolie uses her fame and fortune to make a difference in the world.
World leadersWhy is Ben Franklin remembered today?Why should we look up to Gandhi?What did Mandela accomplish in his lifetime?
Benjamin Franklin was a true "Renaissance Man" excelling in many areas including politics, publishing and inventing.
Mohandas Gandhi is an impressive role model who selflessly dedicated his life to ending British rule in India.
Nelson Mandela is an impressive role model who dedicated his life to ending apartheid in South Africa.
ScientistNote: This sections is currently under construction.
Leonardo da Vinci should be remembered for both his contributions to the world in the fields of anatomy and engineering as well as art.
Dr. Seuss is not only one of the most beloved children’s authors ever; his stories also have many important messages for children.
Stephen Hawking is a medical miracle as well as an accomplished scientist, who has made significant contributions to the field of science.