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  • Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your paper and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay ( Pudue OWL, Developing a Thesis ).

Tips on Writing a Strong Thesis Statement

  • Pick a topic that is somewhat controversial. 
  • Be sure you can address the topic within your assignment requirements
  • Express one main idea 
  • Be specific
  • Assert strong conclusions about about the topic

2 Simple Steps to Writing a Strong Thesis Statement:

1. Put your topic in question form.  How would you put the following topics in question form?

  • Compare and contrast the neurodevelopmental models of autism and schizophrenia.
  • How are implicit and explicit memory different, and what are the brain circuits they depend on.
  • What are the consequences of theory of mind development for children’s social competence and for their success in society? Provide evidence from neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies.
  • Provide evidence from functional neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and electrophysiological research that reveal the critical role of the prefrontal cortex in executive control.
  • Compare & contrast two theories for how Alzheimer’s disease may develop.  (for example, Amyloid hypothesis, Inflammation hypothesis, Infection hypothesis, Vascular hypothesis)

2. Write 1 or 2 sentences to answer your question.  The answer to the question is your thesis statement.

  • The Writer's handbook: Developing a thesis statement From the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Writing Center
  • Purdue OWL: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements Find examples and dos and don'ts for thesis writing
  • The Writing Center: How to Write a Thesis Statement From Indiana University, Bloomington
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  • Last Updated: May 13, 2024 4:53 PM
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Amy Green PhD

Tips for Surviving (and Thriving in) Your Psychology Thesis

A little planning and consistency can make it all a lot less painful..

Posted May 8, 2020

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Writing (and defending) a thesis or dissertation can be a daunting process. However, some careful planning and consistency can make it all a lot less painful. Better yet, it can be actually pretty rewarding.

Having just gone through the writing and defending process myself, I’ve reflected on 16 of the lessons I learned along the way:

1. Read other theses and dissertations. I cannot stress enough how helpful it is to scan other finished documents to get a sense of what makes a strong (and less strong) body of work. You’ll also learn about different ways to structure your document and what kinds of sections to include. Search for research that is related to your topic, methodology, and epistemology to see how other students have approached these areas.

2. Don’t underestimate the literature review. By the time students reach graduate school, it’s expected that they know how to write a solid literature review. However, Boote and Beile (2005) argued that many students have never actually been taught how to compose a critical synthesis of the literature. They argued that students need to become “scholars before researchers”; that is, instead of offering simple summaries of existing studies, it is important to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the body of work. They proffer further that this step is critical to identify important research problems.

Not totally sure where to start with your review? Don’t be too hard on yourself – Boote and Beile argued that few faculty members have even mastered the task. I recommend tracking down some resources on how to write a good literature review; try Galvan and Galvan’s (2017) book, Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

3. Know your APA style. Buy the Publication Manual . Learn to love it. (I also like the Purdue Online Writing Lab if you need to look up a rule in a hurry.)

4. Cite mindfully. Your supervisor can help you identify a few key articles that will be critical to cite in your document; for example, seminal works or the most recent contributions to your area. While it’s important to ensure that you’re citing the most up-to-date studies in your literature review (e.g., those published in the past 10 years), it is also essential to acknowledge the early scholars who paved the way for your work. Be careful to not only cite “supportive sources”; your committee will expect you to discuss opposing views. Carefully explaining how your work intentionally departs from these studies will strengthen your arguments.

It has been well-documented that women and authors of colour are cited less frequently than men or white authors (Davis & Craven, 2016). Thus, as feminist anthropologists Davis and Craven (2016) argued, “it is important to keep in mind that who we cite – and equally important who we do not cite – shapes our projects in important ways” (p. 66). Especially if you are engaging in feminist or critical research, it becomes “our business to seek out, and incorporate, innovative research from scholars whose work is often ignored because of structural inequities” (p. 67).

5. Try not to over-quote other authors. I used to be a chronic over-quoter. However, I received enough feedback from enough different professors to finally quell this habit. Using too many direct quotations not only prevents you from using your own critical thinking skills, but it also reduces your credibility as an analytical, innovative researcher. Save your direct quotes for the real “gems” and remember that paraphrasing is your friend.

6. Remember that editing is easier than writing . Get your thoughts down without worrying too much (at first, that is) about style and grammar. Author Anne Lamott (2005) wrote that perfectionism is the “main obstacle between you and a sh*tty first draft” (p. 27). And that’s what most first drafts are. But once you’ve crossed that first big hurtle, it’s easier to face the less-daunting task of editing and fine-tuning.

7. Craft your document like you’re preparing for your defense. With every decision you make (e.g., how many participants to include, your methodology, even your title), ask yourself why. Even if you’re not including these “whys” in your document, jot down your answers and save them to refer back to when you are prepping for your defense. You’ll thank yourself later on!

how to write a psychology thesis statement

8. Update your reference list as you go. Nothing is more frustrating than forgetting where you found a certain reference or from which page you took a quote. Keeping up with your references diligently as you go saves unnecessary work later on (again, your future self will thank you!).

9. Overcome procrastination . Unfortunately, waiting to feel inspired to work on your dissertation is (typically) a futile exercise. Instead, scheduling time to work each day helps keep you on track and your mind in the game. Princeton University has offered some good tips for understanding and overcoming procrastination; I also like the Pomodoro technique and ensuring at least some of my work time is “unplugged.”

10. Refer to your epistemology throughout . Your epistemology shouldn’t just be something that is stated in your intro and promptly forgotten about. It is the heart of your research; your understanding of what makes something true. As such, it should inform everything from your methodology to your epigraph to how you position yourself in your work.

11. Keep a research journal. Jot down all of your decisions and “aha” moments. Document the things that challenge you, the things that surprise you, the things you’re proud of, and the things you would have done differently. You never know what might be useful material when it comes to crafting your discussion or preparing for a conference presentation.

12. Prepare your elevator speech. Be able to discuss your topic in layman terms in three minutes or less. This exercise is incredibly useful for understanding your work in a concise and useable way.

13. Proofread with fresh eyes . Once you’ve finished a draft of each chapter or section, leave it for a day or two (deadlines permitting) to review it with a new perspective. Do the same once you’re done the entire document. Proofreading printed pages is often easier than electronic versions to catch those pesky typos.

14. Find some editors. We can get so “close” to our research that we miss our blind-spots. I recommended asking (or kindly bribing) both “insiders” (like a classmate) and “outsiders” (like a friend in a totally different field) to read your work, to get a different set of perspectives.

15. Be kind to yourself. It’s a cheesy but important one. This is likely your first time tackling a research project of this size. You’re going to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and confused at times. Take a deep breath and keep in mind that this is all part of the process. Remember that writing your thesis or dissertation should never trump all other aspects of your self-care; taking care of your physical wellbeing, relationships, and mental health are always priorities.

16. Find meaning in the process. It’s OK if your thesis or dissertation doesn’t represent your lifelong passion or ultimate life purpose. If academia is your long-term goal, you have your entire career to refine your program of study. And if research is absolutely not in the long-term cards for you, then seeing your thesis as a means to an end is OK, too. That said, finding a way to make the process meaningful will makes things a lot more enjoyable. Although a good thesis is a done thesis, your research also has the opportunity to contribute to theory, practice, and policy in important ways – so try not to underestimate your ability to create a really meaningful body of work.

Boote, D. N., & Beile, P. (2005). Scholars before researchers: On the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Educational Researcher, 32(6), 3-15.

Davis, D., & Craven, C. (2016). Feminist ethnography: Thinking through methodologies, challenges, and possibilities. Rowman & Littlefield.

Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (Vol. 7). Taylor & Francis.

Lamott, A. (1995). Bird by bird: Some instructions on writing and life. Anchor.

Amy Green PhD

Amy Green, M.A., is a doctoral student in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary.

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How to Write a Research Statement

  • Experimental Psychology

Task #1: Understand the Purpose of the Research Statement

The primary mistake people make when writing a research statement is that they fail to appreciate its purpose. The purpose isn’t simply to list and briefly describe all the projects that you’ve completed, as though you’re a museum docent and your research publications are the exhibits. “Here, we see a pen and watercolor self-portrait of the artist. This painting is the earliest known likeness of the artist. It captures the artist’s melancholic temperament … Next, we see a steel engraving. This engraving has appeared in almost every illustrated publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and has also appeared as the television studio back-drop for the …”

Similar to touring through a museum, we’ve read through research statements that narrate a researcher’s projects: “My dissertation examined the ways in which preschool-age children’s memory for a novel event was shaped by the verbal dialogue they shared with trained experimenters. The focus was on the important use of what we call elaborative conversational techniques … I have recently launched another project that represents my continued commitment to experimental methods and is yet another extension of the ways in which we can explore the role of conversational engagement during novel events … In addition to my current experimental work, I am also involved in a large-scale collaborative longitudinal project …”

Treating your research statement as though it’s a narrated walk through your vita does let you describe each of your projects (or publications). But the format is boring, and the statement doesn’t tell us much more than if we had the abstracts of each of your papers. Most problematic, treating your research statement as though it’s a narrated walk through your vita misses the primary purpose of the research statement, which is to make a persuasive case about the importance of your completed work and the excitement of your future trajectory.

Writing a persuasive case about your research means setting the stage for why the questions you are investigating are important. Writing a persuasive case about your research means engaging your audience so that they want to learn more about the answers you are discovering. How do you do that? You do that by crafting a coherent story.

Task #2: Tell a Story

Surpass the narrated-vita format and use either an Op-Ed format or a Detective Story format. The Op-Ed format is your basic five-paragraph persuasive essay format:

First paragraph (introduction):

  • broad sentence or two introducing your research topic;
  • thesis sentence, the position you want to prove (e.g., my research is important); and
  • organization sentence that briefly overviews your three bodies of evidence (e.g., my research is important because a, b, and c).

Second, third, and fourth paragraphs (each covering a body of evidence that will prove your position):

  • topic sentence (about one body of evidence);
  • fact to support claim in topic sentence;
  • another fact to support claim in topic sentence;
  • another fact to support claim in topic sentence; and
  • analysis/transition sentence.

Fifth paragraph (synopsis and conclusion):

  • sentence that restates your thesis (e.g., my research is important);
  • three sentences that restate your topic sentences from second, third, and fourth paragraph (e.g., my research is important because a, b, and c); and
  • analysis/conclusion sentence.

Although the five-paragraph persuasive essay format feels formulaic, it works. It’s used in just about every successful op-ed ever published. And like all good recipes, it can be doubled. Want a 10-paragraph, rather than five-paragraph research statement? Double the amount of each component. Take two paragraphs to introduce the point you’re going to prove. Take two paragraphs to synthesize and conclude. And in the middle, either raise six points of evidence, with a paragraph for each, or take two paragraphs to supply evidence for each of three points. The op-ed format works incredibly well for writing persuasive essays, which is what your research statement should be.

The Detective Story format is more difficult to write, but it’s more enjoyable to read. Whereas the op-ed format works off deductive reasoning, the Detective Story format works off inductive reasoning. The Detective Story does not start with your thesis statement (“hire/retain/promote/ award/honor me because I’m a talented developmental/cognitive/social/clinical/biological/perception psychologist”). Rather, the Detective Story starts with your broad, overarching research question. For example, how do babies learn their native languages? How do we remember autobiographical information? Why do we favor people who are most similar to ourselves? How do we perceive depth? What’s the best way to treat depression? How does the stress we experience every day affect our long-term health?

Because it’s your research statement, you can personalize that overarching question. A great example of a personalized overarching question occurs in the opening paragraph of George Miller’s (1956) article, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.”

My problem is that I have been persecuted by an integer. For seven years this number has followed me around, has intruded in my most private data, and has assaulted me from the pages of our most public journals. This number assumes a variety of disguises, being sometimes a little larger and sometimes a little smaller than usual, but never changing so much as to be unrecognizable. The persistence with which this number plagues me is far more than a random accident. There is, to quote a famous senator, a design behind it, some pattern governing its appearances. Either there really is something unusual about the number or else I am suffering from delusions of persecution. I shall begin my case history by telling you about some experiments that tested how accurately people can assign numbers to the magnitudes of various aspects of a stimulus. …

In case you think the above opening was to a newsletter piece or some other low-visibility outlet, it wasn’t. Those opening paragraphs are from a Psych Review article, which has been cited nearly 16,000 times. Science can be personalized. Another example of using the Detective Story format, which opens with your broad research question and personalizes it, is the opening paragraph of a research statement from a chemist:

I became interested in inorganic chemistry because of one element: Boron. The cage structures and complexity of boron hydrides have fascinated my fellow Boron chemists for more than 40 years — and me for more than a decade. Boron is only one element away from carbon, yet its reactivity is dramatically different. I research why.

When truest to the genre of Detective Story format, the full answer to your introductory question won’t be available until the end of your statement — just like a reader doesn’t know whodunit until the last chapter of a mystery. Along the way, clues to the answer are provided, and false leads are ruled out, which keeps readers turning the pages. In the same way, writing your research statement in the Detective Story format will keep members of the hiring committee, the review committee, and the awards panel reading until the last paragraph.

Task #3: Envision Each Audience

The second mistake people make when writing their research statements is that they write for the specialist, as though they’re talking to another member of their lab. But in most cases, the audience for your research statement won’t be well-informed specialists. Therefore, you need to convey the importance of your work and the contribution of your research without getting bogged down in jargon. Some details are important, but an intelligent reader outside your area of study should be able to understand every word of your research statement.

Because research statements are most often included in academic job applications, tenure and promotion evaluations, and award nominations, we’ll talk about how to envision the audiences for each of these contexts.

Job Applications . Even in the largest department, it’s doubtful that more than a couple of people will know the intricacies of your research area as well as you do. And those two or three people are unlikely to have carte blanche authority on hiring. Rather, in most departments, the decision is made by the entire department. In smaller departments, there’s probably no one else in your research area; that’s why they have a search going on. Therefore, the target audience for your research statement in a job application comprises other psychologists, but not psychologists who study what you study (the way you study it).

Envision this target audience explicitly.Think of one of your fellow graduate students or post docs who’s in another area (e.g., if you’re in developmental, think of your friend in biological). Envision what that person will — and won’t — know about the questions you’re asking in your research, the methods you’re using, the statistics you’re employing, and — most importantly — the jargon that you usually use to describe all of this. Write your research statement so that this graduate student or post doc in another area in psychology will not only understand your research statement, but also find your work interesting and exciting.

Tenure Review . During the tenure review process, your research statement will have two target audiences: members of your department and, if your tenure case receives a positive vote in the department, members of the university at large. For envisioning the first audience, follow the advice given above for writing a research statement for a job application. Think of one of your departmental colleagues in another area (e.g., if you’re in developmental, think of your friend in biological). Write in such a way that the colleague in another area in psychology will understand every word  — and find the work interesting. (This advice also applies to writing research statements for annual reviews, for which the review is conducted in the department and usually by all members of the department.)

For the second stage of the tenure process, when your research statement is read by members of the university at large, you’re going to have to scale it down a notch. (And yes, we are suggesting that you write two different statements: one for your department’s review and one for the university’s review, because the audiences differ. And you should always write with an explicit target audience in mind.) For the audience that comprises the entire university, envision a faculty friend in another department. Think political science or economics or sociology, because your statement will be read by political scientists, economists, and sociologists. It’s an art to hit the perfect pitch of being understood by such a wide range of scholars without being trivial, but it’s achievable.

Award Nominations . Members of award selection committees are unlikely to be specialists in your immediate field. Depending on the award, they might not even be members of your discipline. Find out the typical constitution of the selection committee for each award nomination you submit, and tailor your statement accordingly.

Task #4: Be Succinct

When writing a research statement, many people go on for far too long. Consider three pages a maximum, and aim for two. Use subheadings to help break up the wall of text. You might also embed a well-designed figure or graph, if it will help you make a point. (If so, use wrap-around text, and make sure that your figure has its axes labeled.)

And don’t use those undergraduate tricks of trying to cram more in by reducing the margins or the font size. Undoubtedly, most of the people reading your research statement will be older than you, and we old folks don’t like reading small fonts. It makes us crabby, and that’s the last thing you want us to be when we’re reading your research statement.

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Nice piece of information. I will keep in mind while writing my research statement

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Thank you so much for your guidance.


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Absolutely agree! I also want to add that: On the one hand it`s easy to write good research personal statement, but on the other hand it`s a little bit difficult to summarize all minds and as result the main idea of the statement could be incomprehensible. It also seems like a challenge for those guys, who aren`t native speakers. That`s why you should prepare carefully for this kind of statement to target your goals.

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How do you write an action research topic?? An then stAte the problem an purpose for an action research. Can I get an example on language development?? Please I need some help.

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Thankyou I now have idea to come up with the research statement. If I need help I will inform you …

much appreciated

Just like Boote & Beile (2005) explained “Doctors before researchers” because of the importance of the dissertation literature review in research groundwork.

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About the Authors

Morton Ann Gernsbacher , APS Past President, is the Vilas Research Professor and Sir Frederic Bartlett Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be contacted at [email protected] . Patricia G. Devine , a Past APS Board Member, is Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be contacted at [email protected] .

how to write a psychology thesis statement

Careers Up Close: Joel Anderson on Gender and Sexual Prejudices, the Freedoms of Academic Research, and the Importance of Collaboration

Joel Anderson, a senior research fellow at both Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University, researches group processes, with a specific interest on prejudice, stigma, and stereotypes.

how to write a psychology thesis statement

Experimental Methods Are Not Neutral Tools

Ana Sofia Morais and Ralph Hertwig explain how experimental psychologists have painted too negative a picture of human rationality, and how their pessimism is rooted in a seemingly mundane detail: methodological choices. 

APS Fellows Elected to SEP

In addition, an APS Rising Star receives the society’s Early Investigator Award.

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Psychology Undergraduate Program

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  • Thesis Advising

If you're thinking of writing a thesis as part of your Psychology concentration, the first thing you'll want to do is check out the Undergraduate Office's  thesis manual . You can find it on the Honors Thesis section of this website! Then, you should contact Psychology's Thesis Tutorial Instructor.  

Statistics Consulting

Statistics and coding may seem overwhelming at first, especially if the thesis project will be your first time working with your own data. For guidance, senior thesis students should reach out to the Department's  Statistics Consultant . The Consultant holds individual meetings with students to provide input on statistical methods, writing analysis, and experimental results for thesis projects.  

Kirsten Morehouse, Data and Statistics Consultant (2023-2024)

How to Meet with the Data and Statistics Consultant: Please email Kirsten directly ( [email protected] ) with the following info:

  • 3 specific dates and blocks of time that work for you
  • A summary of the questions you'd like to discuss 
  • A copy of your most recent thesis proposal/prospectus (including background and proposed analyses)
  • A copy of your data (or mock dataset that shows your expected data structure)
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UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology


Guidelines for Writing and Presenting the Thesis

The DClinPsy thesis has two volumes. The major research project forms Volume 1; Volume 2 contains the four case reports and the service-related research report. These guidelines describe what goes into each part of the thesis and how it all fits together. They mostly focus on Volume 1, which is covered in the following section; the later section on layout and formatting covers both volumes.

What goes in Volume 1

Volume 1, the research component of the thesis, has a three-part structure, consisting of a literature review paper, an empirical paper and a critical appraisal. In addition, from June 2018 onwards, UCL regulations stipulate that the thesis should contain a brief (≤500 words)  Impact Statement , explaining how the work in the thesis could be put to beneficial use inside and outside of academia.

The first two parts (the literature review and the empirical paper) are in the form of papers that might be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal; the third part (the critical appraisal) is not intended for publication, but aims to give you an opportunity to reflect critically on the research that you carried out. Each part is described below.

There will inevitably be some overlap between each of the three parts: for example, the introduction section of the empirical paper may partly be condensed from the literature review paper, and the critical appraisal may address in greater detail some of the issues raised in the discussion section of the empirical paper. However, overlap should generally be minimal, and the same sentences should not normally be repeated in different parts of the thesis.

The regulations state that the length of the research thesis shall be approximately 25,000 words, with a maximum of 40,000 words; there is no minimum word count. We suggest that you aim for about 20,000 to 25,000 words. Conciseness of expression is greatly valued by the examiners, who may require overly wordy theses to be shortened.

We strongly encourage you to start writing drafts of your thesis early on, as this is an essential way to clarify your thoughts. It is a bad idea to leave a lot of the writing until late in the project, since this usually leads to a rushed, poor quality thesis.

Part 1. Review paper

The review paper (of approximately 8,000 words not including tables and references) is a focused review of a body of literature relevant to the research topic. It is not necessary to address the literature for every aspect of your empirical study (the introduction section of your empirical paper will provide the necessary background). The review paper should either be a stand-alone paper in its own right, which should pose a question and then systematically examine the empirical literature that addresses that question OR a Conceptual Introduction which reviews the evidence in a more narrative fashion. Guidance for both formats is avaiable on this website.

The structure that follows is for the stand alone paper - for a conceptual introduction you are free to organise it how you wish (see suggestions in the more detailed guidance in the Literature Review section of the website here: ):

  • A structured Abstract (of about 200 words), with headings of Aims, Method, Results, Conclusions. It should specify the number of papers reviewed.
  • The Introduction gives the background to the topic and ends with a clearly specified question that the review will address.
  • The Method section specifies the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the studies to be reviewed and the search strategy for locating them. The latter should indicate which databases you used, with which search terms, and specify other search limits, e.g. date or publication type. You should also describe how you narrowed down the studies from the initial (usually large) number of hits generated by the search to the final set of studies that you focus on. The steps in the narrowing down process are usually illustrated by a flowchart.
  • The Results section reviews the assembled studies. It is usually helpful to include a table listing their important characteristics and findings. The review should not be simply descriptive; it should weigh up the evidence, taking into account the methodological soundness of the studies, and take a critical perspective on the evidence base as a whole. It is often helpful to use a structured critical appraisal checklist -- there are several in the literature (see the list on Moodle).
  • The Discussion section addresses what can be concluded from the body of studies reviewed. It should draw on the methodological critique of the studies in order to evaluate the quality of the evidence. It should also address the limitations of the review, draw any clinical implications and make suggestions for further research (that may, by remarkable coincidence, bear considerable similarity to the empirical project reported in the second part of the thesis).
  • The References.
  • Any appendices are placed at the end of Volume 1 (see section below on layout).

One model for the stand-alone paper style of this part of the thesis is articles in  Clinical Psychology Review . You could also look at any theoretical or review article in other clinical psychology journals. However, these published review papers, particularly those in prestigious journals, are usually much more ambitious in terms of quantity, scope and method than is possible within the constraints of the DClinPsy.

Part 2. Empirical paper

The empirical paper (of approximately 8,000 words not including tables and references) reports on your study. Its structure follows the usual research article format, although the length of each section will vary according to the nature of the project, and additional detail may need to be provided in the Method or Results sections (or in an Appendix). You can model it on papers in any mainstream peer-reviewed clinical psychology journal, e.g. the  British Journal of Clinical Psychology  or the  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology , or a specialist journal in your particular research area. As a rough guide, each of the four main sections is usually in the range of about 1,500 to 2,500 words, with the Results section usually being longer than the other three. The structure is as follows:

  • A structured  Abstract  (of about 200 words), with headings of Aims, Method, Results, Conclusions.
  • Introduction . A brief review of the literature, which shows the flow of ideas leading to your research questions. The rationale for the study should be clearly articulated. The Introduction ends with your research questions or hypotheses.
  • Method . A description of participants, procedures, design and measures. The methods should be described in sufficient detail to enable the reader to understand what was done and potentially to be able to replicate the study. For quantitative studies, the statistical power analysis should normally be reported. Descriptions of measures need to include sample items, response options, scoring methods and psychometric properties. There will also be a section on ethics, saying where approval was obtained and discussing any ethical issues in the study. For confidentiality reasons, no names of services where participants were recruited should be given.
  • Results . The findings and any statistical analyses should be presented with the aid of tables and, if necessary, figures. It should be possible for the reader to evaluate the data from which your conclusions are drawn. Qualitative papers will include quotes to illustrate each of the themes.
  • Discussion . An examination of the research questions in the light of the results obtained and the methods used. It will interpret the findings in the context of the research questions and the wider theoretical context in which the work was carried out, including a consideration of alternative explanations, methodological limitations and reasons for unexpected results. It will conclude with a discussion of the scientific and professional implications of the findings.
  • References . A list of all references cited.

Part 3. Critical appraisal

The final part of the thesis (of approximately 3,000 to 5,000 words not including tables and references) is intended to encourage critical reflection on the whole process of doing the research. Its structure and content are more flexible than those of the other two parts. You could, for example, discuss how your previous experiences or theoretical orientation might have influenced how you set about the study, how the process of doing the research might have modified your views (it is often helpful to draw on your research journal here), how you dealt with any dilemmas or methodological choices that arose during the course of the study, and what you might have done differently and why. You could also include an expanded discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the study, its clinical and scientific implications, and future directions for research (depending on how extensively each of these areas is covered in the discussion section of the empirical paper). It is essential, however, to ensure that all important points are mentioned in your empirical paper first – this is not the place to introduce significant limitations of the study or different ways of interpreting the findings. Whilst it is less formal than the other two parts, the critical appraisal should not be overly personal; it should ideally be addressed to an audience of fellow researchers who might benefit from your considered thoughts about conducting the research.

All appendices are placed at the end of Volume 1. Include here any additional material related to the empirical study, or to the other two parts if needed. Essential material to append includes: the official letter giving ethical approval, sample letters to participants, participant information sheet, informed consent form, instruction sheets, questionnaires, interview schedules and any measures not in common use. Measures that are sensitive or copyrighted will eventually need to be removed. Raw data and computer printouts are not normally needed. However, for qualitative studies, examples of the procedures of analysis should be included.

Confidentiality and privacy

Once your thesis is completed it will effectively become a public document, available on the internet via the UCL's e-thesis repository (UCL Discovery). Therefore it is essential when presenting your work that your participants' right to confidentiality and privacy be upheld. In particular, students writing up small-N and qualitative studies should be especially careful to ensure that no participants are identifiable from the thesis.

Layout and formatting

The text should be double-spaced on plain, white A4 paper. Both sides of the paper may be used - you can choose whether to print the thesis single-sided or double-sided. Margins at the binding edge should be 4cm. The other margins (i.e. top, bottom and unbound side) should be 2.5cm. Remember, if you include a table or figure that uses a landscape page setup then the margins need to be adjusted accordingly, i.e. 4cm becomes the top margin.

Number pages on the bottom right or bottom centre of the page. Page 1 is the title page (although it looks tidier if you suppress the page numbering for that page only).

For general guidance on formatting, follow  APA style , as set out in the  APA Publication Manual  (7th edition). It is essential to use APA citation and referencing style (see the course document on Moodle), and also to lay out tables in APA format. Heading formats can depart slightly from APA style (e.g. you can use italicised headings, or adopt a numbering system if you wish): what is important is to adopt a systematic hierarchy of headings within each part of the thesis. Look at recent theses for models of layout and formatting (ask your UCL supervisor to recommend one or two). Pay meticulous attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation and format: poorly presented theses give an impression of carelessness and will be referred for revision.

The thesis is more easily readable if you left justify the text and use a standard font. We recommend Times New Roman 12 point or Arial 11 point for the main body of the text, although tables and figures can be set in a smaller font size if necessary, as long as they are readable. In accordance with APA style, the best way to indicate a new paragraph in double-spaced text is to indent its first word; there is then no need to leave a blank line between paragraphs.

Tables and figures are numbered (Table 1 etc.) and usually placed on their own separate pages, although smaller ones can be embedded in the text, usually just below the paragraph that first refers to them (in contrast to APA format for submitted journal articles, where the tables and figures are at the end of the paper).

Volume 1 is laid out in the following order:

  • the  Title Page  gives the title (usually the same as that of the empirical paper), your name, and lower down on the page, the words "DClinPsy thesis (Volume 1), [year of submission]" and on the line below "University College London". The title page is justified as centred. You can use a slightly larger font if you wish.
  • a  Signed Declaration  that the work presented is your own. The professional doctorate regulations specify that this be inserted right after the title page of the thesis There is a  declaration form  on the course website.
  • an  Overview  (up to 250 words), giving a summary of the contents of all three parts of the thesis. (Note that this will ultimately be used by the library to catalogue your thesis, and it will form part of the meta-data that will be seen first by people searching for your thesis.)
  • an  Impact Statement  that describes, in no more than 500 words, how the expertise, knowledge, analysis, discovery or insight presented in your thesis could be put to a beneficial use. Please see  guidance  from the UCL Doctoral School on this.
  • the  Table of Contents  covers all three parts of Volume 1, including the appendices, and gives a separate list of tables and figures.
  • the  Acknowledgements  page mentions everyone whose contribution to the work you wish to recognise.
  • Part 1  (the literature review) with a title page and abstract (both on separate pages) and references. The title page should say “Part 1: Literature Review” and then give the title of the review paper on a separate line.
  • Part 2  (the empirical paper) with a title page and abstract (both on separate pages) and references. The title page should say “Part 2: Empirical Paper” and then give the title of the empirical paper on a separate line. The text of the main body of the paper should run continuously: the main sections (Methods, Results, Discussion) should not start on new pages. Tables and figures should be numbered afresh for the empirical paper, so the first table in the empirical paper is Table 1, even if there is also a Table 1 in the literature review.
  • Part 3  (the critical appraisal) with a title page (just saying “Part 3: Critical Appraisal”), and references.
  • the  Appendices , each with their own title page. (There’s no need to number the pages within the appendices if this is fiddly.) There is only one set of appendices for all of Volume 1, placed at the end of the volume. They are numbered in the order in which they appear in the thesis. (If there is only one appendix, just call it Appendix, with no number.)

If your research is part of a joint project (e.g. with another trainee or with a PhD student), you must state this in the Overview and in the Method section of your empirical paper, and include an Appendix setting out each person’s contribution to the project. Please see the course document on  submission of joint theses .

Volume 2 (no longer submitted but you should assemble it as a document as follows)

Volume 2 begins with a title page, which says "Case Reports and Service-Related Research Project", then lists on separate lines your name, "D.Clin.Psy. thesis (Volume 2), [year of submission]" and "University College London". On the next page there is the table of contents, giving the full title, as below; there is no need to list tables and appendices. Then follows each of the four case reports and the service-related research report, in the order in which each was submitted. For case reports, the title page gives the submission number, your own title and the type of case report, e.g., Case report 4: "An angry young man" (Completed Clinical Intervention). For the service-related research it has the words "Service Related Research Report (submitted as Case Report x)"; the title of the report is then listed on a new line. Word counts and trainee code numbers should be omitted. After the title page comes the body of the report, its references, and then any appendices pertaining to that report. Each case report is a stand-alone entity, so tables and appendices are numbered afresh (i.e. each report could have a Table 1, etc.). As described above, Volume 2 is separately paginated.

Handing in before the viva

Electronic submission.

You need to submit an electronic version of Volume 1 in pdf format via the  Moodle submission link  with a file name of Thesis_submission_volume1_[yourlastname] (e.g. Thesis_submission_volume1_Smith). The submission instructions are avaiable here .

NOTE -  Volume 2 does not need to be submitted at this point but must be made available on request.

Running volume 1 through turnitin.

In addition to the procedures outlined above for submission of the thesis, we require that Volume 1 of the thesis be submitted via Turnitin, a plagiarism-detection programme.

As with case reports, submission of Volume 1 of the thesis to Turnitin is done via Moodle. The link for thesis submission on your Moodle homepage is called ‘Thesis Volume 1 Submission’.

When uploading Volume 1 please call the file ‘Volume 1 [First name] [Family name]’. For example, ‘Volume 1 Ed Miliband’ or ‘Volume 1 Nicola Sturgeon’. You should upload your full Volume 1 (as outlined in the section above called ‘Volume 1’) as a word document.

Turnitin is being used to promote good academic practice, not to catch students out. For this reason the system has been configured so that you can submit your Volume 1, look at the Turnitin report to identify any sections where there may be potential plagiarism, delete the submission and submit a revised report.

Resubmissions can be made up to 14.00 on the day on which theses are due, although in practice it is strongly recommended that Turnitin submissions are made well before then: it will be important to leave yourself time to submit to Turnitin before you submit your final version of Volume 1. Also, please note that Turnitin can take upto 24 hours to generate a similarity report for each submission, so you will need to factor this in to any plans for checking and resubmission. 

How to judge the Turnitin report to decide whether the thesis needs to be amended?

Turnitin will give your Volume 1 an originality score, but this tells you very little about whether there are any problems with plagiarism in your thesis. That is because theses contain copies of measures, participant information sheets, references and so on, which inflate the Turnitin originality score.

Trainees need to use their own judgement to decide whether they should amend their thesis because of inadvertent plagiarism. The key principle is that ideas and quotations are appropriately referenced.  Please look at the guidance about plagiarism on the UCL  website , which is also reproduced in Section 23 of the Training Handbook.

If you have any queries about using Turnitin as part of the thesis submission, please contact Priya Dey, the Research Administrator, in the first instance. 

After the viva

Ongoing access to ucl library resources.

All DClinPsy students continue to have access to UCL library resources after the viva, whilst they work on any required thesis revisions. Once you have have completed any revisions, had them approved and submitted your thesis, your access to the library as a UCL student will come to an end. However, the good news is that UCL alumni are entitled to library access after they complete their studies. You just need to re-register, following the instructions given on the  UCL library website .   

You need to submit two electronic copies of Volume 1 in pdf format:

1. One e-copy to the Research Administrator with a filename of Thesis_final_volume1_[yourlastname] 

2. One e-copy to UCL's e-thesis repository (UCL Discovery) via the  Research Publication Service . The library have produced a useful document (available on the Project Support  Moodle  site) outlining the e-thesis submission procedure.

Once the Research Administrator can confirm that you have completed all other components of the course, they will inform the HCPC that you have satisfied all the course requirements. However, before the Research Administrator can report to UCL that you have completed the course, you also need to have submitted the e-thesis copy to UCL Discovery. Once this is done, you will get a letter from the Course Directors confirming that you have passed the DClinPsy.

Writing a Research Statement

What is a research statement.

A research statement is a short document that provides a brief history of your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future work you intend to complete.

The research statement is a common component of a potential student's application for post-undergraduate study. The research statement is often the primary way for departments and faculty to determine if a student's interests and past experience make them a good fit for their program/institution.

Although many programs ask for ‘personal statements,' these are not really meant to be biographies or life stories. What we, at Tufts Psychology, hope to find out is how well your abilities, interests, experiences and goals would fit within our program.

We encourage you to illustrate how your lived experience demonstrates qualities that are critical to success in pursuing a PhD in our program. Earning a PhD in any program is hard! Thus, as you are relaying your past, present, and future research interests, we are interested in learning how your lived experiences showcase the following:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience in the face of difficulty
  • Motivation to undertake intensive research training
  • Involvement in efforts to promote equity and inclusion in your professional and/or personal life
  • Unique perspectives that enrich the research questions you ask, the methods you use, and the communities to whom your research applies

How Do I Even Start Writing One?

Before you begin your statement, read as much as possible about our program so you can tailor your statement and convince the admissions committee that you will be a good fit.

Prepare an outline of the topics you want to cover (e.g., professional objectives and personal background) and list supporting material under each main topic. Write a rough draft in which you transform your outline into prose. Set it aside and read it a week later. If it still sounds good, go to the next stage. If not, rewrite it until it sounds right.

Do not feel bad if you do not have a great deal of experience in psychology to write about; no one who is about to graduate from college does. Do explain your relevant experiences (e.g., internships or research projects), but do not try to turn them into events of cosmic proportion. Be honest, sincere, and objective.

What Information Should It Include?

Your research statement should describe your previous experience, how that experience will facilitate your graduate education in our department, and why you are choosing to pursue graduate education in our department. Your goal should be to demonstrate how well you will fit in our program and in a specific laboratory.

Make sure to link your research interests to the expertise and research programs of faculty here. Identify at least one faculty member with whom you would like to work. Make sure that person is accepting graduate students when you apply. Read some of their papers and describe how you think the research could be extended in one or more novel directions. Again, specificity is a good idea.

Make sure to describe your relevant experience (e.g., honors thesis, research assistantship) in specific detail. If you have worked on a research project, discuss that project in detail. Your research statement should describe what you did on the project and how your role impacted your understanding of the research question.

Describe the concrete skills you have acquired prior to graduate school and the skills you hope to acquire.

Articulate why you want to pursue a graduate degree at our institution and with specific faculty in our department.

Make sure to clearly state your core research interests and explain why you think they are scientifically and/or practically important. Again, be specific.

What Should It Look Like?

Your final statement should be succinct. You should be sure to thoroughly read and follow the length and content requirements for each individual application. Finally, stick to the points requested by each program, and avoid lengthy personal or philosophical discussions.

How Do I Know if It is Ready?

Ask for feedback from at least one professor, preferably in the area you are interested in. Feedback from friends and family may also be useful. Many colleges and universities also have writing centers that are able to provide general feedback.

Of course, read and proofread the document multiple times. It is not always easy to be a thoughtful editor of your own work, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Lastly, consider signing up to take part in the Application Statement Feedback Program . The program provides constructive feedback and editing support for the research statements of applicants to Psychology PhD programs in the United States.

Psychology Guide: Resources for Writing a Thesis

  • Getting Started
  • Finding Resources
  • Tests & Measures
  • Search Smarter This link opens in a new window
  • Statistics & Data Resources
  • Resources for Writing a Thesis
  • Referencing
  • PY1106: Communicating Psychology: Listening, Translating & Disseminating: Literature Review Topics This link opens in a new window
  • PY2018: Intercultural Psychology This link opens in a new window
  • PY2106: Human Development Across the Lifespan This link opens in a new window
  • PY2109: Environmental Psychology This link opens in a new window
  • PY3102: Social Psychology This link opens in a new window
  • PY3104: Principles of Counselling This link opens in a new window
  • PY3106: Theoretical Foundations of Modern Psychology This link opens in a new window
  • PY4209 Principles of Counselling Guide

Writing a thesis

  • Staying Up to Date: Alerting & Current Awareness Services Guide
  • Thesis Formatting Guide
  • Guidelines for Submitting a JCU Digital Thesis to ResearchOnline@JCU

Keeping up with the literature

@jcu thesis search.

The library holds all PhD and Masters by Research theses completed at JCU, as well as some Honours theses. Use the link below to limit your results to our thesis collection.

  • Find JCU, Australian and International theses

Books @ JCU Library

Here is a small selection of books available in JCU Library.

how to write a psychology thesis statement

Thesis collections

Open Access resource

  • JCU Theses Collection This link takes you to a box on the One Search Guide to show you how to find JCU theses in our catalogue
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  • Last Updated: Apr 26, 2024 9:33 AM
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Acknowledgement of Country

How to Synthesize Written Information from Multiple Sources

Shona McCombes

Content Manager

B.A., English Literature, University of Glasgow

Shona McCombes is the content manager at Scribbr, Netherlands.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

On This Page:

When you write a literature review or essay, you have to go beyond just summarizing the articles you’ve read – you need to synthesize the literature to show how it all fits together (and how your own research fits in).

Synthesizing simply means combining. Instead of summarizing the main points of each source in turn, you put together the ideas and findings of multiple sources in order to make an overall point.

At the most basic level, this involves looking for similarities and differences between your sources. Your synthesis should show the reader where the sources overlap and where they diverge.

Unsynthesized Example

Franz (2008) studied undergraduate online students. He looked at 17 females and 18 males and found that none of them liked APA. According to Franz, the evidence suggested that all students are reluctant to learn citations style. Perez (2010) also studies undergraduate students. She looked at 42 females and 50 males and found that males were significantly more inclined to use citation software ( p < .05). Findings suggest that females might graduate sooner. Goldstein (2012) looked at British undergraduates. Among a sample of 50, all females, all confident in their abilities to cite and were eager to write their dissertations.

Synthesized Example

Studies of undergraduate students reveal conflicting conclusions regarding relationships between advanced scholarly study and citation efficacy. Although Franz (2008) found that no participants enjoyed learning citation style, Goldstein (2012) determined in a larger study that all participants watched felt comfortable citing sources, suggesting that variables among participant and control group populations must be examined more closely. Although Perez (2010) expanded on Franz’s original study with a larger, more diverse sample…

Step 1: Organize your sources

After collecting the relevant literature, you’ve got a lot of information to work through, and no clear idea of how it all fits together.

Before you can start writing, you need to organize your notes in a way that allows you to see the relationships between sources.

One way to begin synthesizing the literature is to put your notes into a table. Depending on your topic and the type of literature you’re dealing with, there are a couple of different ways you can organize this.

Summary table

A summary table collates the key points of each source under consistent headings. This is a good approach if your sources tend to have a similar structure – for instance, if they’re all empirical papers.

Each row in the table lists one source, and each column identifies a specific part of the source. You can decide which headings to include based on what’s most relevant to the literature you’re dealing with.

For example, you might include columns for things like aims, methods, variables, population, sample size, and conclusion.

For each study, you briefly summarize each of these aspects. You can also include columns for your own evaluation and analysis.

summary table for synthesizing the literature

The summary table gives you a quick overview of the key points of each source. This allows you to group sources by relevant similarities, as well as noticing important differences or contradictions in their findings.

Synthesis matrix

A synthesis matrix is useful when your sources are more varied in their purpose and structure – for example, when you’re dealing with books and essays making various different arguments about a topic.

Each column in the table lists one source. Each row is labeled with a specific concept, topic or theme that recurs across all or most of the sources.

Then, for each source, you summarize the main points or arguments related to the theme.

synthesis matrix

The purposes of the table is to identify the common points that connect the sources, as well as identifying points where they diverge or disagree.

Step 2: Outline your structure

Now you should have a clear overview of the main connections and differences between the sources you’ve read. Next, you need to decide how you’ll group them together and the order in which you’ll discuss them.

For shorter papers, your outline can just identify the focus of each paragraph; for longer papers, you might want to divide it into sections with headings.

There are a few different approaches you can take to help you structure your synthesis.

If your sources cover a broad time period, and you found patterns in how researchers approached the topic over time, you can organize your discussion chronologically .

That doesn’t mean you just summarize each paper in chronological order; instead, you should group articles into time periods and identify what they have in common, as well as signalling important turning points or developments in the literature.

If the literature covers various different topics, you can organize it thematically .

That means that each paragraph or section focuses on a specific theme and explains how that theme is approached in the literature.

synthesizing the literature using themes

Source Used with Permission: The Chicago School

If you’re drawing on literature from various different fields or they use a wide variety of research methods, you can organize your sources methodologically .

That means grouping together studies based on the type of research they did and discussing the findings that emerged from each method.

If your topic involves a debate between different schools of thought, you can organize it theoretically .

That means comparing the different theories that have been developed and grouping together papers based on the position or perspective they take on the topic, as well as evaluating which arguments are most convincing.

Step 3: Write paragraphs with topic sentences

What sets a synthesis apart from a summary is that it combines various sources. The easiest way to think about this is that each paragraph should discuss a few different sources, and you should be able to condense the overall point of the paragraph into one sentence.

This is called a topic sentence , and it usually appears at the start of the paragraph. The topic sentence signals what the whole paragraph is about; every sentence in the paragraph should be clearly related to it.

A topic sentence can be a simple summary of the paragraph’s content:

“Early research on [x] focused heavily on [y].”

For an effective synthesis, you can use topic sentences to link back to the previous paragraph, highlighting a point of debate or critique:

“Several scholars have pointed out the flaws in this approach.” “While recent research has attempted to address the problem, many of these studies have methodological flaws that limit their validity.”

By using topic sentences, you can ensure that your paragraphs are coherent and clearly show the connections between the articles you are discussing.

As you write your paragraphs, avoid quoting directly from sources: use your own words to explain the commonalities and differences that you found in the literature.

Don’t try to cover every single point from every single source – the key to synthesizing is to extract the most important and relevant information and combine it to give your reader an overall picture of the state of knowledge on your topic.

Step 4: Revise, edit and proofread

Like any other piece of academic writing, synthesizing literature doesn’t happen all in one go – it involves redrafting, revising, editing and proofreading your work.

Checklist for Synthesis

  •   Do I introduce the paragraph with a clear, focused topic sentence?
  •   Do I discuss more than one source in the paragraph?
  •   Do I mention only the most relevant findings, rather than describing every part of the studies?
  •   Do I discuss the similarities or differences between the sources, rather than summarizing each source in turn?
  •   Do I put the findings or arguments of the sources in my own words?
  •   Is the paragraph organized around a single idea?
  •   Is the paragraph directly relevant to my research question or topic?
  •   Is there a logical transition from this paragraph to the next one?

Further Information

How to Synthesise: a Step-by-Step Approach

Help…I”ve Been Asked to Synthesize!

Learn how to Synthesise (combine information from sources)

How to write a Psychology Essay

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How to Write a Psychology Essay

How to Write a Psychology Essay

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

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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

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how to write a psychology thesis statement

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

how to write a psychology thesis statement

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

how to write a psychology thesis statement

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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 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) 10 Elaborative Rehearsal Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) Maintenance Rehearsal - Definition & Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) Piaget vs Vygotsky: Similarities and Differences
  • Chris Drew (PhD) 10 Conditioned Response Examples

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how to write a psychology thesis statement

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From drab to fab: elevate your essay writing with powerful techniques, sponsored post.

  • May 28, 2024

Essays. The mere word can make some students groan and break out in a cold sweat. Some of them don’t know where to start, and others wonder, “How do I make my essay better to get a good grade?” But essays don’t have to be your nemesis. With the right tools and tricks, you can transform your essays from drab to absolutely fabulous!

Whether you panic at the sight of a blank page or feel like your texts always end up being a confusing jumble, you’re in the right place. And yes, sometimes it helps to get extra guidance from websites like WritePapers when it comes to academic writing. Yet, with the strategies we’ll talk about here, you can start crafting those A+ essays your teachers will rave about. 

Let’s ditch the dull texts and get creative!

how to write a psychology thesis statement

Spice Up Your Sentences

Basic sentences get the job done, but they won’t make your essay pop. To really elevate your writing, you should experiment with different sentence structures and words. 

Think about how you can add flair to your writing strategies. A mix of sentence lengths is a great starting point. Short, punchy sentences can create emphasis. Longer, detailed sentences are perfect for describing complex ideas. 

And don’t forget the power of those vivid verbs! They bring your writing to life. Instead of describing something as “interesting,” try words like “fascinating,” “captivating,” or “riveting.”

Master Transitions

Smooth transitions are essential for creating a strong, cohesive essay. Imagine trying to cross a river without any bridges…it’d be tough! Effective transitions show the relationships between your ideas, taking your reader on a clear and logical journey. 

Using signal words and phrases is a cornerstone of successful transitions. For example, if you’re adding onto a previous point, words like “furthermore” or “additionally” work wonders. Want to show contrast? Try “however” or “on the other hand.” To demonstrate cause and effect, use words like “consequently” or “therefore” are your friends. 

But transitions can be more subtle than just these signal words. A well-placed example or brief anecdote can seamlessly move from one concept to the next.

Apply the Right Evidence

Using relevant evidence is one of the best essay writing strategies. But simply dropping a quote won’t cut it. The real magic comes from analyzing and integrating evidence into your own words. Explain why that particular quote or piece of data backs up your argument. 

Moreover, you should provide context for your evidence. Don’t let it stand alone in a disconnected way – weave it seamlessly into your writing. 

And lastly, remember that variety is key when it comes to essay writing tips. Mix up the types of evidence you use – a poignant quote, a relevant statistic, or a vivid example – to keep your reader engaged and make your points even more convincing.

how to write a psychology thesis statement

Don’t Skip the Revision Step

Never underestimate the power of thorough revision. It’s where you can refine your ideas, polish your writing, and truly make your essay better. 

One crucial step in the revision process is to take a break after writing your first draft. Returning to your work with fresh eyes lets you catch those sneaky errors or confusing passages you might have glossed over initially.

Reading your work aloud is another invaluable strategy! Hearing your words spoken out loud helps you notice awkward phrasing or areas where the flow feels off. This is a simple yet highly effective way to identify where you might need to focus on how to improve writing skills.

Finally, remember that revision isn’t just about fixing typos (although those are important, too!). Take a step back and ask yourself the big questions: 

  • Is your thesis statement crystal clear? 
  • Is your essay well-organized? 
  • Does each paragraph seamlessly support your main argument? 

If you find yourself needing guidance or an extra set of eyes, don’t hesitate to seek out help with writing. There are numerous resources available, including online platforms and essay writing services, that can provide valuable feedback and help you take your writing to the next level.

Embrace Your Voice

One of the easiest ways to fall into the “drab essay” trap is by trying to sound overly formal or academic. While correct grammar and good structure are non-negotiable, letting your own voice shine through is what makes your writing memorable. Think about these tips:

  • Write like you talk (but a bit more polished). Imagine you’re explaining your essay topic to a friend. What kind of language would you use? Keep the tone engaging and natural.
  • Don’t be afraid of strong opinions. Essays are opportunities to argue your point of view. Using words like “clearly,” “undoubtedly,” or “importantly” adds conviction to your statements.
  • Own your perspective. Share insights or experiences that relate to your topic. This sets your essay apart from the crowd.

Your writing doesn’t have to be filled with complex jargon to be impressive. Clarity, confidence, and a dash of personality can create an engaging essay that your teachers won’t soon forget!

Final Thoughts

Essays aren’t always the most thrilling thing in the world. But with the strategies we talked about, you can learn to craft sentences that make your reader lean in, not zone out. You’ll master the art of making your ideas flow effortlessly, and you’ll use evidence like a pro to back up your arguments.

The revision process allows you to look at the piece of writing from another perspective. Don’t be afraid to read your essay out loud, get feedback from others, and ask those big-picture questions about your organization and thesis statement. 

And hey, we all need a little extra support sometimes! There are tons of amazing resources out there to help if you need guidance on how to write better essays.

Most importantly, don’t try to sound like someone you’re not. Let your personality be reflected in your writing. Share your unique perspectives, use vivid language, and express your opinions with confidence. Your teachers will notice the difference!

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how to write a psychology thesis statement

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How to Write an Explanatory Essay

How to Write an Explanatory Essay

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Published: May 24, 2024

A study from the English Language Teaching Educational Journal found that students encounter difficulty in organizing thoughts, generating ideas, and understanding writing processes when writing essays [1]. These are all key components of putting together a good explanatory essay. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry.

With the right approach, you can seamlessly combine all these components. This guide will give you a simple step-by-step strategy for writing an explanatory essay. It’ll also give you handy writing tips and tool suggestions, like utilizing artificial intelligence.

With this guide, you’ll be able to write an explanatory essay with confidence.

1. Develop a strong thesis statement

Crafting a strong thesis statement is the cornerstone of any well-written explanatory essay. It sets the stage for what your essay will cover and clarifies the main point you’re going to explain. Here’s how to create a thesis:

  • Find the main idea : Start by pinpointing the key concept or question you want to explain. Develop a clear purpose for the essay. This will guide your research and writing process for your explanatory paper. Use other reputable explanatory essay examples to guide your ideas. This may involve exploring other explanatory essay topics within the same field.
  • Be specific : A vague thesis can confuse readers. So, make sure your statement is clear. If you’re explaining a complex process, break it down to its key points. After that, break it into a clear, concise statement that’s easy to understand.
  • Reflect objectivity : Explanatory essays educate and inform. They do not argue a point. So, your thesis should take an unbiased stance on the topic. It should present the facts as they are, not as you interpret them.
  • Use tools like the Smodin Writer : Smodin Writer does all the heavy lifting by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence. With it, you can generate an essay with a thesis statement. How, you ask? Through its dedicated thesis generator . It can create a statement that’s both strong and relevant. Plus, it can pull in all the most interesting information based on your topic to further enrich your thesis statement.

Make your thesis clear, informative, and neutral. This sets a strong foundation for an effective explanatory essay. Next, let’s look at how to gather the information you’ll need to support this thesis effectively.

2. Research and gather information

You need to conduct thorough research that will back your thesis with credible sources and relevant evidence. This will make your explanatory essay both informative and persuasive. Here’s a step-by-step guide to conducting effective research:

  • Start with a plan: Put together an explanatory essay outline that includes the information you need to support your thesis. The plan should list the best sources, like academic journals, books, reputable websites, or scholarly articles.
  • Use credible sources: They ensure the accuracy of your essay. Libraries, academic databases, and certified websites are excellent places to find trustworthy information.
  • Seek detailed information: Look for the most current sources that explain your topic well and provide unique insights related to or opposing your thesis statement. This depth is crucial for explaining complex ideas clearly and thoroughly in your explanatory papers. Pay attention to the explanatory essay structure to guide your topic of choice (more on this later).
  • Gather relevant evidence: Collect data, stats, and examples. They should directly support your main points. Make sure this evidence is directly related to your topic and enhances your narrative.
  • Employ digital tools: Tools like Smodin’s Research Assistant can accelerate your research process. Smodin’s tools can help you find detailed information quickly, ensuring that the data you use is up-to-date and relevant.
  • Document your sources: As you conduct research, keep a meticulous record of where your information comes from. This practice will help you make an accurate bibliography. It can save you time when you need to refer back to details or verify facts. Again, this is something that’s covered thanks to Smodin’s Citation Machine.
  • Evaluate your findings: Critically assess the information you collect. Ensure it provides a balanced view and covers the necessary aspects of your topic to give a comprehensive overview of your essay.

By following these steps, you can gather a rich pool of information that provides a strong backbone for your explanatory essay. Now, you can start structuring your findings into well-organized body paragraphs.

3. Structure body paragraphs

Once you’ve gathered relevant evidence through thorough research, it’s time to organize it. You should put it into well-structured body paragraphs that follow a logical flow. Here’s how to structure each body paragraph for a strong explanatory essay:

  • Decide how many paragraphs to use : It will depend on your topic’s complexity and the needed detail. Typically, three to five paragraphs are suitable, but longer essays may require more. An explanatory essay example on your topic of choice will be helpful.
  • Start with a topic sentence : Each body paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. This sentence will act as a roadmap for the paragraph, giving the reader a sense of what to expect.
  • Provide supporting evidence : After the topic sentence, share the evidence from your research. Ensure the evidence is relevant and directly supports the paragraph’s topic sentence.
  • Give a detailed explanation : Follow the evidence with an analysis or explanation that ties it back to the thesis statement. This step is crucial for maintaining logical flow throughout your body paragraphs.
  • Use linking words : They connect body paragraphs smoothly, ensuring the reader can follow your argument.
  • End each body paragraph with a closing sentence : It should sum up the point and move to the next idea.

Following this structure will help your body paragraphs support your thesis. These paragraphs will also offer a clear, detailed explanation of your essay topic. Strong body paragraphs are essential to maintain objectivity in your writing.

4. Maintain objectivity

An explanatory essay aims to inform and educate, which makes maintaining objectivity crucial. Staying neutral lets readers form their own opinions based on facts. This ensures the writing is both reliable and informative. Here’s how to maintain objectivity:

  • Avoid personal opinions: Your goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Refrain from injecting your personal opinion or biases. Instead, stick to presenting factual information that supports the thesis.
  • Use relevant evidence: As mentioned, ground your arguments with relevant evidence from credible sources. Back up your main points with data and use research findings and verified details. This will make the explanatory article trustworthy.
  • Provide a balanced view: In cases with multiple perspectives, offer a balanced view. Cover each side fairly. Even if one view prevails in consensus, acknowledging others gives readers a broader understanding.
  • Adopt neutral language: Be careful with word choice and tone. Neutral language implies words that don’t encourage or illustrate bias. This helps avoid emotionally charged phrases and keeps the writing objective.
  • Cite sources accurately: Proper citation of sources provides accountability for the evidence presented. This transparency builds credibility and shows you’ve conducted research thoroughly. It’s also worth noting that different intuitions have different citation styles like APA and Chicago, which is important to note before starting your essay.
  • Review for biases: After drafting your essay, review it with an eye for biases. Ensure no part leans too much on one viewpoint. And, don’t dismiss an opposing perspective without cause.

Maintaining objectivity enhances the clarity and reliability of explanatory writing. Let’s now focus on crafting an introduction and conclusion that bookend your work effectively.

5. Craft an effective introduction and conclusion

A good introduction and a strong conclusion frame your explanatory essay. They give context at the start and reinforce the main points at the end. Here’s how to craft an effective introduction and conclusion.

In the introduction:

  • Hook your reader in the introduction : Use an interesting fact, a compelling quote, or a surprising statistic.
  • Provide background information : Be brief and offer only the essential context the reader needs to fully understand the topic. This should give the audience a foundational understanding before diving deeper into your main points.
  • Include the thesis statement : Clearly state your thesis near the end of the introduction. This statement will outline the essay’s direction and give readers a preview of the body paragraphs.

In the conclusion:

  • Summarize the key points : Start your explanatory essay conclusion with a summary. It should cover the main points from the body paragraphs. This summary should help readers recall and reinforce the information they’ve just read.
  • Restate the thesis : Repeat your thesis again but in a new way. Explain how the evidence from the body paragraphs supported or clarified it.
  • Provide a conclusion : End the essay with a statement that wraps up the argument. This statement should resonate with the reader. It should leave them with an impression that stresses the topic’s importance.

An effective introduction and conclusion give the essay structure and coherence. They guide readers from start to finish. The next step is revising and editing your entire essay for clarity and precision.

6. Revise and check clarity

Revising and editing are key in writing. They make sure your essay is clear, joined, and polished. Here’s how to refine your writing using an explanatory essay checklist and proven academic writing techniques:

  • Take a break: Before diving into revisions, step away from your essay for a few hours or even a day. This break will help you return with fresh eyes, making it easier to spot errors or inconsistencies.
  • Follow an essay checklist: Create or use a checklist to ensure your essay has all the needed parts. It needs a strong intro with a clear thesis, well-structured body paragraphs, good sources, and a short conclusion. Check that your arguments follow a logical flow and that all relevant evidence is directly linked to your thesis statement.
  • Check for clarity and conciseness: Academic writing needs clarity. So, make sure each paragraph and sentence conveys your point. Don’t use unnecessary jargon or overly complex language. Keep sentences concise while maintaining detailed explanations of your main points.
  • Verify facts and citations: Make sure all facts, data, and quotes in the essay are accurate. Also, check that they are cited in the required academic style (e.g. MLA, APA). Improper citations can undermine the credibility of your writing.
  • Review the grammar and style: Look for common grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and awkward phrasing. Reading the essay aloud can help catch odd sentence structures or confusing wording.
  • Seek feedback: Share your essay with a peer or use online tools to get constructive criticism. A second perspective can highlight issues you might have missed.

These editing steps will help you produce a polished essay that clearly explains your main points and holds up to academic scrutiny.

Explanatory Essay Format

Understanding the explanatory essay format is key to a well-structured and logical paper. Here’s a basic breakdown of the format for an explanatory essay:

Introduction paragraph

  • Begin with an interesting sentence to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Give a short intro. It should set the topic and outline the essay’s purpose.
  • Present a clear thesis statement summarizing the main idea of the entire essay.

Body paragraphs

  • Organize the body paragraphs around logical subtopics related to the essay topic.
  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that aligns with the thesis.
  • Show evidence from good sources. Also, give key details for each main point.
  • Incorporate a robust concluding statement per paragraph that drives home your point and links to the ideas in the next paragraph/section.
  • Summarize the key points.
  • Provide a final statement that reinforces the main idea without introducing new information.
  • Craft a concluding statement that leaves your teacher or professor with a lasting impression.

Following this essay outline ensures that your paper has a clear flow. This makes it easy for readers to understand and follow your argument.

Write Better Explanatory Essays With Smodin

Explanatory essays can be overwhelming. Presenting a solid argument, keeping your professor or teacher interested, and remembering conventions like citations can be a real headache.

But, a strong thesis and thorough research make them easier. Well-structured body paragraphs also help deliver a clear, insightful essay that maintains objectivity. Just remember to revise and check for accuracy!

AI-powered platforms like Smodin simplify and enhance the process of writing explanatory essays.

Smodin’s tools help craft clear and well-structured essays that meet any of your academic standards. With Smodin’s advanced research capabilities, you can gather detailed and relevant information quickly. This will save you time and improve your work.

  • Plagiarism Checker : Ensure your essay maintains originality with Smodin’s plagiarism detection tool. This feature helps maintain academic integrity by checking your work against vast databases.
  • Auto Citation : Cite your sources accurately without the hassle. Smodin’s auto-citation tool ensures your references are in the right format and meet your academic institution’s rules.
  • Text Shortener : If your explanatory essay is too long, use Smodin’s AI writer as an essay shortener. It will help you cut your content without losing key details. This helps keep your essay clear and relevant.
  • Text Rewriter : Helps paraphrase existing content, ensuring uniqueness and a fresh perspective.
  • Summarizer : The Summarizer boils down long articles into short summaries. They are perfect for making an efficient outline or conclusion.


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    Component 1: The Title Page. • On the right side of the header, type the first 2-3 words of your full title followed by the page number. This header will appear on every page of you report. • At the top of the page, type flush left the words "Running head:" followed by an abbreviation of your title in all caps.


    Since the procedures involved in proposing and writing the thesis or dissertation are virtually identical, this manual will attempt no further distinction. The term "thesis" will be used to refer all such projects, except where noted. The finished thesis should reflect, in a formal way, the various stages experienced by the student in selecting

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    Step 2: Write your initial answer. After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process. The internet has had more of a positive than a negative effect on education.

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    Thesis and capstone projects synthesize your overall learning, taking the knowledge you've gained throughout your program and applying it to your own research. A thesis, which often requires more intensive research than a capstone, may span multiple years depending on the level of the psychology program. Often involving scholarly and clinical ...

  7. How to Write a Psychology Essay

    Identify the subject of the essay and define the key terms. Highlight the major issues which "lie behind" the question. Let the reader know how you will focus your essay by identifying the main themes to be discussed. "Signpost" the essay's key argument, (and, if possible, how. this argument is structured).

  8. Thesis Statement

    The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay (Pudue OWL, Developing a Thesis). Tips on Writing a Strong Thesis Statement. Pick a topic that is somewhat controversial. Be sure you can address the topic within your assignment ...

  9. Tips for Surviving (and Thriving in) Your Psychology Thesis

    Take a deep breath and keep in mind that this is all part of the process. Remember that writing your thesis or dissertation should never trump all other aspects of your self-care; taking care of ...

  10. How to Write a Research Statement

    Task #4: Be Succinct. When writing a research statement, many people go on for far too long. Consider three pages a maximum, and aim for two. Use subheadings to help break up the wall of text. You might also embed a well-designed figure or graph, if it will help you make a point.

  11. Thesis Advising

    The Consultant holds individual meetings with students to provide input on statistical methods, writing analysis, and experimental results for thesis projects. Kirsten Morehouse, Data and Statistics Consultant (2023-2024) Kirsten is a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Psychology Department and is advised by Professor Mahzarin Banaji.

  12. Guidelines for Writing and Presenting the Thesis

    You can model it on papers in any mainstream peer-reviewed clinical psychology journal, e.g. the British Journal of Clinical Psychology or the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, or a specialist journal in your particular research area. As a rough guide, each of the four main sections is usually in the range of about 1,500 to 2,500 ...

  13. Writing a Research Statement

    Make sure to describe your relevant experience (e.g., honors thesis, research assistantship) in specific detail. If you have worked on a research project, discuss that project in detail. Your research statement should describe what you did on the project and how your role impacted your understanding of the research question.

  14. Psychology Guide: Resources for Writing a Thesis

    Australian Research in Trove. JCU Theses Collection. This link takes you to a box on the One Search Guide to show you how to find JCU theses in our catalogue. Networked Digital Library of Theses & Dissertations (NDLTD) Open Access Theses and Dissertations. ResearchOnline@JCU.

  15. How To Write Synthesis In Research: Example Steps

    Step 1 Organize your sources. Step 2 Outline your structure. Step 3 Write paragraphs with topic sentences. Step 4 Revise, edit and proofread. When you write a literature review or essay, you have to go beyond just summarizing the articles you've read - you need to synthesize the literature to show how it all fits together (and how your own ...

  16. 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 ...

  17. How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Research Paper in 2024: Steps and

    Having a specific research question in mind can help researchers formulate a strong, sound thesis statement to address this question. 2. Construct a statement that directly addresses the research question. Once the research question has been identified, preliminary research on the topic can begin.

  18. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    Overview of the structure. To help guide your reader, end your introduction with an outline of the structure of the thesis or dissertation to follow. Share a brief summary of each chapter, clearly showing how each contributes to your central aims. However, be careful to keep this overview concise: 1-2 sentences should be enough.

  19. 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 ...

  20. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

    Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing. Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and ...

  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. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    Developing a hypothesis (with example) Step 1. Ask a question. Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project. Example: Research question.

  23. From Drab to Fab: Elevate Your Essay Writing With Powerful Techniques

    Apply the Right Evidence. Using relevant evidence is one of the best essay writing strategies. But simply dropping a quote won't cut it. The real magic comes from analyzing and integrating ...

  24. How to Write an Explanatory Essay

    Include the thesis statement: Clearly state your thesis near the end of the introduction. This statement will outline the essay's direction and give readers a preview of the body paragraphs. In the conclusion: Summarize the key points: Start your explanatory essay conclusion with a summary. It should cover the main points from the body ...